Music in the Wizarding World
Just like in the Muggle world, music is a big part of magical society. Unlike the rest of the world, however, witches and wizards have a music industry all their own and different tastes in music. This guide will help you figure out what your character should be listening to, where to attend concerts, and how to pursue a career in music.
Music in the Muggle World
In the Muggle world, music was a bit different in each era than it is in our time today. Since the majority of our game takes place in the United Kingdom, it’s also worth considering what was popular in British music at the time. Popular musicians in the Golden Era, for example, included The Spice Girls, Boyzone, George Michael, Oasis, and Babylon Zoo. You can also view comprehensive lists on Wikipedia for popular British music in both the Marauder Era and Golden Era. Legacy Era music for muggles is likely quite similar to what is popular today!
Musical Preferences Among Wizards
Magical music tends to favor more bizarre tastes and sounds that muggles would probably find tasteless or cacophonous. They like to use a mix of classical instruments — especially stringed instruments such as violins or cellos — and objects that would not ordinarily be considered instruments, such as potions bottles, tin cans, or even muggle objects like toasters re-fashioned and enchanted to to make a particular sound.
While some witches and wizards do enjoy muggle music – particularly those from primarily muggle families or areas or those growing up in the United States – the magical style of music is so different from that of their muggle counterparts that many find muggle music to be nothing more than noise.
Instrumental music without singing is extremely popular among wizards, perhaps due to the great variety of sounds that can be created using magic, as well as classical music. Classical music is also not considered to be a particular “muggle” or “magical” thing and is favored among all groups.
Instruments of the Magical World
Classical and Instrumental Music is by far the most popular genre, involving instruments such as the cello, violin, viola, string bass, flute, piccolo, tuba, french horn, and other traditional instruments.
Rock and roll is occasionally played, but has an altogether different sound than muggle rock music – witches and wizards do not have the use of electricity to use sound effect pedals, amplifier settings, or electric guitars or keyboards, so magical folk wishing to play the guitar must settle for a different sound caused by magical amplification of acoustic guitars. Magical amplification of electric guitars is absolutely possible, but the resulting sound is harsh and sounds much closer to “nails on a chalkboard” than “electric guitar.”
Enchanted objects or muggle objects are extremely popular in making music, the most frequently used being toasters, tin cans, rotary telephones, lightbulbs, large kitchen knives, televisions, and animal bones (cats in particular.)
While many witches and wizards choose to play their own instruments, it is not uncommon for a single witch or wizard to “conduct” an entire band of instruments with no players that have been enchanted to play themselves. This behavior is extremely common in restaurants or pubs.
The most popular method of acquiring an instrument in the United Kingdom is to purchase it from Dominic Maestro’s Music Shop, with locations in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. They also have a location in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States.
Singing and Vocalists
Singing is less common in the wizarding world than the muggle world, but there exist a few popular vocalists and bands that feature a lead singer. It is not uncommon for singers to use special potions prior to singing that will alter the sound of their voice or allow them to “enchant” the audience to encourage a euphoric feeling while they listen to the song.
Singing is believed to be more of practical use than entertainment in the wizarding world, with the belief that frequent singing strengthen’s the wizards ability to cast spells that require a vocal incantation. Reading music is also considered to be a practical skill for many witches and wizards, as it is a common activity for magical folk to enchant a piano or similar instrument at their home for dinner parties. For this reason, most magical schools have an optional chorus club that students can participate in several days a week to strengthen their musical skill.
Listening to Music
Witches and wizards most often listen to music over the Wizarding Wireless. They also have been known to purchase vinyl records featuring magical recordings of their favorite artists. Personal music devices do not exist in the wizarding world until the Legacy Era, and headphones are not in practical use prior to that point, so those choosing to listen must do so with everyone nearby being able to hear as well.
Aspiring musicians can often be heard playing in local pubs or on the streets of magical shopping districts such as Diagon Alley, while those who are more well known generally play in small music venues in larger cities. On the rare occasion a larger venue is required – such as the case for popular musicians like the Weird Sisters, witches and wizards make use of local concert venues on off-nights or at odd hours of the evening, often holding their performances as late as two in the morning. Because these events are for ticket-holders only, it is not difficult to keep muggles out, and the events are often arranged without the muggles knowledge whatsoever.