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Mosaic Musings...interactive poetry reviews > General Announcements and Miscellaneous > Miscellaneous Playground > Discussions -> Alexandria's Library
A GREAT topic for discussion!

From Merlin:

Studies done on the subject show that certain music puts the mind at ease, and aids in a person's ability to study, or relax... different things.  Baroque music is said to be best.  It has also been established that teenagers can do very well studying while listening to rock.  Others may do the same with their own preference.

Music affects the brain in particular ways - even peculiar ways.

Does this relate to poetic styles?  Do some age groups prefer one over the other?  


Good topic Merlin!
For some reason, as has been my experience since youth, I find I actually concentrate MORE when there is sound in the background. Call it crazy, but it works for me!  grinning.gif

During my school years, I always had the tv on when studying.

As for musical influences, I find those songs with a fast beat (like old disco, hip-hop, pop music) more of a distraction when I am trying to create a poem or an idea for a short story. The beat causes me to start moving, chair-dancing, and I lose my focus.

On the other hand, orchestral accompaniments seem to be perfect! Of course, I have Bose sound in our home, and so the clarity of the instruments really shines. I would never had listened to orchestral tunes when a youth, but now I enjoy them for their diversity. I particularly enjoy the Lord of the Rings soundtrack and the musical score to get into the mood for writing.

I also find the music in movies to be quite an emotional experience (if mixed properly). I just watched Sea Bisquit this morning and the score at the point where Sea Bisquit starts his take-over to the finish line brings tears streaming down my face!

Music can be very inspiring for writers!
~Cleo  :pharoah2
Hi Cleo,

Great topic!  :pharoah2

Yeah, I used to do homework in front of the TV too! There's a theory that we never use our entire attention on one given task, therefore we need some “white noise” to occupy that part of the brain that would otherwise distract us from the work at hand.

Of course we write to music! I sure do. I suppose that means I have an ear for the universal language. When it comes to music, I’m sort of like Bo Derek in the movie “10,” I like different music for different moods. Showing my age a little.

There are times when I feel like Mozart and Beethoven - nothing like a piano concerto or a special movement in a symphony to get the muse started. Other times, it’s bosa nova by its creator Antonio Carlos Jobim, or Frank Sinatra and Fly Me to the Moon. Other times, it’s show tunes and movie soundtracks like West Side Story, or some classic rock and roll, U2, Billy Joel, Queen and Fleetwood Mac, and oldies like Under the Boardwalk and some soul food from Marvin Gaye. Some opera or country classics like Stand By Your Man! Even world music, as they call it, some primordial African beat, love those drums. Yeah, I do it all. Speechless.gif

Out of all that, I found Mozart's music to be the best for creativity and thinking in general. It has a way of clearing my mind with its innocence and yet it reaches deeply with raw sentiments. It’s what I listen to when planning life’s major events! angel.gif

And some of my best verse comes to me while listening to great, emotional music. Does anyone not feel anything hearing the first line from Judy Garland’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow? lovie.gif

There are certainly several points I'm in total agreement with.  Classical music is something that we, perhaps, need to grow into.  I recall one kid in hi-school (a nerd by today's standards) who knew all the symphonies, and even wrote madrigals.  He was weird, by our standards then.

I enjoy folk music most, and as I said, find jazz extremely irritating.  That's me, not a judgement of the music itself.  I find folk pleasant to listen to, and have often written to it, both in certain cadences, and as a background stimulant.  

It isn't very often I don't have some form of outside noise on in the house - meaning the radio or other music.  Television is a waste of time for me - I seldom sit and watch (my choice).  I have 2 tv sets in the house, btw.

Interesting thoughts.

One of the multude of things I have learned about the so-called disability ADHD is that not only do people that share this group of qualities have trouble focusing on linear tasks, they conversely have the ability to 'hyperfocus' on things that they become very interested in.

Many artists and writers (and other assorted creative people) 'Have" ADHD...   because the traits that form this 'disability' include a keen abitlity to see globally.. to think intuitively (for what is 'intuition' but the ability to take observations that may seem to be unrelated, and put them together into meaningfulness) Unfortunately, because our schools were set up initially to produce good factory workers, good accountants, etc etc etc, many of the same processes are used to 'help' kids learn. ADHD people don't generally learn best this way.

Playing music often helps people like this to focus.  Since I am one of those people. I use music when I am working on a task or lists of tasks I must complete. The music seems to occupy the parts of my mind that would otherwise be daydreaming, or thinking of things which would distract me.  

Yes, the music I choose does influence my thoughts and processes...  what works for one task may not work for another task. What works for one 'mood' of poem or bit of prose.. or letter.. or lesson plan.. would totally derail another kind of task.  

When I was in school, I used to doodle and draw while the teachers lectured.  When I was 22, I married a gentleman who had gone to the same school I did.. but was a senior when I was in 9th grade.  I met him later, in my summer job, and dated this and that one of his friends..  I like the whole lot of 'em (ok. I LIKED THEM AS FRIENDS.. I was not a groupie for the Boisterous Milkweeds) Anyway, Harv had gotten a job at 'our' old high school, teaching Physics, and when we would attend functions we'd see my old teachers (now his colleagues)  Mrs. Edelan, the history teacher, who was a big brassy battleaxe of a woman kind of like Maude from TV, and I loved her to pieces.. anyway, Mrs. Edelan told me it drove her NUTS that I'd sit there and draw while she imparted things essential to becoming a civilized human being...  but that she didn't bother me because I must have heard every word she said, considering the lowest grade I'd ever made in her class was something like a 96.  

