So you’ve all heard me talk about what inspires me to write. You’ve heard about how I draw my characters’ moods and scenic tones from music, and what part the melodies play in terms of the emotional direction of an individual scene.
Given that, it seems inevitable that I would do a top ten list. Now keep in mind, this is all personal preference and it’s what inspires me to write, so if you don’t agree with me and don’t get why I draw inspiration from these tunes… well tell me why! Leave a comment.
10. Loretta Mckennitt – The Mummer’s Dance.
So this song hold the #10 spot as… well I just recently discovered this one. However, patron readers of my blog will understand why it sits on my list. I have a very sordid history with this song that just came to a conclusion a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been listening to it so frequently that my wife had to shut it off before it drove her insane (sorry hun ):) I find this song very mystical, which when writing a fantasy world, is something you want. Especially later in the song when it almost sounds like they’re whispering.
9. Stratovarius – Destiny
This song should come as a surprise to no one who knows me. This song was my gateway into the world of Epic/Power Metal. It’s long and by the end you’re not certain that you’re still listening to the same song. It has everything, ups, downs, an entire choir, an orchestra, a harpsichord, etc.
The singing could be a little better and they don’t harmonize as well as they could, but other than that, this song is definitely key for me. I usually listen to it when writing a battle scene.
8. Rhapsody of Fire – Magic of the Wizard’s Dream
Always been a fan of Luca Turilli’s work. So when I found out that he was doing something with one of my all-time idols, Christopher Lee… Let’s just say that I was overly excited.
I was, thankfully, not disappointed. This song is hauntingly beautiful and one I mostly listen to when writing ominous scenes of a story, but will sometimes listen to at other points as well. By nature, Christopher Lee has a very imposing voice, but he does seem to struggle a little bit keeping pace, even so, this song is definitely a major source of inspiration.
7. Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven
This should really be of surprise to no one. Set aside the controversy surrounding this song, it still remains perhaps the greatest rock song of all time.
6. Dragonforce – City of Gold
So this one was a tough call. I listen to a lot of Dragonforce when I write. Songs like the Warrior Inside, Starfire, Heroes of Our TIme, etc. may have all at one time filled a spot on this list. However, this is the one I’ve been listening to the most as of late and it is… admittedly… one of the few really good songs off of DF’s most recent album. This helped me put the final touches on Divinity and is still one I listen to when I write. I don’t have a particular piece of writing that I really focus on when listening to this. This is one that is sort of all-encompassing.
5. The Beast Dies / Transformation / Finale – Beauty and the Beast OST
Yup, Disney made it on to this list, and really, why not? Some of the best classical musical numbers came from Disney movies and this one is no exception. Paw Dugan, the Music Guru called this one ‘the most fantastic musical number that no one remembers’ and frankly, I agree with him. This is victory in the face of tragedy music. This is what you listen to when you think all is lost, but yet there is still a glimmer of hope. This is what you write before your main hero’s final triumph (if they have one). Everything about this piece is epic, it goes from low and solemn to upbeat and lively. When someone talks about classical music, THIS is what I think of.
4. Fairyland – Score to a New Beginning
Think Stratovarius Destiny, and then increase everything by 10. This is something I listen to at pretty much any point during my writing. This song is like watching a musical. It tells a story in itself and the change-ups are very well done. This song is an omni piece that can be listened to whenever inspiration is needed, regardless of scene, mood, or what the characters are experiencing.
3. Avantasia – Forever is a Long Time
Another tough call and honestly, I was going to go with something off of Avantasia’s Metal Opera, but I couldn’t decide which song. So I went with none. This is the song I listen to the most that isn’t part of that album, but really any of their music will work. Tobias Sammet, the lead singer of Edguy is the creative genius behind this music and he does not disappoint.
2. The Lion King Soundtrack – King of Pride Rock
Yet another one that should really not be of any surprise. Lion King was one of my favorite Disney movies of all time and this song embodies everything that is right with that movie. They couldn’t have chosen a better note to end on. As it is in the movie, this is the song you listen to at the end, or rather right before it. When the final battle is over and the smoke slowly begins to clear to expose the tattered ramparts that remain. When it may still be unclear who won. Before the final reveal, THIS is what you listen to.
1. Shaman – Blind Spell
This is a song that has never failed to cheer me up. EVER. It remains my #1 favorite of all time and it’s something I listen to after accomplishing something I never thought I could, or I’m just very happy. This is, I guess you could say, my victory song. I love everything about it. The tempo is great, the uplifting melody is incredible, and the voices are right on. The amount of power behind this song is through the roof and it comes highly recommended by me.
So that is my list, hope you all find something awesome to listen to from reading this, and if not, feel free to post your own sources of inspiration in the comment section below.
Thanks Friends, catch you on the flip side,
I find the Imagined Village projects inspiring for folk and storytelling put to music.
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I also tend to like ambient stuff (and a bit of prog; Marillion are good) or the crooner style jazz. The Death Of The King from Kingdom Of Heaven or Alanis Morrissettes Mercy Cycle from Dogma are good when I need something a bit heavenward.
For background noise, I use storm recordings, also the renaissance and gregorian chanting. That drives my fella mad!
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Just discovered the Chriss Angel: Mindfreak album, which is the music playing behind his magic tricks… Amazingly inspiring! Also concentration lists on spotify, or Epica
Howdy Mr. Harrington:
Oooh ooh let me toss one on the pile.
Oh, sorry, random stranger, wandering in here. Nice to meet you all. (Where’s the bathroom?)
I was reading John Ringo’s “Under a Graveyard Sky” (zombie apocalypse, I know, right?) and the sequels, which are compelling writing, even if the subject matter is so sordid, but what was neat was the songs the protagonist listens to as she’s killin’ zombies. After enough lyrics, I thought, “I really have to figure out what these songs are, since they seem to be pretty important to characters and the situations.” I fired up ol’ youtube and listened to Nightwish’s Last Ride of the Night.
Holy power metal, Batman!
Yeah, smokin’ piece. And the book resonated even more.
There was another song: Homeward Bound by Marta Keen. See:
The characters sing this during an emotional leaving at one point in one of the books.
Also check out movie trailer music: Two Steps from Hell. Pretty cool stuff. See:
Yeah, now go write your novel’s climax, dangit!
LOL Admittedly, I’m a huge Nightwish fan as well! Thanks for sharing!!
I wonder if all writers have favourite music – I wrote a lot of Rats while listening to a mixture of ska tracks and Rachmaninov (Yes bit weird!)- I often find I associate one track with a character – a leitmotive – and it helps me develop them –
thanks for stopping by mu blog and the like
Don’t ever put Zeppelin there in a list of inspirational fantasy epic battle music, what have you. Good as others might be, no one can quite compare. But a fun list, I say. Some real fine choices. Stratovarius is especially keen. Thought I was probably the only one got a kick out of them.
Thanks for posting this! Always interested to know what other writers create mood with. I’ll definitely listen to each and see what I picture.
I listened to the Nick Cave and Warren Ellis soundtracks for ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford’, ‘The Proposition’ and ‘The Road’ while writing a historical fiction novel, and it helped a lot. Combined, the music creates a wandering mood that drifts between calm and threatening, and everywhere in between. Minimal lyrics, serious musicians.