The ideal music to read a DWJ novel to.

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Wed Sep 5 13:16:55 EDT 2001

Dorian, quoting Sophie:

>> Er...well. Quite. I think, no actually, I know, that I
>> stated this wrong. What I really meant to ask, was
>> what sort of music do you fell connects up with the
>> books, what music captures the feel or the atmosphere
>> of them?
> I didn't contribute to this thread earlier, because I'm another one of
> those who shuts everything else out while reading.  But this different
> question sort of got me thinking a bit.

I'm finding this very difficult.  I seem to use quite different parts of my mind
for reading and music-listening.  Perhaps that's because I'm more on the
absolute music side than the programme music side.  That said, most of my
thoughts below seem to be programmatic...

And half the stuff Dorian mentions I haven't even heard of :-(

> With "Fire and Hemlock" should go a mixture of Steeleye Span (British
> folk-rock; IIRC they did version of both "Tam Lin" and "Thomas the
> Rhymer") and 80s pop.

Gosh, no!  String quartets and cello music, almost exclusively :-)  Try Dvorak's
cello concerto for starters.

(I have toyed with the idea of writing a cello concerto based on the book.  But
it probably won't happen...)

> "The Spellcoats" seems to demand medieval/early Rennaissance music,
> with recorders and cornamuses and crumhorns and things.  That sort of
> thing would go well with "Cart and Cwidder" too, and of course some
> lute music; I see a cwidder as being much like a lute, or maybe a
> cross between a lute and a viol.

I think of a cwidder as a lute, definitely, probably in part because of the
illustration on the cover of the 1970s Puffin edition.

> "Dogsbody" wants something Goth-ish but dreamy - maybe some of The
> Mission's slower stuff.

I can't make a mental connection between Dogsbody and any sort of music.

> "The Ogre Downstairs" has to be 70s rock...Whitesnake and Deep Purple,
> interspersed with the Bay City Rollers (!).

:-)  We are never told what sort of music Indigo Rubber play, are we?  But it's
a great name for a group!  (Should we start one?  There must be enough of us who
can play/sing...)

> "Power of Three"...something folkish.  Clannad, maybe.

Welsh or Irish traditional harp music would be my first stab.

One of my private sequel-speculations for Po3 is that Brad, after studying
chanter-lore with Banot, and perhaps Songman-lore with the Dorig, manages to get
into a Giant music college, and comes back with some really new ideas...
(Assuming, of course, that it's possible to go through music college and still
have really new ideas at the end of it ;-) )

> "Eight Days of Luke" probably ought to be Wagner, but I can't stand
> Wagner, so I'll say Handel's "Music for the Royal Fireworks".  And
> maybe the "1812 Overture" as well.

LOL!  Nor can I!  But I'd go for Greig and Nielsen.

> "The Homeward Bounders" needs lots of different styles of music,
> preferably involving plenty of little-known things like Icelandic
> folk-songs and African tribal stuff and wail-y Middle Eastern things.

Definitely.  But don't forget gamelan...

> Light, fluffy Italian composers would go with "The Magicians of
> Caprona", but I can't think of any suitable ones off the top of my
> head.  Some of Mozart would probably fit too.

Difficult.  Rossini?  Bellini?  Cimarosa?  The only Italian composer I really
like is Respighi, who doesn't fit nearly so well.

On the other hand, why not pick some of the many Romeo and Juliet
interpretations.  The rivalry bits, if not the lovey-dovey bits.  I can think of
exactly the right bit of Prokofiev for the single combat (I think it's a single
combat in the ballet, too)...

> The other Chrestomanci books need something soberer.  Some of Bach's
> organ stuff, perhaps.  Except "Witch Week", where I find myself
> thinking The Damned.

But something eastern for the temple of Asheth, I think...

Right.  Some more.

Sudden Wild Magic.  What would people suggest for the jingly sort of music
played in Arth and the Pentarchy?  That aside, I have somehow got a connection
set up in my mind that says Hurl = Tapio, which gives the obvious piece by
Sibelius for his appearance, anyway...

My mind seems totally blank on this subject now.  Oh well.

>> Sophie (who will try to bring the subject of music up
>> at every opportunity and is making notes about
>> book-recommendations with a musical theme)
> Books with a musical theme, huh?  Let me see...  Mercedes Lackey's
> "Bardic Voices" and sequels spring immediately to mind - very light,
> fluffy fantasy about, well, bards.  Music also runs through several of
> her Valdemar books.  There's a lot of music running through Joan
> Aiken's James III series; Dido's father is a musician and bits of his
> songs pop up everywhere.  Then there's Anne McCaffrey's "Crystal
> Singer" books - SF where the mining of a particular type of crystal is
> achieved by singing to/at it.

Yes, although the Anne McCaffery I'd have picked is the second Pern trilogy -
Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrums...

I like music treated sensibly in fantasy and SF - see the Tough Guide entries on
Song etc. for how not to treat it - and this usually means writers who are also

Anne McCaffery is I think quite an accomplished singer.  Patricia McKillip is a
pianist, and "Fool's Run" and the Riddle Master series both have plenty of music
in them.  Charles de Lint puts the music to his protagonist's songs in an
appendix at the back of "The Little Country", which is a nice touch.  (And I
have still only learned to play one of them!)

Who else writes books and is a musician?

Also with a musical theme, try "Space Opera" by Jack Vance.  The "Spellsinger"
series by Alan Dean Foster tries hard, but doesn't quite make it in my opinion,
but if you try it you may disagree.

Of course.  How could I forget?  "The Silver Metal Lover" by Tanith Lee.  One
day I will get around to creating a short tape of my settings of the two songs
in that book.  When I do, copies will be available at cost.  (And first in the
queue is Tanith Lee, from whom I got a very nice letter when I first wrote them.


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