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April 10, 2012

MOOD MUSIC by Kathy Ivan

Do you write to music? I normally don't. With my day job as a medical transcriptionist, I have headphones on pretty much all day long, with doctors droning on and on about diseases and procedures and all manner of things medical. So when it comes time to write, I like the sounds of silence around me. But, I do like to set a mood to get me ready to write.

But for some reason I've been really paying attention to the words of songs recently. Some songs seem like they're just words and music strung together to a tempo or beat that gets your feet moving, but doesn't really inspire anything more. Other songs can tell complete stories within a short 4 minute span of time and capture the imagination.

I'll be honest, most of the time I'm listening to country music. Occasionally will throw in some older rock (60s and 70s stuff mostly). But I've got a real soft spot for a man who can belt out a great song. (Don't get me started on the old musicals--Give me Howard Keel any day of the week and I'm a happy, happy girl.) Combine the tune and the words all coming together to tell a story and my mind begins forming all kinds of ideas for novellas, books, or just individual scenes. Somehow it all works.

A favorite song (and singer) of mine is this: (Not the greatest video but just listen to that voice and the words--the song is wonderful)

There's just something about his voice and the words to this song that get to me every time. I'll hear the opening music and just want to close my eyes and picture the characters he's singing about.

Music, like books, should evoke an emotional response. I can laugh out loud with some songs while others will bring tears to my eyes ever time I hear them. How about you? Are there any songs or artists that particularly move you to be more creative or that inspire you? Let me know, I'm always on the look out for new inspiration.


Phyllis said...

Great Post, Kathy!

I love music. I love lisening to it and dreaming by the wayside. I love singing with it to the top of my lungs. I love moving my body to it in ways my body hasn't seen for years!

I equally love action adventure movie soundtracks - those I listen to and my characters are on the move.

How fun!

Shelley Munro said...

I love music too, and usually have some form of music playing. When I get sucked into my writing though, I don't hear a thing and couldn't tell you what played.
Great post :)

Sylvia said...

Hi Kathy,
Great post. I can't listen to music with words when I write, because then I'm to busy singing and concentrating on the words of the song. I love Andre Bocelli, but even in Italian, I'm trying to sing words I don't know. So I have to listen to only music or do without. Usually I do without. But music does evoke emotion and there are certain songs that just seem to appeal to me.

Sasha Summers said...

Morning Kathy. I have four kids so I NEED music to help transport me to my writing place. It's frequently so loud the glass on my office door is vibrating. I tend to stick to movie soundtracks and classical for my myth/historicals. And soft rock - Jason Mraz, Nora Jones, etc for my contemporaries. I agree - Music sets a Mood!!!

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Good post, Kathy! I found I listened to the words and became distracted from my writing. One day, I picked up an old CD with nothing but classical guitar. All of the sudden, I was hooked and went looking for more and more. I probably have 500 pieces on my Nano right now. I dunno why, but it really works for me.

Then there are the days I have to have Michael. Sigh

Pamela Stone said...

Sometimes I write to music, but I always use it to set the mood. And country does work well for that because of the lyrics. Sometimes the classic rock songs work too. I remember I love men's voices mostly. However, Bonnie Tyler's I Need a Hero always gets me pumped up to write.

Lately I discovered the final track on the newest Lady Antebellum CD: Love is the Heart of the World. Talk about romantic mood setting.

I could go on and on. But certain songs have inspried complete novels for me. The Eagles Desperado for instance.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Phyllis

Ah yes those action/adventure sound tracks. Sometimes they can just set the tone and pacing of a scene, but I have to listen to it before I start writing. Once I'm in the zone, that music is no frenetic sometimes that I pulls me out.

Thanks for posting.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Shelley

I really wish I could play the music while I write, but if there are lyrics involved, I'm too busy singing along to be typing. So it's just better for me to do without.

