Sunday, December 11, 2011

Music: A Muse Builder

Have you ever tried writing while some good mood music plays in the background? I have, and it often helps me keep going when, otherwise, I might dawdle over some detail. I’m not talking pop music here. Each generation has its own favorites when it comes to pop stuff, but they often fade into the distant past within a few months or years.

What I’m talking about is ‘classical’ music; music for the ages. Just as each generation provides a handful of ‘classics’ that linger, so does the music of the masters. Only, with the masters, their music will be here for centuries, providing a continuum for music lovers worldwide. How will their music help keep your muse amused? Let me show you what I mean.

For instance, say you’re a writer of romances. You have to write a love scene and you want it to be sensuous, but not blatantly graphic. There are two pieces I like to use at a time like this. The more sensual is Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony, Movement Three; the slow movement. If you’ve heard it, I don’t need to embellish its languid seduction of the listener. If you haven’t, you owe it to yourself to treat yourself to some of the most sensual sounds ever penned.

It begins with a poignant theme that repeats over and over, but not monotonously. As it builds, you can almost see two lovers who kiss, separate, kiss again as they entwine themselves in a buildup to an irrepressible climax. Then they settle into a few moments where you can sense the lovers enjoying the afterglow, before they're overwhelmed with the need to couple again, this time more slowly but rising to an even higher peak than the first. And, finally, a peaceful settling into the classic ‘love-death’. A word of caution here; if you listen to this for love scene inspiration, stop the recording immediately at the end, because the final movement begins with a bang.

The other piece mention is Gustav Mahler’s slow movement in his Fifth Symphony. It is less sensual than Rachmaninoff’s, but somewhat more extended. Also, it fires up the muse in a most romantic way. I’ve used both of these as I write the love scenes in my romances, and I highly recommend them to you. (Hint: They also are excellent to play in the background if you want to create a proper setting when romancing your own mate.)

There are many other examples of music that 'lights your fire', sensually speaking, of course. Debussy penned dozens of short and medium length compositions that can lull you into a world where your muse goes wild. Also Ravel as well as Frederick Delius wrote similar ethereal music.

Alas, the contemporary music world bombards us with such cacophony that Don Juan couldn't get it up for one of his conquests. Fortunately, thanks to modern technology, we are not captive to live performances. We can go down the street, waking or driving, with some midget device crammed into our ear, and enjoy the music of the ages. For me, the greatest thrill is to listen as I write yet another story.

My advice; try it. You might like it. Cheers, and happy listening.

Pat Dale

1 comment:

  1. Sorry about the subject title in m;y online invitation to come here. It was supposed to be MUSIC, but you probably figured it out.