Music of Gylias
The music of Gylias is highly diverse and covers a wide array of styles. Gylian music has a long history, and has combined both indigenous and foreign influences. Since independence in 1958, it has become known for its vibrant pop scene, and its music had a significant impact on Tyranian pop music through the Gylian Invasion.
Although Gylias has a small population relative to most of Tyran, it is home to many famous musicians and a diverse music industry. Along with other art forms, music has a significant role in Gylian identity, and contributes to the country's "land of musicians and artists" reputation.
Traditional and folk music
Gylias' traditional music is as diverse as its population. Each region and ethnic group has its own distinctive traditional musical forms. These have interacted and influenced each other since the Liúşai League, generating certain commonalities.
The most common traditional instruments have been percussion, stringed, and wind instruments. Their importance is reflected in the names of Concordian music spirits Zangyt and Gaďam. Vocal music is usually solo, but with melodies that lent themselves to communal singing.
Folk songs are generally secular and humorous in nature, with storytelling as a significant component. They deal with a variety of subjects, influenced by Gylian history, Concordian and other mythological traditions, and social conditions.
There have been various folk music revivals and renewals in modern times. During the Gylian ascendancy, folk music gained a nationalist and political aspect; the tradition of bawdy songs and sea shanties was used to promote radical changes to gender and sexuality by implying that Gylians were innately Epicurean in this regard.
Modern folk songs tend to feature more elaborate lyrics with an emphasis on rhythm, rhyme, and wit compared to older folk music which is simpler and more repetitive.
Xevdenite classical music was generally state-sanctioned and catered to the tastes and ideology of the elite, to the exclusion of others. The majority of it had a propagandistic and "prefabricated" character, slavishly following prevailing high art trends. Modern Gylian musicology dismisses Xevdenite classical music for this reason and regards it as a manifestation of repression and inequality, without artistic merits.
Some Gylics and later Gylians did manage to enter the field in the Xevdenite era. The first notable composers were the Franco-Gylian sisters Gabrielle and Yolande Polastron. Active between the 1770s and 1810s, they eschewed extended forms in favour of shorter ones such as scherzos, bagatelles, nocturnes and aubades. They composed almost exclusively for the piano, and had a prodigious output that has remained influential.
The rejection of "canonical" art music on the part of Gylians later produced a greater openness towards modern, postmodern, and contemporary classical music. One lasting impact of Xevdenite rule has been rejection of musical forms and techniques associated with monotheism (particularly choral music), which has influenced Gylian opera and art music compositions and repertoire.
Modern Gylias has a lively art music scene with a more specialised audience. Aided by governments' support and cultural policies, most cities have an opera house and venues for art music, and many orchestras and ensembles exist at the regional and municipal level. As a result of the socialised luxury ideal consolidated by the Golden Revolution, Gylian orchestras have distinctive and unostentatious practices, including lack of conductors and performing in casual, utilitarian clothing.
Gylias is home to the Brilla-Paglin vocal school, which emphasises purity of tone, naturalistic singing, and relaxed breathing techniques. The method is standard for teaching classical singing, and is known for its vocal longevity. Its most famous practitioner was singer Kaida Rakodi.
The evolution of Gylian popular music has been influenced by various factors, including the prefigurativism of the Free Territories, the cultural economic model created after independence (including different touring practices), the Golden Revolution, and the notion of applied avant-garde.
Early popular music
The first Gylian forms of popular music developed in Alscia, starting in the 1910s.
Alscia's status as a province of the Cacertian Empire exposed it strongly to contemporary forms of music, from countries such as Cacerta, Megelan, Kirisaki, Akashi, and Allamunnika. Styles such as cabaret, music hall, blues, jazz, and tango were adapted to Gylian sensibilities or fused with existing autochthonous forms to create new hybrid styles.
The prosperity of Alscia increased access to music and musical education. Parlour music emerged, combining and often simplifying existing forms of art and folk music to be more accessible to amateurs, particularly middle-class homes where pianos became a standard element of furniture. Brass bands emerged in rural communities and industrial areas, becoming a vibrant tradition that endures to this day.
The development of cinema allowed the emergence of cinematic music as a distinctive form.
Popular music experienced rapid development in the Free Territories, as part of their social revolution, prefigurative politics, and the emphasis on non-monetary forms of improving quality of life. The length of the Liberation War had a significant impact: it largely isolated the Free Territories, but exposure to foreign influences continued through the international battalions of the People's Army.
The economics of the Free Territories shaped prevailing forms of popular music. Big bands were uneconomical, and the few that existed were consolidated. Folk revivals solidified the tradition of the singer-songwriter. Skiffle had a greater impact logistically than musically, encouraging the use of homemade and improvised instruments when manufactured ones were unavailable.
Reda Kazan was among the most famous performers of the period. Her fame was based on her "wicked", sensual persona, and defiant lyrics, infused with bawdy wit and gallows humour, accompanied by her basic but vigorous rhythm guitar playing. Another notable performer was Hilda Wechsler, who came to be regarded as an institution of Gylian jazz throughout her long and varied career.
