Thursday, February 9, 2017

Inspiration and My Love of Classical Music

In trying to get some inspiration and ideas for the narrative I'm trying to write for the Monday deadline, I've reached out to many different sources. House Wishword, for one, helped me a lot with my doubts and ability to tell a story; but their stories also helped inspire that one little piece of the "motive" puzzle for a short little scene my main character would have for doing something.

"Because it's rare in the winter," one of them said. Annie, I believe. (Sorry, I'm terrible with remembering names.)

Then that lovely little power-wasting incandescent lightbulb just flickered on, and I was like, "Yes! Definitely!"

Another source for inspiration was my little sister, since she knew I was having a huge struggle with this assignment. While she's not too particularly keen on reading anything I write unless it's finished finished, I went to her knowing she would spout out the most random things that would get strange ideas in my head. While not as direct in inspiring ideas, it did help me to type a short snippet (about 300 words) of what it would be like if the family dog, Noel, were to suddenly become human.

And lastly, I've had to draw a huge amount of inspiration from classical music, which is the main purpose of this post. Namely Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" symphony.

Rimsky-Korsakov, while at first glance for most people not into classical music like me, would probably say, "Never head of him." Chances are you have. Ever heard of that "incredibly-difficult-song-that-any-master-musician-could-play" called "Flight of the Bumblebee?" (Google search, you'll likely recognize the tune anywhere.)

Yup, he's the one who composed it.

Now, back to my purpose with mentioning the "Scheherazade" symphony. I've thought a lot about this symphony whenever I'm writing, because while there are no words in the music, there is a story that's being told.

For those who don't want to do another Google search, here's the masterpiece in it's entirety:


You likely can't spare a whole hour to listen to the whole thing, but at the very least you heard my favorite part of the symphony: the beginning.

THE HORNS! The brash brass, cutting into the silence. It's like classical music's version of in medias res. Then the quiet buildup to my absolute, actual favorite part of the symphony — the violin solo.

So silent, so sweet, so in-a-minor-key it's like the violin is weeping. That same solo is found in multiple places throughout the whole symphony.

Why? You may ask. Well, the clues are given in its title and the names of the different movements (or parts) of the symphony. "Scheherazade," "The Sea and Sinbad's Ship," "The Calendar Prince," "The Young Prince and the Young Princess," "Festival at Baghdad/The Sea/The Shipwreck." Put them all together, you get the story Arabian Nights.

Though, to be truthful, I've never read the story. And the composer didn't want anyone to think that it's only meant to be listened to with this in mind. But from those that have, they say that violin represents Scheherazade, weaving a story to tell to prevent herself from being killed from her husband.

I first listened to this symphony, not knowing about it's inspiration from the tales, imagining a different kind of epic being told. But regardless, an epic was unfolding in my head as I listened. I love it, because each time I can go to certain parts of the piece to listen to when I'm struggling to capture a mood or emotion in a scene I'm writing.

I need help with writing something light-hearted? "The Young Prince and the Young Princess" is the place I go to. Something filled with action? "Festival at Baghdad." And so on and so forth.

As I've probably mentioned to people in the class before, I hear tunes in my head that have no words. It irritates me to no end, since I'm not as experienced with songwriting or composing as I am with writing. So in lieu of this, I just write prose to hopefully try to capture the mood the music in my mind is playing. But sometimes, it's not enough, so I turn to already-composed pieces like "Scheherazade" because it's already put out into the world and already captures the essence that I'm trying to put into words.

While I'll be the first to admit that my writing isn't amazing, I tend to like what I create more if I've written while inspired by music.

No words, though. I'll try to fill those in myself.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the music video.

    My favorite composer for writing projects is John Williams... Perhaps not as sophisticated as the Classics, but his movie soundtracks really help me visualize cool action seuqences and dramatic twists and turns in my plots.

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