“The earth has music for those who listen.”
I know most people don’t like listening to music when they read because it can ruin the book entirely but, I feel like music can make or brake a book altogether. It can take a book to a whole new level, or it can drown it out.
If you have been a person who has been scared to read books while listening to music, don’t fret. It’s all about picking music that fits the book. Whether lyrical or instrumental, the songs you pick must be powerful for a fantasy book or loose and cute for a contemporary. I’m not really a person to listen to a music when I read but sometimes I like to have something playing in the background! Below is a list of some of my recommendations to help you pick a perfect mixtape of songs for the books you like to read.
Set The Mood
Use music as your advantage to set the mood and bring a book to better heights. The best way to do this is start by figuring out what genre your current read is. Once that’s decided, all that is left is to find some music that will go good with the genre. Science-fiction and fantasy novels will be in need of something powerful to emphasize every intense battle scene. But on the other hand, a contemporary, depending on what mood the book gives you, will either be in need of cheerful music or something sad and slow.
Start Picking Some Songs
The number one rule to keep in mind when picking songs is to never pick pop music or hip-hop. Certain types of rock and alternative are okay but, indie and instrumental are your best choices. Both genres come with so many different types of songs.
If you choose to listen to indie because you prefer to listen to lyrical music, choose songs that you’ve never heard of or ones that you don’t know the words to. Indie music is better to listen to when reading a contemporary since sometimes, contemporaries need a little more to the background music to make it feel like you are in the book. If you are currently reading a contemporary, definitely try to figure out if it’s a sad or happy book. Not the hardest thing to figure out. If it has a deeper feel to it (books that focus on mental issues and death), try to go for some music that has a sense of melancholy or some peaceful piano. On the other hand, if the book is more on the happy side (love stories, friendship), choose content music that will bring a huge smile n to your face throughout your novel.
If you are reading a fantasy/science-fiction novel, I greatly suggest you try instrumental. Even if you highly dislike listening to it, just give it a go. There are so many powerful compositions out there that there is an endless possibility of music to listen to. I’m betting most of you are probably “beginner” instrumental music listeners, so my biggest tip to you is to listen to movie soundtracks. Yes, you guessed it, movie soundtracks. Most authors actually listen to movie soundtracks while writing our favorite novels. Basically, the easiest way to pick a movie soundtrack to listen to, think of your favorite movie. Once you’ve thought of one, search it up to find a soundtrack for it and ba-bam, you have a whole playlist of new songs. Some of my favorite soundtracks include Harry Potter, The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones and If I Stay!
Listen and Read On
Once you’ve picked your songs, all you have to do is set your music to a low volume and continue reading your book. Usually if you picked the right songs, you will feel yourself read the book faster than before. But maybe the songs you picked don’t fit the book correctly. What do you do? Well… either don’t listen to music or pick and choose different music!
Hopefully all three of those tips will help all of you create beautiful and mesmerizing playlists!
Sample Bookish Mixtape
Below are some songs that I love to listen to while reading. This playlist is set up to fit any genre so feel free to use it for yourself!
- Clary’s Theme by Atli Orvarsson
- Promise by Ben Howard
- Suite No. 1 in G Major for Solo Cello, BMV 1007
- Halo by Ane Brun, Linnea Olsson
- Blood Bnak by Bon Iver
- Roslyn by Bon Iver and St. Vincent
- The Nutcracker Suite, Op 71a, TH 35
- Swan Lake, Op 20, TH 12
- Prelude in D Minor, Op 28 No 24
- Nocturne in D flat Major Op 27, No. 2
- Hedwig’s Theme by John Williams
- Four Seasons op.8 Winter: Allegro non molto
- Evergreen by Broods
- Half The World Away by Aurora
A mix of songs perfect for contemporaries and fantasies. Feel free to use some or all of the songs to start a bookish playlist for your current reads!
Great Artists To Listen To
I’ve already said before that indie music is the way to go, unless the book gives perfect mixtapes for the book (Since You’ve Been Gone). One of my favorite artists to listen to while reading is Bon Iver. Most of his songs are soft and serene with the slightest feel of melancholy. His music is listened to by millions of people around the world and can be related to Band of Horses’ and is one of the most well known indie music. Ben Howard is another one of my favorites. His music is very much like Bon Iver’s but it has more of a content tone. Broods is a very unknown indie band that creates some of indie’s best music. Their music is quite a bit more upbeat from both Bon Iver’s and Ben Howards, but it still has that soft indie feel to it. (at least some of their songs)
Amazing Composers To Listen To
Compositions from well known soundtracks are my favorite way to listen to music while reading. One of the best modern day composers I’ve ever listened to is Atli Orvarsson. He composed music for one of YA’s least favorite bookish adaptations, The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones. In my opinion the movie was amazing! But aside from the controversy over the movie, the soundtrack is exquisitely composed. It is filled with powerful octaves and is very beautiful to listen to. If you are more on the old school side, definitely listen to older instrumental music. Great composers lived a long time ago such as Chopin, Tchaichovsky and Bach. Most of their music is cello and piano but it is definitely a wonderful thing to listen to when reading.
I hope this “mini” guide helped you with finding new music to listen to! It was so much fun to make and I hope to do updated ones in the future!