I 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 , 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 something 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. 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 have 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.
p.s. Thanks for all your comments and extraordinary suggestions on the ‘evil corporation’ post. I’ll be writing an update shortly. 🙂