13 September 2020

Music as Inspiration for #Writing

I sometimes need complete silence, particularly when dealing with a complex scene, but usually like to have music playing in the background when I'm writing or revising.

I hadn't thought about how the music influenced the tone of my writing until I upgraded to the new MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop, which has excellent immersive surround sound from a new six speaker system.

During the writing of Henry - Book Three of the Tudor Trilogy, about the life of King Henry VII, I often listened to Sam East playing the Game of Thrones theme, starring Hadrian's Wall in the snow and Henry VII's Tudor marital bed - what more could you ask for?

When I wrote Mary - Tudor Princess, about the life of Henry VIII's youngest sister, I often played Pastime With Good Company (which is thought to have been written by King Henry), to evoke the spirit of the Tudor Court, and included the lyrics in the book:

I discovered The Petersens while working on my current work in progress, the second book in my new Elizabethan series, and realised the words of a particular song, Finally Going Home, perfectly described the demeanour of my main character:

The music of The Petersens has become the 'soundtrack' of my book, and Katie Petersen, who wrote Finally Going Home, has kindly agreed I can add a verse as an epilogue. I find it intriguing to realise the sentiments of lyrics written in present day Missouri chime so perfectly with events in Elizabethan England over four hundred years ago.

Tony Riches


  1. I love this. I feel vindicated. The instrumental soundtracks are almost always played when I am writing. Goldsmith, Barry, Zimmer, and there are a lot of newer composers who evoke the excitement of science fiction, fantasy, or historical. Thanks for the wonderful blog article.
    BTW could you please remind me how to post my blog on the author blog hop? All of my email everything took a dive a month ago....

    1. Thanks Susan here is the sign up form and guidance for the blog hop: https://raimeygallant.com/2017/03/22/authortoolboxbloghop/

  2. Another great post, Tony! I LOVE this music; three completely different moods, settings, and styles. I love watching the videos. But that's my problem. I would get involved in the music and or videos and NOT write. Unfortunately, I would like--fairly need--silence when I'm thinking and creating and writing. Thanks so much for sharing these inspirational music videos. All best to you, sir!

    1. Thanks Victoria - and wishing you success with your writing :)

  3. I have listened to music while writing, and I used to have tv on in the background sometimes, too, but not anymore for some reason. I don't think I concentrate quite as well with music. I love music when working on non-writing stuff, though. Actually, I think part of the problem with me and music is I don't have good new music coming in my life as much anymore. I don't have a car, so no radio really, and I've never paid for a really good service. There was a free service that I used to love, but it changed ownership and started charging and was never the same after that.

  4. I realized this recently on my latest book! Every time a particular song came up on my Pandora playlist, my protagonist started thinking about a character who had something terrible happen to them. It got to the point to where I knew the song was on when I started going down the same mental rabbit hole with my protagonist. It was called "On the Nature of Daylight(Entropy)" by Max Richter and is a beautiful, emotional instrumental piece.

    I absolutely think music helps set the tone to writing, and it's really neat to see what music inspired your works! Thank you for sharing this!


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