Music is the hottest of the muses. I feel in recent years the importance and usefullness of using appropriate music to enhance the writing experience has registered in the writerly zeitgeist. Certainly i have been advocating it in Deathpixies meetings for years, but i also hear writers are putting out playlists of songs to go with their novels. I, myself, could give you, down to the song in each chapter, the playlist of my current novel in progress.
Of course listening to music is a good idea while writing, anytime you are sitting in front of your computer for those lengths of time, putting on a good pair of headphones and listening to music seems like a no-brainer to me. The particular practice i would like to plug here is SPECIFIC SOUNDTRACKING. I find it helpful, and really pretty fun, to use certain emotional themes that match whats going on in the story. No one denies that an effectively chosen song can literally double the effectivness of a scene in a film, why should we shortchange the movies playing out in our heads and going on to the page. Picking a really sad song list to listen to, while having sad stuff happen just psyches me into the right headspace. Maudlin perhaps, but your reader may appreciate you really getting into it. Getting into the emotions of a scene always seems to help my writing, and nothing gets you there like music.
Its gotten to the point where i have completely usurped some songs and now all i can think about when i hear them is the character whose theme they are to me. Music encapsulates emotions and moments, which is just what writers do. It seems a natural combination.
How about the rest of you? How do you implement music into your writing process? And for that matter how emotionally invested do you get? Does your heart rate raise when a fight breaks out in your story? Do you get butterflies when your characters catch eyes across the danceroom floor? Boy mine does.