Writer’s Music: Gabriel Yared II

cover-560x555Simple moments matter. We don’t appreciate tension, action, horror, or whatever else without the quiet times to balance the story out.

But a danger lingers with quiet moments: pacing. Too short, and the quiet moment will come off as rushed, needless, or both. Too long, and readers will be bored. Plot doesn’t move steadily through quiet moments, so a metronome must be in place. One of the many reasons I require background music while I write is to be a metronome, timer, call it what you will. If a scene reads longer than the song that’s playing, it’s gone too long.

Certain composers fulfill the need of a metronome very well for quiet moments. Some I’ve written about already, such as Danna or Karaindrou. I would like to note Gabriel Yared again, as his compositions for piano in Cold Mountain are worth notice.

“Ada Plays” does not have the, I’ll call it “epic,” tone held by other selections of the Cold Mountain score. Only piano plays for the first minute and a half, in a waltz-like rhythm, with one constant note underlying the chords that sway up and down the keys. Piano fades to a harp and orchestra, which keep the rhythm and harmonies, only now through the different instruments the simple chords are broken into melodies that flow into each other as streams join to form a river. The music is layered, intricate, and always moving forward. The swells are muted, and the music ebbs away, leaving the harp to mark the end.

Perhaps you just need a quiet moment for your characters. They deserve one, at least. And readers cannot relate, TRULY relate, to characters who are always fighting, cowering, deducing. Give your characters a chance to simply “be.”

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Writer’s Music: Gabriel Yared

220px-breakingandenteringostMusic helps guide me through emotional arcs, scenes of conflict, and horrific battles. And then there are those times where, well, not much is going on. Exposition has to come sometime, be it in dialogue or somewhere else. Silence may help some writers in their plots’ quiet moments, but I still need something. Breaking and Entering by Gabriel Yared and Underworld provides this. The score itself is a unique mix of layered synthesized sounds and strings, but I would like to fixate on the opening track, before Underworld’s influence.

(This is not to say Yared’s only good for filler. Far from it: the tracks of solo piano for Cold Mountain are elegant, timeless, and totally worth a separate entry.)

“A Thing Happens” is a song for realization. It moves slowly, but does not drag. The harmonies are sweet, but also a touch off—a fine fit for protagonists as they learn something from new characters. Everyone, fictional and real, needs a moment to absorb what they’ve learned, be it painful or important or both. As writers, it can be quite tempting to brush through our characters’ thought processes. Who wants to read about someone thinking? That’s almost as bad as watching someone on television watch television. Nothing’s happening. Why bother?

Because our characters, human or not, must still have carry some degree of human traits in order for readers to relate. We are rarely quick with our comprehensions, especially when the world as we know it has been turned inside out. Allow your characters a chance to breathe before the chaos you’ve prepared to unleash upon them. Give them a moment in stillness. Yared will help you find it.

Click here for more information on Gabriel Yared.

Click here for more information on BREAKING AND ENTERING.