In Which I Geek Out Over Instrumental Soundtracks

Growing up, my family was chock full of musicians. (Dad still plays drums. My mom taught flute. My eldest brother still plays the trumpet. My other brother played the trombone. I played the flute and piano.) So, needless to say, we’re used to being in an orchestra. Maybe that’s why I’ve always listened to instrumental soundtracks.

As part of my “Inspirations” lecture at Trinity College Dublin, I burned everyone a CD of my favorite songs and renamed them according to my manuscript. Then as part of my presentation, I described how music affects our perceptions in movies: such as,

  • low brass = menacing;
  • march = militaristic;
  • choir = holy;
  • french horn = heroic.

These aren’t hard and fast rules. For instance, I loved how Hans Zimmer “bastardized” waltzes in Gladiator‘s action sequences, and how Hans Zimmer slowed down Edith Piaf’s “No, je ne regrette rien” to turn it into Inception‘s distinct musical cues. CRAZY! If you haven’t checked this out, see below:

In any case, I’ve always loved instrumental soundtracks. And I challenge anyone to “out geek” me on this. I know a lot about them — TOO much, I sometimes think. I sometimes don’t have a sense of popular music, because I’m too busy downloading Ender’s Game by Steve Jablonsky.

Movies sometimes work BETTER than they should, because they have a good soundtrack (I’m looking at you, stupid Transformers). Sometimes I hate a movie because of it’s soundtrack (I despise Brokeback Mountain‘s constant guitar twang). Because I know the composers who are reliably good, I’m always divided about whether to download something prior to seeing the film. Sometimes when I do, I get the ability to listen and apply my own creativity to the music. Sometimes when I see the movie first, all I see is the scene the music goes with (i. e., it’s hard to ignore the hobbits while listening to Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings).

In any case, I’m a geek. More often than not, I put on my novel inspiration playlist when working on my manuscript. I’ve taking screen caps of what it is as of this morning. But KEEP IN MIND, this is only 59 tracks out of the 4,633 instrumental soundtracks I have. That’s 10.4 days worth. I pulled these 59, because they somehow remind me of something that will happen in Book 2 (which I’m working on right now).

Without further ado, here is my current “Novel – Inspirational” playlist:

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See anything familiar? Have any instrumental soundtrack questions? Let me know. I am your source for all things instrumental soundtrack related!


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