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Discussions about books > Listening to music while reading?

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message 1: by David (new)

David (rapierhomme) I have suffered with tinnitus for years and can't stand to have it totally silent. A lot of times, depending on where I am, I'll listen to music while I read, a practice my wife can't seem to understand. Baroque seems to be the best because it is very non-intrusive while still masking the ringing sound.

I was curious to know if anyone else listened to music while they read, and if so what do you listen to?


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) I do when I'm on the train, but not so much at home. (Though usually the boy's on the computer and that provides enough background noise.)

As for what I listen to - I put the iPod on shuffle and have at it. Unless there's a song that pops on that I really like, or the book's kinda sucky and not grabbing my interest, it just fades to the background anyway.


message 3: by Bridget (new)

Bridget Bowers (bridgetbowers) | 37 comments I listen to music when I read a lot. It provides a soundtrack to what I'm reading. My tastes in music are as varied as my tastes in reading so I listen to what fits my mood. I'll listen to classical, rock, pop, jazz or just hit random and see what happens.


message 4: by Judy (new)

Judy Olson | 49 comments Classical music is best for me...if its a song I know, then even if its instrumental, I will "sing along " in my brain, losing the story in the process. So better it is some sort of classical non-word background.


message 5: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments I can't listen and read. I like it quiet.


message 6: by Traci (new)

Traci Almost all the time. Different music for different books. And the music I use will always remind me of the book I read while listening to it. It's funny because it has to fit and each book is a different fit.


message 7: by Kasia (last edited Feb 14, 2012 08:27PM) (new)

Kasia (kasia_s) | 51 comments I used to only tolerate total quiet for reading but over time I grew appreciation for some soft reading music, or anything I like on very low level... living in ny I listen to WQXR radio when reading, it's soothing and makes me feel like I'm in a bookstore in a good way.


message 8: by Jalilah (last edited Feb 15, 2012 12:01PM) (new)

Jalilah I prefer to read with no music. However if I am really into a novel and there is music mentioned I will listen to it when not reading. Charles de Lint does this a lot in his novels. His musical taste is very eclectic ranging from Celtic, folk to jazz, and blues and punk rock or rockabilly.
Some of his novels with good playlists are:

Trader
Widdershins
The Mystery of Grace


message 9: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments I can't do it. I like quiet but I can tune 99% of stuff out to really concentrate.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) I love to listen to music when I read or do other things. I can't listen to songs that have people talking though, because it distracts me. So no rap/hip-hop while I'm reading. Some songs actually become a soundtrack for the book I'm reading and bring to mind the character's journey.


message 11: by David (new)

David (rapierhomme) Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I love to listen to music when I read or do other things. I can't listen to songs that have people talking though, because it distracts me. So no rap/hip-hop while I'm reading. Some songs actually ..."

That's the way I am. Light classical, light jazz, or ambient music is the best for me. I have a CD that was sent to me when I ordered something from a catalog called Music for the Serious Reader. It's really good to read by.


message 12: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah Opps,,I meant to say De Lint's musical tastes were very eclectic and NOT "eccentric". That was a typo!


message 13: by Jenna (new)

Jenna I'm more of a single task person when it comes to reading, tv and movies. I like to only do the one thing at once. So I don't usually listen to music when I read.


message 14: by Stuart (new)

Stuart (asfus) | 98 comments I almost never read with music in the background.


message 15: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyons (amandamlyons) It depends on what I'm reading some things need my focus more while others get all kinds of benefits from a good soundtrack.


message 16: by David (new)

David (rapierhomme) Amanda wrote: "It depends on what I'm reading some things need my focus more while others get all kinds of benefits from a good soundtrack."

I have to make sure the soundtrack fits the book. For example, listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack doesn't really go with reading a suspenseful book!


message 17: by Bill (new)

Bill (billymac) | 20 comments I play music so I'm acutely aware of chord progressions, etc. I can't concentrate at all on a book if there's music in the background.

As a side note, there is one particular music tie-in that has happened to me. While reading Interview with the Vampire years ago, Concrete Blonde had come out with their Bloodletting CD, and I was very much into that. Whenever I picked up that book, songs from that album were buzzing around in my head.
Grace, Too by the Tragically Hip had also come out around then, and had a menacing swampy groove that also suited the novel. Funny, I think Interview with the Vampire is the only novel that ever had such strong musical vibes for me....


message 18: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyons (amandamlyons) David wrote: "Amanda wrote: "It depends on what I'm reading some things need my focus more while others get all kinds of benefits from a good soundtrack."

I have to make sure the soundtrack fits the book. Fo..."


Exactly! Sometimes the only music I like for reading is classical or new agey instrumental stuff because its less distracting.


message 19: by Tyrone (last edited Feb 17, 2012 03:37AM) (new)

Tyrone (28daysearlier) | 87 comments A couple of writers i like, John Connolly and Mark Billingham are quite specific about the music their main character listens to during the novels and in the case of Connolly, he blogs about what music he is listening to while he writes and it is interesting to see what comes up in novels.

