Friday, July 10, 2015

Books and Music

You could say I was an over booked child…of my own doing.  My parents gave me opportunities and I never wanted to quit anything.  By age 10 I spent ten hours a week at dance, I played violin and piano, and was in two honor choirs. In the spare moments of my performing arts life I had a book in my hands. Music and books have shaped my entire life. 

This is probably why I’ve always adored books about serious musicians or dancers; those that have dedicated over a decade to their craft or instrument by they time they graduate high school.  But lately I’ve been thinking about books are a kind of strange medium for music.

When we read we engage our sense of sight (obviously), but touch is also involved in the turning of the pages, and scent in the wonderful smell that can only be a book.  But really hearing isn’t involved in the act of reading. 

What I find amazing authors who engage that sense with music even though you can’t actually hear it.  I had phantom music in my head the entire time I read This Song Will Save Your Life.  It brought the rave scenes to life, gave them rhythm.  Some of the most powerful/defining moments of The Hunger Games were songs.  From Rue’s four note mocking jay signal to The Hanged Man’s Song in book three, these musical influences were my favorites parts of these books. These were always authentic moments for Katniss.

Music can help set a mood.  Cello has an almost haunting quality which suits If I Stay perfectly.  In The Cage, music is used very sparingly, but super effectively to enhancing the circular nature of the cage and the feeling of claustrophia it invokes.

Anyone have any good examples of music in books that I’ve left out?  Any musical book recommendations for me?  Let me know in the comments.

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