Although I will play some beforehand, as I said, just to set the mood for a specific scene, especially if it's a romantic scene. Then the music definitely helps.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Sylvia

I know what you mean. I'm big on singing along with the Lyrics. With Josh Groban's first album half the songs are in another language, but I just make up my own words and keep singing along. I don't care, its all just so beautiful. LOL

Thanks for posting.

Kathy Ivan said...

Morning, Sasha

Now with four kids, I can definitely understand the need for music just to drown out the other noise! LOL

Soft rock will work for me took, but always before I start writing. I guess I just get too easily distracted otherwise.

Kathy Ivan said...

Morning, Vicki

I haven't tried writing to just classical guitar, hadn't really thought about that. I might try something like that playing low in the background. I'm sure it would set the mood.

ALthough I can see you playing some Michael . . .

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Pam

I love Lady A. And that song is just so beautiful, too. I agree, some songs can just evoke the emotions and mind to racing and before you know it, a whole story unfolds. Just wish we had the time to actually get them all written. :-)

I love the Eagles' Desperado, too.

Patricia said...

I love Josh Groban's voice. I first heard him when one of his songs was the background music for a scene in All My Children!!!

Jennifer August said...

I have to listen to music as I write. Or sleep. Or clean. Pretty much any time at all. A curious side note to the writing and listening: I listen to the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack as I write and have found that simply putting it on and from the first strike of the gavel in the prologue, my muse sits up and takes notice. It's like a trigger that helps me get into the story. Unless I'm writing a medieval, then it has to be the Braveheart soundtrack!
And I adore Howard Keel. Those "sobbing women" get me every time!

Unknown said...

Awww Adore it. Many kinds. The Phantom of the Oprea takes me so many places. Love country, (saw Tim McGraw and Faith Hill in concert and I was in Heave). Also love soft rock, oldies but goodies, piano, acoustic, and the list grows because music is my companion and I have different moods and places in my mind I want to go.

Can you tell I love this post? I tell you what...Plotting Princesses always moves me and the passion today is especially...well, special. Lol.

Love ya! Thank you

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Patricia

I think Josh could sign the yellow pages and make is sound amazing. His voice just resonates with me somehow, and its just a beautiful thing to hear.

Thanks for coming by.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Jennifer.

I see you quoted one of my favorite movies of all time, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. All those hunky men and they could sing and dance. Romance on the hoof!

I'm a sucker for a good old-fashioned musical. They just don't make them like that any more.

Kathy Ivan said...

Aw, Karen, we love you too!

The Phantom of the Opera, now that is a soundtrack I can get into. Somehow listening to music before I write just seems to set a mood for me, I guess it just brings out the inner romantic.

Thanks for posting.

Alisha said...

I love music too but normally I write without music and sit next to an opened window where I can hear the birds chirping and the wind whistling. Or I write outside. I love all kinds of music though and have so much fun in Zumba dancing to latin music and island music.

Liz Lipperman said...

Wow! That dude can sing!!

I have to have complete silence when I'm writing, but I am a big music fan. I use music kinda like my storyboard. I try to make albums with one song for every major scene. For my Colombia story, Marc Anthony did the trick. I even burned the album so that when they make the book into a movie it will be ready@!!!!!!!

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Kathy,
Great post! I don't listen to music while writing. But mood music, hmm. I love Evanescence. But I really like to just hear the drip of the fish tank filters as I write. :)

chris k said...

Hi ladies!!

Well, I don't really write to music and I don't need silence. Often the tv is on in the background and I just tune it out - my focus is totally on the screen -

that said - my last complete book was started because of a Leann Rhimes song. I kept hearing her sing that song about dating a preacher's son. The one where she's talking to her dead husband. Anyhow - that kept nagging at me untiil i wrote a story about a widow who falls for the preacher's son.

I should probably listen to more music - after I finish my taxes though- sigh.

Kelly L Lee said...

I wish I could listen to music. If it's on while I'm trying to write, I get distracted. That said, music does inspire me. I usually listen to whatever genre of music will get my creative juices flowing for the scene ahead as I prepare for writing, like clearing email from the night before, etc. It can sometimes jumpstart the muse.

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