31 May 2011

Music as a Muse

There is no doubt in my mind that music has influenced my life much more profoundly than most people I know. Hearing a song takes me to specific times and places in my memory -  "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes was my oldest sister's favorite song in 1963 when I was five.

Everything relates to a song or lyrics for me. It took a very long time to realize that not everyone feels that connection.  I've won a couple of radio contests here and there naming snippets of songs with not only the title but the artist and year. Can't tell you how much five plus seven is but I know "Never Comes the Day" by the Moody Blues came out in 1969 from the album On the Threshold of a Dream because my eleven year old self thought that was the greatest cosmic album. Ever.

I dream melodies and almost always wake with a specific rendition in my head. Sometimes it's something silly like Oscar the Grouch singing, "I Love Trash." There are mornings when I don't remember what I've dreamed but the song lingers like perfume.

Music shapes my mood when I'm writing. While writing fun scenes in Dragon & Hawk, I deliberately listened to upbeat Welsh hornpipes and Irish reels. I had a whole soundtrack to the novel I put together on a cd... Evan and Reyna's love theme was "Love and Liberté" by The Gypsy Kings. When they were having their difficulties, the song was "When My Love and I Parted" by the Irish group Solas. Action scenes required active tunes such as Chuck Mangione's "Children of Sanchez."

For Within The Mists I listened to an old British folk tune called "Port Mahon," about a young woman who falls in love with a sailor who sails away on his tall ship to battle and never returns, as well as more Solas tunes such as "The Grey Selchie" and "Darkness, Darkness."

Music puts me in a place, colors my perception, and helps me envision what is evolving for my characters. More than that, it is the soundtrack to my life...


  1. I can so identify with this post, Jude. I absolutely love music and it always affects my mood. Some music makes me dance, some brings back memories and some influences my writing.

    I sometimes like to write with appropriate music on in the background - anything from Celtic, to medieval, to classical and pop. It would be a poorer world without music!

  2. Thanks, Rosemary. I know some people find music distracting nut I can't imagine that at all...

  3. Inspiration comes from many places and music is a powerful influence in many people's lives. I can see how it has made a difference in yours. In my life, photography is the music that influences what I see and hear in nature.

  4. And you have a wonderful vision, Tam.