Thinkin’ on Thursday: “Song Sung Blue” Everybody Knows One

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

I read recently (in The Writer) about an idea for writing: describe the soundtrack for your story. I am a writer who is more “word‑oriented” than “music‑oriented.” I think I married a man (only two years ago) who may be “music‑oriented,” though he also has a fine mind for words. Notice I said “mind,” not “ear.”

He sings along with almost anything that comes on the car radio while we’re driving somewhere. I’m thinking words, while he hums, or sings full-voice and beats rhythms all the time. (He also includes what he calls “chair dancing,” but we won’t go there.) Almost anything will make him remember a lyrical phrase from a song, which he then quotes.

This made me think about the musical background to any story. Do any of my characters play an instrument? Do they sing? What kinds of songs do they sing, know, remember, and think about? Do their songs make them “blue” like the Neil Diamond song? Happy? Do they laugh along, cry along, hum along?

It seems that a touch of music, here and there, could enliven a story. It would also appeal to readers who are more aural than visual “learners.”

Give it a try. Take some story or chapter you’re working on. Add a radio, or a tape recording. Have someone singing in the shower. (Even I do that most days. Well, very quietly.)

If you’re writing for children, all the better! What do they sing along with? What words did they misunderstand? What did they sing instead? It’s like the story of the child who said he was singing about “Gladly, the cross‑eyed bear” at church, when the song was actually “Gladly, the Cross I’d Bear.”

Generally speaking, children love music. When my daughter was very tiny, we would hear her singing in her crib very early in the morning. Most of it was nonsense, but that didn’t stop her. She sang anyway. Later, she learned actual songs, “real” lyrics. Why wouldn’t your child character, or an adult character for that matter, include music and singing in his or her life?

When and where are your characters singing? Listening to music? Thumping out a rhythm?

See you next for Spellbinder Saturday!


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