Some authors find that listening to music while writing helps them to get into the mood for a particular scene for a novel. That doesn't really work for me. I find that, once I start writing, my mind blocks out the music and I don't notice it, except as a pleasant sound. So my choice of music doesn't inspire or distract me. Words in the background, however, do disturb my train of thought. I can't write while there is speaking on the radio or television. I think the ability to block out music stems from my years of being a music student, where the practice rooms had no soundproofing. I had to concentrate on my own music and not on what was being played next door. On the other hand, I do seem to absorb music subconsciously - sometimes I come out of a shop to find a tune going round in my mind, only to realise that it was playing while I was inside, and I hadn't noticed it.
However, I like to imagine music that would go with my novels, as if they were films or television productions. When I wrote Melody for Lizzie I dreamed up a theme for the actual 'melody'.
If anyone is interested, they might like to listen to the typical piccolo polkas and bird music of the time. Currently one of the best piccolo artistes is Jean-Louis Beaumadier. I have a long-playing record called La Belle Epoque du Piccolo (The Golden Age of the Piccolo), which is still available as a CD. I could call this the soundtrack of my novel. If you want a taste, there is a very entertaining video of Beaumadier playing one of the pieces, Le Merle Blanc by Eugene Damare, on YouTube. Click here to view. I also have a piece of sheet music by the composer Le Thiere, called L'oiseau du Bois (The Wooden Bird), which I have played myself.
Occasionally I have ideas for musical themes for my other novels, especially while I am polishing the words. Yesterday a wonderful melody popped into my mind, but the problem is that I usually forget my ideas before I can write them down. Sometimes I even dream them, but I never get the notes down on music before they disappear from my memory. I'd better just stick to writing. Maybe I should write a novel about a composer instead!
By the way, the piccolo in the top photograph was given to me by a friend a few years ago. It belonged to her father, who was in his nineties, and had been passed down to him through the family. So the instrument, by Boosey and Co., is likely to be contemporary with my novel. The sheet music came to my grandmother with a bundle of music that was passed on to her. On the inside page of the manuscript is a hand-written dedication. The piano piece was composed in 1918 by a wounded soldier for his dedicated nurse. I have played it, and it is rather attractive, in the style of Chopin. There's a romantic story that I could develop in the future!