A Little Background Music, Please


April 2020  

A Little Background Music, Please

Or, as Sebastian said in The Little Mermaid, “we got to set de mood.”

Studies have been done resulting in the perfect background music to help students do their homework, to help people sleep better at night, and to stimulate the senses. But have you ever selected music for your novel?

When I was researching a scene in Book Two of my trilogy, I needed a duet for my main characters to sing together at the old piano forte in Wales in 1899. I mentioned it to a friend who was very into music (and like me, very Irish), and she pulled up a Welsh (Gaelic) folk song that sounded perfect, called “The Maid of Llanwellyn.” As luck would have it—or God’s perfect timing—I found a copy of it recorded by Kate Rusby, an English folksinger. It set up a contrast in my turn-of-the-century parlor and suited the country, the times, and the theme. Playing the CD in the background, I rewrote the scene until it brought tears to my eyes. And it was good.

If I’m cleaning, I like to put on music with the moves—like Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music, White Boy” or James Brown’s “I Feel Good” or my all-time favorite, The Temptations with David Ruffin doing “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.” And if I’m reminiscing about the one who got away? Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer Than” or Savage Garden’s “Truly Madly Deeply” or (if I really want to wallow) “So Sad The Song” by Gladys Knight. If I want to sing along (not very well, but my heart’s in it), then it’s John Denver— “Country Roads,” “Sunshine On My Shoulders, or “Annie’s Song.” And if I’m in a thinking mood? Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” or Jesse Cook’s “Gravity.”

My play list is varied and covers all colors and moods, but I always see what I write like a movie, whether it’s a short story or a novel. And movies have background music. So, I try to “set de mood” by picking music that fits the moment. Put a CD on and WRITE!

Thanks for walking through the corridor with me.




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