Tympani, Tambourines, and Toots: Tuesday Tryouts

15 Nov

8:53 a.m. — Atlanta

Whew! That was close. I had started in on genealogy and once that happens I don’t lift my head for several hours. Hello all! In a continuation of stress-free prompts, let’s try a musical prompt.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be musical, and, if you like this exercise, you can use it anytime you are feeling sluggish with your writing. This accesses a different part of our brains, or our brains think it does, and happily respond. I first tried this a year ago, when going through the different senses, on Tuesday Tryouts.

The only rule: no words [in the music]. You don’t want someone else’s words suggesting a story to you. I recommend pieces roughly four minutes long;  if you have a longer piece, set a timer, or if you have been grabbed by inspiration, write on. This is a slightly different take on a freewrite. Like freewriting, you are not worrying about form, or grammar, or sense. You may find a story as you write. I often write scenes my mind sees when listening to a piece, but if what you get is a collection of lines, or images, that’s wonderful. More resources for your pool.

Ideally, don’t mention the music. That’s your spark. But, if you read ViV’s and go to Yousei’s link and read hers you will see a second option.

Below, I have included links to a couple of pieces, to get you started. Get your pen and paper ready. Start the music and start writing. Do not stop. What do you hear, see, smell, taste, feel in the music? If you need to keep writing after the music stops, do so. In your music choices, try for different tempos and types.

And, no looking at the accompanying videos. You don’t want someone else’s images, before you have a chance to form your own. Click on link, write.

Vienna Horns

Fur Elise — Beethoven

Vivaldi Four Seasons — Winter

Brandenburg Concertos — Bach 

Remember to post a link to your poem, or to leave the poem itself in comments, if you have no place to publish the poem. Revisit and read other poems. The greatest fun I have is reading the diversity of responses to the same prompt.

I shall see you Friday for the prompt roundup, and Tuesday for another visual prompt. Yep! I am keeping things easy-going for now.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 15/11/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing


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21 responses to “Tympani, Tambourines, and Toots: Tuesday Tryouts

  1. vivinfrance

    15/11/2011 at 10:19 am

    Margo, my poeming persona is a trifle sluggish right now, but I promise to have a go at this later. Meanwhile, here is an old one (one of my very early poems) to be going on with. It fulfils the requirements of your prompt, but is very beginnerish.

    Rite of Passage – To the accompaniment of Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony

    cold day
    hot tears
    seething crowds
    what to say?
    how encapsulate a life
    that ends in the squalor of disease?
    mind gone,
    thank God.

    Da da da da; da da da da daa
    the insistent rhythm overlays
    the shuffling feet
    creeping out of the stark chapel,
    so much black cloth
    conforming to conformity

    A surge of sound
    of trite remarks
    of tearful hugs.
    Music says more
    of our cherished friend
    than any words could do.


    • margo roby

      15/11/2011 at 10:23 am

      I was going to say, ViV, By God you are fast…then I read the rest of your comment. I appreciate your leaving something, just in case you don’t make it back.

      Although, when you do have time, play this music again but don’t make the music part of your freewrite and see what you get now. Might be interesting if your mind lets you block the first attempt.


  2. Yousei Hime

    15/11/2011 at 1:03 pm

    Ironically, I already did something similar to this very recently. I’ll try again later, but for now here is the link (which includes the music):

    • margo roby

      15/11/2011 at 1:52 pm

      I have just been over to your blog again, Yousei Himei, and now I am curious. I understand the name of your blog, both from the Chinese zodiac and Japanese fables points of view. Does the pseudonym you have chosen for yourself mean something [I realise it must, so I guess I am asking what it means.]

      Now I will head back to listen to the music and read your piece.


  3. Janet

    16/11/2011 at 12:37 am

    I’m not sure if this is what you had in mind, Margo, as I have never tried this before, but what I did try was a ton of fun. I chose Beethoven and wrote the scene as I felt it from the music.

