Music playlists: Do they hinder or enhance?

September 29, 2014 Discussion 33

You know quite often I find myself connecting music to writing to reading.

They’re all big parts in my life that I feel make a big impact on each other. When I’m reading, I usually refer to a song in my head that brings about my feelings for the book. I’m not sure if anyone else does this, but I do. Whether it’s Muse’s “Knights of Cydonia” for the theme of Gunslinger or Florence and the Machine’s “Seven Devils” for Seven Sons or even The Black Key’s “Fever” for the Fever series…I think of songs all the time when I read. Which one I feel is right for a scene or which one that resonates with that book and I make those connections.

Then, I noticed through beta-reading that authors tend to do the same. They have songs in mind and it really is a wonderful thing to actually go through their playlists and see what they were listening too while they were writing or maybe even when a song sparks their interest to write a certain scene (that’s happened with me before).

Here’s a list of Authors with playlists.

I have talked to people about this before and some people think that it deters from your personal opinion on the book. For instance, if you thought the scene was a sad one when really the song makes it seem like it was a happy one. Does that make any sense? It changes your first impression or outlook on the story.

Maybe what I’m really wondering is, do you think that music is important when it comes to books?

Does it effect you as much as it does for other writers and readers or could you care less? Let’s say your favorite author posted up a list of songs and scenes to match the songs, would you listen and re-read for that alone or would you skim the list or would you just not give a crap because music doesn’t really matter all that much for you?

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33 Responses to “Music playlists: Do they hinder or enhance?”

  1. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I don’t really pay attention to the author playlists. I think it’s interesting that those were the songs that “spoke” to them and all, but I don’t often associate what I read to music, and when I do, I know that they will be very different. So, to answer the question, I guess it’s not that I don’t care, but I don’t give it much thought because I know that music is such a personal thing.
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  2. Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections

    It’s not that I don’t give a crap, it’s more that I can’t listen to music and read or write at the same time, so music during a literary experience is not important to me. I’ll use instrumental music if I’m writing just so it doesn’t feel as quiet, but I don’t need it when I’m reading. Yes, I am weird like that.

    I think the playlists are pretty cool – won’t always listen to them, but I do check them out every once in a while, just to see what the author was doing while they were writing a certain book.
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  3. Tammy @ Books, Bones and Buffy

    I don’t care a bit about playlists, but I know there are many bloggers who do, I’m sure one of them will stop by and comment. The two things just don’t connect to me. I cannot possibly read or write with music playing, it’s just too distracting. And I always skip any author playlist posts I run across because it just doesn’t interest me.
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  4. Kirsty-Marie

    I don’t read authors playlists that much, since I like making up my own that I think goes with certain scenes or just the overall feel of a book I love (and I know I love a book when I do that, so if I don’t, I’m obviously not that bothered about it.) But they do all go together (and music is just as important to me as books are) I tend not to listen to it while reading anymore but always when I write.
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    • Kat Stark @ NotYetRead

      YES! That’s more what I was thinking. Like having songs for yourself that you believe connect with the story. I think music inspires me to write, but I don’t usually listen to music while I write. There’s a weird correlation that’s there for me because I love reading, writing, and music all the same.
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  5. Celine

    I almost never listen to author made playlists, mainly because my taste in music isn’t mainstream. Most playlists just list pop songs, which I don’t enjoy in general.

    On the other hand, music does play a big part for me as reader/writer. I too often connect songs with what I’m reading, or listen to music when I read. Same as a writer, I like having a soundtrack to write to, and the mood of the music helps me set the mood of a scene.
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  6. B.R. Marsten

    For myself, music is vital to my writing. I couldn’t write without music. I’m not sure that I would want to. Music for me is about setting mood. It’s not that the music creates the story, or even decides its direction; it just builds a little background for my inspiration. For instance, an action scene needs something fast. Something sad requires a somber tune. And often the music’s lyrics have nothing to do with what I’m writing. It’s the feeling of the music that matters most.

    As for reading? I don’t often listen to music, I admit, because I have an easily distracted mind. And the book tends to take center stage if it’s compelling. But author playlists are good. And I enjoy scouring them because it’s like an artist showing you his paints and canvas. Even if it doesn’t fit what I heard in my head, it’s still interesting to know what their Muse was dancing to.

    I was directed here by a friend because I recently brought the subject of music and writing up. I didn’t consider it for reading, as well. Thank you for putting this all out there for conversation.

    • Kat Stark @ NotYetRead

      Oh no problem. I think music and reading and writing all play on each other. At least for me and it seems to be so for you as well. I also think of music as a muse for writing at times. I know that many authors feel the same way. Not just the lyrics, but also the music itself. Thanks for dropping by!!
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  7. La Coccinelle

    To be honest, I’ve never really paid much attention to author playlists. Sometimes, if I hear a song, I might connect it to a scene in a book I’m reading… but that’s basically me making my own playlist, not relying on the author to do it for me.

    Of the playlists I have looked at, I’m usually not familiar at all with the music, or it’s music I don’t particularly like. So why would I want to associate that with a book and possibly affect my like or dislike of it? I’d rather the book stand on its own… and if I feel like it needs a soundtrack, I’ll put one together in my head after I’ve finished.
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    • Kat Stark @ NotYetRead

      Totally agree! That’s why at times it can definitely be a hindrance. I am beta reading a book though and me and the author have very similar taste in books and music so when she tells me what song she says is playing in the background. It really does help. And some of the songs don’t have words so I can actually read while listening and I love the experience, I really do.

      I guess it all depends on the person 🙂
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  8. Molly Mortensen

    I’m really not a music person, like at all, so when authors post their playlists I haven’t a clue what any of the songs even are. If a book is like one of my favorites I might reread it with their soundtrack because that might be cool, though I never have before. On the other hand when I write I’m often inspired by music, though I usually turn it off when I actually write. I guess everyone’s different and I’m a bit odd in this aspect. (but when aren’t I?)
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    • Kat Stark @ NotYetRead

      I think that everyone has had varying answers so far, some listen while writing, others think it disturbs them while reading or writing. Some don’t listen to the authors playlists, some make up their own, some don’t care. I think that it’s good to have different opinions on things and it’s good to hear from everyone about it!
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    • Kat

      I think you should! May be an unusual experience that you’ll either love or hate depending on if you have similar tastes like the author. I love all music, so I’m not really bias one way or another.

  9. Kel @ Booked til Tuesday

    I sometimes listen to music while writing, just for background noise (and sometimes some orchestral or soundtrack piece that fit the mood), but overall, I don’t make big connections between reading/writing and music, probably because I don’t keep up with music much. Every now and then I hear a song on the radio I like, and I still love listening to some classical music or soundtrack bits (a throwback to my band geek and orc dork days), but I guess I just don’t know enough songs to connect them to what I read. ^^;;
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    • Kat

      Well that’s fine 🙂 I was just curious is all. We all have our things that make us who we are and music happens to be a big factor for me. Not playing, because I’m terrible…but I’m a good listener, lol. And I don’t have any preferences, I love it all.

  10. Anya

    I’m pretty sure I’m completely the black sheep on this because I have a weirdly disconnected love of music and reading. Like, I don’t feel like I even “get” author playlists because I tend to read/write in complete silence and hate lyrics impeding my thinking, haha. So yeah, I completely ignore author playlists >.>
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    • Kat

      Well then, keep doing what you’re doing. Some people are like that, my sister is one of them lol. She can’t listen while she reads or writes or even does homework and I’m the opposite 😀