Tuesday, 13 April 2010

some thoughts on a powerful piece of music

Mike...I thought it interesting about your utilising a specific piece of music in your novel to spark soemthing within a character/between characters...I have just this same thing sketched out for later on in my own writing. I thought about Roland showing empathy to Almir - once theyve been having an affair for a few months and have become closer than just the sex - Almir's down for a second time after Trudies mugging and Elyes's deportation. Roland tries to get Al to open up but not very succesfully - he relates his own recent experience of grief following his mothers death - and Al tells him" people say, don t they, you never really completely grow up til you lose a parent; but what if you lose both parents and at the same moment - when you are just 15 years old - and 30 minutes before you were sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner together...It makes an old man of you, a bitter old man of you at 15!" (or words to that effect - not sure yet ...just have a brief notes sketch of it so far. Roland then is so moved he cant think of anything to say ...so ..he shares a piece of music with Al...which " Gerry -an old queen I know - we've never had sex but he's always been around for me, since I was in my early 20's and satrted doin stuff - you know - with guys -- and I always went to him if I had things on my mind - he's my fairy godfather? mother?(not sure which)..so to speak..this old guy , I went to see him when my mum passed away and he put on this music and he didnt need to say anything cos' that music said just exactly how I was feelin...Roland puts on Pergolese's Stabbat Mater....then for the first time - hearing it Al cries in Rolands presence and Roland holds him in his arms and rocks him as he cries like a baby(well - something on these lines)..What do you think?


1 comment:

  1. I think, in principle, alluding to music is a good thing in a novel. I mentioned a few pop/disco tracks in my last reading like John Paul Young’s ‘Love is in the Air’, Diana Ross’ ‘Love Hangover ‘ and a Barry White track. No one made any negative comment about me having done that.

    Certain novels are very famous for their use of music — although this tends to be most effective in TV and Film adaptations. The one I think of most is Inspector Morse with his Wagner and Mozart being quite integral to the stories/dramas.

    I certainly think that music can express emotions that are difficult to put down in print. I have an idea for my novel of Kim’s breathing being in time and reacting to the Tallis Fantasia.

    Whether it works or not depends, I think, largely on the genre and audience. Would they be familiar with the music? For the music I’ve mentioned, RVW’s Tallis Fantasia was number three on Classic FM’s Hall of Fame this year so it’s a fairly safe bet that people interested in classical music will know it. Very few people will know Tavener’s ‘Song For Athene’ by name but if you say it’s the song at Lady Di’s funeral then it should click for most people.

    Even so, if the context and reaction to the music is written well enough then I don’t think it’s necessary that it’s a really popular work. Your scene descriptions are very poignant and emotional and I think that readers might seek out the music that you describe, even if they don’t know it.

    My instinct would be to include all these things at the moment. If the musical references fall foul of an editor then so be it but, like you say, they can articulate emotions very well.