If only novels could come with soundtracks!

3 4 time in musicI have forgotten most of the music theory I learned as a child, but I’ve never forgotten the meaning of 3-4 time because that is waltz time, and waltzes have made me want to dance for decades. Oddly enough, 3-4 time is also synonymous with lullabies, where the music is as soothing as a heart-beat.

But what does any of this have to do with novels and soundtracks?

Back in November of last year [2012], I wrote a post about using Jo Blankenburg’s music as the inspiration for my Nanowrimo novel writing. The story I began writing is tentatively called Innerscape, and is the closest I have ever come to writing somethingย romantic. The climax [excuse the pun] to the early section was a scene at a ball where my two star crossed lovers-to-be are seduced by a waltz.

Now why did I pick the music of a waltz to symbolize sensuality?

It’s true that I love waltzes, but there are other sensual images/feelings I could have used – such as water. The feel of water sliding over the skin has always been a very sensual feeling for me, yet I did not use a beach scene, or a scene in a swimming pool, or a bath, or a shower. Instead my mind automatically reached for a waltz. Why?

The answer did not hit me until I went looking for my Nanowrimo writing music again last night. I started playing Jo Blankenburg’s album Elysium, and suddenly I was swaying from side to side. Not bopping up and down, or tapping my foot, or jiggling in my seat – swaying.

I was not yet into the story, so without meaning to, I allowed myself to be distracted, and began counting the beats.ย One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three… Oh my god, it’s a waltz!

Once my conscious brain recognized that distinctive beat, I began recognizing it in song after song. And somewhere between ‘Arion’…

… and ‘Theogony’ …

… I realized the music was the reason I’d written a waltz into my story!

I swear, until that moment I had no idea the music had had such a powerful affect on me. Now though, it’s obvious, and may explain why I haveย to have Elysium playing [on repeat] as I start work on Innerscape again. The music is the soul of the story.

As all this stream of consciousness stuff was going through my head, I suddenly had this idea – wouldn’t it be amazing if books could have soundtracks? By that I mean, having the music as an integral part of the reading experience in the same way that music is a vital part of movies.

Just as an aside, as soon as I saw the cinematic trailer that accompanied Theogony I knew it had to be for a game, and I kind of suspected it was for Assassins Creed, but I wasn’t sure so I did some searching and yes, I was right – Assassins Creed III is the game. I’m tempted to buy it just for that promotional trailer! -cough- moving on -cough-

As an Indie I know I could never afford to pay Jo Blankenburg for his music, but if I could, and if e-readers were capable of integrating the music that inspires me, I would do it in a heartbeat!

The only thing I’m not sure of is whether readers would appreciate hearing that music as they read. Would you? Or would it be too distracting? Or would it depend on whether you liked the music or not?

I know this kind of tech may never happen, but I’d love to know what you think.

cheers

Meeks

p.s. Thanks for all your comments and extraordinary suggestions on the ‘evil corporation’ post. I’ll be writing an update shortly. ๐Ÿ™‚

Advertisements

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

34 responses to “If only novels could come with soundtracks!

  • Honie Briggs

    Powerful pieces, both. I have a sort of permanent soundtrack going on in my head. I do listen to music when I write, but think a soundtrack while reading a novel might be distracting. Although, sometimes a wonderfully written description brings certain music to mind. It might be nice to have the option. Pitch it to Jeff Bezos, he might get a team over at Amazon right on a feasibility study.

    Like

  • Candy Korman

    ONE, two, three…ONE, two, three…
    There is rhythm in the words we choose, too.

    You’ve inspired me. I’m going to see what happens when I listen to one of my favorite waltzes while I write. Will the words fly by in the familiar Viennese tempo?

    Like

    • acflory

      lol – no! Try your favourite tango instead. ๐Ÿ˜€ What more could you ask for passion and fire? [I’m thinking of the original Spanish/Latin American tango melodies rather than just a song morphed with a tango ‘beat’ .

      Like

      • Candy Korman

        LOL… My favorite waltz IS a Tango Waltz! The Argentine Tango has a waltz variant. It combines many of the steps, instruments and sensibilities of the Argentine Tango with a Viennese 3/4 time. At any dance, some of the sets are always Tango Waltzes. They are lovely! And, from a historical POV, they are an insight into Argentina โ€” a new world country with a mix of peoples.

        Like

        • acflory

          Oh!?! I had no idea. Any chance you could post a link to a tango waltz? A nice one? Btw I did mention the Roxanne Tango [from Moulin Rouge] earlier in that scene coz I love the tango as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Like

        • Candy Korman

          Here’s a link to two of my favorite dancers doing a Tango Waltz. This is a video of them performing a social tango, as opposed to a theatrical choreography. It’s as spontaneous as my social dancing โ€” only better.

