Fantasy and music have always been closely linked through the association of music and creative powers. Thus in Tolkien’s Ainulindalë, music gives birth to the world, and evil is first manifested as a discordant theme in the symphony the Ainur compose. In addition, The Lord of the Rings is intertwined with songs and poems, a feature that also appears in the works of post-Tolkienian writers such as Guy Gavriel Kay. Songs are often accompanied by musician characters, who might be reminiscent of the mythological figures of Orpheus, whose music charms all living beings, or the bard Taliesin who is said to have been a companion of Bran the Blessed and to have attended the court of King Arthur. Taliesin actually appears in Charles de Lint’s Urban Fantasy novel Moonheart. And musicians (along with painters and writers) are prominently featured in the works of the Canadian author, who is himself a musician and regularly explores the many faces of artistic creation and creativity. Similarly, in Emma Bull’s novel War for the Oaks, music is a complete part of the story since the main protagonist, Eddi, is a rock singer and guitarist just like the author. Other writers imagine magical music instruments, such as the Dagda’s harp in Léa Silhol’s La Sève et le Givre, or faerie characters whose musical and singing abilities are far beyond what mere humans can produce.
However, the link between music and Fantasy is not limited to the presence of musician characters and/or music instruments and songs in Fantasy works. It is also expressed through
the relationship between Fantasy and opera, a medium that inspires Fantasy writers. Hence Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Night’s Daughter is a retelling of Mozart’s famous opera The Magic Flute, whereas Tolkien partly built his own reinterpretation of Norse mythology in opposition to Wagner’s vision.
Moreover, music is an integral part of Fantasy movies and TV series: it participates in the worldbuilding of these big-budget productions, creating a specific atmosphere, often through the recurring use of epic and Celtic-sounding themes which tend to become a trademark of any Fantasy production.
As music features prominently in Fantasy works, whether in books or on screen, so does Fantasy also influence music artists. Since the publication of The Lord of the Rings, many artists have composed melodies for the songs featured in the novel. The influence of Tolkien’s works is particularly prominent in rock and metal. Thus several songs by Led Zeppelin refer to them, such as “The Battle of Evermore” or “Misty Mountain Hop”. Likewise, metal bands such as Nightwish have not only composed Tolkien-themed songs but also developed an imagery which evokes High Fantasy in their video clips, as for instance in the 2005 video clip of “Sleeping Sun”. Tolkien is not the only Fantasy writer who inspires metal bands. The Norwegian group Keep of Kalessin takes its name from Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series in which Kalessin is a dragon.
Of course, the inter-weaving of music and Fantasy can also function on a more humorous axis: works like the TV show musical Galavant (2015-2016) work through self-parody without looking down on the genre, and bard characters can easily fulfil a comic function to balance out the dramatic tension, like Jaskier in The Witcher (2019, adapted from the novel series by d’Andrzej Sapkowski and the video games). Within the community of Science Fiction and Fantasy creators and aficionados, filk music works with both parody and pastiche, and carries a strong community-building dimension.
Therefore, for its 10th issue, Fantasy Art and Studies invites you to submit papers exploring the relationship between Fantasy and music.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
- the use of songs and the presence of musician characters in Fantasy works,
- opera/musicals and Fantasy,
- Fantasy movies and TV series scores,
- music inspired by Fantasy works.
Your paper (30 000 characters max., spaces included), written in English or French, is to be sent no later than January 5, 2021 at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please read our detailed submission guidelines before forwarding your paper: https://fantasyartandstudies.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/submission-guidelinesen.pdf