Music and writing

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Randy Hulshizer
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Music and writing

Postby Randy Hulshizer » Sat Oct 10, 2015 4:37 pm

Hi there fellow writers. I'm curious if any of you listen to (or eschew) music while you write. If so, what do you listen to? Does it depend on the type of story you are writing?
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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Music and writing

Postby disgruntledpeony » Sat Oct 10, 2015 6:59 pm

I listen to instrumental music, mostly. Sometimes I listen to songs with lyrics, but those have a tendency to distract me. I've got a little traditionally classical music, but I'm a huge fan of work by bands who sometimes, rarely, produce lyricless tracks--Metallica, Murder By Death, Rob Zombie (and let me tell you, the Rob Zombie tracks are deliciously creepy). I'm also a big fan of soundtracks--I've got the soundtracks from the Battlestar Galactica TV show, the Lord of the Rings soundtracks (but not the Hobbit ones, although I'm sure they're good). When I'm in the mood for something more lively, I put on Spanish guitar music....

I have odd and varied musical tastes. I enjoy it, though, and that's the big thing.
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Ishmael
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Re: Music and writing

Postby Ishmael » Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:32 am

My brother always used to work to music; I never could or wanted to. I think it might depend upon how many conscious processes your brain can handle at once. If the music produced imaginative thoughts or images that didn't fit the flow of my story I'd be thrown right out of gear.

Of course this assumes I was in gear to begin with.
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Dustin Adams
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Re: Music and writing

Postby Dustin Adams » Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:54 am

DP,
In the past I could only listen to instrumental music, and had an army of soundtracks. Horner, Goldsmith, Howard. Liked me some Danny Elfman, too.

But over time I evolved into songs with lyrics, and now there's nothing I can't listen to while writing.
In fact, I've gotten to the point where I struggle to write without music.

If someone were to take a picture of me writing, I'd have my Sennheisers on, and one of the three music services that I pay a yearly fee for would be playing behind black letters on white background.
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Randy Hulshizer
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Re: Music and writing

Postby Randy Hulshizer » Sun Oct 11, 2015 4:32 am

Thanks everyone. Great to hear your thoughts. I also used to be an "instrumental only" listener, but several years ago I found I could listen to music with lyrics while doing any type of writing (e.g., medical, scientific, technical, fiction, computer programming).

I find that getting the right music behind me can really help my fingers move. For science fiction, I tend to listen to something hard and fast (e.g., Metallica, Chevelle), and for fantasy I tend to listen to something softer (e.g., Classical, Movie Sountracks). For my professional writing (medical, scientific, technical), I can listen to pretty much any music I feel like listening to at the moment. For computer programming (which arguably, some might not consider "writing"), the harder the better.

On the other hand, after I'm done my first draft, I turn the music off. I can't listen to anything when I'm editing and/or rewriting. In fact, I prefer absolute silence so I can hear the words in my head, or possibly even read them out loud to myself as I'm working.
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Dustin Adams
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Re: Music and writing

Postby Dustin Adams » Sun Oct 11, 2015 11:16 am

I tend to listen to certain types of music for certain stories, sometimes going as far as certain artists during my writing sessions. When I finally lock on to a story, I write it quickly, so the music doesn't get old, if I can find something/someone new to listen to.

I listened to Adam Lambert while cram-writing my Q4.
Don't laugh. Seriously, I found his music completely riveting. What a voice that dude has. I hope he and Queen write some new music together. How cool would a new Queen album be?

There's a youtuber named Pandora Journey you may be interested in. They post fantasy/epic music, usually song by song, but there are 1-3 hour-long compilations that can really set the mood. Especially if you're writing fantasy.
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MattDovey
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Re: Music and writing

Postby MattDovey » Sun Oct 11, 2015 11:25 pm

Can't do it at all. Much too distracting for me, I'm afraid :( my brain loves music too much and so it latches on to the lyrics or the melody. I can't even manage Brian Eno.

I tend to put something like Rainy Mood on, or a long YouTube video of a waterfall or something. The white noise helps stop me getting distracted.

Music is a given if I'm in Photoshop or writing a website, so maybe I can train myself as some of you have. It's frustrating to me that I can't, especially as music is so central to my inspiration--most of my best ideas come from songs in some fashion (including my winning story, in fact).
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storysinger
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Re: Music and writing

Postby storysinger » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:51 am

MattDovey wrote:Can't do it at all.


Same here. Being a musical kind of person when I hear a song it captures my attention.

