Jan 7, 2011

The Music of Love

Watching: Who Do You Think You Are
Reading: Simply Irrisistable by Jill Shalvis
Listening to: Diana Krall
Making Me Smile: Fergus pretending to be a good dog so he can come with me today to visit my mum

I've always wanted to be able to play the piano well. I had lessons as a child, I even made half-hearted attempts to practice, but I'm still not that much chop. So I did the natural thing - I created a heroine, April Fairchild, who could play (and sing!) so well that she's become world famous. (And her hero, Seth Kentrell, finds her playing very attractive. :))

The next question was what type of singer / pianist she was. I don't know about you, but I think some slower jazz numbers can be very sensual and just seemed to fit perfectly for a romance. I listened to a lot of Diana Krall, in particular, while writing this book.

Side note: I listened to Ravel's Bollero over and over while writing At The Billionaire's Beck and Call - the slow, controlled build to the explosive end really worked for Ryder and Macy's journey.

So tell me, what sort of music do you think is the most romantic, or the most sensual? And while you're here, go on and make me jealous and tell me if you can play an instrument.

When I get my author copies of April's story, Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal, I'll post out a copy to one commenter.


  1. Back when I was way younger I could play the saxaphone, not a very sexy instrument. I don't care for jazz so I definitely wouldn't say that. I like just about every other type of music though. I find singers like Josh Groban, Andrea Boccelli, and any spanish guitar music to be very sensual. I always enjoy your books so I can't wait to read this one. A belated Happy New Year to you.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  2. Hi Linda - you can play the saxophone? Colour me *very* impressed. Funny how instruments come in and out of fashion - I remember in the 80's, the sax was so popular. I was a big fan of Bruce Springsteen (still am!) and the E Street Band had such cool sax solos. Wonder when it will come back again...?

    Josh Groban? I adore him! In fact, I have a soundtrack for each book I write, and there's always a JG song on each one. Have you heard any of his latest cd? I've downloaded a few of the songs from iTunes for my latest soundtrack and loving them. Must go get some more!

    Spanish guitar - yep, agreed. *Very* sensual.

    Happy new year to you, too!

  3. I would love to be able to play the piano and sing... can't hold a note to save my life! I do play the guitar but haven't played it for ages. When I was a kid I played at church, so I'm good at hymns and stuff! LOL. Not terribly useful, or romantic.

    I have been in love with the harp since I first saw one. It has such a flood of amazing notes that I find very romantic. I guess lugging the thing around wouldn't be so romantic though!


  4. Hey, Rach, I can play the recorder! I can see how impressed you are *not* about that :-)

    I'd love to play the piano. Love, love, love honky tonk piano. Not sure it's particularly romantic, though. I have a tendency to get obsessed by a song. My current obsession is with Eliza Doolittle's (what writer could resist that name?) Pack Up.

    Am really loving the sound of your latest heroine. Can't wait to get my paws on a copy of Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal

  5. For me, the most romantic song EVER is that one by The Proclaimers that goes "I would walk five hundred miles and I would walk five hundred more, just to be the man who walks a thousand miles to fall down at your door". I love that song!

    Like you, Rachel, I had piano lessons as a child -- but I can't play now! One of the things on my To Do list is to take lessons again -- I'd love to be able to play jazz songs (and sing along to them -- but only when no one can hear!)

  6. Rachel
    I have never been able to play a musical instrument or sing for that matter I tried out for the choir in infants primary and high school and was told no thank you LOL and a friend of mine had a piano when we were growing up and I so wanted to learn how to play it but never did.

    I love listening to ballards and the 40's big bands music and of course Rod Stewart is so good at the ballards and his new song book CDs ar so good.

    The books sounds great I am looking forward to its release

    Have Fun

  7. Me, too, for the piano lessons as a child, Rachel. Er, definitely no protege! My piano teacher had very strong-looking fat fingers and I remember thinking that if I practiced too much, my hands would start to look like hers! Funny the ideas you get as a kid!

    I learned the recorder at primary school - which my parents hated with a passion! LOL! My friend and I played the New Zealand National Anthem in front of the class for ANZAC day - it was a small school!

    One of your commenters is in for a real treat with Seth and April's story!

  8. Cath, you can play the guitar? Very cool. One of my sisters learned the guitar instead of the piano (and I have to say, she did her practice, unlike some others...).

    You should totally get a harp! My mother wanted one since she was a child and finally bought one after she retired. Come to think of it, she doesn't play much, but she *loves* having it there, knowing she can play if she wants to. :)

  9. Michelle, I learned the recorder in primary school and still have a couple floating around the house...

    Honky tonk piano is v. cool. Not sure how it would go on a soundtrack, but maybe I should give it a go? Do you ever write to it?

    Eliza Doolittle - you're right, it's a fab name!

  10. Emily, that 500 Miles song is catchy, but I'm not sure it's one that I could play over and over? Though I always liked the bit that comes after the chorus, the "da-d'-da-da" bits. =)

    Oooh, you *so* should take lessons again! I'm not sure how much extra lessons would help me because my hand-eye coordination isn't really that great, but you could play for me when I see you next. I love listening to the piano live!

  11. Oh, Emily - you've just made me realise another mondegreen (I have lots). I always thought that last line never made sense "..walk 1000 miles that's all I'm asking for-or-or'. LOL.

