As some of you know, in addition to writing, I am also a classically trained soprano. I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the University of Calgary in 2009. As such, music is an essential part of my life. I’ve also found that music can be an incredible inspiration for my writing.
Here are three ways in which music inspires my writing:
1. Musical Memory:
When I was taking music history classes during my studies, we were given long lists of around 150 pieces with which we needed to be quite familiar. We would be tested on those pieces later, and have to comment on the stylistic trends found in the piece. 150 pieces is an enormous amount of material to get through in a semester, and so we would often resort to mnemonic devices.
Schubert’s 8th Symphony, entitled The Unfinished Symphony, was renamed ‘The Batman Symphony’ by one of my classmates:
Every time I hear this piece, I am eighteen again, sitting in a classroom with my friends, trying to memorize pieces for a test. Music, much like smell, can instantaneously transport you to another time in your life. This is a powerful tool in writing, because recalling memories like this can open doors to creative writing inspiration!
2. The Emotive Power of Music:
Music also has an incredible power to evoke emotion from us.
Another particular favourite piece of mine, is from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. There are very few people who aren’t familiar with the infamous theme from the first movement of this symphony, but my favourite is the 3rd movement:
Is there any sound more glorious?
As soon as I hear that powerful theme, I cannot help but be swept away in a torrent of emotions; pride, honour, majesty, and triumph!
Another great emotive piece, is Beethoven’s beautiful Sonata No.8 in c minor:
Isn’t this piece just a treasure trove of emotion? From those first rich chords, straight through into the allegro con brio, this piece is just a roller coaster ride of emotional turmoil!
My point is, that I cannot help but be inspired by both of these pieces, and others like them. There is something so moving, and inspiring that evokes something particularly creative in my imagination! After listening for even a few minutes, I feel fired up, and ready to write!
I absolutely cannot write to any music other than instrumental. My mind just cannot focus on the words I’m writing, if I am simultaneously trying to sing along to the music in the background, which is what inevitably happens, whenever I listen to pieces with text.
As such, I have developed a playlist of instrumental pieces I find particularly relaxing. I let the music wash over me, still my mind, and then I am ready to write!
One of the pieces on my ‘writing playlist’, is also from Beethoven’s Sonata No.8 (Pathetique). The second movement is as different from the first, as it is possible to be!
But my particular favourite is Liszt’s Un Sospiro:
The word ‘sospiro’ is Italian, and it means ‘sigh‘, which this piece evokes in the most stunning way. Whenever I listen to this, I feel as though I’m floating on a cloud!
Does music inspire your writing? What pieces (or songs) are your favourites? Tell me in the comments below!
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