Musical Inspiration

The first time I made a list of all the things that had to be organised for a wedding, my initial thought was ‘that’s it?’ I knew that this couldn’t be true. And joy, was I proven right. Luckily, I had two very helpful wedding MCs who helped me out. One of the last things I did was thinking about the opening dance. Now I don’t mind dancing, but it isn’t something you’ll find in my top 3 past-time activities.

Our Song
So here we were sitting opposite the dance teacher. And the first question he asked was about our song. Well we don’t really have a special song. We do have one that we both like, but we’re not going to use it. Meatloaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light is just not the most appropriate song for a wedding. (See the lyrics. I kind of liked the idea, but husband-to-be thought otherwise.) It soon became apparent that we were very difficult people music-wise. We like all kinds of music, from classical (he doesn’t) to death metal, but nothing really in particular.

Live Radio
I always had trouble answering questions about music. I never liked a specific band as a kid, the same went for the ‘latest’ boy bands. I listened to the radio that my parents listened too, and that was usually music from the sixties to the late seventies. (When I was sevenish I thought all those people sang live on the radio. Eventually it dawned on me that some of those people were already dead.)

What makes me like and dislike songs? It clearly isn’t genre, I like classical music but I really don’t fancy arias and opera related pieces. I like Jazz, The Beatles and The Alan Parson Project, but I also enjoy dance, trance and even hardcore too. Just not everything within a genre.

The music I like is music that goes well together with writing. It’s not so much about the lyrics that’s important; those are usually distracting me (I tend to sing along once I know the lyrics too well.) It’s the beat and rhythm that make me like a piece or not. I usually drift off thinking about possible stories, or scenes when I listen to music. And it works the other way around too. Music triggers new ideas. I can listen endlessly to a particular song or playlist, because it fits with the story or the scene I’m working on. Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t really enjoy it much. But that same playlist will be on my laptop or MP3 player for weeks untouched. There are still songs that as soon as I hear them remind me about the time I was working on a particular story. Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides” still sets me back to my fourteen-year-old self, working.

It didn’t help me much that evening with the dance instructor though. Luckily, we had already found a song we both liked and that was quite suitable for a simple dance. The only thing that’s left to do was to enjoy the evening and let myself be led during the dance.

– Cecile


2 thoughts on “Musical Inspiration

  1. I’m like you, but my husband and son are much more tuned into music culture. They have Rhapsody and Spotify and always seem to be looking for something new. They can name songs, sing the lyrics and ID the bands. I cannot. I do listen to blues and jazz, but I still can’t ID all the artists or songs–unless it’s BB King or a few others. I just like the feel of the music. Sometimes I think of music as a sheer backdrop to my life while for others it’s more woven into their fabric. And as for writing, I usually need to do it when it’s quiet. Sometimes I can listen to Yo-Yo Ma’s Bach Cello Suites while I’m writing nonfiction, but for fiction, I need silence.

    1. Hi Jilanne,

      Sorry for the late reply. I wish I could identify songs like your son and husband. I usually rely on Soundhound. If I’m really working on a certain piece it often happens that I don’t really listen to the music. That’s probably why I don’t mind listening to the same playlist over and over again.


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