The Depth and Wonder of Fantasy Music

What is Fantasy Music, really? As a broad category, it describes musical pieces that transport the listener to an imaginary world. In this article, we want to present you the most amazing compositions we’ve discovered over the years. Of course, they were all great inspirations in writing our own Fantasy TV Series Black Forest Witch.

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? /
Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.

Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody

If you research the topic of Fantasy, you will discover a lot of books, games, movies and TV series easily. Music probably doesn’t even come to your mind when you think about the question what’s to be considered fantastical. However, there’s a tight connection between the two that might not be obvious at first glance: On the one hand, music plays an important part in the world-building, tone and atmosphere of Fantasy Movies and all other media that utilize moving images. In a sense, it supports them in creating this otherworldly feeling in the audience. On the other hand, music can stand entirely on its own. Music is an artform that works without any words, and that makes it a mystical phenomenon in its own right.

Subcategories of Fantasy Music

Fantasy Music relates to Fantasy Art, as they are both broad categories, formed from a very modern understanding of media. Both comprise a variety of different styles from different epochs. Here are some of the main categories that we think are relevant today:

Ancient & Middle Ages Music

These musical pieces are callbacks to historial times that shaped our modern society. While they reference those times, they don’t try to replicate them – that’s where the Fantastical comes in. For the most part, they don’t use the instruments, the harmonies or the melodies that people back then would have found beautiful. And it doesnt even matter. Their whole reason to exist is to evoke the feeling of travelling back there to those strange lands and cultures. Consider them to be inspired by historical events and characters.

Ancient Fantasy Music

From Mesopotamia where the first human civilizations formed to the high middle ages in Europe, we can recognize a lot of different cultures. Of course, the oldest music was tribal in nature, heavy on drums and mostly based around rythms. This mix of Ancient Egyptian Music I still use while writing, as it relaxes and inspires me.

Celtic and Viking Music

Celtic and Viking themes are at the heart of Fantasy Music. Both these cultures play a dominant role in the literary Fantasy genre: From the Norse Gods Odin and Thor to the story of King Arthur, the influence they still have is substantial. Often, they are named in the same breath, while being considerably different. For one, the Vikings were seafarers, the Celtics weren’t. The fact that modern Britains are the descendants of both cultures probably gives them an equally high standing today.

Medieval Fantasy Music

The middle ages were considered the dark times in our history. That’s why there’s a lot of beauty, but also a lot of darkness to Medieval Music. And just as Knights, Courtship and being on adventures is still a Fantasy today, the Medieval Fantasy Music transports us there with its noble and festive sounds.

Epic Fantasy Music

Epic Fantasy Music leans heavily into gaming. The player’s own actions demand the support of this engaging music. Of course, this soundtrack for the original Assassin’s Creed is also inspired by Medieval tunes:

Fantasy Metal

Metal is very diverse. Fantasy Metal as a subcategory is closely linked with Fantasy Novels, as the songs further Fantasy as a narrative genre. The most well-known band featuring this category is probably the German Power Metal band Blind Guardian. Their The Bard’s Song is inspired heavily by the Middle Ages:

Tomorrow will take us away /
Far from home /
No one will ever know our names /
But the bards’ songs will remain /
Tomorrow will take it away /
The fear of today /
It will be gone /
Due to our magic songs.

Blind Guardian, The Bard’s Song

Fantasy Soundtracks

Many great Fantasy Movies have also great soundtracks. One of my personal favorites is from the Science-Fiction Fantasy Film Tron: Legacy by the French electronic band Daft Punk:

Other Fantasy Music

It could be argued that Music in itself is a Fantasy. Consider a simple composition like the Tropical House song Don’t be so shy by French pop-soul artist Imany – doesn’t this song invite us to a gorgeous Fantasy vacation at the beach, one that might never come? What about other songs like John Lennon’s Imagine, in which he sings of a world without borders and prejudice?

The themes of escape from and return to the real world are quite common. It’s a great quality of music that’s fun and engages us as listeners. And I’m sure we will discover many great new artists and compositons in the years to come that give us this great feeling of companionship and empowerment that all Fantasy does.

Sven Eric Maier
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