Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Musically Minded (Or Not)

I like music. The way it can pump you up or conversely make you cry. The way the notes, lyrics, instrumentation, and vocals come together to form a perfect synergy. A sum greater than its parts.

Music is moving. It's touching. It's heartfelt. All the things that the right book can be too. So, if music and books can both breed those same types of feelings, why not combine them?

Because my brain explodes.

That's right. I can't handle music and books together unless the music is quiet enough to ignore. And that's not just for reading. I can't write to music either. I suffer from left-brain syndrome (ie, math is my friend & creative things are not). I can't think properly if music is on. I either want to completely concentrate on the music, or need to ignore it to do whatever else I want. The only things I can combine well with music are mindless tasks, like cleaning, driving, and doing math homework. (I'm a complete and total weirdo because I always found math homework soothing. Something about working out a problem that has a clear and correct answer as well as logical steps to figure out how to get there just relaxes me. Crazy, right?)

Being that my brain can't handle music and stories at the same time, I feel like I'm seriously missing out. I hear authors talk about writing to music and how it helps them get the emotions in a scene or helps with the pacing. Nope. I can't do that. It would throw me off more than anything, though listening to an emotional song right before writing an emotional scene might help (note to self:  try that next time).

So, how about you? Do you listen to music while you read or write? What type of music works best?


  1. I am a big music lover, I find myself not watching TV or movies and listening instead. As for reading, usually Classical music works best for me. I love to curl up in my chair with my book and some Classical music on the CD player and spend the day! I do also write, nothing I show anyone, just for my pleasure, but music is a big part of what I write. It helps me set the mood of what I am writing. I do have this strange habit of latching on to a song that is perfect for what I am writing and listening to it over and over until I am finished with what I am writing.

  2. This is a tough one for me. I absolutely can't read when music is on. I start paying attention to the music rather than the book. Usually, I'll write when it's quiet, but I can have music playing and tune it into the background and still write, particularly if it's a playlist I think works well with the story.