Personally I find it difficult to listen to anything with a strong vocal when I read and have to have the music at low volume but I do like to have background music on while reading to the extent that I have a Playlist especially for this purpose. I've given this quite a lot of thought over time. Here are some of those artists and albums;

Endtroducing - DJ Shadow
About a Boy (OST) - Badly Drawn Boy
The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place - Explosions in the Sky
Flamenco Electrico - Jaco Abel
Equinoxe and Oxygene - Jean Michel Jarre
Surfing with the Alien and others - Joe Satriani
Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield
The Division Bell and others - Pink Floyd
Rodrigo Y Gabriela - Rodrigo Y Gabriela
The Very Best of Rondo Veneziano - Rondo Veneziano
Paris Texas (OST) - Ry Cooder
Agaetis Byrjun and others - Sigur Ros
Ladies and Gentleman we are Floating in Space - Spiritualized
Songs from the Labyrith - Sting
The BQE - Sufjan Stevens
Rubycon - Tangerine Dream
Chilled Ibiza (compilations i,ii,iii) - Various
Cold Mountain (OST) - Various
Rhapsody in Blue/An American in Paris - Gershwin
Foot Tappers (instrumental classics) - Various
Past Present - Clannad
Cornish Tunes - Eric Foulger
Holst; The Planets - Grainger
Adagio Relaxing Classical Music - Various

And there are those individual songs I added as I found them;

Jessica - The Allman Brothers Band
Pick Up The Pieces - The Average White Band
Nothing to Fear - God's Great Banana Skin
Holy Man (instrumental) - Dennis Wilson
Eldorado Instrumental Melody - ELO
Chi Mai - Ennio Morricone
Theme From Midnight Cowboy - Faith No More
Cacharpaya - Incantation
The Supernatural - Gary Moore
Embryonic Journey - Jefferson Airplane
Cavantina - John Williams
Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence - Ryuichi Sakamoto
Last Orders - Richard Hawley
Nothing is Good Enough (instrumental) - Aimee Mann

There are plenty of others, but these are the main ones that work for me. Any new suggestions gratefully received.


message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan | 32 comments I usually like it quiet when I read or if there is noise I tune it out.


message 21: by Dustin (new)

Dustin I prefer to have minimal background noise. Some music is okay.. if I don't have SOMETHING, it's almost too quiet..


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

I listen to music most of the time anyway, no matter what I'm doing.
Mostly listen to metal and I find that it goes hand in hand with fantasy novels... many of the lyrics in the various subgenres of metal are fantasy inspired anyway, whether its general sword and sorcery, dragonslaying stuff or perhaps a band inspired by Tolkien or a different author.


message 23: by Danniella (new)

Danniella Duff (danniellaalisaduff) | 5 comments I listen to music a lot. I wouldn't survive without it. But listening whilst reading... um no. Too distracting.


message 24: by Kerr (new)

Kerr Cuhulain | 7 comments I like it quiet when I read.


message 25: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (imhrien) | 433 comments I have no problem tuning out, but I don't mind listening to music while reading. Like others have said, sometimes the song will bring up memories of the book or character. I have picked out specific tracks or albums for books, but I only do this with books I'm pretty familiar with.

When we had the time to waste, a friend and I used to make a game out of putting together our own separate "Soundtrack" albums to accompany a book. It had to have a main theme song, character themes, songs for big moments, etc. We'd play both and the album that matched best won. Its pretty challenging! Of course, he had a major advantage over me, because he's a music buff and is familiar with way more songs and genres.

Tyrone wrote: "Rodrigo Y Gabriela - Rodrigo Y Gabriela"

I find them awesome for chase or fight scenes!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) I've started listening to music again lately. I was too sick to really enjoy music over the past couple of months, and it was hard to concentrate on more than one thing at a time. I'm glad I can enjoy my favorite songs and groups again. Music is very important to me.

I've fallen back into the You Tube black hole, especially watching Interpol concert videos. *happy sigh*


message 27: by Lawrenz (new)

Lawrenz Lano (lawrenzlano) | 181 comments I can't read in a noisy or busy place and never have music playing either. My favorite way to read is early in the morning with the sound of birds in the background.


message 28: by K. (last edited Jul 09, 2012 07:18PM) (new)

K. (aoutranc3) I don't specifically listen to music when I read. I have a particularly good ability to just zone everyone and everything out when I am in the midst of a reading binge, so it wouldn't matter if I wanted to listen to music anyway.


message 29: by Kasia (new)

Kasia (kasia_s) | 51 comments Im reading George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones and listening to Two Steps from Hell ( especially the Invincible album) is just perfect.

