What is Steampunk music?

Steampunk sky captain

What Makes Music Steampunk?  What IS Steampunk Music?

There are a wide variety of opinions on what Steampunk music is and how one might define it.  We asked some of our friends

and some Steampunk World’s Fair attendees for their views, and we’d like to share them with the world!

  1. Steampunk is an alternative culture and has many musical styles –  Lawrence Tagrin
  2. It depends on the instruments used, the style of performance, and the subject matter of the songs.  – Lily Jarret
  3. Steampunk music is based on time travel, Victorian subjects, airships, etc. and hats!   – David Sliwinski
  4. A pretty apt description for steampunk music is that it is an Afro-Funk-Soul-Trumpet-Instrumental – Lily Jarret
  5. It has a sound similar to the genres of dark cabaret, electronica, industrial music, new age, folk music, 19th century romantic classical, ragtime, early 20th century Jazz or swing, and punk jazz. Which these genres span from the different elements of the steampunk subculture and fashion. Punk, cyber punk, Goth, Victorian Goth, diesel punk, dreadpunk, Gothic Lolita, and of course the historical influence of the regency, Victorian, and Edwardian eras. I also think aside from sound that how a performer presents themselves is exceedingly important to identifying that steampunk genre of music. Like Steampowered Giraffe and the Eternal Frontier – Nicole Oliva
  6. They are musical styles based in turn of the century music with sort of neo-vintage vibe. Stuff that cabaret or klezmer or swing or jazz will usually hit the spot for me. Though that’s more dieselpunk than steampunk. A lot of the songs and chanties many of us know from sca actually have 18th and 19th origins, so if anything, those are steampunk, but since they are just melodies, people often don’t make the connection – Berakha Lana
  7. It is more about the thematics of band/music and less about the genre they perform in. There are many bands who are not considered “steampunk” but lend themselves to the general atmosphere of the genre itself. In other shorter words, Steampunk Music is like Steampunk Anything. Widely varies on interpretation and creativity and is awesome as all hell. I like musicians that tell stories with their songs. Like Lindsey Sterling and Delain – Jeremiah Kornspan
  8. Steampunk music (geek music might be the larger umbrella) is the only genre defined by lyrics and not musicality – Jonah Knight
  9. Opera and music derived from opera seem to be one important thread in steampunk music – Chelsea Goodwin
  10. Electro-swing and swing-house are great for conveying the anachronistic aspect of Steampunk – Ian Staer