Music in Fiction

Conveying music in fiction is hard to do.  I have read novels where an author has written an original song and printed the lyrics on the page.  A good example of this can be found in the works of Tolkien where his penned “folk” songs are sung by his heroic characters.  But when reading these stories I find it hard to visualise these songs without a tune to put them to.  This is of course where film and audio adaptations have the advantage over the written word where the producer is able to hire musicians to write a fitting melody.  I suppose the author could add a short piece of sheet music to fit the lyrics but the musically illiterate such as myself and even those among my readers might find this a distraction.

Instead, I have merely opted to describe the sound without going deeply into its substance.  In my first novel, Cogrill’s Mill, I have simply suggested that my fictional characters were listening to local folk music or when they were listening to contemporary country music I chose a well known song, namely Dolly Parton’s Jolene.  My latest novel features a young female singer who becomes a star and I applied the same technique here.  In this way I hope to show my readers that her singing and the sound of her voice are essential ingredients to the plot.

Copyright: Dmitriy Cherevko / 123RF Stock Photo
Magic Bullets can be found at http://peatmore.com/magicbullets.htm

Keith Jahans

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