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Music in your fantasy settings

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Jabrosky, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    Has anyone in this thread ever considered what kind of music the various cultures and/or races in their worlds like to play? It probably won't play a major role in your stories, but it might come in handy for describing the auditory experience in certain scenes.

    One of my worlds is based off the ancient Mediterranean and surrounding regions, but I'm in the process of differentiating it from its inspirational source material in various ways. For example, I'm inclined to give my world's Greek analogs Caribbean-style steelpan music (like this) since they live on warm and sunny islands. I don't think you need particularly advanced technology to make steelpan music since it's just beating metal instruments, but nonetheless I wonder if having steelpan music in a more or less Bronze/Iron Age setting might seem anachronistic. What would I call it anyway? "Beating metal pans to produce a high-pitched sound?"

    And while we're at it, my Roman stand-ins have guitars and castanets while my Egyptians have marimbas (or rather a similar instrument called a balafon).
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  2. buyjupiter

    buyjupiter Maester

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    If you call it something besides "steelpan" I think you'll be fine. I think you'll probably need to steer away from "copperpan" as a replacement though, as I can pull out several pans with copper bottoms and not get the sounds you're thinking of using. Maybe if you stretched a piece of bronze/iron sheeting over a hollow wooden barrel you can get a close approximation of the sound?

    As for music in my worlds, I have a fiddler (I'll need to replace "fiddle" when I find authentic to time period musical instruments). His music is normally melodic, but as a bit of distinction the older song is very atonal and somewhat screeching. I used the musical interlude as a bit of world building and a way to slowly introduce the main conflict of the short story.
     
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  3. Firekeeper

    Firekeeper Troubadour

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    Music in my world is a strange dynamic, because it's the main magical system. Instead of incantations, melodies are sung or played, and sometimes certain magic depends on certain instruments (for example, a certain healing spell can only be sung, if yu played the same melody on a harp it would produce no magical effect, alternately some spells require a string instrument and cannot be sung or played on another type of instrument)

    As such, a couple of my kingdoms have banned music entirely, due to their fear of magic.

    So music in my world, even non-magical music, is a strange and exotic concept. Many people go their entire lives without hearing a single melody.
     
  4. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    Wait, you mean they couldn't just manufacture a metal pan or drum without needing any wood?
     
  5. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Interesting topic. Music does have a bit of a role in my worlds, though it's just as much to do with singing as with instruments. One of my mage characters has a unique power that lets him work his will through song, with basically infinite possibilities for results. Some of my Fae use instruments as channels for their power, most often for summoning or enchantment; a similar thing happens with a couple of my vampire characters, though in that case the power is in the instruments themselves, being Fae-enchanted. I try not to be too outlandish with my instruments; I'll have my Fae play the flute, harp or bodhran, for example, while my musically-inclined vampires (and one part-Fae who is related to those vampires) are bagpipers.
     
  6. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    You don't need wood. Only metal:

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. buyjupiter

    buyjupiter Maester

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    I'm thinking of what Bronze/Iron Age level technology existed and honestly I think barrel making might be a stretch for that time period.

    Casting metal of any kind into any other shape than flat would require a mold of some kind. I suppose you could use a clay mold to create your shape, but you'll really need to ask someone with some smithing experience how easy/hard that would be and what kind of technology you'd need to cast a "drum" made entirely out of bronze/iron.

    You can always do *handwave: because magic*, though.
     
  8. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    I could see a flat sheet of bronze hammered into a drum as linked before.

    [​IMG]

    This is a bronze shield. It already bears a resemblance to a drum. I can see a stone hammer and a stone anzil used to shape it further into the steelpan drum linked above. I don't think it's too much of a stretch.

    [​IMG]

    I can see bronzeplate drums.
     
  9. buyjupiter

    buyjupiter Maester

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    Ankari, I got ninja'd. I wasn't trying to argue that you were wrong. Sorry if there was any confusion there.
     
  10. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    No worries. I didn't take it that way. Just helping Jabrosky out.

    As to the OP, I'm developing a magic system that uses music as well. It will be an illusionist magic. While music isn't needed for magic, it will help bolster the effects and lower the targets' barrier to belief.
     
  11. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    A steel pan/drum gets its sound from the tension that is put in to the barrel end as it is beaten into shape and tone. The pan [the musical bit] has to be really thin and even.
    I think the drum has to be steel because it is the right mix of malleable and brittle.
    Something softer like copper or bronze would sound flat and dull, any thing more brittle couldn't be tuned and would proably sound sharp.
    That said... they really are only a specialist form of Xylophone so I can't see it being shockingly wrong.
     
  12. Nagash

    Nagash Sage

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    Music in my WIP is seen either as a form of entertainment in very few human societies, in the higher class. It is also abundantly used in a religious context; an entire culture is inspired by Celtic culture, and music followed along - flutes, harp, etc...Another rather martial culture are very fond of percussions and drumming, even more so on the battlefield.

    I for one love music being incorporated in a culture.
     
  13. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Once you have the material, the smith could notice the tones coming from the metal as he beats it are musical. If not the smith, maybe someone that works near the smith.

    I have one book that uses music, primarily Gemshorn (a horn flute or recorder) but also a lute. She finds out she has the ability of a bard. Many can play music, but a rare few can work the instrument to do magic. Look at real life, many can play but only the greats can create magic for their listeners.
    That is where my quote came from:
    "The true power of a bard is to draw energy from a crowd, returning it back them in an emotional and meaningful way."
     
  14. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    Music plays somewhat of a magical role in my world as the griffins' birdsongs have magical powers. They can heal wounds, while a very powerful griffins can raze buildings to the ground with its song and the most powerful ones can even create life.
     
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