Thursday, October 18, 2012

Got Music?

This just in –

Dogs do not like Anthrax and Iron Maiden. They think these bands stink, paws down.

A recent study by a Colorado State University professor investigated how shelter dogs responded to various styles of music. Clearly canines are not head bangers – heavy metal music actually produced nervous shaking in the pups. However, classical tunage from Mozart and Chopin calmed curs even more than no music at all.

Meanwhile down on the farm…

It’s been noted that cows show a preference for Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony by cranking out more milk than when they’re forced to listen to Wonderstuff’s Size of a Cow.

And does anyone remember those plant studies from the ‘70’s? Sorry, Hendrix, but philodendrons are not your friends. They lean away from speakers pumping Purple Haze, but move in as close as their little plant feet can get them to those far out fugues by Bach.

Heck, even microbes have been shown to feel the classical music love. They consume more sludge to the beat of Mozart's Magic Flute than when they are forced to sludge in silence.

And so, it should be no surprise to you that music affects the human clan as well. One study done in 1998 found that listening to grunge increased the hostility, tension, and sadness of subjects. Another experiment yielded the exact same findings as the canine study above.

But fear not – I'm not going to suggest that you only fill your iPod with a bunch of baroque (unless, of course, you are currently freaking out from too much stress). However, it does look like music is a great way to get into the mood of your Work in Progress.
If your main character is a teen full of hostility, tension, and sadness – go for the Nirvana for goodness sake.

Writing about a flawed individual with avoidance issues? One word – Hendrix.

Need some nervous energy for a particular piece of art? Crank up the Iron Maiden.

And, of course, Beethoven’s your man –

if you’re prepping to pump out a pint of milk.

PROMPT: Writer Amy Tan (of The Joy Luck Club fame) wrote of her use of music in The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings. Apparently, she chooses a particular album for each book, then writes only to that music. Amy notes that it helps her get into the writing zone right away. It’s certainly worth a try, so set your mood with music before your write today – then rock and write on!



  1. Ya know, I wrote my first book to a classical playlist. Now I require absolute silence. Why is that?

    1. Now that's a puzzle. Maybe different books have their own fickle requirements. I find that I can write to classical, but nothing with lyrics. I only use lyric-driven songs to set the mood. Today I'm thinking "Shiny Happy People" by REM. ;)