Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Write Music

By Steve Weddle

At all the writers' conferences and conventions I've been to, at all the Noir at the Bars and bail hearings and readings, some of the same questions keep poppuing up.

  • How many words a day do you manage?
  • Do you like your publisher?
  • What's the deal with Keith Rawson?
  • What are you working on now?
  • Do you listen to music when you write?

Yes, I do listen to music when I write. Currently, I have some Thelonius Monk playing each morning when I write. My favorite period for jazz is late 50s, so I picked up one of those "Six Great Monk Albums on Three CDs" collections. I hsve some Bill Evans bootlegs and radio broadcasts I work in lately, too.

Every so often in some of the Monk songs, one of the horns will stick a blade into the back of my head, but it keeps me active, I guess.

For a long while, I had Glenn Gould in the air around me, the Goldberg stuff he did in the 50s, not the re-done slop a few decades later.

I dig the atmosphere on that and, true or not, I feel as if my brain works better sometimes when I listen to Bach. I was a freshman and a dude in the dorm introduced me to Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" and walked me through it in terms of good vs. evil, leitmotifs, and crap like that. He was high as hell. But the "Toccata and Fugue" gets kinda big there, so it isn't exactly the music I want while writing. Same for Bach's Brandenburg stuff. The Bach violin concertos Hilary Hahn has played are also in high rotation come 4 a.m. when I break out the moleskine:

I'll get an idea from an old Emmylou Harris song in the afternoon and then listen to Glenn Gould the next morning while I write. Probably explains quite a bit about my stories.

A friend of mine was saying he likes to write to the Game of Thrones music, as it's good in the background and at times can get active, keep you focused.

Another favorite of mine is the work Henry Frayne has done in Lanterna:

Anyone else write with music in your brain?


Dana King said...

I think most writers I know would say they do, but I don't. Can't. I work in a quiet room and have no music running through my head when i write, which is about the only time all day I DON'T have some kind of ear worm. It might be my musical training. (Master's in performance.) I hear music, I pretty much have to listen to t, at least on some level. It can never truly be background. That and I focus on what the words sound like, especially in dialog, and the competing sounds make that difficult.

Al Tucher said...

Whatever they're playing in Barnes & Noble. I don't really hear it, but later I'll become aware of a tune playing over and over in my mind and realize that it must have been the soundtrack while I was writing.

That can be unpleasant, depending.

Steve Weddle said...

Dana, I hear voices, so I guess that's close?
Al, Yeah. I'd hate to be at the mercy of someone else like that -- especially if they played a song that sounded familiar, but that I couldn't quite place.

Kristi said...

I don't write with music, but I use it when I'm plotting and brainstorming ...
I love Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" so much! I used to listen to it all the time. It is sort of perfectly dark for a crime fiction writer, too.