AW May Musical Blog Chain

Look at that! It’s May already, which means a whole new blog chain with the Absolute Write Water Cooler forums’ gals. Since I am organizing this one, I get to start the chain and as usual, you’ll find the list of all the participants along with a link to their blog at the end of this post.
I proposed to approach this month’s blog chain from a musical standpoint. Essentially, I wanted to know how the character(s) and/or story(ies) of my fellow AWers sound like. This means that this post is going to be a little peculiar in its structure.
I strongly advise that you turn on the speakers (or put on your headphones) and plan a bit of time to undertake this musical journey. I’m giving you direct links to YouTube so you can truly experience my soundscape.
Again, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the Unforseen Dives, you are welcomed to discover it here on my blog. The serial is published 2 times a week (Wednesday and Sunday) and I will end my shameless promoting with a direct link to the beginning of it all

* * *

Tartini – The Devil’s Trill Part One, Part Two
For me, Cassidy always was a violin; capable to play the energetic and joyful Irish reels yet, simultaneously unable to ever shed its soft whine. The violin has this inherent emotional weight that is just undeniable. It can lead complex orchestrations through ebbs and flows of feelings though it’s one of the smallest instruments on the stage. It doesn’t bellow like the trumpet. It is far more breakable than the flute. It won’t sparkle with the brasses or crush your cartoon head like a piano. But no one can ignore the violin.
I also always knew that Cassidy is classical music; deep and heavy even through the lighter melodies. She is not epic in nature though, which came as a problem when I had to sum her up with one song.
I chose Tartini’s Devil’s Trill because it’s one of the more technical songs on the violin and Cassidy’s life is anything but simple. It also navigates sad, happy and adrenaline-filled feelings on its path to the final notes. And the title. Those of you who have read the Prologue and the Roman numbered chapters can but understand.

Emilie Autumn – I know where you sleep
Rebecca is percussions. Loud drums beating everything down on their path to affirm who they are, lead troops and protect their country. It can be incredibly alluring when it dictates the movements of a belly dancer’s hips but is more often than not a force to reckon with. And let’s be honest, it’s a little scary. It is what you hear first when your neighbour is listening to his music too loud.
I chose Emilie Autumn’s I Know Where You Sleep because it is mostly led by drums, yes. I also chose it because of the lyrics (which are in the linked video). Listen to them from a telepath’s point of view: “I know the sickening thoughts that slither around your head.”
Rebecca knows and she has the potential violence to sound as menacing, and beat you to a pulp, if you mess up with her or her loved ones.

Sugar Ray – Fly
If I had to pick a musical instrument for Casey, as I did for the two girls, I think I’d give him the flute. Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound all that masculine, does it? Beg to differ.
The flute doesn’t do dramatic very well. It’s playful. It’s sunshiny. It’s light. It sparkles. And last, but not least, it has a phallic shape. Now, try and tell me this is not Casey?
Admittedly, the song I picked doesn’t have any flute. However, it does convey this “cruising under the sun in a convertible car” feel. It has Casey’s smooth moves and crooked smile. The lyrics are fitting too: “I just wanna fly. Put your arms around me baby.” Added bonus: dress Mark McGrath (the singer) with a suit and it’s pretty much what I have in mind when I think of Casey!

Cassidy and Rebecca
Apocalyptica – Quutamo
The both of them complete each other perfectly. Rebecca supports and guides Cassidy. Cassidy modulates and softens Rebecca. The harmony of Apocalyptica’s Quutamo perfectly shows that and nicely shadows the story’s plot.
There is even a little bit of Casey at about 1 minute 45.

Cassidy and Casey
Yiruma – River Flows In You (piano and violin duet cover)
I had a hard time picking the perfect song for their relationship. There is definitely something between them. Is it the playfulness of two friends? Is it romanticism? Will they come together or grow apart? There are a lot of feelings to portray.
The original River Flows In You by Yiruma is simultaneously sad, romantic and joyful. This violin and piano duet posted by s0ggywaffls adds the layer I needed to get it to a point that really represented Cassidy and Casey. Both instruments work together but remain separate entities. At times, it sounds like the violin is escaping the piano as it gains energy and freedom while the piano stays behind. Yet, as it ends, they share a few notes and you’re left hoping.

The Story as a Whole
Sarah Moir – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons’ Winter remix
The Four Seasons of Vivaldi immediately came to my mind when I thought of summing up my whole story with one musical oeuvre. But then, as I listened to it with that in mind, I found that it was missing harshness. And percussions. I decided to browse a bit for a version played with an electric violin and a little bit more aggression. Something a bit more foreboding. Sarah Moir’s rendition does that.

