Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Musical notes

I love all kinds of music, from classical (right now I'm listening to Elgar's Salut d'amour) and opera (Wagner's Ring Cycle is a longtime fave) to Celtic (I'm a sucker for the slow airs and waltzes) to classic rock (Springsteen is still The Boss) and new alternative (have you heard Augustana yet?) But I loathe listening to the radio. Cutesy chatter by "morning crews" makes me want to slap somebody. And in addition to annoying me with constant commercial interruptions, even the best stations play songs and artists I don't like. And the good songs are played so often I get sick of them.

That's why I've been putting so much mileage on the iPod my hunk o' burnin' love gave me for Christmas. I love creating my own playlists because even my favorite albums always seem to have two or three songs I'd just as soon skip. One of my playlists, which I call "Rainy Day Tunes," has been extremely effective in nudging me into a romance-writing mood. The list gets updated frequently, but just in case you're curious, right now the first few songs are:

Transatlanticism, Death Cab for Cutie
Secret Garden, Bruce Springsteen
Ghost,Howie Day
Passing Afternoon, Iron and Wine
Caledonia, Dougie MacLean
Colorblind, Counting Crows
Boston, Augustana
Always on my Mind, Willie Nelson

As my writing catches fire, I'll often nudge up the volume and the tempo of my music by clicking on my "Hot Stuff" playlist, which begins thusly:

Are You Gonna be my Girl, Jet
Jenny was a Friend of Mine, The Killers
Tumbling Dice, The Rolling Stones
Learn to Fly, Foo Fighters
She Says, Howie Day
Yellow, Coldplay

Okay, the Elgar violin adagio has ended and I am now singing along with The Wallflower's Jakob Dylan (yeah, that's Bob's baby boy) on Nearly Beloved, which is making it difficult to type, so I'll end this here.

If you're a writer who uses music to help you slip into the zone, how about sharing your real or imaginary playlists?


Ruth said...

I have no iPod (sad). And most of my CDs are packed up in milk crates at the moment since I've been trying to clean (fun times!). Anyway...I wanted to say THANK YOU for introducing me to P.G. Wodehouse...I was at Hastings last night and got THE INIMITABLE JEEVES...this guy is terrific!

Brenda Coulter said...

Thank you, madam. I endeavor to give satisfaction.

Chris said...

The first draft of my wip was written to instrumental movie soundtracks (from Jaws to Pirates of the Caribbean to The Good, The Bad & The Ugly to Harry Potter/Azkaban, with some surf guitar thrown in to mix things up a bit).

The rewrite has been to 60s/70s pop hits to get me into the mind of a character who's experiencing a more developed role this time around.

Amy A. said...

I can't think with music on, not even when I was in high school doing homework. My husband writes to movie soundtracks. I don't know how you guys can have so much swirling around in your head! It's too crowded in mine. Love your play list, though! Very eclectic. I save my ipod for housework and exercise.

jel said...

So you like all kinds of music, Does this mean that you have come around to my side of thinking, and Like Country :) LOL

Take care friend :)


Brenda Coulter said...

Give it up, Janice. You must know by now that I'll never turn to the dark side. Country music (along with bluegrass, jazz, rap, and hip-hop) annoys me no end.

Amy, I don't always write to music. Sometimes it's too distracting.

Chris, the Lord of the Rings soundtrack is excellent, especially if you have some battle scenes to write. ;-) Number Two Son and I used to listen to it when we played Age of Empires, the best computer game ever.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Funny you should mention music. I just got turned several of the older teens in our youth using the Window Media Player on my laptop. I downloaded some very hip skins and I'm groovin...and practicing the songs I have to do at church

Music wise, my solo is Light of the City by Alan ensemble is Arise My Love.

But my personal listening music runs from old timers like Percy Sledge and the Commodores to new stuff by Mary/Mary and Hillsongs.

UKSteve said...

Now that's a good question. Generally, if I'm going to write anything, it has to be instrumental. Frequently a CD of science fiction themes, as that's my genre, or Brian Eno's Appollo for atmosphere. If it's a heavy action scene I might extend to something like Fatboy Slim.

And in this way, my novel has developed a soundtrack...

Brenda Coulter said...

Wouldn't it be fun if authors who use music to enhance their creativity would put their playlists at the end of their novels?

Julana said...

The mystery writers over at The Little Blog of Murder were discussing this at the same time you were. Blog-stereo.