Writing Music

Last month First 50 Words had a writing prompt that strangely made my chest tighten: Writing Music. How on earth are people able to come up with original musical scores is beyond me. The whole thought of having to come up with a song horrified me.

I remembered back to when I watched the movie The Doors in college.

The Doors - the movie

The band had been talking about “Light My Fire,” when the keyboardist disappear and reappears a couple hours later with the now well known introduction to the song. I remember sitting there completely amazed that that was a skill a person could actually have!

Then I read the sample first fifty words in the blog post, and I realized that what was actually meant was finding the right music to write to. This was not the first time I misinterpreted something, and I’m sure it won’t be my last. Understanding what was meant, I was able to relax and actually contemplate the prompt.

I know it is strange, but when I need to concentrate, I can’t have voices in the background. That includes music with lyrics. Sometimes even a simple melody in the background is too much. One Christmas night in driving home from my Dad‘s during a terrible storm, there were mudslides all along the windy road. Having the radio on was too much – I needed 100% concentration. I couldn’t believe how distracting it was! When I got home I peeled my fingers off the steering wheel and finally took a deep breath.

If I am in need for a slight mental distraction, but not enough to lose focus, classical music is my go-to choice. At times I feel a bit like Agent Lundy on Dexter finding the perfect music for what I’m doing and my current mood.

Keith Carradine as Agent Lundy

Agent Lundy actually introduced me (not personally!) to the joys of Chopin for working through frustration. When I’m able to get the musical choice right, the words flow and come together in completely unexpected directions. It is as if they fly.

Am I the only one who can’t concentrate with voices around them? or Have any of my readers ever composed music?

9 thoughts on “Writing Music”

  1. I am the same way Tammy. I listen to either Eastern music (a mix on Pandora I’ve created) or classical – usually Bach or Vivaldi. I’ll have to give Chopin a go.


    1. I had never considered an Eastern music playlist. Being unusual could either help or hurt – I can see it going either way. I will have to try it out!


  2. I forgot to add – because I can’t have voices either. One of the hardest voices to show some respect and pipe down when i’m writing is my husbands. ha-ha (but seriously)….


  3. My Hub is one of those people who can bang out monster musical compositions like it’s nothing – it’s impressive, really.

    Music to write to…depends on the day, really. Sometimes it has to be nothing. Sometimes I like the Pandora mixes I’ve created and that could be anything – Middle Eastern, New Age, Jazz, Classical, Beach Pop, Oldies – I can listen to just about anything. I think it just really depends on where my brain is that day.


    1. So your husband is one of those mythical creatures! That is so impressive!!!

      Isn’t it amazing how our brains can be so different from day to day? Everything else can be identical, but the mood is not the same.


  4. I’m the same way. I can’t have music on (or the TV – so grating) while I’m writing, or reading, or doing anything other than basic household tasks at home, so my days are mostly filled with silence. In the car I listen to just about anything, but when I really have to concentrate or keep my mind on something, classical or jazz – smooth or otherwise – is the way I go.


    1. I do like to have talk programming (normally NPR or CBC) on in the background when I’m cleaning, but not if I need to focus. Maybe one of these days I’ll try jazz….


  5. Hey – I just had to get back with you and let you know we watched The Doors the other night. What a trippy movie. I liked it. Interesting and wow – was Val Kilmer ever a dead ringer for Jim Morrison. Thanks for the 60s trip. Woo-hoot! I’m surprised some people’s systems can survive life as long as they do being that high on such a cocktail of hallucinogenic drugs/alcohol/etc.


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