This month, our theme is music, and I’m honored to host Nora Fleischer. Mark your calendars for the next Drollerie Press chat on September 27th at 4 PM Eastern. We always have a ton of fun and usually end up talking about zombies, Muppets, Sting, and everything in between!
(My post will be posted sometime today at Sarah Avery’s livejournal here.)
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I love setting stories in the early twentieth century, partly because I like the popular novelists of the era (dig up The Wall Street Girl, if you can, for a fun read), but mostly because they’re the first generation to be recognizably modern. They have cars, bicycles, and telephones. For the first time, young women get educated and work in jobs that use their education. (They called them New Women.) And, for the first time, people are able to record music.
Recording music must have been a great thing for musicians– can you imagine knowing that your art would disappear as soon as it was completed?– but it might have been even better for the average music lover. Imagine living in a period when hearing good, professional-quality music was a rare treat, not something you could get for free just for snapping on the radio! When if you wanted to hear music, you’d better learn to play an instrument.
Garrett Hathaway, the hero of my novella, Over Her Head, set in 1905, is a huge opera fan, and he treasures his Victrola. What sort of thing might an opera lover in the early 1900s be able to listen to? Here’s a recording from the Library of Congress’s American Memory site: http://memory.loc.gov/mbrs/berl/131113.mp3. The sound quality makes me very happy to have an iPod! But here’s the challenge for me as a novelist– people like Garrett were very proud and excited about all the opportunities that modernity brought to them. I hope, by showing the way Garrett enjoys listening to music, I’m able to convey that excitement to today’s reader.”