One of the most interesting things I've run into is the way music inspires my work. This goes back to some of my earliest story ideas. I have a clear memory of writing the end of my "Godfather" inspired story to the same music that Coppolla used for his finale in "The Godfather Part III". This piece has a sadness to it, something so deep within the music itself that is triggered a set of images. Granted these images weren't really more than a rip off of stuff from the Godfather, but it worked.
A key scene in my first completed screenplay was inspired by a dream I had in which a concerto by Mozart was playing. This music still sends chills down my spine, as it recalls my dream and the scene I ended up capturing because of it (still need to figure out how to use that scene in a future work).
I find music very inspiring, usually stuff without words. Some of my most interesting story ideas or scenes have come out of the trance style music of BT. His album ESCM still gets regular play on my ipod. What's funny about his music is that it seems to want to tell a story already. It feels like it falls on me to bring that story out in words. I still listen to the final track on that album, "Content" and can see these wonderful images that I'm dying to use in a book.
Beyond basic inspiration for story ideas or scenes, music also inspires me to modify existing ideas and refine them in a way that seems to match the music. It's like writing to an existing soundtrack you didn't know you had. Music with a particular rhythm will often help me with action scenes or scenes of tension. I end up visualizing stories as movies anyway, so this feeds right into that.
What type of music do you find works best with your writing? Do you use it to inspire story ideas? If not, what other techniques do you use? Or does music distract you too much while you are writing?