The TV is on, people are moving about in the house and the fan-heater keeps popping on to blast me with hot air. I log in to WordPress, ‘add new post’ and then think about getting my headphones so I can listen to some music, block out the sounds of the ‘real’ world around me so I can focus…
Procrastination, but also I realise I’m unintentionally demonstrating what I was just about to blog about. Writing accompaniment.
Some people can only work in silence, without any distractions, I’ve never been one of those people. I find silence distracting…
While I wrote the first half of this post I was listening to the rattle of raindrops against the window (after I’d turned off the TV). Now, a few days later, I’m writing it listening to La Roux, As if By Magic, a song recommended to me by Last FM who’s recommendations I’ve been flicking through for the past few minutes (I’m not sure they quite get me yet!). More procrastination?
I’m not so sure. Many years ago I read that the beat of music and heart rate are intertwined. A faster beat raises heart rate and increases excitement, whilst a slower one relaxes you. Turns out I didn’t dream this, Research conducted in 2006 by Heart found that:
“Music, especially in trained subjects, may first concentrate attention during faster rhythms, then induce relaxation during pauses or slower rhythms.”
I find that listening to music with a nice fast beat, often some lame pop, inspires me to write. However, I’m usually too busy singing along to actually concentrate enough to write anything down! There’s no real focus, I just want action, and writing isn’t like that, so my enthusiasm is normally short-lived. It’s good music to help inspire me but I rarely get any good writing done when the music has a strong, fast, beat.
When it actually comes to getting down to some work I prefer something more mellow. I’ve found that Ambient, Tribal or World music works well. The tracks are long, the beat fast enough that I’m not going to drift off, but the segments are slow to change which is relaxing and consistent.
The music transports me away to a world I invented whilst watching the film “Where the river runs black“. But the feelings and emotions, memories and thoughts that music invokes in us is a whole other blog entry.
I wonder what my taste in accompanying music has to say about my writing style? Does it mean that I need to be relaxed to write, that the music I choose allows my brain to float and my fingers to write?
As a child, playing the piano always went better when I let my fingers move without thinking too much. Perhaps the same thing is at work here. Maybe this music work so well for me because it helps me to let go of the tensions that block my writing normally.
So, what sound inspires you and what accompanies you when you write?