Lots of writers find that certain music helps them to write. The music which helped me focus most on Lewis Carroll was Thomas Tallis' "Spem in Alium".It is a most unusual piece of music, which lasts for about 10 minutes and it is sung by 40 voices each of which has a different part.

A duke apparently heard about a piece that had been written in thirty parts, and thought Tallis could probably do better. As a contemporary observer said, "Tallice beinge very skillful was felt to try whether he would undertake the Matter, which he did and made one of 40 parts which was songe in the longe gallery at Arundell house which so farre surpassed the other that the Duke hearinge of the songe tooke his chayne of gold from of his necke & putt yt about Tallice his necke & gave yt him." I've also heard that Queen Elizabeth I gave him forty pieces of gold when she first heard it.

I think it relates well to Carroll because you need to be patient and just listen and let it get to you. When you hear it at first it seems to be full of mystery and doesn't seem to have a shape or form - it's just lots of bits. Then gradually you realise that all the pieces relate to each other. After a while you begin to see the underlying shape of it all, and feel the emotion - although it is never predictable or conventional and you can never be sure that you are perceiving it all.

The Latin words begin "Spem in alium numquam habui praeter in te." "I have never put my hope in any other but You."

The structure of the music itself probably has some metaphysical meaning. I don't know enough about music of this period to know what it could be.