Writing And Music

In my January Newsletter, right at the end, I added a link to a YouTube video. It leads to the ‘Waltz of Flowers’, composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, an amazing, wonderful and heart touching piece of music in my opinion.

(Just in case: You can listen to the music here)

But where do I go with this post? I had been considering writing about all the music I listened to while writing – but that’s not the case today.

First of all: I write my first drafts by hand – always. After I finish them, I type them into my computer. During writing, I never listen to music. It distracts me. But during typing in I do.

Today I want something different. While typing and listening to this amazing waltz I re-read and corrected a fighting scene in my book, and I asked myself: if this would be turned into a movie, what music would be playing during this particular fighting scene?

Oh yes, it’s easy as eating an apple to find the matching sound for a kissing couple, a romantic dinner or a love scene.

But a fight? That’s different. I got the fight in my head… monsters, demons, shadows, against a tracker and a hunter… magical creatures, good against evil!

They meet up in the mountains, between jagged rocks, dangerous winds, and storms and groundless abysses. The bloodthirsty mood is covering the entire scenery, no matter how ‘civilized’ the opponents try to act, suppressed violence is making their foul blood boiling…

And I found it, yes. The music that is supposed to cover the reader’s (or watcher’s) skin with goosebumps. The music that shows the brutality of the attack which injures one of my protagonists so badly, death is holding out its horrible claws.

picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

It’s a section of Havergal Brian’s Gothic Symphony. I was lucky and able to find just the part I need on YouTube. Of course, you just enter the composer’s name and Gothic Symphony and will be able to listen to the entire mammoth piece. To me, the entire symphony is too dark to listen to – but to my dark battle scene, it is just the right music.

Did you write a scene you imagined music for? Or do you know a movie after a book which’s music you like? Let us know in the comments.

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36 thoughts on “Writing And Music

  1. Yes I scribble first then type and now have a CD player in my new ‘office’. I love music of all sorts – I had never heard of Havergill’s symphony till I watched it on television live from the BBC Proms – as in the clip – it would have been amazing to hear it live – but a total overload of the senses!

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    1. Aaaahhhh….. it’s good to hear I’m not the only one doing writing the ‘old fashioned’ way. LOL And I agree, even though Havergill’s symphony is fantastic and partially ‘magic’, it does pull my senses too and I have to turn it off.

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  2. Hi Aurora, I opened my laptop, and the first thing I read and listened to was the beautiful Waltz of the Flowers. The photographs were lovely too and took me right back to my youth and my late father – a keen gardener- pruning the roses in our garden. They spilled over fences and adorned rose beds,’Peace’ being our favourite rose Thank you! xx.

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  3. This post was so much fun to read and listen to! Wednesday in class I asked for a show of hands on how many listened to music as they wrote. Most of the hands went up. I started a discussion of what kinds of music do they listen to when writing, and the general consensus was, “anything without words.” I can see where words would be distracting to the writing process. I am blessed with such a good group this semester!

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    1. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the post, Rae. There are many people who regularly listen to music while working. I too listen to music with lyrics when shoveling snow or gardening, but when I write, I need music without lyrics. Thanks for dropping by and telling us about your group! 🙂

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  4. Great blog, Aurora. I, unlike you, jump right onto my LT and start writing the story. Usually, I don’t listen to music unless I’m in the mood for it. Too focused on the story I guess.

    This question of yours was interesting because I have a scene in His Perfect Love where someone (no spoilers) is being chased, resulting in a fight, and this is something like the music I imagined would be played. https://youtu.be/aMtJyg_xqg4

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  5. I never write to music. I find I’m either distracted by the music, or so involved in the writing I don’t notice it, even when it gets to the end and stops.
    Your idea of imagining what music should go with a scene is a good one, though. Perhaps I should try that.

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  6. I must find out more about Brian. Interestingly scary music.
    For a battle scene I would personally tend to go for Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King, Beethoven’s storm from the Pastoral Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s 1812, or Mussorgsky’s Night on a Bare Mountain. However, I either write my fantasy novels or compose my ‘classical-style’ music as separate exercises, except for my ‘Peter and the Wolf-style’ series Immy and the Dragon, where I wrote and orchestrated a musical theme for each character, and the music is accompanying the story.
    Sometimes a book scene suggests a piece of music, or a theme in music gives me an idea to add to a story I am writing, in which case I interrupt one for the other.

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  7. Wonderful post. Thank you. Music is as powerful as writing. Combine the two, and you get the best. As a preschool teacher I know the power of music, and I don’t mean children’s songs. I play classical music when children paint. The results are remarkable.

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  8. Sometimes I get a song that sums up the mood of what I am writing. When I was writing The Hartnetts particularly the second book I kept thinking of two songs that summed up the theme of the story. Similarly when I was writing a novella I had the lyrics from Massive Attack’s Paradise Circus feature in the story as I had one of my characters sing it.

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  9. Like you, I have to have silence when writing a first draft, but when I’m typing it into the computer, the right music can be helpful. I listened to Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe while working on my children’s book Gateway to Magic – it’s perfect for a story set in Fairyland!

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