I cannot write in the absence of sound. It would be an impossibility, anyhow, given that I live over a main shopping street. However, that is not the point.
If I do attempt to compose in silence I cannot concentrate. My mind wanders away to chase one butterfly after another until it is over the hill and faraway. It needs a background noise to fight against, and it is only in this contest does it succeed in focusing on the matter in hand.
The sound I choose varies according to my purpose. If I am creating the story, in other words, in the process of developing a passage where there is a need for lateral thought, I like the sound of the human voice, so I will listen to a radio drama. I find the voices in the background promote associated thoughts and ideas for my own work.
If I know precisely what is happening on paper and it is only a question of setting it down, or if I am redrafting my work, as now, voices are too diverting - their words clash with mine - so I listen to music.
The music I find the best aid to concentration in these circumstances was discovered after much experimentation while writing my MA dissertation.
It cannot involve the human voice for aforementioned reasons. Neither, must it be too strident or explosive for similar reasons. Rock music is out.
Step forward Joseph Haydn with his violin and cello concertos. They are gentle, soothing and upbeat, subtle and intelligent. They massage the grey cells.
I would love to find more music with similar qualities. Unfortunately, I am something of a dunce when it comes to music. At the moment, I am listening to Handel's last opera, Admeto, on BBC Radio 3. It's not doing the job. Too much emotion.
Any music buffs out there have any suggestions?