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message 30: by Kit★ (new)

Kit★ (xkittyxlzt) | 1018 comments I used to always listen to music while reading, but nowadays with the little one, more often than not I'm reading with some little kids' show in the background, like Sesame Street or Clifford the Dog... I'd rather have the music, though as I get older I seem to prefer nice and quiet when reading, b/c I get too tempted to sing along and my attention to the story strays.


message 31: by Dave (new)

Dave Wood (pocket7976) I tend to listen to music in the background whilst reading. This tends to bring up some odd combinations. Listened to Stings Ten Summoners Tales whilst reading It and the 2 are now inextobily linked in my mind.


message 32: by Tyrone (last edited Jul 10, 2012 03:07AM) (new)

Tyrone (28daysearlier) | 87 comments I had the same experience in the early 1990's. I was reading the Necroscope, Vamphyri! and Necroscope III: The Source from Brian Lumley and at the same time I was playing Violator by Depeche Mode pretty much on repeat. In particular 'Sweetest Perfection' and 'Waiting for the Night' could almost be on a soundtrack for the film if one was ever made.

The two have have melded so much that now when i re-read the books I can actually hear violator playing in my head.


message 33: by Dave (new)

Dave Wood (pocket7976) Same here 'Shape of the Heart' takes me straight back to 1950's Derry every time.


message 34: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments I'd tune one or the other out, lol. I like to read without distractions.


message 35: by Nyssa, Don't make me get the ruler! (new)

Nyssa | 134 comments MrsJoseph wrote: "I'd tune one or the other out, lol. I like to read without distractions."

I'm exactly the same. I can read/skim for specific info with music on, but that's about it.


message 36: by Bill (new)

Bill (kernos) | 350 comments Judy wrote: "Classical music is best for me...if its a song I know, then even if its instrumental, I will "sing along " in my brain, losing the story in the process. So better it is some sort of classical non..."

Me too and without too much variation in style, volume etc.


message 37: by Jesse Rodriguez (new)

Jesse Rodriguez I would have a better chance of understanding what I read while jumping on a trampoline.


message 38: by L.Y. (new)

L.Y. Levand (lylevand) | 131 comments I can read with music, as long as it's not really loud, or with lots of singing, which is really weird, because I can read while screaming children wreak havoc and notice absolutely nothing.


message 39: by Carly (new)

Carly (dawnsio_ar_y_dibyn) | 192 comments I read at the gym, so I always listen to music when I read. I mainly listen to soundtracks of movies I haven't seen--they tend to make great book soundtracks, and because I haven't seen the movie, I have no associations paired with the music. There are a bunch of multi-hour soundtrack combinations on youtube, and I use those to find soundtracks that work with the book. I end up with very strange combinations--my soundtrack for the Harry Potter books was mainly Sinbad: Voyage of the Seven Seas and Felix Castor books is part Kingdom of Heaven, part XMen Wolverine. I guess the only problem is I'll never be able to see any of those movies because I associate the music strongly with the books.


message 40: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Well, at least you won't be missing much with X-Men Wolverine. Hugh is the only decent aspect of that movie ;)


message 41: by ShyNight (new)

ShyNight | 8 comments The only music I can and enjoy listening to while reading is 'Solo Piano'.. anything else.. even if it was more than one piano is just to distracting :) I can tune it out if i want to .. but why turn on something only to tune it out ;)


message 42: by Carl (new)

Carl Alves (carlalves) | 44 comments I don't listen to music often while writing, but I tend to go towards listening to Metal. Something loud and fast suits my writing style.


message 43: by Pickle (last edited Apr 27, 2013 05:51AM) (new)

Pickle | 13 comments i cant listen to anything with vocals while reading so usually some ambient electro like Aphex Twin, The KLF, The Orb etc


message 44: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (imhrien) | 433 comments Pickle wrote: "i cant listen to anything with vocals while reading so usually some ambient electro like Aphex Twin, The KLF, The Orb etc"

Aphex Twin....I take it you read a lot of horror, right?


message 45: by Carly (last edited Apr 28, 2013 07:34PM) (new)

Carly (dawnsio_ar_y_dibyn) | 192 comments Carol wrote: "Well, at least you won't be missing much with X-Men Wolverine. Hugh is the only decent aspect of that movie ;)"

Well, the music is wonderful. I basically love everything that Harry Gregson-Williams composes. From Sophie's post above, it sounds like other people soundtrack their reading as well... does anyone know of reviewers on GR who post their book soundtracks? I've seen a lot of reviews that choose actors to cast the characters, but I haven't seen music, and it would be a fun way to see how other readers envision the story. I find that I appreciate books and characters much more when I get the right music for them.


message 46: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Faith Hunter and Seanan McGuire post soundtracks in their books... my friend Anthony does sometimes integrate music.


message 47: by Pickle (last edited Apr 29, 2013 12:05AM) (new)

Pickle | 13 comments Sophie wrote: "Pickle wrote: "i cant listen to anything with vocals while reading so usually some ambient electro like Aphex Twin, The KLF, The Orb etc"

Aphex Twin....I take it you read a lot of horror, right?"


not overly... i love paranoia in the PKD style, what's real? Id only associate one song of Aphex with horror and thats Come to Daddy which is always played.

Aphex has a lot of ambient tracks which i find perfect to read along too.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) ShyNight wrote: " I can tune it out if i want to .. but why turn on something only to tune it out ;)
"


I usually use it when I'm trying to tune other stuff out - like yapping jackasses on the train. I find tuning the music out easier than their conversations...


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