Notes into Letters

Notes into Letters brings the worlds of music and words together as writers and poets draw inspiration from musical experience

Unlike a piece of art, something which we can usually see and sometimes touch, music is arguably much less tangible. The invisibility of sound, this elusiveness, can make describing in language what we hear and listen a challenge too.

Finding words to express our own feelings and experiences of what we listen to isn’t easy. Adjectives, nouns and verbs flow when we are describing the visual scene, but in the sonic world, our own personal dictionaries often need expanding.

In addition, listening is a personal experience. But through the language we each choose, our own understanding and enjoyment can be shared, and the joy of music can be spread.

Creative writing students from Goldsmiths and the Manchester School of Writing, offer their responses to  major pieces alongside work that has been inspired by the concert experience. In addition, some of the UK’s leading writers presented new work inspired by music and listening, while Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, celebrated the the Royal Philharmonic Society Bicentenary with a new poem, Philharmonic

Explore the new writing by clicking the links in the side menu.

Related Pages


Paul Hughes, General Manager, BBC Symphony Orchestra: Since 1979 when I won the RPS composition prize this amazing organisation has been part of my life, placing music at the heart of modern life.


Before there were traffic lights: coachmen delivering audience members to Philharmonic Society concerts at the Harmonic Institution were asked to ‘set down and take up with their horses’ heads facing Piccadilly’.