Classical Music to Write By

by | Jan 25, 2019 | Writing | 2 comments

I love listening to classical music while I write. There’s something very soothing yet inspiring about delicate piano notes and enchanting orchestral arrangements. When I write nonfiction, I listen to all different kinds of music—except those with lyrics! When I’m too busy listening to words, I can’t produce them myself.

Classical music is very easy to find—there’s so much of it out there—but it’s hard for me to find pieces that are precisely my style and of the variety that are ideal for listening to while I write both fiction and nonfiction. I prefer classical music pieces that have strong melodies, and I find that these are often the best to listen to while writing certain scenes in my novels. (If you can imagine a lyricist setting it to words, then the piece will likely be one of my favorites!)

I often download classical music from the site, which offers a free MP3 every weekday. I’ve provided links to those downloads below, in case you’d like to listen to these while you write, too! 🙂

These are some of my all-time favorite songs for inspiration while I write my novels:


For light, upbeat scenes (when introducing a compatible comrade or conducting a congenial conversation)

String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Op. 96, “American”: IV. Vivace ma non troppo, composed by Antonín Dvořák

Piano Trio No. 1 in A minor: III, composed by Peter Tchaikovsky

Piano Quartet No. 2: Finale, composed by Johannes Brahms


For mysterious scenes (i.e. that moment when the heroine discovers something about her unknown past, or when someone is reading a cryptic message)

Scheherazade: II. The Kalender Prince, composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

The Hebrides, “Fingal’s Cave,” composed by Felix Mendelssohn


For happy scenes (envision a picnic by the sea, a walk through the woods, or a stroll on the veranda)

Espana, composed by Emmanuel Chabrier

In the Spring, composed by Karl Goldmark

Molly on the Shore, composed by Percy Grainger

“Folk Feast” from The Gadfly Suite, composed by Dmitri Shostakovich


For dances (since I write historical stories, balls and dances often feature prominently, I use these for inspiration!)

The Blue Danube Waltz, composed by Johann Strauss II

Emperor Waltz, composed by Johann Strauss II

Die Fledermaus: Overture, composed by Johann Strauss II


For the occasional football game (all right, I have yet to write a scene like this, but I’m planning one for an upcoming book and this suits it perfectly).

Liberty Bell March, composed by John Philip Sousa


For miscellaneous scenes (sections of dialogue, purple prose, or long passages of time).

Water Music: Suite No. 3: Menuet I and II, composed by George Frideric Handel

Songs without Words, Book 5: No. 6 “Fruhlingslied”, composed by Felix Mendelssohn

Ruslan and Lyudmila: Overture, composed by Mikhail Glinka

Ave Maria, composed by Charles Gounod and Johann Sebastian Bach



  1. Daniel Johnson

    Very fun!

  2. Bella Putt

    I don’t normally listen to music while I write, but these pieces look so fun to write with! I can’t wait to try some of them out!


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