I caught a little bit of a show last night called "Movies Rock" - basically, it was a concert where different popular personalities sang movie classics. Some of it was really good - some I didn't like very much. But one section I did like was the montage of movie themes the orchestra played while led by John Williams. As I sat there listening to each blurb, it amazed me how many movies I could identify from just a few notes of the theme. Kind of like "Name That Tune" - how few notes does it take for you to recognize what movie the song came from.
Though I can't do the audio here, I know as soon as I name a movie, if you're any kind of fan, you're immediately going to hear the music that goes with that movie. For instance:
Did you hear deep "dah-dum" that increased in intensity?
Or what about "Psycho"?
The high pitched "ree -ree -ree" of the knife scene?
Or "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"? - sol, do, la, do, sol (or whatever the notes are).
We associate a certain theme with these movies. Star Wars, Indiana Jones, ET, Close Encounters, Dr. Zivago, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, or even Shaft - these all have specific music that works very well for them.
So shouldn't it follow that music works well with writing? I know many writers who play specific themes when they are writing certain scenes. Writing a fight scene? Then you need heavy, fast music that reflects the violence of the scene. A love scene? Something flowing and soft. Comic relief? Something upbeat and fun. For those who have MP3 players with hundreds - or even thousands - of songs stored, they have what they need at the touch of a finger. And it seems to make the scene flow better for them. The writing becomes easier.
Music is like that for many people. It soothes or excites, makes you get up and dance, or lay down and nap. It is an interesting tool for anyone to use. Try it the next time you're having trouble with a scene. Put on music that would work for that scene if it were playing in a theater. And see what happens.
To reach the destination you have chosen, you must follow the path that will take you there. And while diversions and distractions will constantly come along, remember that you are in control of you. - Ralph Marston