Preptober is finally here, along with the first installment of Preptober Prompts! :D This year we’re starting off with worldbuilding, which is a topic I absolutely love, and I’m super excited to jump into it… so let’s just do that!
I have a whole vast story world (y’all may have heard of Kersir. This is an extended version of that), but for this month I’m focusing on a country called Virilia, since that’s where my NaNo novel takes place.
Virilia is home to a handful of instruments that do exist in the real world but that I wasn’t familiar with until developing Virilia and diving into Asian and Middle Eastern instruments. It’s also home to instruments like the ocarina, which are slightly lesser known but more people here in the US are familiar with (thanks, Legend of Zelda).
My mentor character, for instance, plays the pipa, which is a four-stringed, pear-shaped Chinese instrument similar to a guitar. Another side character plays the Đàn tranh, which is a little like a really long lap harp. (Do I know how to pronounce its name? No. No, I do not.)
Singing is also a common form of music, and it’s not unusual to find someone around you humming at any given moment in Virilia.
Musical style depends on where you are in the country. If you’re in one of the lower villages, farther west, it’s more lively and upbeat most of the time. Music is a community activity in smaller villages, and it’s accompanied by dancing.
In the upper cities closer to the capital, however, it’s considered more of a “refined” art in most circumstances and music is slower and more melodic. Music is often played in the background of everyday activities in the palace and the homes of other nobles, or set up as a calm day show.
Festivals, however, change the tone of music even in the upper cities. On the occasion of a joyful holiday, music across Virilia looks more like lower village entertainment. It’s upbeat and lively, and always accompanied by dancing and singing. It also serves as a background sound for feasts and a few ceremonies.
What sort of music and instruments are common in your world, or to your characters? Drop your answer in the comments!