Lately I've been disconnecting my laptop from the grid and sitting by the neighbors pond listening to the sounds of nature. While writing a fantasy piece I look around and my imagination takes over.
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Ishmael
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Re: Music and writing

Postby Ishmael » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:53 am

Be very careful that you are not mistaken for a tadpole by an overflying grey heron.

Image

This was one I saw somewhere south of Wurzburg.
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Re: Music and writing

Postby s_c_baker » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:01 am

I'm almost always listening to music of some sort or another.

When writing, my favourites are Amethystium, Buddha Bar, and various types of "lounge/chill" EDM.

Music with words tends to distract me, but like Dustin I've gotten to the point where I can more or less tune out any kind of background noise while writing.
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Re: Music and writing

Postby LDWriter2 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:35 pm

I listen to an eclectic mix. It can include "The Green Man" by Richard Searles, jazz, hip hop, Rock, Pop, some that seem to be a mixture of rock and hip hop, another mixture I am not sure about but it sounds good, a bit of Country, a bit of Hillbilly, celtic. In another month I will switching to Christmas songs with a lesser eclectic mix.

I like to play music as I write but I end up not listening to it.

Oh that second mix I cannot identify it sounds like a fusion of a March and Rock or March and Pop. wotf017 Two different singers have new songs with a sound like that.
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Re: Music and writing

Postby liz » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:09 am

I love love love listening to movie scores during the planning/outlining phase. Once I hit actual drafting it all depends. Sometimes it's helpful, sometimes it's distracting, but it's almost always inspiring!

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Mike Resnick
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Re: Music and writing

Postby Mike Resnick » Sun Oct 18, 2015 11:54 pm

I am always listening to music when I write, mostly the scores of musical plays, most frequently those by Stephen Sondheim, Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt, William Finn, and Michel Legrand. If I keep changing them I pay too much attention to them, and it makes for some occasionally sloppy writing, so I drive Carol crazy by playing one CD over and over and over, until I'm done with the book or the story I'm working on.
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rharp
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Re: Music and writing

Postby rharp » Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:47 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:I'm also a big fan of soundtracks--I've got the soundtracks from the Battlestar Galactica TV show, the Lord of the Rings soundtracks (but not the Hobbit ones, although I'm sure they're good). When I'm in the mood for something more lively, I put on Spanish guitar music....


I love the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack (show, too!). It's one of my favorites to write to. Soundtracks, classical - they're the best for me. Words are too distracting to me. My story will end up with a retelling of the lyrics most likely if I did, lol.
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Re: Music and writing

Postby bobsandiego » Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:52 am

Also a soundtrack fan here - though not musicals cause I'll start singing along and not only does that stop the writing it's a crime against humanity.
I also like to listen to Brazillian Jazz while I write sometimes,
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Muri McCage
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Re: Music and writing

Postby Muri McCage » Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:44 am

I can't listen to music at all when I'm writing. I like/need it as quiet as possible then. When I'm not actually writing, I listen to a lot of alternative. I never know what may be a plot generator, but music is a vital part of my writing life.

It may be a snatch of lyrics, a bit of melody, a single song or an entire album that sets something off. Possibly even an isolated phrase or trill of notes will trigger a bit of dialogue, imagery, or plot. If I'm lucky it sticks and some corner of my brain starts tangenting.

I once sat down to listen to Damien Rice's O for the first time and by the time I'd listened all the way through I had the bones of an entire novel. The same thing happened with the screenplay I'm working on now, on first listen of Oh Little Fire by Sarah Harmer. I love the way that can work. Some of my best plotting music has come from Sarah McLachlan, The Smashing Pumpkins, London Grammar, Heather Nova, Something for Kate... a practically endless list.
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Randy Hulshizer
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Re: Music and writing

Postby Randy Hulshizer » Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:28 am

Mike Resnick wrote:I am always listening to music when I write, mostly the scores of musical plays, most frequently those by Stephen Sondheim, Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt, William Finn, and Michel Legrand. If I keep changing them I pay too much attention to them, and it makes for some occasionally sloppy writing, so I drive Carol crazy by playing one CD over and over and over, until I'm done with the book or the story I'm working on.


Really cool to see you chiming in on this, Mike. Thanks. wotf008
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liz
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Re: Music and writing

Postby liz » Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:06 am

For nano, my playlist includes ludo, pirates of the caribbean, avatar, 2ne1, armageddon, and mumford and sons. Among others.


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