Music definitely puts me in a state of mind (as it probably does for all of you), but I like to use that state of mind to help me write as opposed to helping me write by listening to it. For example, I can't listen to a sad song and then try to write a humorous piece. I do like very grand songs, though, often this is very useful for thinking about endings. Check out the movie Pan's soundtrack: I have found that super useful.
Zandalf - Agreed. Soundtracks are great for putting people in a writing state of mind, and I find the same for reading. It's not always the case, but when a tune resonates with the rhythm of a story's plot flow, it can make a big enough difference. Also - The Pan soundtrack was pretty grand. I haven't listened to much of John Powell, but he sounds pretty fantastical; the strings at the end of 'Murmurs of Love and Death' were cool. Thanks!
I do the same thing, Zandalf. I'll listen to music on my way home from work or on a walk before I write to get into the right mindset, but I can't listen to music while I write. I've tried and I've tried, but it never works out for me. I have playlists on Spotify that go with different characters, plots, scenes, and if I know I'm going to be working with Character A today, I can listen to her soundtrack to get in her headspace. Not only does it help with idea generation, but it also gets me legitimately pumped up to write something badass. Anything that adds motivation can't be a bad thing.
Disney soundtracks usually help me lol.
I can't write with music going. I just get too distracted. However, I enjoy writing with a lot of noises going on. I used to work as a data center caretaker, and would just sit in a room with massive AC units blowing. It was loud, but I got used to tuning the noise out. When I would block the loudness out, it gave me a place to go in my mind for creativity. I find it hard to write without a lot of background noise now. Just no TV, music, or radios. As long as it doesn't have a beat or voices within it, I'm good. lol
Ha! That's really interesting, MaxWisdom. You should totally write about what your experiences were like working under the constant blast of those AC units in more detail. For myself, I worked a job for six years straight in a lab that required absolute silence for every session. It's funny how these kinds of things shape how writers evolve. But honestly, it might be worthwhile to write about that job in a memoir or short story of some kind. It'd be pretty cool, I'm sure.
I need silence to write. Not easy when your son grooves to Metalica. Peace is bliss.
For me, it actually depends on what I'm trying to write. Sometimes I need complete silence so I can say the words aloud and listen to the rhythm/language, but other times I find that music really inspires me. Typically when I'm brainstorming/outlining/etc, I listen to music, and when I sit down to write, I usually need silence or will keep music on low volume.
It depends on the mood for the day