          Like

        • acflory

          Oh… -drool- I wanted to be there. Hell, I want to be able to do that. So effortless, and soooo sexy. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Candy. You may have started something.

          Like

        • Candy Korman

          They are truly amazing dancers. I met Pablo when he was a kid โ€” I was studying with his parents. Now, he’s a grown man with a wife and child… (I feel old). Noel is truly his match. They are incredible together on and off the dance floor. I’m sure there’s social Argentine Tango in Australia. It’s all over the world!

          Like

        • acflory

          Some years ago, my sister-in-law and I did sign up for some ballroom dancing lessons. I think I managed about 3 before wimping out. I’ve always loved dancing but for some reason I just felt horribly flat footed, and self-conscious. I think finding the right teacher is the key.

          Like

        • Candy Korman

          The right teacher and the right dance for you!

          (And neither are easy to find.)

          Like

        • acflory

          lol – tell me about it! I know I’d love to learn one of the Latin American dances but that’s about all I know.

          Like

  • Jon Jefferson

    I game mostly on my xbox now (Don’t give me that look) so I saw this promo a while ago. The music is such an amazing fit for this. Music is a huge part of my writing time. There is quite a bit of music that would fit in as the soundtrack to my stories.

    Heck exploring the finer points of Steampunk has been where I have gotten into much of the music that comes from the genre. Whoda thunk that a story genre would unleash its own musical score.

    Like

    • acflory

      Hah! lol Some of my favourite music actually comes from games! The music from FF VII and Advent Children, the soundtrack to Vagrant Story, MMO music [FFXI] to name a few off the top of my head. And yes, Theogony and the trailer seem to go together like a hand into a glove. It’s almost eerie. Maybe the game devs actually edited the cinematics to flow with the music. That bit with the eagle just blew me away.

      As for the genre unleashing its own score… a few years ago I would not have believed it. Now I’m a convert. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  • anneb54

    Great idea! It would be especially good for books that are about musical pieces — I am thinking of “An equal music”. Hearing it being played while reading the book would be great.

    I think I remember that Tim Winton listens to quite specific music when he writes. Was there a CD put out for the music he was listening to while writing Dirt Music, or did I make that up? Either is possible!

    Like

  • davidprosser

    Hang it all. Out comes the Tubular Bells next time I blog to see if it helps me, at least until Viv Stanshall ( Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band ) starts to talk when of course I’ll be distracted and trying to talk along with him..
    For me music is a wonderful setter of mood so I might have to play it before I wrote and if there’s such a thing as a Motown beat all my work would echo that. Such classics as ‘Just Walk away Ernie’ or ‘If I were a Tarp Mender’ would be in my latest short story volume.
    I love the videos thank you, esp the one from Assassassin’s Creed III where I’m surprised they trained the eagle to fly in time to the music like that.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Like

    • acflory

      ‘Just walk away Ernie’??? That sounds like something out of Sesame Street. Clearly I know nothing about Motown. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I am really pleased you liked that video clip. Should I burst the bubble and tell you at least some of the eagle is CG [computer graphics]. No, I won’t spoil the dream. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Like

  • pinkagendist

    You could put in a couple of lines of the sheet music, maybe even a whole page ๐Ÿ˜€

    Like

  • Jeri Walker-Bickett (@JeriWB)

    I was that kid in school who made mixed tapes to go with everything I could possibly think of. Movies have soundtracks, so why not novels too? I wonder what makes some of us create soundtracks or playlists in our minds to accompany what we’re doing or about to do? I guess it just boils down to how much we love music, and I’ve always loved music, though I’m not much of a musician.

    Like

    • acflory

      Music is a huge part of my life as well. I’m not much of a musician either, but even when I was a kid, music was a very emotional experience for me. I remember dancing like a maniac when I was about five. Can’t remember what the music was but it would have been something classical. The thing is, I felt it in my bones.

      I can’t imagine anything better than hearing the actual music that inspired the writer. Well, unless it was Country and Western maybe. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But then I imagine you’d have the option of turning the soundtrack off. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  • EllaDee

    I think our lives have soundtracks, so it makes sense that stories, books do. Think of how many times you hear a song and it takes you to where and when. Waltz music takes me to a country school assembly hall…

    Like

  • Stephanie Allen Crist

    I multitask, but I do not listen to music while doing anything but listening to music, except driving and (rarely) housework.

    I think it’s a great idea for those who like to listen and read at the same time, but I would want it to be something that could be turned off, too.

    Like

    • acflory

      To be honest I don’t think I’ve listened to music and read at the same time since I was a teenager. I have a vague memory of reading the Fu Manchu books while listening to Rachmaninov’s 3rd piano concerto. No idea why I felt the two would go together but there you are. And yes, you would definitely have the option of turning it off!

      Like

Don't be shy!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: