Musical inspiration

16 December 2010 08:29

*** Warning, this post may contain minor spoilers for Revenant Rising *** I’m sure there are many people out there who listen to music while doing all sorts of things. While I know this isn’t true for many people, music helps me focus, especially when writing fantasy. I’m not sure why this is, but I think part of it is that the music drowns out external interference. Music also helps create an atmosphere, which can be really stimulating for your writing, if you pick the right music for the occasion. I often find that music used in movie trailers (such as productions by Future World Music) help me visualize an epic atmosphere that is often associated with works of fantasy. Take the song "Sin and Restitution" for instance:

The steady buildup of this song evokes images of a difficult journey that culminates in a grand confrontation, which fits with the theme of my work-in-progress novel Revenant Rising. But a lot of my musical inspiration comes from Vocal Trance and Dance music, which is quite different from the orchestra+choir type of songs Future World Music typically produce. A number of songs that have contributed to parts of Revenant Rising:

Tina Cousins’ version of Hymn is obviously a cover of Ultravox (whose original is of course great, but does not evoke the same imagery), this song inspired a number of character traits and relations of Brenor, the main ally of my book’s protagonist.

Now, I only understand fragments of Swedish (though I find the language fascinating), but the song is basically a lament for a lost love. This song was influential for a number of reasons. The bridge of the song contains a nice instrumental sequence that helps me imagine battle scenes, and the sadness and lost love expressed in the lyrics (thanks to a ton of people for translating Swedish to English) is fitting for both Lianna, the protagonist of Revenant Rising, as well as Brenor, her ally.

I usually skip this song ahead to the 3:00 mark. Starting from this point, there is a steady buildup featuring virtually no instruments. This part is carried mostly by Nadia Ali’s voice, and steadily the instruments kick in. This song alone, and especially the part where the instruments resume was responsible for the entire concept of the Gift of the Destroyer.

As you can see, music has had a significant part in the creation of Revenant Rising, and I don’t doubt that my next novel will feature an equal amount of musical influence. What sort of music influences your stories, and how?