Article · Music

Music to listen to while reading

Recently I discovered an interesting fact while searching for an answer to a question: is the memory of a book read, which is triggered by the music listened to at the time of reading, a form of synesthesia? It turns out it’s not, it’s called “involuntary memory” and it occurs when cues confronted in everyday life unlock memories in such a way that one almost relives the memory. I experience these triggers fairly often when I listen to music from my teenage years, and I remember in vivid detail the books I was reading at the time.

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Some of my books and CDs live in harmony with my Cave Troll, Franklin

That said, there is absolutely nothing better than finding the right book/music combination, and I absolutely love listening to music when reading. Generally I stick to music that’s wordless like classical music and movie scores but sometimes the mood of a book craves a favoured band. I find movie scores add to the atmosphere of a book in ways most classical music can’t, and I’ve listed below my current favourites.

Do you like to listen to music while reading? If so, what are you enjoying right now?

Movie Scores

  • Cloud Atlas (2012) – Tom Tywker, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil iTunes Amazon
  • Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003) – Howard Shore iTunes Amazon
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) – Joe Hisaishi iTunes
  • Whisper of the Heart (1995) – Yuji Nomi iTunes
  • From Up on Poppy Hill (2011) – Satoshi Takebe iTunes
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) – John Williams iTunes Amazon
  • The Theory of Everything (2014) – Jóhann Jóhannsson iTunes Amazon
  • Arrival (2016) – Jóhann Jóhannsson iTunes Amazon

Classical Artists

  • Claude Debussey (Suite bergamasque, Préludes, or any piano)
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (any ballet, Violin Concerto)
  • Frédéric Chopin
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff

Bands and Artists

  • Pearl Jam
  • HIM
  • Tiger Army
  • Edith Piaf
  • The Travelling Wilburys
  • Tom Waits
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3 thoughts on “Music to listen to while reading

    1. I find that my mood influences what I read when starting a book, then as I get into it and figure out the tone of the book I want to listen to something else, something more appropriate. Interestingly enough, now whenever I listen to HIM – Love Metal I’m reminded very much of reading Dragonlance books as a teenager. Listening to the first Staind album (so emo!) transports me to Stephen King’s Misery, which I also read as a teenager. The mental links between music and books is fascinating!

      Liked by 1 person

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