James Joyce always appreciated music, & refers to it often in his writings. Also, he himself was quite a singer. His tenor voice could have made $$$$ (well, not actually dollars but pounds!) if he’d turned pro, it was that beautiful. But he chose to be a writer, not a singer.
In his great novel Ulysses, the 11th chapter, “Ormond Bar & Restaurant” (“Sirens”), has music as the dominant motif & style. The language of the chapter itself is musical, often playing with the sounds of words rather than merely the meaning. “There’s music everywhere,” the text says (p. 231, Gabler edition). And indeed, music is being played on the piano & sung in the adjacent bar throughout the chapter. “Wish they’d sing more,” muses Bloom (p. 230), the hero of the novel who is sitting in the restaurant eating liver & drinking cider. But he also casts a hilarious & satirical eye on those who take music too seriously, virtually going into trances: “All ears. [ … ] Eyes shut. Head nodding in time. Dotty. You daren’t budge. Thinking strictly prohibited.” (p. 236) But as he struggles inwardly with his problems, he gets a bit irritated & finally concludes, “Music. Gets on your nerves.” (ibid.)
But Joyce remains committed to & entranced by the beauty & power of music in this novel. This is best illustrated by hearing one of the 2 professionally read unabridged CD audiobook versions of Ulysses, while you hold the text in your hand. The final 18th chapter, is the soliloquy by Molly, Bloom’s wife, while they lie in bed. She frequently breaks into song, being a professional singer herself. In both of the recorded versions, the actress sings the lines of songs in the text instead of just reading them. What a delight! Some libraries have one or the other unabridged CD version; check it out along with the novel!