Many writers write to music, or at least listen to music to prime their creative juices. I'm no different, although my taste is probably quite different from a lot of writers.
Stephen King says he writes to heavy metal, the louder the better. I suppose that helps him focus on the stuff he writes, which is often hardcore and dark. Many writers also write to music from hard rock to Rap.
When I write original materials, I like to listen to music with NO WORDS at all. Lyrics distract me unnecessarily, especially if it's a good song. I often end up stopping what I'm doing and just sing along, or try to find out what that song is. I prefer something that is background, long, but fits the mood. Since I write love stories, I tend to prefer cinema scores, the more epic and romantic the better. I also like to keep it simple by just switching among a few soundtracks. Currently I'm writing to the soundtracks of Being Julia (starring Annette Bening), The Mission, Atonement, and Band of Brothers. Each of them fits a certain mood, and depending on the scenes I'm writing, I listen to a particular album. Being Julia conjures that romantic yearning of the 30s and 40s, what with the swelling strings and Jazz. The Mission is entirely epic and magical, and it fits my more "surreal" and sweeping scenes. Atonement and Band of Brothers are both excellent for my action and war scenes -- pain, suffering, turmoil, wants and desires. They've got it.
When I'm editing, though, I prefer songs with lyrics, and I prefer something light, or heavy like the soundtracks. It seems that I like to listen to alternative and folk, and of course, Jazz. For some reasons, these genres of music keep me focused on my editing tasks. For example, right now (well, when I get off Blogger) I have Pandora set on the Jazz channels.
Do you write to music? And what are your preferences?