What music do you listen to when writing?

I have written while listening to a lot of different kinds of music, but lately my writing music is steering towards the highly emotive but often lyricless – if it does have lyrics it has to build up a lot of atmosphere. Whether or not this affects the stories I write I’m not entirely sure, but I suspect it does on some level.

One artist in particular I’ve been listening to is Nils Frahm. Rather than tell you about him, just listen to him – I think you’ll see why I like writing to this music. The first song is called Re, the second is called Ambre:

Another band I have discovered recently is Midlake, who have a very folky sound with a slightly prog rock feel too – almost Celtic in places. But while they do sing, they build up a very distinct atmosphere which is nice to write to, as well. This song is called Winter Dies:

So, with Camp NaNoWriMo around the corner (again!), and with so many of my awesome readers writing stories all the time, I ask again what I asked in my title – what music do you listen to when writing? What qualities in the music do you look for?

7 thoughts on “What music do you listen to when writing?

    • Ahhh interesting! Quite a lot of people prefer silence too. I find I need silence when reading more, and especially when researching. I can totally see how Pendulum would inspire your writing too! 🙂

  1. I think the music by Nils Frahm is something I could listen to while writing and I love the Celtic feel to Midlake’s music, although the words might be distracting to me. I have a tendency to write what I hear, like if there is a conversation going on near me while I’m writing, I have found myself writing down what they were saying! The type of music I listen to while writing – if any – really depends on the scene or story I am working on. For example, when I was writing a scene with my character learning from the shaman, I’d listen to native flute music to get into the mood. At other times, I’d listen to The Simpson’s Follies, a local group that sings Celtic music that was popular in the mid- eighteen hundreds, when my story was set.

    • Haha yes I do that too – write down conversations or words I hear nearby by accident, which is probably why I am starting to drift towards lyricless music more when possible. That is a good approach to it as well, to actively seek out music that matches the mood of what you’re writing. Especially with music-streaming services online like Spotify, it’s so easy now to search out quite specific music (there is so much Celtic music out there, including traditional Celtic music – I found one band who specifies in doing instrumental Celtic covers of famous bands, it’s brilliant). I think I should follow your approach a little more – I’m getting good at discovering lots of music these days (I always was fairly good, but now I could sit all day finding new music and still keep coming up with more, hahaha).

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