I never listen to music while I write. Songs with words are way too distracting when I’m trying to come up with words of my own. Even instrumental music can be a distraction for me, unless it’s so in the background that I can ignore it, like blending with voices and other noises at a coffee shop.
That being said, when I’m not writing, I love listening to music. I’ll often just sit with my eyes closed, doing nothing but listening to a piece of music. I also listen to music while I’m driving (not with my eyes closed). It’s during these times of contemplative listening that I either get ideas for a story, or am able to delve deeper into the world of what I’m currently writing.
For the fantasy story I’m working on right now, I have several pieces of music that are my go-to tracks to get me into the right mind-set. Many of these tracks are by a band called Angelit, formerly called Angelin Tytöt. The band is from a tiny place called Angeli, in northern Finland. (Angelin Tytöt means “The Girls of Angeli,” and Angelit translates as something close to “The Angelis”).
Angelit’s music instantly takes me far away, both to real places I’ve never been, and imaginary places where I have been. If I’m brainstorming about a fast-paced scene I need to write, like a battle or some other adventure, I’ll listen to a song like “Garkit.” The loud beat and almost soundtrack-like quality conjures up the images I need, and I’m ready to go.
A more relaxing, mesmerizing song like “Gidda Beaivvas” lets my mind wander more slowly through my world. Sometimes images put to the music helps, sometimes all I have to do is listen.
The underlying theme in all of Angelit’s music is the Sami yoik and traditional music sounds. The band members belong to the Sami people (also known as Lapps)–the indigenous people who live in the high arctic of northern Scandinavia. Angelit usually sings in their native Sami dialect, rather than Finnish, and they incorporate variations of the Sami traditional “yoik” singing into their music.
This cultural backdrop is another reason why Angelit’s music serves as my muse for my story. The story is set in Lapland in northern Finland (yes, I promise it’s a fantasy story), and some of my characters are Sami. I realize that some cultural inaccuracies will occur, since I’m not a Sami and haven’t been there, but give me a little leeway–it really is a fantasy story, and the majority of it does not take place in Lapland. But whether I’m writing a scene that’s set in a real place or set in a place of my own making, the songs of Angelit always get my creativity going.
I’d love to hear some feedback! Any other writers out there who have a go-to song or two to get your creative juices flowing?
9 thoughts on “Music to write by”
I’m kind of like you in that music will distract me when I’m trying to put my words together. But I like to play Sigor Rus, a band from Iceland, to settle me down. However, if I need to get myself into the feel of a chapter, I will play music that would fit that particular scene.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Vernon! Glad to know that someone else uses music to get into a writing mode.
I’ve heard some Sigor Rus; I like a lot of Icelandic music, though that band isn’t my favorite. 😉 But I’m glad that you’ve found music to write by!
wonderful music like always. Your fantasy story is making me feel the same way I feel about not being able to wait to watch “Brave” is exactly the same feeling, and that’s great considering that I am a big fan of Pixar movies 😀
Well, we share the fondness for Finnish music, so this was amazing, didn’t hear about Angelit before. I also go for Celtic music for more inspiration, or sometimes, Hungarian, Asian, Russian or any other kind of folk music I find (or finds me better said). Thank you for sharing, it will become part of my set list for more inspiring and soulful sounds.
Thanks for continuing to read and comment, Steph! I hope that when my story is finally ready, it will live up to the anticipation!
I’m glad I could introduce you to Angelit. 🙂 Thanks for all the music you’ve introduced me to, and stay tuned for more posts about music in the future!
I love love love this blog entry so much! Music is amazing and does help me write too. I will listen to anything from Led Zeppelin to Enya to Japanese-pop. I, a little like you Grace, listen to a wide variety of music. I just can’t stand rap or hip hop! It makes me laugh sometimes when I realize a song has become the “theme song” for one of my characters or a particular scene. Much like you were saying about the music getting you in the mood to write a specific scene. For example, Led Zeppelin’s “In the evening” became my character, Viktor Vlas’ theme song. In the same story where Viktor lives, there is a scene near the end that was written to “adiemus” My computer says it’s by Enya…Anyway. Your blog is awesome!!!!!
Glad you liked this entry, Ashley. 🙂 It seems that music and writing are more connected that one might think at first.
And just as an fyi, the song “Adiemus” (one of my favs, too!) is not by Enya–she’s never even done a cover of that song, though it seems to be a common internet rumor. The original version of “Adiemus” was done by the singing group called Adiemus, with the lead vocals by a South African singer named Miriam Stockley. A few years ago, Miriam Stockley re-released the song “Adiemus,” with her doing all of the vocals. 🙂
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