    Thank-you for the challenge.

    Now I’d love to try Vivaldi but I should go to bed:) Good-night

    • margo roby

      16/11/2011 at 7:42 am

      The good news, Janet, is that you can come back and write to the Vivaldi!


  4. wordsandthoughtspjs

    16/11/2011 at 1:46 pm

    What a lovely prompt, Margo. I just so happen to have the rest of the day off, since I am only down 4 prompts on the PAD challenge. This might work, if I try to incorporate two-in-one 🙂


    • margo roby

      16/11/2011 at 2:55 pm

      Hey, four isn’t bad, Pamela! And, I suspect you will be able to incorporate this with one of the PAD prompts. As always, I look forward to it.


  5. Mike Patrick

    16/11/2011 at 2:00 pm

    After finishing my effert, but before posting it, I made the mistake of reading some of the other replies to this prompt. I should probably delete this thing and forget about it, but I love the music, it was fun, and it took too much time to scrap, so here it is.

    • margo roby

      16/11/2011 at 3:05 pm

      Well, thank God for that. Never, NEVER, use others as a comparison. The scolding continues over on your post.


  6. tmhHoover

    16/11/2011 at 4:42 pm

    Oh dear! I waited yesterday for your prompt to show up in my in box… Alas it never did (and no it is not in the spam or trash) I guess I had better check my subscription status… And now to listen to some music and write.

    • margo roby

      16/11/2011 at 5:44 pm

      That’s odd, Teri. It also did not show up in mine. Will you let me know if it doesn’t come in Friday? Not that I know what I would do!


      PS Pick the cheerier music! With your husband gone you don’t want to dissolve into a puddle 😉

      • tmhHoover

        16/11/2011 at 6:08 pm

        I will take your suggestion and use the cheerier music.. you really know me too well. And just so you know it made me laugh out loud to have this personal pointer. We don’t need any more puddles around here. It is rainy enough.

        and yes I will let you know if Fridays prompt comes through.

  7. vivinfrance

    17/11/2011 at 6:05 am

    Here’s my new version, this time sticking to Margo’s brief.

  8. wordsandthoughtspjs

    18/11/2011 at 11:10 pm

    Margo, I actually managed to complete this prompt with a very strange result. “Fur Elise” brought out some strange feelings for me. I love that piece, which I haven’t listened to in awhile. Congrats on your work being published in “Origami Poems Project”. Yay!


    “Floating on the Ripples of Music”

    • margo roby

      20/11/2011 at 9:31 am

      Thank you, Pamela. I am pleased 🙂

      Can’t wait to read your strange result, and love the title.


  9. b_y

    19/11/2011 at 6:58 am

    A little late to the party, but I couldn’t sleep with all the music. I snagged something instrumental from my playlist. Jazz, and spicy. No way I could keep the music out of the poem

    Red Heels

    • margo roby

      20/11/2011 at 9:34 am

      Never late to this party, Barb. I’ll have to throw in music prompts every so often, as people seem rather pleased and if everyone is like me they won’t remember to try this again.

      Love your title.


  10. tmhHoover

    21/11/2011 at 12:14 am

    I really thought I would use the piece Vivaldi Four Seasons — Winter. The first section (pardon my lack of musical terms) really is how I feel days that I have a lot to do. But then I got stuck with the second part. SO I was listening to my Pandora station and heard this very short piece called Side Pocket by Paul Taylor. I jumped on it, so to speak. Here is my URL to my blog. I wish I knew how to do a nice when I comment on blogs. Alas.

    side pocket

    Margo have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  11. margo roby

    21/11/2011 at 8:10 am

    I’m so glad you found a piece of music and can’t wait to jump over to your blog.

    Don’t worry about the link. That’s what I do. I have never figured out how people get the pretty linking in comments 😉

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving yourself. If HE is still away, make sure you line up treats for yourself all day. If HE is back, what a lovely thing to be thankful for.


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