Music and Literature…


I wonder if anyone has researched the correlation between music and literature. I find that certain songs will always make me think of particular books, or particular extracts from various books. A couple of summers ago I was sat soaking up the sun in Richmond Park re-reading one of my favourite books  (Jostein Gaarder’s The Solitaire Mystery). A few days or weeks later whilst listening to my music,  Klangkarussell’s ‘Sonnentanz (Sun Don’t Shine)’ started playing and I suddenly felt like I was re-reading the book again. Memories of particular passages from the story flooded my mind. I felt an overwhelming sense of happiness and comfort. Was it the song? Or the book? Or the memory of reading the book in that particular setting? I’m not quite sure. However whenever I listen to the song I can’t help recalling the novel and that fills me with an immense sense of joy.

Last week I finished reading Lord of the Flies by William Golding for the first time. I thought it was absolutely brilliant and for a moment felt envious of those who studied it at school. As nerdy as this may sound I loved nothing more than analysing passages and characters from books and debating the possible meanings and themes of the novels we were studying in English Literature at school and college. Anywhoo…back on topic, last week on a morning commute to work (during which music is absolutely imperative for my own sanity) Sampha’s ‘Beneath The Tree’ track began playing on my iTunes and I experienced a rather surreal feeling of  instantly being transported back to the beaches and mountains of the tumultuous island on which the boys were stranded. At the time I was rather surprised but did not give it too much thought as I have a similar experience whenever listening to the ‘Sun Don’t Shine’ track by Klangkarussel as mentioned above.  However, when it happened again a few days later whilst my music was on shuffle I began to really listen to the song as the sombre tones and intriguing lyrics came through my headphones. I realised that oddly, the lyrics seemed particularly relevant to the novel…‘we’re caught in flight’…’fires of doubt’…’if there’s a monster inside of here’….’A calm sea in anarchy’.  The thing is, as terrible as this may sound to a connoisseur of music, I’d never really paid much attention to the lyrics before and had no idea of the actual content or subject of the song. At least not on a conscious level. Is it possible then, that on a subconscious level I was aware of those lyrics and upon first hearing the song after reading Lord of the Flies my mind made an instant connection between the two?

I may sound once again rather nerdy or just a bit sad but that sort of blows my mind!

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