Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Music and Writing

I don’t always listen to music when I’m writing, but quite often I think it helps. Often I’ll go for music without lyrics (usually classical), as lines in songs can sometimes be distracting.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a couple of tracks I’ve been listening to recently. I’ve been making some decent progress writing new stuff (done around 5,000-6,000 words extra since the end of the last full redraft) and although not every daily target’s been hit I’m generally writing something at least.

First of all Für Elise, by Beethoven:

Rondo Alla Turca by Mozart:

Last, and noisiest, Edvard Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King (I rather like the Peer Gynt Suites generally):



  1. Maybe people change with age.

    I always needed to revise or write papers with music (as with you, without lyrics, or occasionally when sung in a foreign language that I couldn't speak.)

    These days I can't write code with any sort of external distraction at all.

    Great choices though.

  2. The weird thing is that I find it really hard to concentrate if the background noise isn't mine. If someone else had music on (especially if they were making noise themselves) I'd find it very hard to get anything done.

    Sometimes, for scenes that are very important/difficult I do have to get rid of the music.

  3. We all know that different music can produce different emotions within us. It seems reasonable therefore to consider what music will produce the most useful emotions for the task in hand. I did some reading up on this when I was studying (and applying) the techniques of Accelerated Learning.

    If you are interested in sources and full detail let me know and I'll send you some stuff that I wrote at the time which explains who, why and how; but to cut a long story short, the type of music that is best for supporting studying and allied intellectual effort (e.g. creative writing) in that of the baroque composers such as Handel, Vivalid, Bach, Corelli, Telemann and, yes, Mozart (particularly his earlier stuff).

    However, it is useful to different types of music before the learning/writing session begins - I tend to use fast honky-tonk piano, both in my personal sessions and when I am running a training event - afterwards something with a good beat but a positive message in the lyrics seems best here.

    After more than ten years of teaching, and nearly twenty of using Accelerated Learning, I am certain that the effect of the baroque is universal. The before and after stuff works but is probably more personal and down to setting anchors.

    I'd be interested, Mr. Thaddeus, when during your writing session you play Hall of the Mountain King.

  4. That is very interesting, Mr. Llama, and I would like more details.

    I don't always play specific music for a specific mood or type of writing, but In the Hall of the Mountain King suits faster-paced (obviously) and dramatic moments/scenes (ones without sadness, anyway). To be honest, I usually play it just because I like listening to it.

    It often reminds me of when the Fellowship of the Ring are fleeing the orcs in Moria, actually.

  5. "To be honest, I usually play it just because I like listening to it."

    So do I. Dunno about the Fellowship legging it through Moria though - isn't it a bit light-hearted for that.

    Anyway, I am rummaging through various CDs of saved work to find the "Music For Learning" article; once I find it I'll fire it your way as requested.