Music is always one of my go-to sources of inspiration, and whenever I’m working on a story I put together a playlist of music and songs. Right now I’m working on a dieselpunk/historical fantasy series set in 1920s Los Angeles. A lot of my selections are not necessarily from the 1920s; since I’m writing historical fantasy, I don’t mind deviating from exact historical accuracy, especially for my personal playlist. I just want to evoke a flavor and mindset of the Roaring 20s to help immerse me in the glittering magical world of Mrs. Jones.
So here is some music to write by:
Theme from Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
I love this show, and it’s a fun way to get myself into Roaring 20s mode. While I’m not writing murder mysteries and my heroine is no Phryne Fisher (though they do have a few things in common), the music is a great thing to have on my playlist.
Dandy Wellington and His Band
I recently discovered this fine gentleman, and even though his music is a bit more 30s or 40s style than the rhythms of the 20s, he’s great to listen to. And I love his dapper clothing style, too!
Fred and Adele Astaire
This is the one real historical piece of music on this list. Composed by George Gershwin, “Fascinating Rhythm” was first performed by Fred Astaire and his sister Adele when they were still in Broadway (before Fred met Ginger Rogers in Hollywood and became a dancing legend on screen). Naturally the recording quality isn’t as crisp as other tracks on this list, but it’s an amazing piece of history and a fun song.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
What could be better than J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World combined with the Roaring 20s? I’m chomping at the bit to see the next movie, so in the meantime, the soundtrack to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will have to do. Since I’m writing fantasy set in the 1920s, this is perfect.
I have plenty of other songs and pieces of music on my dieselpunk playlist, but this is probably enough for this blog post. Do you listen to music to inspire your writing? What are you listening to right now?
6 thoughts on “Playlist for a Jazz-Age Dieselpunk Fantasy”
First time I’ve heard Adele Astaire! And while her voice isn’t my cup of tea, I like their duet the best. 🙂 Also, a friend who’s doing music-related research told me that music has, among other things, memory-improving functions. So maybe listening to music has other benefits in addition to getting us in the right mood?
Yeah, Adele isn’t my favorite singer of all time, either; I much prefer Fred’s songs with Ginger. 😉 But it’s still cool that this bit of history was recorded at the time and has been preserved. And I’m a firm believer in music’s power to do so much more than just put us in a good mood. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
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Love this roundup! Miss Fisher’s theme always puts me in a good mood. ^_^
I’ve got a few playlists going for my projects, as well. Depends on what I’m drawing inspiration from and the moods I’m looking for, but a lot of it is cinematic soundtracks, hints of jazz music, a few songs with lyrics that fit my themes, and even some that are more global in style or influence. (Here’s the playlist for my current WIP on Spotify, if interested.)
Thanks for sharing your playlist! I don’t use Spotify, but I’ll check it out anyway. 🙂 Yeah, I usually have a playlist or at least a few key songs/tracks for every writing project. 🙂
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Really enjoyed the roundup. So diverse.
I haven’t seen Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them but I’ve heard lots of good things abotu it – as well as some criticism. I’m still eager to fined the time to watch it.
I do have playlist for my projects, especially for the novel trilogy, but I never listen to them while writing. I find it disctructing. I usully listen to them before writing, to get in the mood. And none of the song are from the 1920s or comes even closer 😉
Yeah, all my “music to write by” playlists are for inspiration while I’m brainstorming. I need either silence or just white noise in the background in order to write. 😉