* * *

So there you have it! This is my auditory perception of my characters and story. For those of you who are familiar with Cassidy’s story, what song(s) would you put to it? Any song you would like to bring to my attention? As you can see, I have a very diverse repertoire (though the songs I picked are violin-centric due to Cassidy) so don’t be shy!
And if you are lucky, I might post something similar for my work in progress (The One Who Sees) too. Would that interest you?
Time for me to stop writing now and leave the stage to the next person on the chain!

The AW May Musical Blog Chain’s Fantabulous Participants:
Aheïla (me)
Stefanie Gaither
Hayley E. Lavik
Aimée Laine

About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

57 responses to “AW May Musical Blog Chain

  • Danielle (ArcticFox)

    Lovely! I am interested as to why instruments rather than the songs itself? It is pretty awesome, but it is something I have never seen before. The music is absolutely great. I love Vivaldi and have never heard that remix before.

    • Aheïla

      Thanks Danielle!
      Sometimes, I’ll go for the songs themselves. And actually, the selections I made are a little bit of both ends of the spectrum: the song fits the character and it also includes the instrument I hear for them.
      For me, a story is a careful orchestration of characters with their own voices, just like any concerto.;)
      Cassidy was the first of my characters to come to me as an instrument first, though. Every song I associate with her have violins in it. I don’t know why.

      • Danielle (ArcticFox)

        I love the orchestra metaphor! It’s so true. I had a creative writing professor who likened it to keeping a bunch of marbles from rolling off a tipped table. Then she gave us all marbles. I still have mine.

      • Aheïla

        That is such a nice way to put it too.
        Author Kim Harrison compares it to cooking, which speak to me as well.

  • Phil

    I like these. I can see or hear your characters just as you describe. Very imaginative and creative. This is really hard work, but you are inspiring. I will have to listen to it all later after work.

    • Aheïla

      Thanks Phil!
      I guess I have a peculiar connection to music due to my singing and playing various instruments. My passions always end up tainting each other! 😉

  • Ellen / egoodlett

    This is such a cool way of doing soundtracks! I never thought of imagining the music that way… Also the songs you picked are so lovely and inspiring. But of course, I am biased, because I LOVE Apocalyptica. Very neat how you were able to find a song with both of them in it that mirrors the plot. That must have taken a while! 🙂

    • Aheïla

      Thanks Ellen!
      It did take me a little bit of time but not that much. I thought about it and browsed through my iPod on the bus and built the list piece by piece.
      Yeah, Apocalyptica is a great band. I find myself listening to them often at work.

  • Razib Ahmed

    Wow! You have described in a very good way. Now, I am getting worried for my own entry. I have no sense of music.

    • Aheïla

      Don’t worry about it! We each have our own sensibility. I happen to know a bit about music, which pushed me to pick that theme. It should in no way put pressure on you!

  • Claire Gillian

    Way to set the bar high for the rest of us blog chain participants, Aheila! Great job choosing the music and explaining why.

    • Aheïla

      Thanks Claire! I had a lot of fun doing it. I hope no one feels that the bar is too high though! I never meant to set it. I just love music! 😉

  • David Zahir

    Thanks so much for this. It is certainly an intriguing way to approach characters–on that works on a visceral level.

    • Aheïla

      It’s always a pleasure to share my mind’s innerworkings. We learn a lot from each other’s approach and technics. I love the blog chains for that!

  • Terri

    Wow! The blog chain is off to a rousing start! Reading Aheila’s post really clarified the topic and I am looking forward to everyone else’s posts as well. I think more in terms of songs rather than instruments, so I have a somewhat different take. But, this blog, as a whole, to me, resonates with a blending of classic with new, such as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Well done! Terri

    • Aheïla

      Thanks Terri!
      The interesting thing about blog chains is that everyone has their take on the subject. Some might talk about the music they write to instead of the soundtrack of their story.
      I didn’t know the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I’m YouTubing them right now. Sounds nice. Actually, the more I listen the more I think they sound like a band I like named Therion. 😉

      • Danielle (ArcticFox)

        OMG! You like Therion too? Tell me you like Nightwish and Dreamtheatre please? You’d be my BFF.

