Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Music - inspiration or distraction?

First of all, let's get this straight. I love music - of almost all kinds. In fact, I can't think of a kind of music I don't like, though not all at the same time - and at some times I like one thing and others, another.

If I had to have only kind of music - it would be blues. But if all I ever listened to was the blues, that would make for a very specific type of writing, wouldn't it? Now that's something I'd like to do a survey on - how many of you writers listen to a specific kind of music all the time - and does that affect your writing? If so, how? Wouldn't that be fun? Okay, I've stolen that idea so none of you can use it. But maybe that's why I listen to a whole bunch of different things.

But I don't, ever, listen to music while I'm writing. It's very very very quiet in my house when I'm writing.

I think I'm easily distracted - okay, no thinking about it - I AM easily distracted. I turn off the "you've got mail" feature on my email because even if I'm sitting away from my computer and I hear that sound, I jump up to see who's been mailing me. Most times, it's junk mail but I still get up and get distracted. I don't answer the phone and I really should put it on Do Not Disturb so that I don't hear it ringing, but then I'd still see the light flashing so why bother?

So music is a no-no. Very occasionally I will put on a piece of classical music - generally Bach - if I'm still working late into the evening. It can't have words, not even in another language, because I'll try and make up words for them. It can't be a piece of music that ever had words put to it (like for a movie or a commercial) because then I'll sing them. The reason I like Bach is because in some ways his music is quite abstract, there isn't a melody that I feel compelled to follow.

I do, though, once I'm finished what I'm doing, put on some music to cheer me up or make me cry or make me dance. Some nights I'll sit next to my CD player and play the same song over and over and over again, singing along with it the whole time until I get the perfect inflection. I NEVER get the perfect notes (I'm not a great singer!). Most recently, it's been Patsy Cline singing You Belong to Me. You know....

See the pyramid along the Nile
Watch the sunrise on a tropic isle
Just remember, darling, all the while
You belong to me...

I love that song...

So, for me music is a distraction - at the right time it's a wonderful distraction, at others it's a terrible one. I suspect most things are like that...

Kate

4 comments:

Ilona said...

I am the other way inclined and need music to work with, but then again I only write poetry when it comes into my head, and my 'work' is cross-stitching stuff. :D

I prefer listening to old fashioned country music with song lyrics that tell a story so that I can be entertained whilst stitching away :)

The daughter on the other hand is just like you - she is a writer - and many a time she will tell me off for 'distracting' her by listening to my music when she is trying to get a piece done for her story. Maybe it's a writers thing to need the quiet to listen to the voices inside?

Tamara said...

I've had it happen when I'm driving a long distance that I'll be listening to music and get caught up in singing along and lost track of how far I am from my destination. But if I don't listen to music while driving I can't focus on the driving .

RubyD said...

I only listen to the radio or play a cd when in the car or cleaning house. Music in the background does make cleaning less of a chore.

Susan said...

I love to listen to music when I'm doing a tedious task. It seems to make it go faster.