    But to Rach's Q. Screeching cats sound better than my singing voice, but I can play clarinet, flute, saxaphone and piano - although none of them all that well anymore as having kids has taken up any time I used to have for practice. I am resolved to pick them back up once the kids are older though.

    As for romantic, it depends. Haunting celtic music, music that tells a particular story (for example I love the Lord of the Dance music for that reason) or music that makes me relive emotions I have experienced (Angry Andersen's "Suddenly" still resonates strongly for that reason).

  12. Helen, 40's big band music can be spectacularly romantic - great choice! And ballads - yep, I'm on board with them too. Love them!

    Lol on being told no thank you for the choir! But good on you for trying out. =)

  13. Sharon, another recorder star! What I wouldn't do for a video of a tiny Sharon Archer entertaining the entire school with her recorder skills. ;)

    Lol on your piano teacher's fingers. The only thing I had going for me in playing was that I have long fingers and a good reach of notes. Sadly, there was no talent to direct the long fingers...

  14. Hi Rachel. It's interesting how many writers use music to create a mood, while I know others who have to have complete silence while they create. My favourite background music is Songs From A Secret Garden. I have it on repeat and never tire of the haunting tunes. Sadly, I suffer from FFS (fat finger syndrome), so the piano was out. Enjoyed a dalliance as a lounge singer many years ago though, which was fun - execpt it was in the days of smoke filled night clubs, so by the end of the night the eyes were running and the throat was sore. Great post.

  15. Anita, you play clarinet, flute, saxaphone and piano? Goodness! You're like your own orchestra. Haunting celtic music can be beautifully romantic. Dreamy sigh.

    Oh, Angry Anderson's Suddenly is such a beautiful song. Will always remind me of Scott and Charlene's wedding, naturally. ;)

  16. Helen, a lounge singer? How sophisticated are you! Nikki Logan's not bad with a tune too.

    Okay, have just looked up Songs From A Secret Garden on iTunes and listened to 30 seconds of some of them. It's gorgeous! Will buy some. Thanks for the idea. =)

    By the way, any news on your first book for Special Edition yet? A title or release date? Can't wait to read it!

  17. My mother always wanted to learn how to play the piano. When she bought an organ in her forties, she thought it would be a fabulous idea to have me taught.

    Now my mother is a lovely lady but I'd grown up knowing I had to do as I was told. But the organ?!??!? I lasted one lesson and broke the news to her. From that time on I was free...except for having to live through her endless attempts to play past the first verse of "Smoke gets in your Eyes." To this day I shudder if I hear that tune!!

  18. Glad you liked a Secret Garden Rachel. Still haven't a release date yet for my Special Edition - hoping for late this year. Will keep LoveCats in the loop. Thanks for asking.

  19. Rachel,
    I love characters who are musically talented. Have to say I have a knack for drums (okay...it's only guitar hero, but still!!)
    I'm all thumbs when it comes to piano playing, but like anything, I think there has to be a passion there to be any good.

  20. Robbie, I'm very sorry for your childhood pain, but I have to admit I laughed at your story. =)

    And from now on, I'll think of you when I hear When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. ;)

  21. Helen, yes, please to keeping us in the loop! I love reading books by debut authors. =)

  22. Mel, I have visions now of you playing drums on guitar hero, totally absorbed in the music, arms going like crazy, your long hair flying...

    Hey, I'm wondering if we could start a Lovecat band with all this talent!

  23. I'm told I have 'perfect pitch' whatever that may be but it was how I managed to get through my second year of piano classes without actually having learned to sight read music. Back then (when my brain was spongy and had lots of empty space waiting to be filled) I just watched and replicated (and then perfected through repetition) and totally FAKED my way through piano classes.

    Eventually, about a month before the end of year recitals, my music teacher scammed the scammer and photocopied Camptown Races over the top of my usual music and popped it before me on the music stand.

    I knocked out a stirring, emotionally poignant Fur Elise instead.


    I had to withdraw from the recital (*hangs head*)

    These days I can still tinker on the piano but I've lost most of my muscle-memory and no longer have the patience or focus for endless repetitive practice. (Though now, finally, as an adult I understand their purpose).

    But yes, Rach, I do love to sing. My Welsh grandfather used to refer to his (beautiful) vocal chords as his 'voice harp'. I loved that.

    So my instrument? I play the voice harp :)

  24. Hi Rachel --
    Great blog post! I can't play any instrument (nor can I sing!) and I admire anyone who can.

    I like an eclectic mix of music -- I think Latin music is very, very sexy but I also love a haunting piece of music with beautiful lyrics. Lisa Gerrard is a fav -- she sang on the Gladiator soundtrack -- she's made up her own language which she uses in her songs. It's magical.

  25. Nikki, that's about the coolest piano story ever!

    But also impressed about your poignant, emotionally stirring Fur Elise. *My* Fur Elise is uneven, occasionally includes notes not written, and usually very short.

    Voice harp. Fabulous term.

  26. Anna, I've never heard of Lisa Gerrard before but just went and listened to some snippets on iTunes. How interesting is she? Thanks for the tip!

  27. Just realised I haven't announced a winner from this post! When I blogged I hadn't yet received my author copies, so there was no rush, but now I have them. So, drum-roll please:

    Cath! Cath, email your snail mail address to rachel (at) rachelbailey (dot) com and I'll pop a copy of Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal out to you. :)