Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Do you listen to music when you write?

I spoke with the poet/writer Eric Gansworth about this at length when he came to Utica for a reading in 2002. Anyway, Eric's one of the most prolific artists I know. He also does almost all his composition while music is blaring in the background.

I have to say that I also write when there's music going. The music has to be all instrumental, though. There can't be any vocals, otherwise I'm apt to get Earworms. So the music I listen to ranges anywhere from Classical (rarely), to Classical Jazz (most often), to odd-ball instrumental groups like The Dirty Three and The Rachel's.

Still, a lot of writers I know need complete silence. What type of writer are you? Do you need the background noise to compose? Do you utilize the sounds in your environment? Do you need absolute silence when you write?

13 comments:

barbara jane said...

o-listening to pinikpikan'salbums and wagner's ride of the valkyries helped me write poeta en sf.... but yes, either instrumental or non-english lyrics.

C. Dale said...

I need silence, even if the poem is prompted into being by some music.

Jennifer said...

I love this question. Not only do I listen to music when I write, instrumental or vocal, it's usually chosen carefully to complement whatever I'm trying to do with the poem, so hopefully I can "channel" the mood of the music into my writing. Doesn't always work but sometimes it does. I've got three "Counting Crows" discs on shuffle for what I'm supposed to be writing now instead of reading blogs(grin).

Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor said...

I can listen to and prefer to listen to music while I edit - stuff like Hawaiian chant or Native American flute, ambient, post-new-agey stuff.

But yes, the only music I listen to when I write new work are the words in my head. All else is too distracting (even sometimes the click of the keys or scratch of the pencil, but I have to put up with that).

Anonymous Poet said...

Typically, when I write I have a certain band on in the background. But, sometimes, I just need to block everything out and be in silence.

ruth-e said...

either...but sometimes the specific process, the specific poem, dictates a need for silence.
and if you speak to me then, i might hurt you...

Suzanne said...

I love silence and work best surrounded by it, although silence and solitude are pretty hard to come by these days so I've learned to settle by shutting the door. (more symbolic of silence than actual silence in these parts.) :-)

Susan Allspaw Pomeroy said...

I wrote my first manuscript almost entirely to the "English Patient" soundtrack. However, I've always done well with some sort of white noise in the background--on the T in Boston, on airplanes and in airports, etc. So I guess I try anything... even with the TV on, but that usually doesn't work.

Wendy Wisner said...

Silence and an empty house.

Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

It's both for me. I go with blues or jazz most often, but whatever fits the rhythm of what I'm working on. But I hit pause when I can't get at a certain word or phrase. But always a low volume when it's on.

Bini said...

yeah. i listen to music when i write. if i don't have music, i use whatever sounds i can - rain, wind, laughs, voices. you need something that's going to entice all senses i think. creates atmosphere, don't ya think?

Charles said...

I can write anywhere, anytime, although it is distracting for me to work when there's a song that I know playing--but mostly I am able to block out everything around me.

Oliver said...

wow, we have the same name. i have to admit though that my blog isn't nearly as smart as yours. cheers!