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  • Gregory Benson

How music inspires writing

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

As someone who loves music, I find listening to it a great way to spur creativity, motivate, and set your overall mood.

For writing, I use classical music to inspire and motive me. Much of the Tolagon series (including the yet-to-be-released book three) has been written under the influence of some great classical works. I’ve been listening to classical music since I was a child on my old Panasonic slimline portable cassette recorder. I’d line up my army or Star Wars guys for some great battle while the original (1979) Star Trek motion picture soundtrack played. I especially loved the main title song, later adopted as the theme song to The Next Generation series. John Williams is simply amazing (yeah, like I wasn't going to mention him). I can’t tell you how many times I listened to the Empire Strikes Back soundtrack. I wore the tape thin.

Fast forward to the present, and I still use this great music for inspiration and to get the creative juices flowing. Below is a list of some of my favorite songs that aided me through this process over the last decade.

Lord of the Rings soundtrack

· The White Tree

John Williams

· Droid Invasion

· Into the Trap

· Duel of fates

· Imperial March

Hans Zimmer

· Interstellar Soundtrack

· Barbarian Horde

· The Battle

· The Might of Rome

· Now we are Free

Richard Wagner

· The Ride of the Valkyries

· Siegfrieds Trauermarsch (Funeral March)

· lohengrin prelude

· der fliegende holländer overture

· der fliegende holländer steuermann lass die wacht

· tannhäuser overture

· tannhäuser freudig begrüßen wir die edle halle

· tannhäuser Einleitung: Tannhäusers Pilgerfahrt

I love some Richard Wagner. When I watched Excalibur as a kid, there was always something that drew me into that great movie. Later, as a young adult, I realized what it was—the music. Well, of course, the story is fantastic as well. It’s the Arthurian legend, after all. But, the choice of music just got my emotions stirred up. So, I did some digging and discovered Richard Wagner. Siegfrieds Funeral March is played throughout that movie, and it adds the emotional pull during key scenes. That’s what I need when writing, something to stir up the emotions and charge up the creative juices.

As someone who loves most music genres, classical tends to be my go-to for writing and studying as musical lyrics can potentially distract me or force my mind into a particular (unintentional) direction. However, there are some exceptions, like Pink Floyd (Welcome to the Machine), Metallica (Orion), and Black Sabbath (Into the Void) are examples. I realize that Orion is purely instrumental, but it's not technically classical, so I included it in my examples. Basically, songs with striking bass guitar riffs or interesting effects.

I’ve used music ever since I could remember for comfort, focus, reminiscing, relaxing, brightening, and inspiring. Thanks to all the artists out there that have created these incredible works!

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