Writing Music

So I want to be a bit more active in keeping my blog somewhat regularly updated.  While I still plan to do posts that are just my general thoughts and ramblings, I also wanted to start doing some posts that urge a bit more socializing amongst my followers.  Things that are going to be not only fun to chime in on, but things that the readers can benefit from.  So I thought the first one I would kick off is about your writing music.

What kind of music do you listen to when you write? Do you like Classical? Rock? Ambient? Motion Picture Scores?  Or do you work to an orchestra of silence when hammering away on your masterpiece?  Seems like everyone has their own flavor, so I was curious to hear what you all do.  I would love to hear what type of music, and some of your favorite artists you enjoy when you reach for the “pen”.

I’ll kick things off.  I’m an ambient guy.  Ambient music (and for some reason, dark ambient in particular) seems to be what kicks my mind into overdrive for writing, even if the subject matter isn’t dark. There are a number of great artists out there I tend to listen to for my dark ambient fix: Lustmord, Robert Rich, Sephiroth, to name a few.  However I also create my own ambient music.  I use this really cool application called “Paul’s Extreme Sound Stretch” that allows you to slow down audio files significantly without altering the music’s integrity.  Meaning it’s not like when you hit record on a cassette tape (lol that’s a blast from the past) and then hold down the “Pause” button halfway and all the sudden your voice sounds super deep.  This actually takes the musical notes and extends them however long you see fit.  Depending on the song’s original sound will depend on what kind of ambient result you’ll get in the end.  It’s actually really fun to play with, because sometimes you get results you weren’t expecting at all.  But usually songs that are softer in sound will end up being more like regular ambient songs, while songs with distorted instruments, such as the electric guitar, often sound darker and more menacing in nature.  And like I said, this kind of music is usually what gets the fingers tapping away at a story.  Also not so bad to listen to while I am doing cover art work 🙂
Here’s a song by Sephiroth: Sephiroth: The Call of the Serpent 

So please share some of the types of music (and artists) you enjoy listening to.  Even if you aren’t a writer, what do you like hearing when you are being creative?  I look forward to your comments.

— AJ —

About AJ Powers

I am a professional game developer during the day, but at night, my true passion comes to life when I read and write books.
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6 Responses to Writing Music

  1. For me, it can’t be anything with words, so instrumental only for the most part. I have found ambient music to be good–something like Brian Eno’s Music for Airports–if I have to focus on something very complex. Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue is always a winner. Nothing mellows me out and allows me to focus like those tunes. If you want more recent music, I’ve found almost anything by Album Leaf to be simultaneously energizing and relaxing. I’ve gotten through many a block listening to them.

    • AJ Powers says:

      Awesome, thanks for the suggestion! I totally agree it can’t have words. That’s why I’ve chosen Ambient most of the time (occasionally I can listen to OSTs but even then I start to get distracted when I think of the movie it’s tied to). Lyrics tend to get me sidetracked.

  2. J.T. O'Connell says:

    I used to follow the can’t-do-lyrics rule while writing, but the emotional power behind some music has helped me overcome that. Rocco Deluca and OSI seem impossible to keep from the rotation. Others like Joe Satriani and the acoustic masters at CandyRat Records (Antoine Dufour, Andy McKee, Don Ross…) are always there.

    Really, it’s about whatever emotion you’re going for. When I need darkness in my work, I use OSI, when I need it to be light-hearted and easy-going, inevitably Satriani will bring out the best, although Poets of the Fall can be decent as well.

    • AJ Powers says:


      I definitely get inspired by music with lyrics, but for me it’s a technical thing. I just can’t seem to collect my thoughts in a way that is easy or fun to read when I have music with lyrics playing. I often tend to listen to music with lyrics while I am at work or driving and that kind of stuff can really inspire me with ideas for my stories.

  3. Romeo Kennedy says:

    I’m rather partial to listening to either Prog rock or virtuoso type music. Bands like Yes, Rush, Marillion, King crimson, Genesis really add an atmosphere to my fantasy and sci/fi writing.
    When its darker stuff its time to bring out the big guns, so people like Cannibal Corpse, Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir to name but a few. I also tend to listen to people like Steve Morse, Steve Vai and Marcus Miller. Mainly though its all about the Prog for me.

    • AJ Powers says:

      Dream Theater is great progressive Rock. As JT mentioned OSI, some of the guys from DT are involved in that. They definitely inspire me for sure. Thanks for sharing!

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