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Hath Music Charms…

IRISH FIREBRANDS: A Novel ~ and Other Works by Christine Plouvier, Indie Author

Harpe_celtiqueHarpe celtique de couleur claire, by Mac’hvala

…to sooth the savage reader?

Blogger Christine Frazier at The Better Novel Project, thinks so. She intends to “use research instead of luck to write a better novel.” Her post, “The Top 10 Ways to Write about Music,” explores the function of music in best-seller fiction.

I whipped out the ol’ search engine again, to find out how well I did in respect to hearing music – especially because, as a “pantser” who knew nothing about Ireland when I started writing the novel, I relied on luck and research. It turns out that IrishFirebrands mentions music more than 90 times: hymns, Irish Trad, choir, dance, vocal, instrumental, and even whistling.

Here are 5 of Christine’s 10 categories, illustrated by examples of the role of music in IrishFirebrands.

Beauty

  1. The music began again, but departing from the energetic tempo…

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Engaging the Senses (re-blog)

After reading this great advice, I revisited my posts about examples of sensory-input writing and found 17, including a recipe and a survey for the literary foodies among us. I write long-form fiction that has plenty of room for comprehensive sensory involvement, but as phantomwriter143 suggests, every story can benefit from sense-appeal: “Which one would draw you in the most as a reader?”

Smell:

The Nose Knows.

More Olfactory Observations.

Don’t Give Me the Stink Eye, But…

Sight:

Blinkered.

A Sight for Sore Eyes.

The Eyes Have It!

Eyewash!

Hearing:

Hath Music Charms…

The Sound of Muzak.

We Write The Songs

Eh? What’s That, You Say?

The Sounds of Silence.

Taste:

Fire Burne, and Cauldron Bubble.

Novel Nibbles & Celtic Connections.

Survey: Recipes from Irish Firebrands.

Touch:

All You Need Is Love.

Touching You, Touching Me.

… 

 

Inkcouragement

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Writers draw readers in to their imaginary worlds, their characters’ lives, and the driving story that ultimately leaves the reader wanting more.

And one way successful writers do this is by including every single one of the senses in their writing.

We all know the five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.

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While there is debate over other non-traditional senses including balance, proprioception and kinesthetic awareness, heat detection, and pain, I’m gong to talk about the big five today.

Too often, writers focus on the sights and sounds in their creative works, but they miss out on the touch, taste, and smell aspects.

Sight and sounds are crucial, of course. We need to see what the characters see, but the other senses get left behind too often.

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For example, did you know that smell evokes more forgotten memories than any other sense?

neon free smells MGD©

Yep. It’s true. I use this very…

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Hath Music Charms…

Harpe_celtique

Harpe celtique de couleur claire, by Mac’hvala

…to sooth the savage reader?

Blogger Christine Frazier at The Better Novel Project, thinks so. She intends to “use research instead of luck to write a better novel.” Her post, “The Top 10 Ways to Write about Music,” explores the function of music in best-seller fiction.

I whipped out the ol’ search engine again, to find out how well I did in respect to hearing music – especially because, as a “pantser” who knew nothing about Ireland when I started writing the novel, I relied on luck and research. It turns out that Irish Firebrands mentions music more than 90 times: hymns, Irish Trad, choir, dance, vocal, instrumental, and even whistling.

Here are 5 of Christine’s 10 categories, illustrated by examples of the role of music in Irish Firebrands.

Beauty

  1. The music began again, but departing from the energetic tempo of the last number, the fiddler began a slow, undulating melody that soon found an echo in Colm Sweeney’s accordion. The two instruments plaited the notes into a gently oscillating tune that the mandolin occasionally pierced with bright, clear tones. Lana felt as if she’d been carried away by a gently rocking boat on the face of a lake that mirrored a midnight sky punctuated with glittering stars. The mood in the pub became poignantly pensive, and afterwards the applause was sincere but subdued.
  2. The harpers captured her interest. Composers always seemed to use the harp to convey impressions of the sea and the sky, while they used violins for romance, but to Lana, the harp was the voice of passion. No wonder the country had adopted the harp as its national symbol … and no wonder Dillon was still devoted to his long-lost harper, Mo.

Authority
(Here, music reminds the character about what her appropriate behavior should be.)

Lana resumed her reverie … closing her eyes and replaying Dillon Carroll’s velvet voice in her head, she could almost imagine hearing whispered endearments – then the first notes of the opening hymn jarred her out of her fantasy, eclipsing the echo of those beguiling tenor tones. Get a grip! You’ve got no business daydreaming like that!

Celebration

  1. She’d nearly finished eating when a crowd came through the door. Some persons carried musical instruments; she recognised Colm Sweeney with his button accordion, and his companions bore a mandolin, a guitar and a fiddle. You never knew what you’d hear at a trad session, and once the music started, Lana had found it nearly impossible to go before closing time.
  2. At that moment, the man with the mandolin launched into runs of crisp triplet notes that wove themselves into a tune that sparkled against a background of chords by the guitarist. The mandolin and guitar passed the melody back and forth between them, until the button accordion entered with a complementary theme that the strummed instruments then briskly supported. Lana couldn’t help tapping her foot to the rollicking rhythm, and at the end of the performance, she joined the rest of the audience in clamorous appreciation.

Magic
(Or, in this case, something that’s…not…quite…right….)

Then a woman left her seat beside the musicians and went to lay her hand upon Lana’s outstretched palm. This was not unusual behaviour – during a moving sean-nós performance it was common for listeners to be-come so engaged with the music, that one or more would join a singer like that, silently showing support.
But what did seem odd, was that he hadn’t noticed the woman sitting with the musicians until she moved to Lana’s side. Her tall, slim figure was strikingly familiar … he stared hard at her, but her face was turned away, and across the dimly lighted room he couldn’t quite tell the colour of her curly, shoulder length hair – and yet, he was sure he’d seen those abundant tresses before.
Then Lana finished singing, but instead of joining the applause, the mysterious woman looked over her shoulder directly at Dillon.
All the air went out of him, in one astonished gasp– Mo!
She smiled and tilted her head, as he recalled her doing whenever they’d make eye contact across a room. Then a man walked in front of the musicians, briefly blocking his view. When he’d passed by, Dillon looked for the woman again.
Lana stood alone.
He looked for the chair beside the musicians.
There was no chair.

Connection
(or the lack thereof)

  1. He recognised the members of the trad-band, with their fiddle, bodhrán, and guitar, but he’d not be staying to hear them play. It had been a long time since he’d paid any attention to music in pubs – or anywhere else, for that matter. Music had left his life so many years ago, that since then whatever passed for it had become merely background noise.
  2. There’d been a lengthy pause after the sean-nós singer finished, and Dillon had begun to doze in the warmth when the fiddler briefly pitched a note and a woman began to sing. She had a husky voice that sounded curiously familiar. Dillon rose from his seat and looked beyond the bar. Is that Lana?
    It was she. Standing in front of the musicians with her hands clasped before her, she sang a lament of scattered leaves and solitary footsteps, of voices unanswered and reaching hands empty, and loneliness in a world full of people. As she sang, she shut her eyes and reached out appealingly – an enchanting gesture that made Dillon yearn to take her into his arms.

Next time: 5 more categories of musical influence in fiction, which show up in Irish Firebrands.

©2012 by Christine Plouvier

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