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Thinking in Music



“ I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music, I see my life in terms of music." -Albert Einstein


      Someone recently asked me a question right out of the blue, and I didn’t have a mirror to confirm or refute it, but my guess is that my poker face ran out the back door without pulling it to. 

      I do tend to get what I call “mudslide-faced” whenever I get blindsided by the unexpected.  Prior examples : a request to recite The Bill of Rights verbatim, or a request to decipher a lyric sung by Stevie Nicks. 

     My friend asked me to describe the music I write to . I had never put any thought into it; I just did it. It’s as automatic as establishing the proper lighting, positioning a seat cushion , and pouring a dependable refreshment ( for me, it’s always coffee, water, or lemonade), and the music background has proven to be as crucial as pen and paper. 

     The question prompted me to list my “writing music”, and then to scrutinize whether there was any rhyme or reason underlying  my choices. Do you see any thread that sews these swatches together ?

  1. Linda Ronstadt ( anything by her, really; sometimes I can convince Google to even YouTube a live concert for me.)

  2. The Carpenters ( Karen Carpenter’s voice : is it perfect ?)

  3. Bob Dylan ( those ballads, wow )

  4. Beethoven ( preferably the piano sonatas; think about it: this music even sounded good to a hearing impaired man.) Okay, you see where this train is going/not going ?

  5. Hank Williams(Just, listen. You’ll hear what I’m talking about.)

  6. Buddy Holly ( yep, Buddy Holly’s stuff was really, really good. Just don’t think about Gary Bussey’s movie portrayal.)

  7. Chicago(My Daddy was a trumpet player, and I’m pretty sure that when I hear those horns, it inspires me because I think of him.)

  8. Carole King (perfect blend of lyrics and music)

  9. Kris Kristofferson (greatest songwriter ever ? Definitely up there with McCartney , Warren Zevon , and Willie Nelson).

     There’s some spark in their music that gets my writing train to chugging—great lyrics? Ballads ? Or just perfect music that unlocks the imagination gates in my brain ? I think I may have answered my own questions above. What music inspires imagination in you ? It’s worth the investment of time to think about.


Tommy Cofield


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