I can’t sing, but because I’ve danced much of my life, and will until I can no longer hobble to the ballet barre, music is one of my essentials. Where some people need to have the TV on for background noise when they’re home, I need music. Several different kinds of music.
Anymore, I use radio programs like Pandora on my computer to pull up songs or I carry them around the house on my iPod. (My family gave me a reconditioned one for my birthday, which suits me perfectly. No bells and whistles I’ll never use, and enough for me to play with.)
When I’m getting started with the day, the DJ feature on iTunes works great. That’s when I answer emails, get the laundry started, figure out if I forgot any errands for the day (sadly, a frequent occurance), that sort of thing. My listening list ranges from Bach to parts of the Twilight soundtrack. (The latter mysteriously appeared after one of my kids had the computer one day.)
For writing, I’ve discovered that lyrics are problematic. They can capture the exact feeling my characters are going through, but the words themselves distract me. At the moment I’m typing to Patsy Cline’s ‘I fall to Pieces’, but once it’s time to get into characters and places, instrumentals work better. For writing from my hero’s point of view, Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings soundtrack or John Williams’ for Star Wars often work well. Amazingly, the Transformers II soundtrack has some deep orchestral tracks that conjure up a strong hero either in action or expressing his tender side.
For my heroines, I often resort to romantic piano pieces, depending on what they’re doing in a particular scene. Chopin’s faster pieces remind me of ballrooms and swirling skirts (probably because his music was used to create the ballet ‘Les Sylphides’, lol!), while his slower pieces let me focus on description or narrative. I can listen to the lyrics of female country music stars when I’m stumped. They help me find where the heroine is emotionally in the story and their sassy attitude helps my ladies find their backbones.
Franz Liszt’s passionate compositions lend themselves to both arguments and love scenes, lol. The turbulent melodies of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’ also work well for the latter.
Each of us has our own personal playlist: Songs that cheer us up (rock & 80’s pop), inspire us (Josh Grobin, LOTR soundtrack), make us get up and boogie around the living room (curtains closed of course!!) or sing out loud in the car (Kelly Clarkson, Duffy, Michael or Janet Jackson, Marvin Gaye), reflect a sunny day (Jason Mraz, Van Halen) or a melancholy mood (Rachmaninoff, the Pet Shop Boys) or get us in THE mood (old R&B, baby!). What do you listen to? Why?