A Truant Disposition

"I must be idle."

Music for reading, writing, gardening

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Apr• 15•11

I should’ve written a post about music before now—a couple of them at least—since I’m a musician. So I’m going to drop a lot of stuff on you all in one post. It’s all good (and some of it is free). If you’re a bookworm, author or gardener, I’ve got music for you…not all of which is my own music.

I know other authors write to music, often really great rock-n-roll, but I have a problem writing while listening to music with lyrics. I get sucked in by the lyrics. I get distracted. I’m writing, and trying to put sentences together to think of just the right word while words which aren’t the right words play in stereo in my head. I have written to great rock music, but that’s the exception (more an accidental thing), not the rule. By and large there’s only room for one set of words in my mind when I’m writing. I have basically the same kind of trouble writing to music with lyrics that I have writing while someone is talking to me. I can’t carry on a conversation while I’m writing either. So when I’m writing I either don’t listen to music or I listen to instrumental music, ambient music, dancy music, just anything without words. One exception to this is Bach. I can’t listen to Bach while I’m writing. Bach is distracting. There’s all this interesting stuff going on in his music that at some point I find that I’m not writing any more: I’m listening. My ear catches some musical thread woven in there and it takes increasing amounts of my brain power to follow it and it’s a very seductive thread…and I’m not writing. I’m sitting there, just listening. In fact I’ve probably forgotten what I was writing about. So, no Bach. Not if I’m doing anything I need to concentrate on.

The no-lyrics thing is a bigger restriction to my musical selection while writing than Bach is. If you’re a writer who also has this problem of not being able to write to music with lyrics, but really like music and are continually casting around for suitable music to write to, may I humbly suggest checking out my music? With the exception of one EP (more on that in a sec) it’s all more or less lyric-free. A few vocalizations, a word/phrase sample occasionally, but mostly lyric-free. To make sure there’s nothing distracting (like the aforementioned samples) before you buy, you can stream full songs from the widget in the sidebar. 😀  My artist name is “Gymshoes” and you can get the music from most major online stores (iTunes, Amazon, myspace, Napster, etc.)

Now how about some music for readers! 🙂 Some of my music is very “soundtracky” I guess you might say. I tend to do thematic things. I wrote a post on my Gymshoes site suggesting some of my music for listening to while reading. If you’ve got an ereader you can usually load music into it to listen to while reading. If you’re reading something scary, you can’t do better than my Halloween Soundscape. This dark ambient album has a number of tracks inspired by fiction. You can read the liner notes here and it, too, can be streamed in the sidebar.

Have any of you read any books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon? I’ve read Shadow Of The Wind and the sequel The Angel’s Game, as well as his young adult novel, The Prince of Mist. Did you know that he wrote a soundtrack for each book?? Yep, and the music is free to download from his website. (The music for Prince of Mist is a single mp3 and is free from the Prince of Mist site which you can get to via the main site.)

Now how about that music for gardeners I mentioned? It’s also music for writers. The Royal Philharmonic played a concert for plants. I mean plants were the audience and it’s music that’s supposed to make your plants grow (eg classical music). You can download it free from QVC. No, don’t cringe. They don’t ask for a credit card, e-mail or blood sample. One click and you download a zip file of the mp3s. Completely painless and free. You can stream the music on a player on the page, too. It’s Mozart, by the way. You’ll know it. You probably already have it, but this is such a wonderful whimsical thing (the Royal Philharmonic playing a concert to plants and giving it away!) that I just had to share it.

Speaking of free for gardeners…we’re in a drought right now and what my garden really needs is rain more than music. For the past few years I’ve been recording rain and working on an audio “rain project” off and on. You can download some free rain from my Gymshoes site. 😀  I plan on releasing more rain this year. I hope the clouds do, too. 😉

Finally, I’d like to make a pitch for the Red Cross which is doing disaster relief in Japan in the aftermath of the quakes and tsunami. My EP, A Tropical Depression, benefits the Red Cross. Though it’s mostly hurricane songs, it has one tsunami track I did some years ago. I recently blogged about it on my Gymshoes site. The liner notes are here. It, too, can be streamed in the sidebar. “Wave, Goodbye”, the tsunami track, is ambient and so also writer-friendly (as defined above). Japan is still getting quakes (aftershocks?) over 7.0 and tsunami warnings are issued when they occur, though mercifully there haven’t been any more tsunamis. The reactor/radiation problems are ongoing and the disaster area is still disasterous. Media interest will fade long before Japan recovers. Please keep the the people of Japan in your thoughts and/or prayers—and give to the Red Cross (whether you get my benefit album or not).


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