I'm curious...when you write, do you listen to music?
I do. I've got my iPod with me wherever I go. I've customized several different play lists depending on what I need to write. I have the Emotion play list with songs that can make me feel sad or passionate or hopeful (Nick Drake, Five for Fighting, U2, Macy Gray to name a few). I have one entitled Action which has a lot more fast paced stuff (Green Day, Lenny Kravitz, Evanescence and even some Boston, Cheap Trick, David Bowie and Stones) that's great when I'm writing any action scene.
When I'm writing a first draft, or creating a new scene, songs with lyrics don't bother me at all. But when I'm doing rewrites, I'm more likely to listen to instrumental pieces. Soundtracks mainly. Ennio Morricone's soundtrack to The Mission is a favorite. As is James Horner's music for Glory, Patrick Doyle's for Henry V, and Tan Dun's for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
I love the mood music can put me in. I love the way it can drown out the noises of a busy Starbucks. I love how sometimes it makes me feel like I'm watching a movie instead of writing a book. Music intensifies everything for me. It's an essential implement in my writing toolbox.
What about you? Do you listen? Do you need quiet? Do you change your music depending on what you are writing?