music

[asa book]B000002NBY[/asa] Wolfy and asdfg have both asked about music — what I like, what I listen to, if I listen while I’m writing.

It’s odd and a little embarrassing to admit that over the last ten years or so I have simply got out of the habit of music. I have to have quiet when I’m working, and otherwise it just never occurs to me to put on a cd or turn on the radio. In the car I listen to books on tape.

How this happened I can’t say, but it’s pretty entrenched at this point. No time for music, period. I can’t divide my attention between music and anything else, and there’s always other things to do.

However. That doesn’t mean I don’t like music.  There are many kinds of music I really do love. Some examples:

Friends have been sending me the Oxford American for  a good long while now, and I especially look forward to the annual music issue with a cover-mounted cd of  Southern music  (and the magazine is really, really worth reading.)

My affection for Springsteen is a life-long thing; I can say the same (brace yourself, I’m about to date myself) for James Taylor and Billy Joel.

I adore Mary Chapin Carpenter and Alison Krauss and EmmyLou Harris. I’m an easy mark when it comes to harmony. Dixie Chicks, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Queen: what’s not to love?

If I’m in a store and there’s music playing, there are certain songs that will stop me in my track to listen. Stuff that has personal significance for me. Pretty much any track from Graceland; The Boys of Summer, American Pie, the list goes on and on. But it doesn’t occur to me to play these things at home.

There are classical composers I like a lot too. Sebelius, Bach, Prokofiev, Mozart… eclectic tastes.

A related tic of mine: I love dance movies. That is, movies about dance. I’m not so crazy about musicals where people dance (I remember almost falling asleep once during Oklahoma!) but if the movie is about dance itself, no matter how bad or good as a movie, I will be transfixed. Examples of bad, blah and great movies I watch over again for the   dancing: Flashdance. Footloose. Billy Elliot (the last five minutes especially); Strictly Ballroom, Stomp the Yard, Dirty Dancing, Save the Last Dance, Swing Kids, Saturday Night Fever, Havana Nights, Dance with Me, etc etc.

You don’t have to tell me I’m strange, I know that already.

5 Replies to “music”

  1. I’ve got a weakness for dance movies myself. Most of the ones you listed as well as the original Japanese version of “Shall We Dance?”, “The Company” and yes even, “Center Stage”. I can’t dance to save my soul but something about dance movies draw me in.

    That’s very interesting that you write in silence. I can only write when I’m plugged into music. But it has to be familiar music that I’ve heard a dozen times at least. I can’ put on a new CD and expect to get anything done. I keep a Writing Music playlist on my computer and gradually add new songs to it so it is continuously growing and changing.

  2. There’s just something about a good dance movie, I know I like them. But I also watch those So You Think You Can Dance tv things from time to time, and it’s just entertaining. I remember now, as a kid, watching “ice dancing” and figure skating – it was all the same to me, maybe early imprinting or something.

  3. ..now I got the theme music from fame in my head for some reason..ack now the hill street blues theme, make it stop!(Maniac,maaainiac..)

  4. I’m one of those people who listen to music a lot. James Taylor and Paul Simon are a couple of my favorites too. But sometimes I think having music, or more so TV, rattling around in my head is an avoidance of my own thoughts. So, your quite time must be a good thing, especially if all of your characters need to speak with you :)

    Bruce – I’ve watched Fame so many times. Now I have that music stuck in my head. Thanks a bunch.

  5. I teach music, and I find that when I have time to myself, I like it to be Quiet. If I am listening to music, I am really *listening* (or sometimes singing =g=), which means I can’t do much else that requires thought.

    My daughter is just reaching the age of selecting her own music, so I expect my pop music horizons will be broadened in the next couple of years!

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