That quote might actually be misleading: I can’t whistle. However, when I write, I usually have music on in the background. Music helps set the tone and emotion. Have you ever noticed yourself swayed by a classical piece, a rock song, or down-home country music?
I first became interested in organizing my own playlists after reading Starfish by Peter Watts in high school, in which he shared that he had his own music that he wrote to. However, like Peter, I sometimes turn off my music if the occasion warrants it (meaning, I’m not writing as well because I’m distracted by the music.)
Check out the interview with Petter Watts here http://www.actusf.com/spip/Interview-Peter-Watts-VO-2012.html. The discussion of music occurs fourth question from the end of the interview.
When music does work for me, I have carefully selected the type over the last seven years or so.
During different periods of writing–ie, writing different types of scenes–I play different types of music. During action or battle sequences, I focus on fast-pace, adventure inspiring pieces. Usually, there’s a good drum beat, some invigorating melodies. When my characters are at a dinner party or ball, or simply around nobility, I tend for the classical, allegros and such. However, in small town settings and peasantry activities, I enjoy some good folk music reminiscent of Howard Shore’s brilliant Hobbit themes from the Lord of the Rings movies. During essencer “duels” or battles, the drums pick up pace, there’s eerie or deep vocals in the background, drawing from the Fellowship’s time in Moria or Batman Begins.
To give you an idea of the “Aelathia” soundtrack, here are some titles or composers/soundtracks that have made it to the writing league.
Select pieces from Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit soundtracks, along with Alan Silvestri’s Avengers, Hans Zimmer’s Batman Begins, Harry Gregson-William’s Chronicles of Narnia, Bear McCreary’s Battlestar Galatica, and others.
Among some other musical groups, Two Steps From Hell and E.S. Posthumus salt and pepper every various playlist.
Destiny of the Chosen and Surrender to Hope – The Immediate: virtually the theme music for the entire series
The Resistance — 2cellos
What is a soundtrack without a few songs with lyrics? These songs have carefully been chosen–because I evaluate the lyrics carefully.
Peponi — The Piano Guys Steven Sharp Nelson & co.: an upbeat African tune about hope
Lead Me Home — Jamie N Commons from The Walking Dead soundtrack
Warm Shadow — Fink from The Walking Dead soundtrack
Stars (Hold On) — Youngblood Hawke: distinct spoilers here
The Proof of Your Love — For King & Country
True Love — Phil Wickham
So there you have it, the type of music I listen to when I write. This isn’t the whole list, but a majority of composers, artists, various albums and soundtracks that comprise approximately six Aelathia playlists to get my heart-pumping, brain thinking, and fingers typing.
Readers, is there music you listen to as you read, clean, create? What about other authors out there? Do you listen to music as you write? Leave a comment below! And if you have suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them!