Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Musical Inspiration


One of my great pleasures is listening to music, even while working. From classical to Celtic and popular music, I often try to match my background music to the kind of writing. So for some historical pieces, I listen to my favourite Baroque period composers like Bach, Vivaldi and Albinoni. If I'm in a medieval mood, I listen to the Medieval Babes, or Gregorian Chant or similar. When I’m writing a story set in Scotland, I listen to Scottish or Irish Celtic music. I also like Enya, and the pure voice of Hayley Westerna in particular.

If I’m in a light-hearted mood, I love to put on a compilation of favourite pop music so I can get up and dance around now and then. I’m at the back of the house so no one can see me! My daughter introduced me to Muse and The Rasmus a few years ago and I love their dramatic songs, which might inspire me to try a quite different kind of writing one day. It’s amazing, sometimes, how the words of a song can suggest a storyline, or how listening to a particular rhythm inspires creativity.

For anyone interested, I've posted a bit about Haydn and The Creation over on my Regency blog.

Does music inspire anyone else to write? Or do you prefer silence.

Rosemary

13 comments:

Frances Garrood said...

I love music. I studied it for a time before I decided to change to nursing (don't ask), but I need silence to write.

I'm glad you like Bach, Rosemary. For me, he is musical God!

joanne fox said...

I have music on all the time when I'm at home, but when I'm writing I've realised I concentrate better without it. The exception is when I'm trying to capture a particular subject, let's say the sea for example. Then I will spend a happy afternoon downloading songs about the sea and listen to them over and over in between sessions of writing.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Joanne - I think lots of people probably concentrate better without background music. Occasionally, it begins to annoy me and I have to switch off for silence. Maybe it depends how deeply I'm into the writing at the time.

Hi Frances - now you have me curious about the music to nursing! Nursing is what I thought I wanted to do, until half way through the course - then I couldn't leave fast enough!

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I write in total silence. I listen to music with no background noise or interruptions. You'll believe me when I say that I also -- given the opportunity -- eat the same lunch every day and order the same meal at each of my favorite restaurants. Yet I enjoy all kinds of variety when it's offered.

Julie

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Julie - that was an interesting comment about eating, and ordering, the same each time if possible. When I have a good meal at a new restaurant, I usually have it again the next time. But then I try something else - not that we eat out very often!

Allison Knight said...

Funny, I thought authors would usually need a musical background to work. But like Julie, I have to have silence. However, I grew up with classical music and remember well the Saturday afternoon operas from the Met. For me Verdi is the best of the bunch. Then Beethoven and Mozart. Not much into modern stuff or real country, although I do live in the south and boy, do they love their country music here.

Joanna said...

Yes, Rosemary, I agree, I definitely need music most of the time and it always suits the mood of the piece I'm writing. Occasionally I switch it off if I feel I need silence, which sort of has its own music. But it usually helps. When I took part in the weekly Write-Invite online writing competition, I always wrote to music. Since it was against the clock, I chose a fast-paced piece with a sense of urgency to make me type faster.

I like Celtic music too. I discovered Sinead O'Connor was good to work to, and anything with a hint of passion. However, I like bland things too, that have a cheerful nothing-ness about them, just to give me a background. I have tinnitus, so I like music that distracts from the annoying sound that lives in my ear!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Allison - thanks for the comment. I remember being moved to tears one evening by Verdi when my husband and I were invited to a musical evening at the town hall. Must listen to him again!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Joanna - glad someone else writes to music! I can understand exactly what you mean about fast-paced music making you write faster. That must be very annoying for you having tinnitus.

Vikki said...

Shh, don't tell anyone I introduced you to the Rasmus! I also put on some smashing pumpkins and placebo on the same CD which sounds much better...
Plugging in the headphones of my Mp3 player and hitting shuffle is a regular part of my writing routine and I feel it helps me tap into a creative part of my brain.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Aw, don't worry, daughter dear, I love their dramatic beat. Glad you're inspired by music too.

Janice Horton said...

Interesting post, Rosemary. I have to write in silence, but when I do take a break the first thing I do is put on the radio or a favorite CD.
I too love everything from classics to Lady Gaga but especially Santana.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks, Janice! Where would be without music?