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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » What do you listen to when you write?

   
Author Topic: What do you listen to when you write?
stammsp
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Curious what inspires individuals.

Do you listen to specific music or nothing at all?

Mine (with THIS particular book):
Enya*
Evanescence*
A-Ha
Alphaville
Canon in D (have 7 versions of it)
Fresh Aire
Celtic Nights
Nature Sounds

(*these have been the best)

Gina


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Pyraxis
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Enya and Evanescence on the same book? Interesting combo.

I don't usually listen to music with words when I write, because the words interfere with writing, but I do pick out themes and playlists for my characters.

Yanni and Vangelis are two staples for me, plus assorted modern classical, the kind of thing you hear in movie scores. I recently got the soundtrack for 10,000 BC and it's got some great tribal atmospheric stuff.


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Unwritten
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I can't have music playing while I write or else I start singing to the music, and then I start googling lyrics to find out what that word is, and it's just not productive.

BUT I find that I usually have at least one song, or a whole CD that fit each character. I couldn't stop listening to Michael Buble music when I was writing my last book, but my next book will have more of a Bon Jovi flavor I think.


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JeanneT
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The simple solution to that is to listen to music with no lyrics which is what I do. I have a varied collection I find helpful for writing: soundtracks such as Lord of the Rings and Last of the Mohicans, classical such as Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, etc.
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arriki
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I listen to the voices in my head. I watch the story playing out on the screen in my mind. At the same time, I try to distill that into words. I read aloud quite a bit. You'll think this is silly but I have on occasion assembled an audience of my daughters' stuffed toys and done formal readings to them.

Music? Never. It disrupts what I'm writing.
I used to have my desk out in the garage. No windows or other distractions. No one coming through interrupting me. Heated in the summer and chilled in the winter. I use the spare bedroom now. Sometimes I miss the garage.


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ChrisOwens
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I believe I might have attention deficit--unfortuntely without the hyperactivity. Therefore I need total quiet lest my concentration go off course...and even that doesn't work sometimes...

I always have to compete with the soundtrack in my head, of which I've little control. Sometimes it plays music I like. Sometimes it plays annoying commerical jingles. Thus, music ends up having a peripheral influence at best.


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wrenbird
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I'm with JeanneT. I'm a big film scores fan. Huge fan in fact.

Lord of the Rings is THE best film score ever written. I also like the work of James Horner, Patrick Doyle, Gustavo Santaolalla, Hans Zimmer, and (of course) good old John Williams.

Might I also recommend that people look into the Asian film score composers. The soundtracks to House of Flying Daggers and Hero are sublime. So full of emotion. Perfect to write along with.


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Kimberly
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I'll have to go with heavy metal and classical while I write. And yes, my play list does mix them up. One minute I'll have Rob Zombie going, the next, Four Seasons, then mix in some Lead Zeppelin, then it'll spit out something like Canon in D.

And, I sing or hum along while I type, without it interfering with what I'm doing. Or, if the music isn't going, I will just listen to the music playing in my head, whatever that happens to be at the moment.

I love music, enough that I'm sure certain sections of my writing have influence by the songs. In fact, I got the bright idea once to write stories to the tunes of certain songs. In this case it was the Planets. Though, I never finished and it might be awhile before I do. Still, I enjoyed doing it.


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KayTi
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Since I often write in places that are noisy (coffee shops, the kids' gymnastics waiting area, other places kids frequent...) I usually plug in my ipod and listen to almost anything - just LOUD! It's all stuff I'm familiar with and I tune it out, mostly. It's music I like, so it energizes me.

I've answered this question before here (someone will post a link to another thread in the last 6 mos where we did a "huh - you listen to THAT?" kind of thing, LOL) but mostly I listen to alt rock, Green Day and Goo Goo Dolls and Coldplay and the other stuff that's on the radio. I love all genres except country/western, though, and can listen to almost anything. I also love the LOTR soundtracks, I should rip those to my ipod. Running out of space (what else is new - I'm always running out of electronic storage space. I'm a digital packrat. It's a disorder.)


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Wolfe_boy
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I vary greatly in what I listen to when I write, but lately, it's been this. It's a binaural recording of a guy going for a walk along a stream near his house, recorded using something that might have looked like this.

It's calming and sensory, and helps to block out extraneous stuff for me without becoming distracting, but be forewarned - the binaural recording only works with headphones. Nothing bad will happen with speakers, you'll just lose the effect.

Jayson Merryfield


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pixydust
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I'm weird. I really need music to write. It's the soundtrack to the movie in my head. And its mood depends on what I'm writing.

With my newest project I have this list (The music plays immediatly, but you have to scroll down to the bottom for the list of songs).

