Music has charms: science catches up with poets

Handwritten music score from Franz Liszt
Image via Wikipedia

Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
William Congreve

I don’t know about you, but my Mom used to complain about my doing homework while listening to music. She said it would break my concentration. Since I was a stellar scholar in high school I didn’t worry about it too much. But now…vindication.  Music is another resource writers can use to fine-tune their writing.

Last week composer Leah Curtis http://www.leahcurtis.net/live spoke at our local film group http://sdfilmmakers.org . The main premise of her presentation was the ability of a good composer to help in the construction of a film from inception through post production. What struck me as a writer, was her emphasis on how music can facilitate writing.

Recent brain research has demonstrated that listening to music

…when an auditory stimulus is attended, stimulus-related activity in distant brain regions becomes highly temporally correlated. http://www.nsi.edu/index.php?page=xii_music_and_language_perception

And that music and language patterns affect similar parts of the brain.  Hmmm.  Language patterns.  Isn’t that what writers create?

After the meeting I thought about different ways writers can use music.

  1. As a background noise filter to keep you focused on writing.
  2. As tone when developing

Character

Setting

Theme

  1. Heart racing beat to accompany short punchy action scene sentences.
  2. Music that sets the mood for romantic interludes Sexy

Funny

Romantic

Tender

  1. Creating the tone that evokes emotions toward the antagonist

Seductive

Brutal

Mental mind torque

I am certain that once you start in with using music you will find many ways to use it to augment your writing.

I would not presume to tell you what music to use while you are writing/thinking because each person’s musical preferences are different.  But, using music can be an important aid in the writing process.

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