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World magic based on music

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Asdrubael, May 11, 2013.

  1. Asdrubael

    Asdrubael Dreamer

    So, I know that there are a lot of threads posted about magic, and here I am adding to yet another one, but there are so many interesting and creative ways to go about the rules to magic! Unfortunately I can't be super really comprehensive about the way I'd like it to work because I lack creativity in some aspects.

    Anyways, so in my worldbuilding, there is a force called the Eidolon's Aria which was created at the beginning of the universe, created by both Deimos, the god of terror and void and Adrellach, the goddess of life and song. It is basically a neverending song of power. It has addicting quality to it, like a highly addictive drug. And without proper training, or a ritual that involves saturating the body and soul with the power of the Aria, it can drive a mind to madness. Only a few survive that process, though.

    I haven't quite figured out in what shape the magic manipulates the environment around people though, though I know that I don't want it to be able to revive the dead. I'm not quite sure how I want people to be able to invoke the power either, though I thought about having them sing in order to channel that power. I'm just curious as to any thoughts or suggestions on this?
  2. Sinitar

    Sinitar Minstrel

    Hmm, I believe we'll need a bit more details on how this magic system works. The origins look ok, the source of power(Where the magic comes from and how singers tap into it) is a bit vague and the effects(What it does) are nonexistent.

    The idea itself is very cool, and I instantly thought of instrumental music. What about having a different magic effect based on what instrument/instruments are being played? That requires the magicians to learn how to play an instrument, how to tap into the source of magic, and when to play the magic tune properly. Singing is good too, but in my opinion, this tidbit I offered here already opens up a lot of possibilities and restrictions for your magic system. You will need these for sure.
  3. Guru Coyote

    Guru Coyote Archmage

    My thoughts:
    * Who is Eidolon, if this Aria is named after him/her? What is his/her relation to the two gods mentionend?

    * From your description, this magic feels like the "original force of creation and destruction" in this universe. So, users of this magic might be able to do what the 'universe' has done ever since its beginning: create/grow things... and/or tear them down. They would not be able to do anything that the univers (nature) could not do (so no necromancy, as you said). But maybe by using this magic, they can speed up 'natural' processes? Grow trees faster or make stone crumble with erosion? The (mythical) hight of this mastery could be creating a new universe... with the two gods being the only beings capable of that level of mastery.

    Some ideas of now this magic might look in practise:
    I imagine it would be very mathematical-based type of music (think neal Stephenson's Anathem, read it if you haven't :) ), maybe requiring the musician to produce complex harmonies in quasi algorythmic structure. I imagine things like overtone singing etc.

    Hope this helps a bit :)
  4. Addison

    Addison Auror

    I think in Greek mythology that Cerberus could be tamed with the music played with an enchanted lyre. Music has great power all the way back to ancient and medieval times.

    But this is a cool idea. Have you heard of "The Unwanteds"? The magic in that world kind of uses this idea, among others.
  5. Asdrubael

    Asdrubael Dreamer

    Wow, both of those ideas are fabulous. I'm really very fascinated by the mathematical-based type of music, especially, with the powers only doing what the universe could do. And as well, anyone who would be able to do magic would be learning to use an instrument as well. I was thinking of making it an incredibly difficult form of magic, so much so that only one school could be studied, but I think I like these ideas better. It makes it difficult without being utterly impossible.

    Hmm, they could essentially be like bards then.. and people could learn more than one instrument and use combined instruments to make slightly more powerful magic. Orchestras would be insane, man.
  6. Asdrubael

    Asdrubael Dreamer

    c: It really does, but what I think really sparked my interest in using music as a form of magic was from the Crystal Singer trilogy by Anne McCaffrey. It involves having perfect pitch in order to be able to cut crystal which is used in technology all over the galaxy, however it has a really strange effect on the mind. It makes it so that you are able to heal faster as well as live much much longer. However you can basically go insane from not singing crystal for too long. It eventually rots your mind away and you can't ever remember anything unless it's short term, and even then that goes away, and all you can remember is singing the crystal, and when your body resonates too much then you have to get off planet. It's a really really interesting series.
  7. ahgar

    ahgar Acolyte

    i really like this idea
  8. Cloud

    Cloud Minstrel

    My favourite example of music as magic is Mike Carey's Fix Castor series.

    It's a noir urban fantasy series about an exorcist, who banishes evil spirits (ghosts, vampires, demons, etc) with a tin whistle. For each enemy the tune he plays is different, it becomes a representation of their spirit, symbolically binding them to the tune - when the music stops, the spirit is banished.

    Not sure if it fits, but another nugget for you to mull over ;-)
  9. Bangladeath

    Bangladeath Acolyte

    Nice idea, if you wanted to make it sound scientific look into resonance frequency. Sound can be used to change one's mood, but if you use the right tone or frequency you could also cause great damage.
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
  10. thefeyfox

    thefeyfox Dreamer

    If you want to get super complex you can tap into the idea that music is just simply, a vibration, like light. Perhaps your people or those who can channel magic, are simply people who understand specific vibrations, for example:

    Those who can channel magic pertaining to earth have the ability to feel and channel the vibrations of trees and animals.

    Perhaps magic cannot be used directly in influencing other humans as their "vibrations" are to distinct (or maybe there are a rare line that can channel the vibrations of other human beings and in turn want to create slaves of the human race? o_O) but instead can be used to indirectly come against or alongside them, for example:

    I could not tap into the magic of another human and read their mind, or harm them using their power, or control them, or directly use my vibrations to harm them, but I could tap into the vibration of air and use that to create a whirlwind where I could harm another..

    I may not even be making sense, haha.
    woo woo!
  11. JourneyToTheWest

    JourneyToTheWest New Member

    How about this idea: The world is changing because it is under the affect of the arias comes from two gods, one is creating and one is destroying. The combine of two arias makes everything age and create new life. Since it is the combination of music of gods, it contains enormous information in the smallest syllable, including all vibration frequency, all rhythm and all timbre. It is impossible for human to copy even a whole phrase. Since the aria is unlimited long, it is possible that a random melody a person play is a small part of that aria theoretically. It takes hundreds of years to find out what a song can do, and even so, compared to the aria of gods, the music played by human is like a particle of a fiber in a thick thick cable.
  12. stephenspower

    stephenspower Inkling

    Tolkien's universe had a similar origin, the Music of Ainur, so you're in good company. Following on Bangladeath's comment re resonance, I would look into vibration as the actual source of magic. String theory posits that one-dimensional objects called strings oscillate in different ways like a guitar string can. So what if a guitar string or other tuned vibration were able to tap into these fundamental oscillations of the universe and make them do work? This would also let you bring natural vibrations into play, such as earthquakes or waves, as potential wells of magic.
  13. Seibo

    Seibo New Member

    An interesting system to be sure, but a complicated one to express in writing, especially if you've never studied music theory. You have a pretty large hurdle to overcome from the get-go. Namely, the magic centers around music when the story is in a medium without sound. I know I personally skim through songs when they appear in the text because I have no basis of what the tune would be just from seeing lyrics. I would go with the others' suggestions of keeping the music at an instrumental based instead of singing based. But then the problem soon becomes 'How do I write this spell without just inserting sheet music in my book?'

    I like the origin story but I'm a little confused about Deimos and Adrellach's 'neverending song of power.' Are they creating the song together? Are they harmonizing? Is it more of a musical battle? Does Deimos control over minor keys and Adrellach the major keys? (This is where a background in musical theory would probably help)

    I would also suggest listening to the smart people with their science and smartness.

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