Having been a musician and music engineer and producer for most of my life, and photographer only in recent years, working as a photojournalist and otherwise, I can only say that I was always 'seeing' the music, ALWAYS seeing and hearing what I was doing. Not just full songs but color tones while changing equlaization curves, selecting the right mic etc. With images its the same for me, only I draw on my previous experiences with dynamic range, composition over time is now composition in two dimensions etc.
Honestly, photography is not always related to music in the same way that music was visual for me. But I have to say they are similar enough for me not to worry about why I make this or that decision when composing or editing. I just do what comes naturally and I definitely draw on all my production and theoretical experience and knowledge without second guessing.
Music in my head, music playing, whatever... I cant see why anyone would be upset over this but I will assume I am one of the lucky ones.
Regarding the specific question of listening to music as an inspiration...I find that inspiration is fleeting by nature, best to act on it before it takes flight.
Mozart works best for me in the darkroom. And I don't particularly like Mozart!
I've learned through experience that I can listen to loud, intense music while taking pictures or thinking of ideas for photographs, but I should listen to soothing music while developing film. Once while developing a roll of film and listening to Trans Siberian Orchestra's Wizards in Winter, I got too vigorous with the agitation and ended up with with high contrast negs. Using Rodinal 1:25 for the first time didnt help much with contrast control, either :D
I can't photograph while listening to music because the darkcloth would tangle with my headphones, and besides, it's distracting. I have no synaesthesia.
Music is very important to me (I listen to everything from black metal through a billion varieties of electronic music to progressive psychedelic rock through ambient drone music and a bit of classical), but it's pretty much a different experience from photography.. separate aspects of experience. The only thing really compatible with my state of mind while engaging in serious photography is probably ambient drone music, but again - the headphones tangle up ;)
I do like music in the darkroom. Always end up putting on arcade fire for some reason.
Being interested in music and have played music since I was in 4th grade, I use photography and music to help each other out. When I'm out and about taking photos, I usually end up with the start to a musical piece playing in my head. After I'm done with the shots I want, I get that melody or tune onto paper. When I'm continuing to write that music at a later time, I go back and look at my photography to give me that extra little 'push'.
I figure at least if the music doesn't come out right. There's always the photos I took. I don't know what I'll do if those don't come out right!
Beethoven! Always. When I work or I'm looking for inspiration it is Beethoven. Generally my son on the piano with a Sonata or a Piano Concerto (CD'S). Right now it is very hard to write this as he weaves his way through the Tempest. If Beethoven does not inspire one then no one will.
In a very nice episode of Myth Busters (Discovery, part 1, part 2), they've tested whether plants grow harder or not when listening to classical or rock music, talking to them, abusing them. It seemed that Heavy Metal music is best for growing plants, any music is better than none and talking sure helps a lot.
It is also my practise in the darkroom: all kinds of music, depending on the state i'm in, I sometimes abuse my prints verbaly, and sometimes I tread them nice, talk to them in a soft voice. They still don't grow on me, but the effects are that I have a good time and I often laugh about me... :confused::D
I am 60 now and have played music since I was about 6, playing professionally, on and off, from age 14, and like MetaGeorge, music is very visual for me. I see scales, keys, timbre, rhythm, timbre, everything.
But for me a photograph is a glimpse into silence, even photographs of scenes that are noisy. I have never associated music with anything visual, not painting, sculpture, photography, nothing.
And I never listen to music in the darkroom. It is either silence or talk radio. After a long session, I often play some music (not a recording, I mean an instrument) to relax.
Now I am not saying this is better and I don't really understand why a musician would be like this, but there it is. I leave it up to someone smarter than I to figure it out.