Often times while writing I like to have music on in the background. I found the music needs to be instrumental. If there are words, I find that I’m actually listening to the music, and not using it a background.
Music, like the sense of smell brings memories or feelings associated with the music. So it’s a big help to use music that fits what you happen to be writing. Since I write historical romance, I tend to use music that reflects this.
I discovered this when I wrote my first novel, Kentucky Green, set in the Kentucky frontier in 1794. While writing this story, I listened to the movie sound track to The Last of the Mohicans. Not only did the music fit the story, but if I was writing a love scene, there was a romantic track. Tracks for the action/adventure part of my story.
So when I started to write Colorado Silver, Colorado Gold, I looked for music to write by for this story set in Durango, CO in 1880s. I found a great CD by Peter Elman in titled Durango Saloon. A natural since my hero grew up in a saloon, and lives in the saloon in Durango for part of the story. Several scenes also take part in the saloon (wish I could add some of the music to this).
I also used the movie sound track from Silverado, partly because of the name, and the ‘western’ style and because I really like the movie. I think there’s a little bit of Emmett (Scott Glenn) in my hero, Wes Westmoreland.
The CD Cowboy Celtic by David Wilkie is included because it has songs that were being sung and played in the time frame of the book. Songs such as Shenandoah, Annie Laurie and Gary Owen (the last General Custer’s favorite).
As writing a romance also means love scenes, I have a collection of ‘love scene’ music. One CD has classical music such as Tchaikovsky’s Andante from The Sleeping Beauty, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 (“Elvira Madigan) and Ravel’s Bolero. Not that you might recognize any of these by their names, but if you heard them, you’d recognize the music (classical music has no copyright, so it gets used for free all the time).
Part of the fun of writing a new story is being on the lookout for new music. What music do you use when you write?