1. Tomaz
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    Tomaz Member

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    Advice - Short Story Set to Music?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tomaz, May 12, 2014.

    Hi there,

    I know I haven’t used this forum in years, but I wanted to ask for some input on an interdisciplinary postgraduate project I’m working on. I studied Creative Writing at undergraduate level, but have since moved into music, which is the other love of my life – I’m currently studying Creative Sound and Media Technology here in the UK.

    I am collaborating with a postgraduate writer; we’re hoping to create a project that features a short-story he will produce, set to ambient music, which I create. The short story will appear on a tablet screen (very inorganic, I know) and the tablet will in turn send cues to a laptop which will trigger my music – so it won’t be linear, but rather an interactive experience – i.e. if you were to go back a page or two, the audio from that page would transition back in. I think it’s a neat idea with some potential, certainly a worthwhile experiment at least! The style of music will be ambient, and essentially I will be doing the interpreting (he will finish his piece first, and then it's up to me to make the music).

    Anyway, I’ve been trying to research any sort of crossovers like this (or not) – any stories or poetry that have ever been set to music. I haven’t found very much of this type of thing, so I thought I would ask you guys if there’s anything you have ever come across? Any material at all would be very valuable to my research.

    Any input, in fact, is more than welcome!

    Thanks in advance, and best of luck with your respective artists journey. :)

    Tom,
     
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  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This sounds like a cool idea.

    I don't know if this kind of thing qualifies, but Rick Wakeman's album "Journey to the Center of the Earth" included narration backed by music, as did Jeff Wayne's "War of the Worlds." The narration was spoken, not displayed as text, but it intrigued me enough that I've experimented with the same kind of thing: reading my stories aloud and backing them with music. I've never finished any of these experiments to my own satisfaction, though.
     
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  3. Tomaz
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    Tomaz Member

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    Many thanks Minstrel, I wasn't aware of these pieces so I will definitely check them out. Yes, it seems there's quite a bit of narration set to music, but much less of just music accompanying a work. I find a bit surprising considering how much I loved to use music as a 'creative aid' when writing. Of course, sometimes I would want silence, but there were many occasions when I would set a particular track on loop and use it to form the mood/atmosphere of my writing.

    Anyway, thanks again!
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    are you referring to a story being 'set to music' as in a poem being used as the lyrics to a song, with the story intended to be sung by the reader?

    or just having the music as a background 'sound track' sort of thing?
     
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  5. Tomaz
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    Tomaz Member

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    Hi Mammamaia, for my project it's the latter: real-time audio which progresses as the reader turns the page (who is reading internally not out-loud) - I don't plan to have any lyrics or vocal content as I think this would be distracting for the reader experience, the audio will always be secondary, an enhancement so to speak.

    But I'm looking for examples of any type of crossover between music and writing - I have to produce a 5,000 word essay to accompany the project, so I'm hoping to draw out a rough history of writing set to music (in any form).

    In the last few hours I discovered something along these lines by American author Jodi Picoult - who with the help of a musician friend, produced an original soundtrack to go with her 2011 book 'Sing You Home.' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sing_You_Home_(novel) It seems rather interesting!
     
  6. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Oh I LOVE Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of the War Of the Words - even more so the new version, but I have actually done the short story set to music thing.

    I did it as a little extra scene featuring my characters, for a friend of mine. It's not intended to see the light of day simply because it includes a current piece of pop music but it was a great writing exercise.

    It's a prelude to sex and both characters sing different parts of the song to each-other, with a few lyric changes, while the song is playing in the background. Took me quite a while to write it, to get the timings right to fit in the descriptions of what they were doing as they were singing and the song was playing but if you get it right, you can read the short and listen to the track at the same time. And it's awesome! :)
     
  7. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    My first instinct would be to have someone read the story on stage set to music. So is this basically a book on tape with music?
     
  8. john11
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    john11 Member

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    You could try you tube, i have seen something similar to what you are trying to do on there.
     
  9. Adenosine Triphosphate
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    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    This is a very interesting idea.
     
  10. Mike Kobernus
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    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

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    Per Gynt. Classic.

    Nuff said!
     
  11. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Check out A Nyx in the Thicket.

    Context: there is a novel called Past Sins that inspired a ton of artwork by fans. Someone made a slideshow out of this artwork, captioned the images with lines from the book, and wrote music to go along with it.

    Many video games, especially older ones, utilize similar "captioned musical slideshows" as introductory scenes and cutscenes. I am especially thinking of the Zelda series.
     
  12. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    Most of the leappad kids e-books I have seen have the individual pages set to music. I saw a presentation about iPad factual books which suggested that most of these would have sound and music on individual interactive pages.This was early on in the technology though and I dont have an ipad so dont know if it ever happened. Nevertheless the presentation was from a guy in a publisher whose job it was to program them so it might be worth looking at LinkedIn.
     
  13. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    It's been done before (combining spoken word & music, that is), and can be done really well. From the poetry side, I'd encourage you to look up M L Liebler. He's an old-school beat poet, who very often collaborates with musicians. You can a number of videos of him on YouTube.

    Your twist on the whole “music & story” idea is very interesting, and I’d love to hear what comes of it. By all means, keep us updated!

    Good luck,
    Frank
     

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