But my faves to write to recently are:

*Chevelle
*Evanescence
*Within Temptation
*Lorenna McKennit
*Muse
*One Republic
*Breaking Benjamin
*Revis
*Placebo
*Linkin Park is a staple of my work, for sure. Mostly their second album, "Meteora" It's gotten me through three projects.

I love the LOTR soundtracks and anything else by Horner, but I haven't written to those in a while. As my writing gets darker and more adventurious so does my music it seems. Not sure which came first.

It's so odd to me that some of you can't write without quiet. With four kids I wouldn't be able to escape into my "other worlds" without headphones and high volume. LOL...


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Robert Nowall
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Well, usually, but not invariably, I have the TV on in the next room and I listen to that. Usually I've got news on it, like right now, but I'll put on cartoons or sitcoms or whatnot.

Part of that is a morbid fear of losing touch with what's going on. It's always been with me, actually, but it's gotten to this point more so in the last ten-to-fifteen years. Once I took a nap just after getting home in the morning (then as now I work nights, though there have been interludes of otherwise.) I woke up and they were running these horrific pictures of an exploded building. (The Oklahoma City bombing.)

It was forty-five minutes of channel flipping and phone calls to relatives before I figured out where it happened. Since then, I've begrudged even sleep---which is probably also why I'm so tired these days.

I do break off from this fear and put some music on, usually on the weekends where they don't run so much straight news. Since I figured out how to work my iPod, I've expanded this a little, a couple of hours at a time. (Sometimes I have the TV playing in the background.)

Also with that iPod, I play it in "mix-'em-up" mode. I have about, oh, twenty-two-hundred songs downloaded, nearly all from my CD collection. There's a lot of stuff on there and I like the randomness in which it comes up.

A random selection, based on the most recent twenty-or-so:

Elvis Presley
Elton John
Monty Python
Little Anthony and the Imperials
Chuck Berry
The Beatles
The Comedian Harmonists
The Jackson 5
The Tokens
The Mint Juleps
The Bee Gees
Larry Gatlin
Jim Croce
Sheb Wooley
The Coasters
B. W. Stevenson
Roy Orbison
Marty Robbins
Arthur Alexander
Johnny Cash
Spike Jones

Of course, there are a lot more artists than that on my iPod. Some I've got a lotta songs of, but others just one or two---I'm a big fan of the one-hit wonder. (Of course, some I'd get more if there was any more to get.)

There's very little classical music or film score or jazz items on my playlist, though---I like a lot of that but it just doesn't fit what I use.

(Of course, you younger crowd, don't be surprised if I've named some names you've never heard of---a lotta people have made music, and my personal cutoff date is about 1985. I don't know much from the people who came after that, though I've picked up some here and there.)


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Crystal Stevens
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I have to go along with the ones that need total quiet, and around here that's not easy. My husband and I live in an old style farmhouse that's over 100 years old. We're pretty much away from everything out here in the country, but it's hard to concentrate with him home almost all the time anymore. I so wish we could find him a job! He's unemployed at the moment.

The other hard part is that the office is right next to the front room and almost all the rooms in our home are wide open--no way to shut one completely off from the other. My husband is the type that doesn't want anything to do with operating a computer but has no qualms about the TV remote. So, when he's watching TV, I usually wear the type of ear muffs used on shooting ranges for hand guns. It's not the best set up in the world, but at least I can get some work done on my writing projects.


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JeanneT
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I can hardly write at all without music, but not lyrics. I can't have words playing in the background. But I tend to pick music that matches the tone of my writing.
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marchpane
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quote:
My husband and I live in an old style farmhouse that's over 100 years old.

So jealous... I grew up in an ancient farmhouse, but my parents had to sell it two years ago. Still haven't got used to living in a city - too much noise, too many people.

I crave solitude and silence when I write - neither of which it ever seems possible to have any more. On occasion I can listen to music while I write, but only if it's either 'in theme' with what I'm writing (so a lot of medieval music and Gregorian chant at the moment). And even then I find myself losing concentration.

Basically, the voices in my head usually complain if anything competes with them for my attention. Then again, sometimes they demand a bit of Idlewild.


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Tiergan
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Does the Doodlbops count?
Seriously, music while you write? I never even thought of that. I think I'll have to try it.

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Unwritten
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quote:
Does the Doodlbops count?

Ah, how could I have forgotten? And the lilting melodies of Barney or the Wiggles. Many a bestseller has been spawned while listening to them.

In my house we've past those magical days. We've moved on to Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers now. It's just not the same.


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Lullaby Lady
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Music without lyrics work best for me, too. And I can listen to Enya because she often sings in Gaelic or Latin and I have NO idea what she's saying! And Lord of the Rings works great for me, too, but that's probably because I write Fairy Tales and fantasy.

