Home » Writing » Songs in the Key of Writing

Songs in the Key of Writing

Today, Scott Bury is back with me, and we’re talking about songs that describe a novel that you’re writing, or written.  And Scott . . . yeah, he’s got lots of music.





The soundtrack


This week’s topic for the TTC Master Koda Virtual Blog Tour is songs that fit with their book. I have thought for a while that it might be possible to link a soundtrack to an ebook, especially if you’re reading on a tablet.

So, here is my suggestion for a soundtrack for my novel.

The Bones of the Earth begins with a moonlight fertility right led by the village shaman, Vorona. The music for that scene would have to start with a strong, complex and ancient drum-beat. Realistically, that would have to be an ancient Slavic rhythm. But to translate the feeling to today’s audience, Chris Isaak’s In the Heat of the Jungle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7AN3TptvHo does it perfectly (the music does; this video is kind of stupid, but it’s the only one of this song on the ’net). If that’s not long enough, something like Soul Sacrifice (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F3Cjr32QyI) by Santana would flow nicely afterward.

Sturm und drang would fit the next chapter, where my main character and his best friend chase Avar horsemen across the meadows at the feet of the Carpathian mountains. The opening of Haydn’s Symphony no. 49 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ9-tYvTTOE) has the stressful, yet quiet tone right for the beginning, while the louder and more rhythmic later movements would be a good accompaniment for the tragedy at the end of the chapter.

Of course, the scene where Javor and Photius encounter Ghastog would be best accompanied by the music of Tom Waits. He’s got exactly the right kind of gravelly, tortured voice for the scene in the monster’s cave. As they approach the cave, something like Yesterday is Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbvzYii3z0I) has just the right tone, and suggests the antiquity of the scene; then in the cave, Way Down in the Hole (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ymBaAsSqDE), and finally, Bad as Me (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6Ta3H-ck6s&feature=related).

Now, you have to read the book (hint) to get these next few, but Train in Vain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYK7bEo1Z4M) by the Clash fits the next scene.

Part 2 could be accompanied by Bob Dylan’s Things Have Changed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9EKqQWPjyo&ob=av2e), Riders on the Storm by the Doors (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_eQGsbHhDo)and then Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01UOKCA2jHY) for the scenes across Dacia.

Later, Lost Together by Blue Rodeo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8JGk6Y6N3Y) works, followed by Like a Hurricane by Neil Young (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Obfci1CIqq8). As our characters approach the Roman outpost, Tom Waits steps back to the microphone with A Little Drop of Poison (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aTvELXNXNU).

Then, back to some sturm und drang — more Haydn and Mozart, too, for the most epic scene ever according to one reviewer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lC1lRz5Z_s).

Part 3 could open with It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9aklSlMthc). You know I had to get Springsteen in there, somewhere. Then, it could blend into the Boss’s The Angel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnZOjMZaw8c).

Toward the end, I’d put in Love, Reign O’er Me by the Who (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygOaNo3M_Hw). Then we go back to Chris Isaak for Baby did a Bad, Bad Thing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWf7cT8CTDI). Then I would play more Tom Waits: for the arrival of Stuhach and its cronies and then the Kobolds, Raised Right Men (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9uTo_KBBAw) fits just right.

Everything is Broken by Bob Dylan could come next, then One of These Days by Pink Floyd (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTrNQCYh70Y).

For the final confrontation, I’d start with the overture to Wagner’s Tannhauser (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgpOctKSwp4), just to make sure the audience gets the myth I’m evoking. The Right Stuff from Brian Ferry’s glory 80s days (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW2cNGs5wnk) would follow nicely — just the right mood here. Then, if that’s not enough, how about Black Magic Woman (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij4gc8iBDaI) as performed by Santana (are you getting a feeling for my taste in music, yet?)

Finally, some really spooky stuff at the end: maybe Santana’s Jingo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAEcbNzLXiM), followed by Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCEDfZgDPS8).

And for the epilogue: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, by U2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSv-lKwOQvE).

But now, I’d like to hear from you: make some suggestions for music to accompany my book (you’ll have to read it, first, though ;)). Or maybe in the Comments section, tell Raymond and me about some songs you think would accompany your favourite books.


Hope to see lots of comments!




Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and writer living in Ottawa. His articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia.

The Bones of the Earth is his first novel to be published.

He has two sons, an orange cat and a loving wife who puts up with a lot. You can read more of Scott’s writing at Written Words and Scott’s Travel Blog, and on his website, The Written Word. Follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.




Blue Rodeo:

Lost Together, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8JGk6Y6N3Y

The Clash:

Train in Vain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYK7bEo1Z4M)

Bob Dylan:

Things Have Changed, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9EKqQWPjyo&ob=av2e

The Doors:

Riders on the Storm, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_eQGsbHhDo

Brian Ferry:

The Right Stuff http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW2cNGs5wnk

Josef Haydn:

Symphony no. 45, “Farewell,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lm_OLznua6g Symphony no. 49, “The Passion”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ9-tYvTTOE

Chris Isaak:

In the Heat of the Jungle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7AN3TptvHo

Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWf7cT8CTDI

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:

Symphony No. 25 in G Minor, performed by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, conducted by Neville Mariner

Modeste Mussorgsky:

Night on Bald Mountain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCEDfZgDPS8

Carl Orff:

Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi from Carmina Burana, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Levine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01UOKCA2jHY

Pink Floyd:

One of These Days http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTrNQCYh70Y

Carlos Santana:

Black Magic Woman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij4gc8iBDaI Soul Sacrifice http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F3Cjr32QyI Jingo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAEcbNzLXiM

Bruce Springsteen:

The Angel, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnZOjMZaw8c It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9aklSlMthc


I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSv-lKwOQvE

Richard Wagner, Tannhauser Overture, performed by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgpOctKSwp4

The Who:

Love, Reign O’er Me, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygOaNo3M_Hw

Tom Waits:

A Little Drop of Poison, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aTvELXNXNU Raised Right Men, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9uTo_KBBAw Yesterday is Here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbvzYii3z0I Way Down in the Hole http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ymBaAsSqDE Bad as Me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6Ta3H-ck6s&feature=related

Neil Young, Like a Hurricane, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Obfci1CIqq8

5 thoughts on “Songs in the Key of Writing

  1. Wow, I know what you mean about music springing creativity into action. Chopin’s “Heroic Polonaise” has the same effect for me, as does “Wasted Time” by Skid Row (something about it just conveys disillusionment, which is the basis of most of my writing).

  2. Mr. Bury – Obviously I need to broaden my musical horizons. What amazing music choices though. I’m inspired now to set my books to music – helps in the organization of the plot / chapters as well. With all of my stories, I’d like to find a way to include http://youtu.be/GD3VsesSBsw (Carmina Burana – O Fortuna). I love this song, and even though it’s a “love poem”, I always equate it to epic battle scenes in fantasy movies. All of my main characters go through some kind of battle to find themselves and this music represents the struggle and joy when they finally win.

I Want to be Part of the Craziness! Let Me Say This:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.