Music to Write By

Last week I mentioned that because of my tinnitus I keep instrumental music playing while I do my morning pages and often while I’m working on a writing project. I formed this habit partly as a defense against noise and partly because I had experimented with a technique called Proprioceptive Writing, a method meant to deepen the act of personal writing using music, candles, and an exploration of what was not said. I liked it, but as with so many things I like, I let it go in favor of an individualized method. Yet the music plays on.

This week I have turned away from the classical radio station I loved for a long time because we just weren’t happy together. They wanted more money and I wanted less talking. So I now depend on two sources of music: my iPhone and a short stack of CDs and a used CD player. The phone is easy, always there and, thanks to Apple Music, offers a huge selection of free music. The CDs are slowly becoming less useful, but I do pull them out when I crave some of my old favorites.

Here’s a partial list of writing music that works for me: Gregorian chant (especially Hildegard Von Bingen’s music), The Best of Yo Yo Ma, Sphere Ensemble’s Divergence, Kitaro, The Sounds of Acadia (music and nature sounds from Acadia National Park where I used to ride my horse), Keith Jarrett (classical), Kalin Yong, Brother Hawk.

Music is miraculous to me. I cannot carry a tune or play an instrument and had I lived in a time or place where the music was what you could make, I’d have been lonely.

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