Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Soundtrack of our Books" - article on coordinating music with literature

On the Millions website (http://www.themillions.com/), you can find all sorts of book-related discussions and reviews.  The following link is particularly intriguing. Sharon Steel wrote about publishers and authors who propose playlists that are directly (or indirectly) related to their characters and books.

What do you think?  Would you want your e-reader to pop up with music at certain moments of a scene?  Do you want to know what music the author was inspired by?  Is music too personally subjective to have presented as part of the 'package'?  In my case, I hate it when a book cover shows an actual person;  it interferes with how I picture things.  Along that line, I don't think I'd want a music tie-in necessarily...and I would especially dislike being pushed to understand a character by listening to their music (I would want that to be the writer's job).  Wouldn't it open up a whole new industry, catering to book interpretation, which would then be subject to costing the reader money?  Optional, maybe.  But required? No way.




  1. I remember when I was writing my first sci-fi fantasy novel years ago that I needed a massive storm to take place in the book. However, we were having a beautiful stretch of gorgeous hot, sunny weather here in Brisbane... and did I mention it was also freezing cold in my book? No? Well, yep, it was heading towards Winter where it snowed in my book.
    A big problem, right? Wrong. I have cds of sound effects that I can play on a loop... however the weather section of this is only 10 minutes long. I needed something that was around an hour long. So, I went out and bought a cd of storms that were recorded by a professional musician who marketed his cds towards meditation. And so, there I was in my darkened townhouse, with my stereo up loud with a massive storm blasting out of its speakers while my neighbours stood outside in the heat of the sun peering in through my screen door wondering what the heck I was doing! Me? I had that storm down pat! After I had those five chapter written and edited and finished up, and read the book together with it, you'd swear I had found the wettest and most unsettled place on this green Earth to write those chapters as the description was that good. How did I know? I gave it to another writer who read those chapters and gave it back saying he felt all soggy just reading them. :)

    Yes, music has a place in books, but in creating them; not in the background while we're reading them. We - as readers - create our own music in those books. Books aren't movies, they aren't supposed to be spoon fed to us... they are much harder to get across to us, and that's the challenge of being a good writer; you don't need the music if you can pull in the reader without it. If you do, there's something missing in your writing.

  2. My thoughts as well! I don't want music invading my interpretation.

    Your story is so funny....I wonder if you could use it again on a very hot day to convince your brain it's cold out?

    1. I once read Dino Buzzati's novel The Tartar Steppe to the sound of Ennio Morricone's score for the film adaptation. It was wonderful.