Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Music to Write a PhD By

There are plenty of people I've spoken who say they can't possibly hope to study with music on. There are others who need music on to focus. And then there are people like me: my ability to study with music in the background depends hugely on the type of music and the type of task I'm engaged in. I've found I can't possibly read while I have music on.
But writing to music? Is a MUST for me. It sets a pace, keeps my mood up, and help's me focus. Accordingly, for me, writing music must be pacy, upbeat, and instrumental.

Here are some artists/tracks that have been fueling my writing at the moment: what are you listening to? (All hyperlinks are to Spotify; all videos are youtube.)

Roderigo y Gabriella are a Mexican guitar duo who perform intense, often uptempo, guitar duets. Apart from being in awe of how intricately they play, the pacing of a lot of their music is pretty well-matched to my typing speed.

Good for: Intense bursts of writing.

I've had a soft spot for Bach ever since my first year at university: a graduate student tried to explain a chapter Joyce's Ulysses as a fugue and used Bach as an example. (Now that I've written that down, it's a pretty weird sequence, but it did make sense at the time.)

Anyway, the Brandenburg Concertos are A+ writing music. They're musically interesting, but each piece is pretty consistent (there aren't crashing crescendos here). And, some are more laid-back than others, allowing for shorter breaks, or 'down time' in your writing.

Good for: More paced, considered writing.

OK. Before I start, I am obliged to point out that this film is adorable and if you haven't already watched it, you are missing out.

Good. Now that's out of the way and done with, let me explain why I like writing to this album. Like most soundtracks, this one has little motifs that reoccur throughout. And I like these because they catch my attention and (for some strange reason) help me re-focus if my mind is wandering.

Also, I find it hard to listen to 'Test Drive' and not feel a sense of achievement, which is nice when you're writing.

Good for: Air-punching motivation.

I would love to hear your recs for music that gets you writing: I'm always on the lookout for more.

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