In my case it can be either/or. Depending on the type of mood I am in, I can write while listening to music, but in other cases I have to have complete silence. I generally listen to music without words, though, namely classical and orchestrated soundtracks from movies.
So I am curious what music does everyone listen to when they write? How does it affect you?
And, alternately, has a song, or section of a musical piece, inspired you so much that you've actually written a scene set to it?
I ask that question simply because it seems that some authors, besides myself, have had this experience. Christopher Paolini wrote the final battle scene in Eragon while listening to Carmina Burana, a fantastic epic classical work by Carl Orff. If you listen to parts of it you'll understand why he was so influenced by that piece. I have tried looking for other authors that have had similar experiences, but have somewhat come up short. Over here at Quantum Storytelling Redchurch has written a blog about favorite writing music. He quotes using a lot of different forms of music, mostly from film composers.
In my case I find that I am increasingly influenced by two specific pieces of music from two rather entertaining films. One is from The Chronicles of Narnia soundtrack, track 13. I've actually written in my head an entire scene for The World in the Satin Bag. It's a very emotional scene too, one in which I am not at all excited to write. The other is the track entitled Kronos Revealed on The Incredibles soundtrack. I've not written anything for it, but every time I hear that piece I start to really think. It is a powerful and gripping piece from the film and ends on this dark, brass filled set of notes, intensifying to a climax.
So, what sort of music affects all of you in your writing?
And, if we take this in the opposite direction, perhaps something you have written inspired you to write a song or think of something musical. Spider Robinson worked with David Crosby to write a sort of 'scifi' folk song for one of his novels. You can see the interview here. It's really the dorkiest you can get, but makes you think a little.