      • Aheïla

        I actually loved Nightwish before they change the singer. That’s the group that got me to start singing. But I think the new singer sounds like Celine Dion and my head hurts when she opens her mouth. So no more Nightwish for me.
        I never really listenend to Dream Theatre. Some of my friends were fans so I heard a song here and there but the group ended up on my “To listen to later” list and I never got around to it.
        I guess I’m half a BFF then! 😉

  • Sabrina

    I so-so-so-so-sooooo much love this. Each song, each duet is SO right. I especially love Rebecca’s one, which made me think of the state she must be in when we read the parts about the future.

    Now, about the Four Seasons… you must know about the Vanessa Mae rendition of “Presto”, the last part of “Summer” ? She called it “Storm”, but anyway, it’s the same thing. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a link :

    I’m currently looking for other parts, so far I’ve found an “Autumn” which is not that satisfying (the violin’s too clear on top of poor techno beats), but I’ll give you feedback if I stumble on something ^^

    Oh, and to keep up with another bit of conversation we got… you’ll be glad to know there’s no fanfiction on Wedding Dash xD At least not on FFnet xD

    • Aheïla

      Hey Sab!
      Yes, I know Vanessa Mae’s rendition. I didn’t pick it as an example because even though there are percussions, the violin is too “clean”. I needed it dirtier.
      I’m glad you thing the songs are fitting.
      Thanks for checking about Wedding Dash. It does come as a relief. Lol.

  • C Scott Morris

    Yeah, this one will be hard to match. You have definitely set the bar rather high.
    But this will be a great BlogChain to participate in.

  • Sonya

    Great post! I enjoyed all the music, especially The Devil’s Trill. You chose a terrific subject for the blog chain.

  • semmie

    Just jumping in to offer my moral support. Great post, Aheila! And great topic for the blog chain!

  • Proach

    I’m going to echo everyone else here. Great post and great idea for a blog chain. It is so imaginative and it really forces us to think deep about our characters.

  • freshhell

    Interesting way of thinking of characters. Gives me something to think about. Glad I’m farther down the list. 🙂

  • Abby

    I’m a huge fan of Apocalyptica (though I probably just butchered their name). Emilie is fantastic too! I love knowing what musical artists writers ascribe to their characters. Thanks for setting up this blog chain–I love the subject since I’m not only a writer, but a musician.

    • Aheïla

      Another one of those prone to multiple art forms! What do you play? I sing, play the flute and the piano, and have just started the violin.
      It’s a tremendous pleasure to host this blog chain!

  • Ana Goncalves

    Dear Aheila,
    This is amazing. I love how you find music that connects with your character. I think that is excellent as it enables you to understand what the character is really like.
    Brilliant idea for the May 2010 Blog chain!

    • Aheïla

      Thanks Ana!
      It’s a really fun exercise that I try to apply to all my new stories. It forces me to see another face of my characters that may or may not end up to be very visible in the book but that will modulate the dialogs.

  • Aimee Laine

    I think this is the first time ever that I thought of the flute as a phallic symbol. 😉

  • Ariel

    Really great post Aheila! I think the music you chose for your characters helps us relate to them in a new way 🙂

    • Aheïla

      Thanks Ariel!
      Music is a great carrier of emotions, in a more universal way than the written word can be (because of the language barrier). I’m glad I can use such a tool to explore and deepen my characters!

  • Nina Hansen

    I love this! So imaginative!

  • tavia.

    I love that you managed to paint a picture just by describing the sounds of the instruments and that they all come together in the end rather than a disjointed soundtrack. very interesting and beautiful.

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  • Ruth

    Very cool! I find it interesting that you see the musical instruments instead of the songs… You seem to be very musically minded, I like it!

    • Aheïla

      I think I am musically minded and glad you like it! I enjoy taking in a song as a whole but also skewing my experience by focusing on one component of another. Each instrument have a persona and a role to play, much like characters in a story. 😉

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  • harri3tspy

    I enjoyed this post and am looking forward to the rest of the chain. I’m a musician and writer of non-fiction about music, so I’m intrigued by this idea.

  • April

    I like that they are instruments. I don’t know why…it’s more poetic, I suppose. But I do like that a lot. Very well thought out! You’ve been thinking about this for awhile, haven’t you? 🙂

    • Aheïla

      I’m a poet from time to time. 😉
      I actually haven’t thought about it for that long. I went over this post the other day and I was like “hmmm, this is deeper than I remembered.” *laughs*
      I guess I just know and love my characters!

  • roh

    Wow – I love the way you link instruments to the characters. The River Flows in You has been a favorite song of mine for awhile. Nice version with the piano and violin duet

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