Due to the two decades of war, genres such as sentimental ballads, trad jazz, and pop standards largely passed the Free Territories by, or found little acceptance. Their lavish production and perceived values clashed too heavily with the Free Territories' experimentation and anarchism in tough economic circumstances.
The transition from the Free Territories to Gylias allowed the resumption of musical imports. Several genres coexisted and competed to a degree for audiences, including a moment of heightened popularity for jazz through the "Great Four". In general, Gylian audiences were eager to move on from the devastation of the war and the rationing of the National Obligation period; genres associated with the Liberation War fell out of favour and there was a significant appetite for newness.
Pop and rock
Rock and roll steadily gained popularity between 1958 and 1962, as did rhythm and blues, but it would not gain its national breakthrough until a surf rock craze began in 1962. The beginning of an economic boom, the Golden Revolution reaching full flight, and the atmosphere of revolutionary optimism allowed rock and roll to slot perfectly into place, and it was embraced as the new foundation of Gylian popular music.
The Beaties became the most critically and commercially successful band in Gylian history, and have had a monumental impact on the development of popular music. They made their breakthrough with a style known initially as beat music, combining rock and roll energy with guitar-centric songwriting, vocal harmonies, and catchy melodies. This became the dominant template of Gylian pop music. They were at the forefront of the Gylian music scene during the mid-to-late 1960s, helping pioneer and develop various genres, and the intense fan frenzy they attracted spread abroad, helping kick off the Gylian Invasion.
A boom in pop and rock bands took place after the Beaties' breakthrough. Their appearance and personalities were highly influential, and they established a communal ideal of the self-contained band, in which all members sang. Other important pioneers of the period included The Byrds, who developed folk rock and jangle pop based on a format of jangling electric 12-string guitars and elaborate vocal harmonies, and The Watts, who created power pop by taking Beatiesque pop and playing it with more aggressive instrumentation.
The Gylian Sound emerged during the period, seen as the "background music" of the Golden Revolution. The style combined rock and roll energy with lavish orchestration and ambitious songwriting. It featured sophisticated melodies and arrangements, a mood of sunny optimism and implicitly utopian worldview. In the beginning it was mainly the domain of female vocalists such as France Gall and singer-actresses such as Marian Ellis, The Sapphires, Les Myas, Brigitte Nyman, and Alike Demetriou.
A thriving pop culture scene emerged by the mid-1960s, known by the nickname Groovy Gylias. The diversity of the media — particularly the GNBS' use of spin quotas — and cooperativised economy produced an environment where multiple genres coexisted and interacted regularly, and there was a high camaraderie among musicians. Tomoko Tōsaka's notion of "applied avant-garde" became highly influential, popularising the ideal of fusing experimentalism and accessibility.
For these reasons, a gulf emerged between Gylian and Tyranian tastes even during the Gylian Invasion. While Gylian acts reshaped regional popular music fundamentally, most foreign acts faced an uphill battle attempting to win popularity in Gylias. Some simply moved to Gylias to join the scene, as The Monkees and The Creation did.
Psychedelic music emerged during the mid-1960s, as part of the "psychedelic revolution". Psychedelic pop and rock flourished and reached peak popularity in 1966–1969, attracting both established acts (Beaties, Byrds, Watts, The Wells) and new ones (The Dandys, The Tea Set, The Move, The Blue Dawn). Lusitan Gylians helped introduce and popularise samba, bossa nova, and tropicalia during the period, which would become a recurring influence on different genres.
The separation of "pop" and "rock" music happened later and less drastically in Gylias than elsewhere. Hard rock acts drew influence from harder-edged psychedelia, garage rock, and especially power pop, resulting in a style more indebted to the Watts' melodic and good-humoured songwriting. The "applied avant-garde" ideal contributed to the development of progressive, experimental, and avant-garde forms of pop and rock in the 1970s.
Big Star gained national success in 1972–1974 by drawing together strands of power pop, jangle pop, and folk rock into a style that strongly evoked Groovy Gylias, becoming a key influence on later power pop acts. Funk and jazz fusion found an audience, while disco emerged in an experimental and electronic manner, represented by Amanda Leloup. Lizzy Mercier-Descloux is considered a founding figure of Gylias' avant-funk scene, particularly for her role as the "catalyst" in bringing together a circle of musicians that included future members of Talking Heads, Interzone, Bow Wow Wow, Elastica, The Art of Noise, and New Order.
During the wretched decade, new developments such as new wave and post-punk were assimilated, through bands such as The Pixies. Talking Heads and Interzone created distinctive styles based on danceable rhythms, minimal music influences, and polyrhythmic complexity. The reggae rock of Nova Express and the lavishly-produced pop rock of The Affirmatives and The Chrysalides were influential on the sonic experimentation of the 1980s. Asuka and the Mighty Invincibles became one a series of "next Beaties", notable for their eclectic sound and use of music videos as an art form.
