Friday, April 15, 2011

I Believe In Music

Lady Gaga via Wikimedia Commons

Anybody viewing what I keep on my iPod might think I'm more than a little crazy.  Not just split, but splintered personality.

Yes, I've got Lady Gaga.  And the Monkees.  And Frank Sinatra.

I play the Alan Parsons Project and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.  And The Chipmunks.

I listen to Clannad and Smokey Robinson and the Moody Blues and Heart.  Sometimes one right after the other.

Frank Sinatra via Wikimedia Commons

Some might say I have eclectic tastes.  This is true.  I come by it naturally; my mother went gaga over Ol' Blue Eyes, but she also liked Jim Morrison and The Doors. And Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.  (Nothing better than Whipped Cream & Other Delights, IMO.)

Being able to tap into different musical styles helps me to get into my characters' heads, because music offers a special emotional shorthand to connect us to who we are.  Part of what I work out about each character is his or her musical tastes.  Heavy metal?  Beethoven?  Native American drumming?  Very few people don't have some musical loves and hates.

Some people will swear that all music produced after 1975 is a total waste of time, man.  Some will never listen to country music, except under threat of bodily harm; others won't listen to anything but country music.

Some, like me, adore keyboard music, as highlighted in Arlee Bird's Tossing It Out.

Music gives us time clues.  Half of my enjoyment of many movies is the way a perfectly arranged soundtrack draws me into the era, like Taking Woodstock (at least, into the groovy way I imagine Woodstock to have been.) Could anybody not enjoy O Brother, Where Art Thou?  How about Romy and Michele's High School ReunionCoal Miner's Daughter?

Is there anyone under the age of 60 who does not know how to do The Time Warp?

Call me a sap, but I believe in music.  (And the Muppets.) 

One caveat: make sure the music you include in your writing does not predate the material.  Unless he's a time traveler, somebody in the 1970's will not have been a fan of Prince.

Speaking of Princes - I guess I'm getting Royal Wedding fever, but I felt compelled to write a smutty story about a Prince and a castle, which was accepted in an online anthology, link below.  Give it a click and leave a comment, if you have a moment.

Back to Music - what are your musical writing experiences?
Do you feel it's necessary to know what's on your characters' playlists, or...?
What songs or artists would surprise your friends and family if they found out they were on yours?