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Author Topic: MUSIC: What do you write to?  (Read 2097 times)

Offline Christopher C. Fuchs

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MUSIC: What do you write to?
« on: June 10, 2020, 08:15:26 PM »
Looks like its been a few years since we had a thread on writing to music.

Like many, I prefer writing to movie scores and game soundtracks. But I'm picky: it has to be purely instrumental, as anything with words will screw up my concentration. I have the songs organized by mood in playlists with titles like exploration, danger, secrets, building tension, and tavern. Some faves:

Jeremy Soule (Skyrim)
Hans Zimmer (Interstellar, Inception)
Harry Gregson-Williams (Kingdom of Heaven)
Edward Shearmur (Count of Monte Cristo)
Tan Dun (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon)
Olafur Arnalds
Jordi Savall
Paolo Pandolfo
Kevin MacLeod

If I'm doing research or other administrivia, I like electronic like Tyco, Emancipator, and Ludovico Einaudi.
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Offline Bender

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2020, 10:06:31 PM »
Always thought Zimmer's Interstellar was the piano guy falling asleep on the keys.  ;D

I don't write much, but stuff I lisen to when working
- Ode to Joy
- Mandalorian theme
- Vivaldi's four season
- Yanni Last of the Mohican's

or some Indian songs.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2020, 10:09:31 PM by Bender »
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Offline cupiscent

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2020, 04:35:39 AM »
Depends on the project! I'm working on a sort of fantasy-circus-punk story with a lot of weird women in, so I've been listening to Rasputina on repeat throughout - really hits the right tone for me. Often I fall back on VNV Nation, who as well as having nice beats (which keeps a rhythm going for me) hit tones of hope and wonder and humanity in their lyrics that resonate for my work. I know a lot of writers who swear by Two Steps From Hell, but I find the bombast a little overwhelming.

Offline Magnus Hedén

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2020, 06:22:05 AM »
I've made a bunch of playlists on Spotify targeted at different moods (most of them for setting the mood for RPGs, but I use some for writing). I also made a general writing list with varied instrumental music that I designed to not be too distracting while also not just being droning background music.

It works very well for me to keep me on my toes without distracting me, but it may not be for everyone. You can find it here.

And if you check out my profile you can see my other lists. They're all instrumental mood-setters.

Offline SugoiMe

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2020, 08:05:20 PM »
I've generally been listening to the soundtrack for They've All Gone to the Rapture with a mix of the Ori and the Blind Forest soundtrack and some bits and bobs of Ivan Torrent and the Journey (video game) soundtrack. I generally need instrumental when I write and it can't be too upbeat or I lose focus.
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Offline Christopher C. Fuchs

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2020, 07:01:46 PM »
Always thought Zimmer's Interstellar was the piano guy falling asleep on the keys.  ;D

Agree. But the organ ones are deep and haunting, perfect for the right scene.

I've made a bunch of playlists on Spotify targeted at different moods (most of them for setting the mood for RPGs, but I use some for writing).

That is an impressive collection of playlists. Thanks for sharing.

Instrumental does seem to be what most writers prefer, though I've seen some who write to metal...
"Top 5 Novel of the Year" --Liviu Suciul, former co-editor of Fantasy Book Critic, review for my debut Lords of Deception (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3016003847).

Offline Alex Hormann

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2020, 06:00:26 PM »
I write to all sorts. Anything from Amy Macdonald to Powerwolf. As long as it's something I can crank up loud and drown out anything else I'm in. I can't stand silence, and I'm usually singing along while I write.  ;D
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Offline Ned Marcus

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2020, 03:36:27 AM »
I like silence but sometimes I like to write with the sounds of the scene. I recently wrote a scene where helicopters attacked an island, and I found an 8 or 9 hour video of helicopter sounds. It was great, and I didn't even need the whole video. I've also used forest sounds and bird calls to add atmosphere to scenes.

Offline Christopher C. Fuchs

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2020, 12:29:28 PM »
That's me as well. Specific music/sounds for specific scene. I had one editor call my action scenes "cinematic", probably because I often think about the mood of a specific movie scene when writing.
"Top 5 Novel of the Year" --Liviu Suciul, former co-editor of Fantasy Book Critic, review for my debut Lords of Deception (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3016003847).

Offline Rincewind

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2020, 06:24:41 AM »
I tend to listen to instrumental music while I write. I don't mind writing in silence, but when I sit down to write after a long day of work, I find music helps me get into the right mindset (or should I say, the 'write' mindset  ;) ) There are a few "medieval/fantasy" playlists I follow on Spotify which I listen to while writing. This is one of my favourites at the moment; most of it is calm, not too upbeat and easy to have in the background. I sometimes listen to film/TV soundtracks too, depending on the mood of the scene I'm writing, if I want something a bit more upbeat and/or epic. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Joe Hisaishi (he composed the music for a lot of Studio Ghibli films, among other things)

For my current WIP, I made individual playlists for some of the main characters with a selection of songs that remind me of that character. I don't write to these playlists, as I find vocals distracting when trying to write, but they are there just to help me get a feel for my characters.

Offline cupiscent

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2020, 10:37:53 AM »
For various reasons, music has become important to tune out background noise recently, and I'm writing to the Civ 6 soundtrack.  ;D

Offline JMack

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2020, 11:14:59 AM »
I’ve found one stand by, and keep retreating to it whenever something else becomes too distracting — which has so far been basically everything else I’ve tried. Brian Emi’s “Music for Airports”. It’s deeply relaxing, keeps me company, but never intrudes.

I’m excited to try Joe Isaishi, since I adore the Ghible films. But Eno will be ready as my back up!
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Offline LukeMaynard

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2020, 06:08:53 AM »
I'm much the same: symphonic scores from films and anime for most of my high fantasy writing; other writing varies by genre, but nothing with words.

I'll say that I love leitmotif-based music of the sort John Williams writes, but one big problem is that if it's too iconic, I can't use it at all unless I'm writing within the franchise of that music. So Star Wars/Raiders/Superman are right out of the question, for instance.

What I've found though is that John Williams reliably composes the same way. There are a few really obscure movies from 1970-2005 or so that he's scored, and I've collected the soundtracks to those movies where I can find them. Now that I use the scores and imagine their key themes as themes for MY characters, I must NEVER actually watch the movies that they were meant to accompany. They are perfect for me because they deliver the same strong themes, but my brain hasn't made the association yet.

So I can't write to "Schindler's List," or "Jurassic Park..." but forgotten films like "The Fury," "The Missouri Breaks," "The Eiger Sanction" are pure John Williams gold for me, even though I haven't got the foggiest idea what they're about.

Offline cupiscent

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2020, 10:21:11 AM »
Putting in a plug for a thing I've recently rediscovered, the "MyNoise generator", wherein you can listen to neutral soundscapes - whether natural (sounds of an Irish coast?) or man-made (cafe-background buzz). It's less intrusive than white noise, but fills a similar blanketing function, and I've been finding it useful recently.

Offline HLTinsley

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Re: MUSIC: What do you write to?
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2020, 03:38:51 PM »
I've recently started putting out Spotify playlists of music I listen to when writing, usually I base the list on whatever character, scene, mood I'm trying to focus on for the day. A 'few' of my favourites -

Ursine Vulpine
Damned Anthem
Hidden Citizen
Jo Blankenburg
Luke Faulkner
Epic Soul Factory
Two Steps From Hell
Ramin Djawadi
Ivan Torrent

I'm probably up to about 60/70 artists that I listen to on a regular basis now.