Best music for writing fantasy?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Mythic Scribes, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. Mythic Scribes

    Mythic Scribes Acolyte

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    Do you listen to music when writing? I do. It helps me to focus.

    Do you have any recommendations for music that inspires you?
     
  2. kjjcarpenter

    kjjcarpenter Master

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    Instrumental music mainly. Michael Giacchino is a must for me. He creates such vibrant songs that can fit into any given situation and seem plausible.
    Howard Shore is great too, especially for his work on Lord of the Rings. His music feels more vibrant than the films themselves.
    If you've ever heard of Immediate Music, I don't think I would need to say more. They create songs for movie trailers, and their music is quite epic in scale, the Latin lyrics adding a sense of mysticism.
    Bruce Faulconer, Charlie Clouser and Ellen Mejiers are all equally high on my writing playlist, too. Each with a distinct style for differently themed chapters.
    Those are but a few of mine.
     
  3. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    Immediate Music? Is that the name of a musical group, or is it more of a scoring company?

    I totally agree with you about Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings score. It is always inspiring.

    Of course Basil Poledouris's scores are often great for inspiration. In particular, I recommend his music for Conan the Barbarian and Flesh + Blood.

    If you want to try something more random, there's a shoutcast station called Radio Rivendell. They play fantasy music all day long, much of it coming from films and video games. Everything they play is worthwhile, and it really can get your creative juices flowing.
     
  4. kjjcarpenter

    kjjcarpenter Master

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    It's more of a scoring company. They don't release their songs or albums commercially, and the only way you can get them is by downloading said songs from torrents.

    I'm going to go out on the limb and check out Radio Rivendell. Sounds interesting!
     
  5. Taree

    Taree New Member

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    I like to listen to various genres on my iPod by using the shuffle feature. Different styles of music can often supply new imaginings for my short stories. I've only written two short fantasy stories, with the other four being of different nature.

    Taking some time out to lie down and listen to music allows me to come up with changes or additions which fill in the story.

    Perhaps my method for choosing music is not the same as everyone else's. I think that it all comes down to what moves you to be creative at your best.
     
  6. ScaryFairyPrincess

    ScaryFairyPrincess Acolyte

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    I think that it depends entirely on the situation that you're writing about, if its fighting then it has to be some good ol' heavy metal, however if its something like a death or a romance then choose the music that would best fit the situation, i usually spend the same time finding just the right songs as i do actually writing.
     
  7. Legerdemain

    Legerdemain Lore Master

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    Last of the Mohicans is a great soundtrack... yeah, heavy metal doesn't work too well for my more cerebral stuff, but I like it well enough when I'm writing action...

    BD's on the spot with LotR's music, that's fantastic. Carmina Burana!
     
  8. Ravana

    Ravana Istari

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    Anything. More specifically, anything that lets you shut out background noise. You might find instrumentals work better if you can't background the lyrics; for me, though, they aren't distracting—whereas anything spoken makes it very difficult to concentrate on the writing. (Music, even vocalic, is processed by a different part of the brain than speech/text is, for anyone who didn't know.)

    I wouldn't worry too much about matching "moods"; if anything, I try to avoid it, as any section of writing is going to require more than just the dominant mood of the action (not all of your concrete description in a fight scene is going to be violent… possibly not even most of it).
     
  9. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    The Ipod shuffle feature can be a lifesaver. When you're creative juices aren't quite flowing, nothing mixes it up like shuffling your playlist.
     
  10. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    I've been known to spend more time selecting music than actually writing. Unfortunately, sometimes putting together your playlist can become another excuse to procrastinate.
     
  11. Vita Numinous

    Vita Numinous Journeyman

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    Oh wow... music I use can range from industrial, oldies, goofy modern dance songs, pop, bellydance accompanyment, opera, classical, various movie soundtrack bits (the ones that are less recognizable, but still very lovely or inspiring, so I don't get the movie popping up in my head while I work), or soft instrumental depending on what it's needed for. I love my iPod so very, very much. I'll end up with playlists for books, characters, particular scenes. I particularly like making a mix that one of my modern fantasy characters or another would actually listen to. Sometimes this can be hilarious, and it almost always helps me get to know my character. For sword and sorcery style fantasy I tend to like Loreena McKennit quite a bit, for starters. I also have some Gregorian chant, medieval instrumental from the French courts, or sometimes I can get some kind of new age-y music to fit. If I currently needed more I would probably try to use Loreena McKennit's name in one of those "help me find songs like this" programs you can find (like the one attached to iTunes, if you use that, I forget the name). Of course, it always depends on the mood I want and the scene I'm specifically working on that sitting.
     
  12. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    Hey Ravana!

    Welcome to the community. I've been enjoying some of your posts.

    I'm in the camp that prefers instrumental music when writing. Either that, or the vocals are in a language that I can't understand (Latin, Gaelic, etc). If I hear and comprehend the lyrics, it becomes harder to transport myself into my special world.
     
  13. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    Hi Valerie!

    I'm not familiar with Loreena McKennit. What kind of music is she known for? Is she a singer?
     
  14. Ravana

    Ravana Istari

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    Thanks, and thanks. :)

    For me, whether or not lyrics interfere with my thinking usually comes down to familiarity: if it's a song I know well, it parses about the same way instrumental music does, and often results in a very "comfortable" state. I can see where different people would react differently, though. The most important thing for me is to kill any spoken voice input: it becomes difficult not only to write, but even to read, if I can distinguish speech from background noise.
     
  15. Vita Numinous

    Vita Numinous Journeyman

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    Loreena McKennitt's music is called "eclectic Celtic" on her website, though some of my favorite stuff has touches of middle eastern and spanish flavor from some travelling she'd done. They are vocals with accoustic sounding instrumental, and sometimes her lyrics come from poems or themes from fairy tales or old Celtic myths. Luckily, her voice is very gentle. I can let the whole thing be background while I work, or I can take one of the songs ("The Bonny Swan" comes to mind) and enjoy the brief story.
     
  16. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    Was it Lorena Mckennitt who recorded a haunting version of "Bonny Portmore?" They used to use it a lot in the Highlander TV Series.
     
  17. Vita Numinous

    Vita Numinous Journeyman

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    Yeah, I think it very well might be. I'd have to pull out some Highlander DVDs to be sure. Haunting definitely describes the effect she can put out there, at times. Beautiful.
     
  18. At Dusk I Reign

    At Dusk I Reign Mystagogue

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    Summoning. The end. Honestly, what else can compare? A band that owes its entire existence to Tolkien and is capable of basing a song around the Cottage of Lost Play surely deserves a mention, even if only a tiny percentage of humans will ever listen to them? They are my paving-stones through life; if at some point I meander, the distant star we aim for remains the same.:)
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
  19. willg71

    willg71 Apprentice

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    To be honest I don't think I ever used music to write. SCULPTING, Oh ya, I don't think I could I could go on a 48 hour sculpting bender without music but writing? I need structure when I write plus I tend to talk aloud for my characters, particularly if the conversation is heated or manic. My upstairs neighbor thinks I'm a schizophrenic sociopath. I tend to have too much going on in my head and the music becomes a chaotic distraction. There's nothing I hate more than gasping a difficult concept for a story, only to loose it do to a tune in my head, distracting me from my goal. Works great for sculpting though, my style thrives of chaos and happy mistakes. I guess you could say literature and art are like my Jeckle and Hyde scenarios.
     
  20. Greybeard

    Greybeard Master

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    What music best facilitates sculpting?
     
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