Monday, February 24, 2020

Music+Books=Me

I think everyone here knows I love music. If you don't, well, I love music, I love playing and teaching piano and violin, I listen to movie soundtracks on a regular basis (listening to Frozen II right now, and I've been working my way through my 17.5 hour Star Wars playlist while writing my book), and yeah, I might be a little obsessive in the music department, but I don't care. Music is awesome. Like the Candlelight Processional at Walt Disney World. Also, one of my favorite things about our new Roku TV is that it has a Spotify app. So...music ends up in my books a lot.

In all but the final draft of Across the Stars, Lu sang "I'd Rather Have Jesus" while in the dungeon. I'm assuming I changed it to a prayer because I wasn't 100% sure it was in the public domain and I'd included the lyrics. I'm pretty sure it's public domain, though.



In The Experiment, guards reported hearing beautiful voices singing songs of praise the night Henry Rubin died. The characters in that book were, I think, too busy running for their lives and getting experimented on in this book for much music.

"Amazing Grace" actually appears twice in Time Captives. First, when Calvin is playing piano with his sister at home, then in The Crossways when Jill sings it just after Adriel commits his life to the Lord. But that's not the only mention of music in Time Captives. After all, Abigail plays the violin and is conscripted as court violinist to replace the previous violinist who was executed for opposing Mudan's treatment of slaves. Most of what Abigail plays is not named, but I did reference a Handel sonata. I didn't name it specifically, not sure why, but in canon, she was playing the piece I was learning at the time of writing: Sonata No. 4 in D major. Also, there's dancing at the end of the series, which obviously means more music. But these are unspecified Calhortan originals.



The upcoming Carrie Mouse and the Piano Lesson is all about music. Carrie loves "Oh Susanna." She's desperate to learn to play it. Also, the method Carrie's teacher uses is loosely based on Edna Mae Burnam's "Step by Step Piano Course," which is my favorite course for beginners.

Acktorek has probably the most music of any of my books to date. Carla is a pianist, and so her first introduction is playing the piano. She plays her own arrangement of "Let It Go," because obviously she has to like Frozen songs. I mean, I did pause in sorting laundry to belt out "Show Yourself" to an empty house. In early drafts, at least, it was mentioned she liked playing "King of Love" by I Am They. I'd recently learned it to play at church when I included the reference. There's also a mention of "Morning Mood" from Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg. I was surprised, though, when looking it up on YouTube for a listen, to see how few people know what it's called. I mean, I had a classical CD with it since I was a little kid and it's in level one of Bastien's Favorite Classic Melodies, which I teach from all the time. So I've known what it was the entire time I knew what it sounded like, though as a kid I called it "Morning Mountain King" since both it and "In the Hall of the Mountain King" are both from Peer Gynt. But I digress.





The most prominently featured song in Acktorek, however, is "Le Petit Noir" by Claude Debussy, which is another song I learned to play. Carla is learning it for a school talent show. I had a wonderful, terrible idea for a moment in the film score involving this piece, should Acktorek ever be a movie, but I can't say more because it involves major spoilers. I think Michael Giacchino could pull it off, though. I'd definitely want him to compose the score. He's a pretty awesome and versatile composer.


Music is awesome. It's important to me, though, that fiction involving music gets it right. There's nothing worse/more cringe worthy than really bad depictions of music/musicians.



And nothing better than when they actually get it right.



And because I'm me, I'm going to leave you with one of my favorite Piano Guys videos. Because nothing says the musical side of me like Vivaldi+"Let It Go."

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