Music as a Companion

Watching Krypton (spoilers)

Upsetting the Locals!

Not open for further replies.

Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
We’ve previously discussed using music as a backdrop for inspiration and to drown out unwanted noises, but it’s an interesting subject and worth looking at again. A couple of academic studies in the last five years contradict each other, one saying that listening to music aids divergent thinking, while other researchers state that it impairs verbal creativity.

Happy creativity: Listening to happy music facilitates divergent thinking

How listening to music 'significantly impairs' creativity

If nothing else, music is a companion that raises your spirits.


I always listen to music while working, though I prefer largely instrumental sounds while doing anything creative on my stories. In the last year, I’ve become a fan of Afro Celt Sound System and also Mogwai.

Who do you listen to?

I found music a really good way to get out of a writing rut in one of two ways. Either I listen to concentration music to help me get into the zone. (I literally just type "concentration music for writing" into Youtube.) I've found it really helps - perhaps in a kind of meditative way by blocking out intrusive, procrastinatory thoughts. There is some alleged science regarding the specific frequencies stimulating parts of your brain, but I haven't really looked much into that.

Something else I've found is to listen to music that you think would be played if your scene was in a movie! I was trying to write a battle scene and really putting it off because I didn't know where to start. Put on some Nordic folk metal (Wardruna, for anyone interested in Nordic folk metal) and it really got me in the zone.

Or, a scene set in a busy marketplace - I found a three hour recording of a Marrakesh souk and it really helped to build the scene and stimulate creativity by just writing what you hear.

Good craic all round!

I think the contradicting studies are because you can't put the way everyone's brain works into the same box. I like listening to music for pleasure/leisure; I listen to music while driving, but out-walking I listen to the birds. the river, the trees. When I'm writing, I like silence unless I want to listen to a particular sound effect. In my head, my book is real-life, and music doesn't backdrop most events in real life.

But that is just the way my brain functions - in a different box.
Not open for further replies.

Watching Krypton (spoilers)

Upsetting the Locals!