I feel unoriginal, but I'll echo various soundtracks and classical music. I've tried writing to Buble or Groban, but then I start singing along, and forget what I'm doing. *blush*

I also like David Tolk's piano music ( http://www.davidtolk.com/ ) but it doesn't work well for suspenseful scenes.

~LL


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rstegman
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Baseball games,
auto races,
hockey,
news,
nature programs,
talk shows,
I basically need noise. Silence is not as good for me.
If something interesting happens on TV, I can stop and look, then get back to work when the interesting thing is done.

As a kid, I used to watch TV, listen to the radio, and read a book at the same time. Now, I listen and type at the same time with no problems.


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debhoag
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I vote we have a dance party and let Robert Nowall spin the records! Did someone say "The Spanish Inquisition?"

You wouldn't happen to remember Firesign Theatre as well, would you? I still have fond memories of "Vote for Me, George Tirebiter. I never lie, and I'm always Right!"

I've been working on a werewolf piece, so I kick off with Werewolves of London, followed by a bunch of his other stuff, which streams into Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, which streams into Aerosmith, then Santana, then Matchbox 20, and then John Mellencamp, Mark Cohn, Leonard Cohen, concrete Blonde, Tom Waites, Rickey Lee Jones . . . I free associate a lot. God Bless Youtube.

[This message has been edited by debhoag (edited June 17, 2008).]


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Robert Nowall
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Well, I barely scratched the surface of what I've got right now on my iPod...and I'm still putting stuff from my collection into my iTunes thingy for eventual downloading onto my iPod...and there's a lot of stuff I like that I don't have and hope someday to get...to say nothing of some stuff I have on tape and record that I'd like to convert to digital format and put in...

...which still doesn't exclude being exposed to new (or at least previously-unheard) stuff and wanting that for my own.


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ChrisOwens
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I dare say nobody would regonize most of what's on my Ipod. Of course, I do have the complete FOTR soundtrack, plus bits and pieces from TTT and ROTK.
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Antinomy
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I listen only to my muse. Her name is Ellie.

Right now she is whispering in my ear, suggesting I write a story about how people will cope in the future on that catastrophic day when all music died.


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Sparrol
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Wow, Lord of the Rings seems to be really popular here. It's on the top of my list as well.

After that, I can pretty much write to anything. The lyrics or tone doesn't really matter (unless it's really OUT THERE) because I'm so used to blocking everything out except the fact that I have some sound in my ears.


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Rommel Fenrir Wolf II
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Lets see, I listen to a little of it all

Mostly

LED ZEPPELIN
PINK FLOYD
RAMMSTEIN
WOLF’S RAIN sound track.
RCP3 (our PLT rap grupe)
LYNARD SKYNARD
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Less often

Billy Joel
Three Dog Night
Steppenwolf
Johnny Cash
Bob Rivers
The Police
Elton John
Fleetwood Mac
Peter Gabriel
James Taylor
Jackson Browne
Guns N' Roses
Talking Heads
Nirvana
U2
Steve Miller Band
Tom Paxton (the old Tom Paxton)
Jimi Hendrix
Queen
Yes
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
Suppertramp
Techno
George Thorogood
ZZ Top
Grateful Dead (to try to get an insight into my enemy)

I also like to drink and smoke when I am writing but when deployed smoking is all you can do, but once you get state side let the booze flow.

Rommel Fenrir Wolf II

[This message has been edited by Rommel Fenrir Wolf II (edited June 24, 2008).]


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Doctor
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I'm a musician, actually. I think of a story the same way I think of a melody, it's like a pure charge of emotion, and that is what I pour into my art. (I'm talking piano here) I will record my original music, and then play it while I write. Often the music and the story can inspire each other. It's really a nice blend. And when I'm not too tired fo ti, that is what I like to write to.
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CABaize
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I have to have something going in the background, otherwise my mind wanders. Like most everyone else, I have a pretty good mix of stuff. Recent favs include:

David Arkenstone
Kitaro
Evanescence
System of a Down
DMB
Saliva
Kill Hannah
The Calling
Sarah McLachlan
Johnny Cash
Yes
Rush
Bjork
Fuel
Metallica
Smashing Pumpkins
Beatles
One Republic
Daft Punk

Like KayTi, I suffer from the Digital Packrat Disorder... I hear one song I like, and I'm compelled to find as much music by that artist as I can find. The problem arises in that, even when it sucks in horrible, unspeakable ways, I can't bring myself to get rid of it. I have three computers now, and I still have trouble keeping up with it all.


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Kurim21
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The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Dresden Dolls are good for inspiring me. Jason Webley if I'm feeling really out there. Louis XIV gets me going for playful or flirtatious scenes. That's what I can think of at the moment. Oh, Lemon Demon's "Ultimate Showdown" if I need a break and a laugh.
Robert Rush

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