Worldbuilding Music, Part One: Culture and Society.

This post – and the next few – are a slight change from my usual writing, in that I’m talking about my other big hobby of worldbuilding, and how worldbuilders can engage with music.

Though I spoke quite strongly about why I don’t worldbuild music on the most recent episode of the Artifexian Podcast, that discussion and the ensuing feedback on our subreddit did get me thinking. Music is my job, and it’s something I care a lot about, so as a worldbuilder I thought maybe I’m in a bit of a position to write a guide on how to worldbuild convincing and in-depth music in your fictional settings.

I am not an expert in all of these topics, and in worldbuilding there are no right answers. It’s very hard to make declarative statements about what is good or bad worldbuilding, especially when talking in the abstract and not referring to specific works. However, though I’m not an expert in all these fields, I have a pretty broad knowledge of a variety of music and music-related topics, so what I can do is provide some rough guidelines and differing perspectives from which worldbuilders can consider their setting’s music.

I’m going to split this into a series of maybe three blog posts, and this is the first, where I will discuss the cultural aspects of music and how worldbuilders can begin to think about creating believable musical cultures in their fictional settings.

There are a number of questions to ask when designing a musical tradition. These are by no means a definitive checklist, but thinking about these questions will help you to sort out your thoughts and situate your music in the wider context of the culture you are building. This framework can be applied, with some changes, to many other art forms outside of music.
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Artifexian Podcast

I have exciting music things to report and relay.


If you like anything science-y, or related to speculative fiction, or have any interest in the lives of two handsome, beardy, young Irishmen, do check out this link.

Artifexian is a YouTube channel launched just over a year ago by my good buddy Edgar. He’s setting out to create an in-depth scientifically accurate fictional setting from scratch, and to take his viewers on the journey of learning and discovery along the way.

The new Artifexian website was launched to coincide with the Artifexian podcast going live. On the podcast Edgar and I discuss science, fiction, our lives, and anything else that we can tie into worldbuilding. And the world contains a lot of things, so we won’t lack for topics.

We’d love it if you checked it out.

Come back in a few days for a genuine bona-fide music post.