Monday, October 5, 2015

Can Music Complement a Book?

Generally speaking, reading is a solitary, independent activity. There are exceptions, but in most cases readers and writers are alone, experiencing something independent of human contact.

I wonder sometimes how to implement another dimension. A writer must do so properly – I have no desire to smell real smells or hear real sounds when prose can provide these sensations without the scientifically inaccurate "fourth dimension" gimmick.

And yet, I still wonder if I AM DRUMS could use a soundtrack. An original one, with no prior connections in the reader’s mind. Not stock songs people have heard before – those come with their own ideas and memories and feelings. And nothing with lyrics that directly spell out the reader’s experience. My debut novel already has enough words, I think.

I’d like to create fresh perspectives with any music meant to accompany Sam Morris’s story.

I wrote and recorded the below instrumental song about a year ago. It has issues, as most works in progress do. The tempo should be a tad faster. The bass needs a little more oomph. It was recorded in my former apartment, which had terrible acoustics, without a real drum set (a crime when your song accompanies a book about drums), as playing one in an apartment complex tends to make your neighbors think an asteroid has collided with the building.

But this song is something, and I know I was thinking about Sam at the time. It’s called FIGHT BACK for a reason, but I'm not sure how to explain said reason.

But do books need music to be complete? They don’t need artificial smells, sounds, or surfaces to fill your senses.

I feel like designing audio for the sole purpose of accompanying a reading experience implies that words are not enough. Even as a musician I do not believe this to be the case.

But this song exists, and I’m not sure what to do with it. Maybe I won't do anything, and that's okay, too.


Mike Grosso is the author of I AM DRUMS, a debut contemporary middle grade novel for musicians of all ages. It was orphaned due to the closing of Egmont USA, but has found a new home at Clarion Books and an updated release date of September 16, 2016. The Fall Fifteeners have been nice enough to let him hang out even though he's technically a sixteener now.

You can visit Mike's website here or follow him on Twitter @mgrossoauthor.

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