Saturday, December 17, 2011

And the Fat Lady Sings...

Listening to Music While Writing


Do you listen to music while you write? Does that music find a way into your article or story, or does it distract you to insanity? First let me say, I normally like all types of music.

My family and I were celebrated our youngest daughter's twenty-first birthday in a local watering hole. We figured if she was going to have her first drink or drunken binge, family would be there to keep her out of trouble. Sounds like a real drag, huh? But wait...we were out on the dance floor to all types of music which had our daughters and their friends in shock. We old fogies cut a rug, we didn't close down the bar like our children did. Keep in mind we're in our late fifties. The most common comment was..."Those are your parents?!"  :)

There are some limits to getting older. Although I do remember a time when our youngest had gone to bed to be awakened late in the evening to the strains from the eight-track of Three Dog Night singing Joy to the World.  A certain young whippersnapper came out of her room and told us that SOME people had to be at work in the morning to turn that stuff down! Now, who's the old fogey? But I digress...

I listen to various types of music while I write different scenes. Not always classical, although I do use classical pieces when writing my blog. I learned if I listen to vocalists I'm too busy singing to the song rather than focusing on what I'm writing. I like the orchestra type music while writing. There is a wide variety for every mood, or juncture in writing...uplifting, sad, suspenseful, dramatic, cute and if you look at it, it has all the types of writing just to name a few.

For other writer's it may be different, but then, I'm the Abby Normal sort.It can be inspiring. Right now I'm listening to Schubert's #9. It's bright, perky, and suits the mood I'm writing in. When I write standard things like backgrounds, filler pieces, or the like, most likely what's coming through my headphones is something melodic and easy listening, like now. I find myself clicking my keyboard to the beat of the music with my head swaying, and my feet thumping in the rhythm.

When I'm writing about death, destruction, mayhem, suspense and impossible odds something more foreboding with tension works well.It raises my senses and allows me to feel the words. Like with the other piece of music my fingers pound the keyboard and my head nods up and down to the music. What I'm hearing interprets into what I'm writing. I sit upright, feel tense, and can't wait for the next words to fly from my brain to my fingertips. An example of this type of music is Holst's Planets, most notably "Mars, Bringer of War." Every note raises expectation so I write the same way. Every word I type lifts the tension in the piece.

Even with sadness, you follow the words and music through the piece. When I'm writing sadness, depression or lost soul passages, it has to be Mozart's "Requiem" or Beethoven's "Fur Elise." To me there is nothing so downcast or broken. It will bring tears to your eyes. When I look at my writing of these scenes, I want my readers to feel what the character is feeling.

By the end of the piece, because of the length of this type music, I find my productivity increases. Of course this is only during the first draft stage of any of my writing. At this stage, it can be rough around the edges but still have impact.

While listening to Beethoven, my typing speed increases because of the fast tempo of his works. Even the lulls are swift with almost no rests. By writing this way, I tire quickly with so much emotion packed into a short period of time. Imagine typing to Haydn's "Concerto for Flute and Strings"...quick, quick, quick. No, two finger typists could keep up. Luckily, I'm a eight-finger typist...I can't use my left thumb and forget my right pinky exists while typing.

Have you tried writing to music for inspiration? For impact? For stretching the imagination just one step farther than you were before you started. Try it some time. Put on a piece of music and imagine what the characters are sensing through the music.

I'm not going to make 100 blogs for the last 100 days of 2011 for the S.H.I.N.E.online challenge, but this marks #68 with two full weeks to go until 2012.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

1 comment:

Zan Marie said...

Jo, you sly dog! I love Three Dog Night--all of their stuff is the sound track of my younger days. ; )

When I write, I need quiet or I drift off into the music. Since I'm a singer, I don't need words with the music--I add my own and then my hands stop.