For me, I could draw and listen intently.. but if I was not allowed to draw, I daydreamed.  If I was daydreaming, I did not hear a word that was said.

So now music soothes me, and keeps me on track.. or lifts me up.  I play it in my classroom when the kids are working independently.. they get to know some of the peices, and make requests.  They love Enigma, and a CD called "REturn of the Guardians".. and of course they all seem to like "Taco Bell Canyon"... (I have two different CDs of various versions of Pachelbel's Greatest Hit!)

Music.. if not for music, I could not fall asleep. The music, chosen especially for sleep, takes me gently into dreams.  Yes, the dreams do 'go' with the music at first...  

I had no music for the first two nights of 'no power' and I did not sleep at all.  Fortunately, I managed to find a portable CD player (which I'd bought so that I could sleep on a trip to Washington DC, with students) and the music did the trick.  Now Playing:  Hildegard Whatsername's music.. the nun who wrote all the beautiful canons.  I've got a CD with many voices in harmony, singing her 'stuff' in the voices of angels.. the some instruments in the background (not written that way.. and the purists HATE that particular CD)

So yes.. music does influence me in many, many ways...
I'm going to stop now..  are y'all wondering 'Why doesn't this woman just buy a journal!?)


last nite on the Science channel, I just caught part of it, but the topic was influence on children being exposed to music at early ages, also learning an instrument, vs. control groups and there were significant improvments for them and how it carries on in later life.

I hook up to the XM channel on the PC. They have a sample loop of all their channels, and I can change the mood as I please. I like to think it helps with the writing of new pieces.

I grew up with radio rather than TV.

The background music, which repeated regularly, nearly drilled into my subconcious when I constructed model airplanes. These were sticks and paper rather than plastic models patched together. The music would later haunt me into nightmares.  Hence, I learned turn the d___n thing off when concentrating upon a task.

Silence is my best enviroment for detailed, concentrated study. When designing graphically on a tube with a million loose ends to mentally juggle, I tend to talk to myself.  Does that count?

Classical music is something I learned to like and find that listening, especially when commuting in unobstructed environment, is extremely prone to inspire prosody.  I especially like Russian influence, which is roughly a march mixed with slovic dance.  Some French, Spanish, English, and Scandanavian composers are also terrific.  How about Wagner's "Flying Dutchman," or Beethoven's "Prometheus?"

Popular tunes tend to incorporate a degree of rhyme, which is catchy and usable without plagerism.  Unfortunately most pop music depends on instrumental rhythm and really crap up verbal lyrics unusable in poetry.

"Over the Rainbow" is entertaining, but not otherwise beneficial.

Now you know a mental nut.


What an interesting topic.

I have found that I can concentrate much better when there is music in the background. I learnt French by left brain/right brain method, that is the spoken word played into one ear and music into the other. Only problem I found with this was that sometimes the music was so soothing I nearly nodded off in mid lesson!

I like to work to orchestral music, especially violin music, operatic arias sung by my favourite singer Placido Domingo or Reggae, which always puts me in a relaxed mood.

The most startling result of music=induced poetry, came at a lesson when the tutor played a piece of music of which I had never heard.  Possibly some of you will though. It was called The Magic Theatre recorded by Kula Shaker. We sat with eyes closed and I found this surreal piece really creepy, inducing vision of swirling mist and ghosts.

From those two minutes of music I got the entire story for the piece I called "GOTHIC CASTLE" which I posted in MM.

I do most of my writing in two locales. At home in my office; I always have music on in the background, more for companionship, than inspiration.
At work, each and every day at 6:30am I collect my thoughts and put them into some coherent format.  I have no radio or source of music to soothe my soul.  Both formats work for me; I get personal satisfaction out of the things I create with or without music.

My ideas and inspiration come from the newspaper; personal observations; and actual experiences.  Today, sitting at my desk, I looked at the stapler and decided I should write something to honor that lonely, misunderstood piece of desktop equipment.

My ultimate goal is to write the lyrics of a song. I need someone to write the melody for me.
It seems to me that the requirement for ambient music for cerebral working is that it should blank-out the small noises which, in an otherwise silent environment, would irritate - yet not produce discrete sounds from itself. Therefore, anything with a discernable beat may not be the best background music.

Of course, none of the above accommodates anyone's personal taste which may well ignore such ideas.

For me, almost all classical music is far too distracting, as is the later romantic music of Beethoven et al - however excellent is musical quality. The only exception I would make is some of Elgar's "picture the Malverns" work. However, I think I simply enjoy Elgar, so I'd better discount him.

My own preferences are either silence (but when a car passes in the lane near this window I am put off) or a alternation of Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream and plainsong (e.g. Gregorian chants). I can also often work to some madrigals and other medieval / Tudor falsetto singing but these can start to be distracting after a while.

I too am influenced by music.  I am a big fan of Loreena McKennitt and enya, I have discovered when I walk and listen to my MP3 player when I come back home the energy flows like crazy.  While driving to work and home, I also listen to both and have come up with interesting stories and tales.  

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