The 1990s were characterised by renewed national optimism and new developments, which drove a renewed Gylian Invasion. Dance-rock, having developed from Talking Heads, Interzone, and New Order, reached its peak popularity, represented by The Stone Roses, The Wonder Stuff, and The Rubber Band among others, and propelling the growth of a funk metal scene led by Infectious Grooves. Shoegazing, a subgenre of psychedelic rock, became nationally successful, driving in turn a renewed psychedelic scene, which encompassed space rock and influential post-rock acts like Tortoise, Moonshake, and Seefeel.
Neo-Gylian Sound was spearheaded by Stella Star and Stereolab among others, becoming one of Gylias' most successful musical styles. It updated Gylian Sound's classic songwriting and lavish production with electronic, hip hop, house and other influences. Stella Star became the most successful group since the Beaties, achieving similar mass popularity and pop culture influence.
Gylias retains a vibrant pop and rock scene, notable for its eclecticism and openness to experimental, avant-garde, and international influences. Gylian pop and rock are noted for preserving an overall upbeat, sunny, and optimistic character, and incorporating contemporary developments and trends into the traditional framework of guitar-driven pop.
Electronic music arrived in Gylias through Megelan, in the early influence of futurist music and the experiments of the Studio of Musical Phonology of Radio Alba in the late 1950s.
Suzanne Ciani was the first notable composer of electronic music in Gylias. Her main contribution was to bypass musique concrète and electroacoustic music, and focus directly on making accessible electronic music, based on the principle of "applied avant-garde". She created a pioneering synthesizer-based theme song for the Gylianime Outer View, and recorded a series of albums in the 1960s that brought electronic music to a wide audience.
Virginia Astley gained unexpected mainstream success in the 1980s with her ambient pop style, which combined her ethereal vocals with melodic piano plying and Gylian Sound-influenced orchestration. She also became an in-demand session vocalist, musician, arranger, and producer, and her music has been cited as an influence on game soundtracks, particularly for RPGs.
The Art of Noise helped influence 1980s pop music with their lush yet quirky production techniques, while New Order were among the first bands to fuse rock with electronic dance music. The growing popularity of electronic music and nightclubs throughout the 1980s laid crucial foundations for the development of dance-rock and Neo-Gylian Sound.
The Orb became a major electronic representative in the psychedelic scene in the early 1990s. Their dub-influenced ambient house sound, marked by science fiction themes and quirky samples, earned them a period of popularity in 1990–1993 and a cult following afterwards, and also made them in-demand producers and remixers.
During the 1990s, the success of dance-rock and Neo-Gylian Sound helped bring a higher profile to electronic music and dance music, particularly house. Important electronic acts include The Ins & Outs, Rona Lensea, Air, and Miss Kittin during the 1990s, and Émilie Simon and Evangeline MacDowell since the 2000s.
Digital Underground achieved national success in the 1990s with their highly Parliament-Funkadelic-influenced sound and surreal humour. While their popularity declined somewhat after their first two albums, leader Shock G became a renowned producer and remixer in the Gylian music scene.
Snoop Dogg similarly gained fame with his "stoner rap" style, characterised by laid-back flow, distinctive slang, and drug-related subject matter, backed by production that combines funky beats with psychedelia and live instrumentation. He became known for his prolific guest appearances and eclectic choice of collaborators.
The influence of the Beastie Boys produced a subgenre of Neo-Gylian Sound known as city pop. Exemplified by Luscious Jackson, Cibo Matto, Beck, and Imani Coppola among others, city pop de-emphasised melody in favour of groove, incorporating strong funk and hip hop influences and cultivating a demopolitan atmosphere.
The development of Gylian hip hop has been strongly aided by liberal intellectual rights law, particularly the Law on Cultural Protection of 1992 which strongly protects and regulates sampling and remix culture. Numerous Tyranian hip hop acts have recorded specifically in Gylias to take advantage of the easier sampling process. The Law on Cultural Protection also stimulated significant development of Gylian turntablism, not just in hip hop but in pop music as a whole.
Computer music and soundtracks
Soundtracks achieved their modern form with the maturation of Gylian cinema and television. A majority of Gylian soundtracks follow the model of The Beaties' "White Album", demonstrating facility with a great variety of musical styles.
Yoko Kanno is one of the most famous Gylian musicians associated with soundtracks. Her works include acclaimed Microworld soundtracks such as EarthBound and Tales of Phantasia, and the soundtrack of Cowboy Bebop, recorded with the Seatbelts.
The development of personal computing and the internet during the 1990s produced a flourishing demoscene, which has attained a high degree of success and mainstream visibility. Music trackers have been adopted and used by many musicians as a way to create music using a computer, building on the framework of sampler-synthesizer-workstations such as the Fairlight CMI and Synclavier.