A 1999 novel by Vikram Seth, ''An Equal Music'' follows the story of an English violinist, Michael, who is a member of a string quartet. Ten years ago as a student in Vienna, he and a pianist called Julia fell in love, but adverse circumstances and a misunderstanding separated them.

Now he meets her again, although she is married with a son, and is also suffering hearing loss. This meeting sparks a journey which proves tumultuous, both regarding their musical careers and their love for each other.

Together with violinist Philippe Honoré, Seth produced a CD of all the music mentioned or featured in the novel, including Music/FranzSchubert's ''Trout Quintet'' and Vaughan-Williams' ''The Lark Ascending''.

The novel includes examples of the following tropes:

* AbsenceMakesTheHeartGoYonder: Julia, although Michael was to blame.
* AntiHero or DesignatedHero: The protagonist (and narrator) is a deeply flawed individual.
* {{Auction}}: Piers bids recklessly for a violin, but perhaps fortunately for him, he loses.
* BettyAndVeronica: Julia has the calm and grounded James, and the moody AntiHero (and narrator) Michael.
* BroodingBoyGentleGirl: This was the situation in Vienna; it ended tragically.
* DeadpanSnarker: Several characters qualify, but Michael most of all.
* DerailingLoveInterests: The love interest being derailed is [[spoiler:''the narrator.'']]
* DespairEventHorizon: Michael spends a long time on the edge of this, unable to move, after [[spoiler:Julia breaks with him.]]
* DidNotGetTheGirl: Michael loses Julia, and this affects the closest thing he does have to a relationship (a TeacherStudentRomance that is purely physical on his part due to him still being hung up on Julia ten years hence.
%% TheDitherer: Julia has shades of the Empathic Fence Sitter type.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Brilliant musician Julia [[Music/LudwigVanBeethoven going deaf]].
%% FirstPersonSmartass: Sometimes.
* FoodSlap: An enraged Piers doles out the "drink thrown in face" (over head, to be precise) variant in response to an acquaintance/overly opinionated professional music critic who made very obnoxious comments about music. Even better, after receiving a snippy "Fuck you!", the critic in question continues to {{troll}} Piers till he snaps and makes with the [[{{Pun}} punch.]]
* InternalReveal: Quite a dramatic and tragic one, involving a letter from [[spoiler:Julia to her husband. Michael doesn't take it well.]]
* LoveAtFirstSight: Julia and Michael's relationship is described as such.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Michael, would it really have hurt to keep Julia's secret, to leave that letter alone, or to keep to yourself that you read it? Although from a certain point of view, perhaps it was all for the best...
* NostalgicNarrator: Michael becomes this for the flashbacks.
* TheOneThatGotAway: Julia is this for the protagonist. [[spoiler:Twice.]]
* PrecisionFStrike: [[BilingualBonus In French, no less;]] at one point, Michael's violin student [[TeacherStudentRomance and sometimes lover]] Virginie gets fed up with him during a phone conversation and hangs up with a snap of "''Va te faire foutre!''" (Literally "Go fuck yourself", but used idiomatically to mean "Fuck you".) Another occurs near the end when Michael tells the woman who has [[RunningGag repeatedly mistaken his number for that of the London Bait Company]] that she "can do whatever [she] fucking well like[s]".
* ReclusiveArtist: Julia becomes one.
* SecondLove: James for Julia.
* StalkerWithACrush: Michael gradually degenerates into this.
* SympatheticAdulterer: Julia qualifies.
* TakeThat: Violist Helen, the only woman in the string quartet, remarks that "In the ''Quartetto Italiano'', the woman was serially married to all three of the men."
* TeacherStudentRomance: As Michael and his French violin pupil Virginie.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Michael and Julia come close to giving them to each other toward the end.
* TrueCompanions: The novel is largely about the bond between four musicians performing as a string quartet.
* UnexpectedInheritance: Mrs Formby's final letter is a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming.
* UnrequitedLoveSwitcheroo: Sort of. Both Michael and Julia continue to love each other throughout, but the young Michael was blinded by anger, and and at the end of the story Julia decides that she must stay with James (whom she loves).