was recently discovered that, among his many reputed accomplishments,
Tamerlin conducted an extensive study of the music of Talislanta. This
work consisted of a series of short "notes" and a selection of musical
performances imbued within enchanted amberglass orbs. Transferred to
the internet, these performances can now be heard, and hopefully
enjoyed, by Talislantaphiles of the present era.
The Bodor are widely regarded as the most accomplished musicians in
Talislanta. They possess the ability to see sound waves as a series of
colors, and converse among themselves by means of a musical language
that requires no words to convey meaning. This selection was originally
commissioned by the Emperor of Quan during the year 588 of the New Age.
It was performed by a fourteen-piece Bodorian orchestra comprised of
tambour (tuned drums), glass flute, glass bells, gossamer harp, and the
intricate spiralhorn. The "breathy"-sounding instrument heard in the
background is the four-man bellows-pipes.
A tradition among the Djaffir bandit tribes, the Desert Dance is a
ritual performed after the completion of a particularly profitable
raid. The effects of the ritual are apparently quite profound, for at
its conclusion the members of the tribe renounce their thieving ways
and become merchants. Typically, this miraculous transformation lasts
only so long as the merchants have wares to sell, after which they will
become bandits once again. Instrumentation includes ahtra-hide drums of
varying size, shakers, and the djaro, which also doubles as a short
bow. The bowstring is struck with a rod or stick to produce the
instrument's characteristic "twanging" sound.
The music of the Mandalans consists of simple melodies, with a strong
but understated rhythmic pulse underneath. Its structure symbolizes the
Mandalan virtues of outward passivity and inner strength, as
illustrated by the concept of the Mystic Warrior. This selection,
called "Meditation", was performed by a trio of Mandalan mystics at a
small shrine located in the Groves of Serenity. The melody was played
on a two-chambered wooden flute called a madal; the accompanist plays a
silk harp, its seven strings fashioned from a silkwyrrm thread. The
third musician is playing several percussion instruments, including a
mandola (a long bamboo tube filled with smooth pebbles). The trickling
sound of a stream can be heard in the background.
Long before they settled in the Red Desert and established the great
city of Carantheum, the ancestors of the Dracartans wandered the
Wilderlands for centuries, searching for a new home. This period is
remembered as a time of great hardship and personal sacrifice, and is
commemorated in a traditional song called "The Exodus". The instruments
used in this performance include the daro (drums made of fired clay and
land lizard hide), dracara (ancestral drums made of red iron, dating
back hundreds of years), and tchan (red iron cymbals).
The Yassan are an industrious folk renowned throughout the Desert
Kingdoms as practitioners of the lost art of Technomancy. Their music
is technically oriented; in fact, most musical instruments used by the
Yassan also double as tools. The composition, "Work Song", is typical
of the Yassan approach to music. The instrumentation includes clangals
(flexible saw blades used as cymbals), tubals (metal pipe), metal-harp,
spring-chimes, and hammer-gongs. Yassan "sheet music" resembles a set
of mechanical diagrams; at the conclusion of this piece the
worker-musicians had constructed a small wind-funnel.
to the Sea Dragon (Sun-Ra-San)
The music of the Sun-Ra-San, an aquatic race of sea dragon hunters, is
haunting and often filled with sorrow. "Call to the Sea Dragon" is a
piece that is traditionally performed after a successful hunt, as an
offering to the spirit of the departed sea dragon. The melody is played
on the rasa, a ten-foot long flute carved from the tail bone of an
ancient sea dragon. The droning pedal tone was sung by the Sun-Ra-San,
who are known for their ability to produce wordless vocal sounds across
a range of six octaves. In the background one can hear the sound of the
wind and waves, and the tolling of a brass ship's bell.
The Sarista Gypsys of western Talislanta earn a living by performing
folk songs and dances for their audiences, as well as by more devious
means; they also bear a well-deserved reputation as pick-pockets and
con-artists. This composition is typical of most Sarista music in that
it is based upon a theme that was "borrowed" from another culture (in
this case, Zandir), and adapted for use by Sarista musicians.
Instrumentation includes the lutara (three-string baritone lute), ahtal
(a type of two-string fiddle), wooden flute, and finger cymbals. As
this song built to a climax the audience was encouraged to join in by
clapping along with the beat. While they were preoccupied, Sarista
children artfully rifled their pockets for coins and other small
The music of the warlike Kang is militaristic and generally
unsophisticated in nature. This piece, with its pounding drums and
braying horns, is typical of the raucous marches favored by these folk.
The instruments heard in this composition (dragon-hide drums beaten
with war hammers, cymbals, and iron battle-horns) were played by Vajra
slaves. Rhythmic counter-figures are provided by the sharp clash of
swords beaten against shields.
Aamanian temple music reflects the Orthodoxist Cult concept of "oneness
in mind and spirit", and consists of many voices chanting repetitious
motifs in unison or in octaves over a droning pedal tone. The
Hierophant leads the assemblage in song; the congregation and the rest
of the clergy follow without variation. No instruments are used in any
Aamanian music, as these implements were regarded as "the tools of the
Pt. 1 (Bodorian)
This piece is the first movement of a concerto entitled, "The
Wilderlands Suite", which was written by the Bodor composer, So-La. The
entire suite consists of twenty-four separate movements, and is over
eight hours in length. The first movement is based in part on
traditional rhythmic patterns found in the music of indigenous
Wilderlands tribes such as the Danelek and Za. Instruments include
nalaka (Danelek drums, made from land lizard-hide and ogriphant bone),
anak (a type of five-tined marimba made of carved land lizard bones,
which are struck with a mallet), bass gong, glass flutes, and tambour.
of Madness (Druhk)
The Druhks are a savage folk who roam the wild hills of northern Arim.
In battle, their shamans wield bone flutes and play the ancient "Song
of Madness", which they say strikes fear into the hearts of their
enemies. This rendition was recorded at considerable risk, while a
tribe of Druhks prepared for an all-out assault on an Arimite caravan.
The instruments heard here include bone flutes of various sizes, Druhk
ceremonial drums (made from flayed skin stretched over dried gourds),
and the uka, or "howling drum"; an instrument made from skin stretched
across a framework of rib bones, which is played by wetting the
fingertips in bood and rubbing them across the head of the drum.
While known more for their magical talents than their musical
abilities, the people of Cymril have an avid appreciation of music. As
is the case with most everything they do, the Cymrilians enhance their
music by the use of magic. "Pleasure Palace" is a good example of this
type of "enchanted music". The glass flutes, glass bells, and gossamer
harps used in this piece were enchanted with a glamour that altered the
sound and timbre of the instruments.
Sultan's Dance (Zandir) 4:28
The music of the Zandir nobility is bold, passionate, sweeping, and
rich in ornamentation. Conversely, the music of the peasantry is
simple, rustic, and unpretentious. This composition, called "The
Sultan's Dance", is an example of the style of music favored by Zandir
nobles. It was written and arranged by Zandahl, a Zandir composer who
studied for ten years under a Bodorian maestro. The Sultan's Dance
incorporates Bodorian instruments such as the glass flute, tambour, and
glass bells, plus native Zandir folk instruments like the ojo (a type
of single-reed instrument), zilo (silver chimes), wood-horn,
four-stringed mandallo, and box-drum.
Rajan music is dark and ominous sounding, as befits these folk, who are
morbid and fatalistic by nature. The Rajan Death Dirge, which serves as
accompaniment to sacrificial rituals, is such a piece. To prepare
themselves for the performance of this composition, the Rajan
"musicians" (actually priests of the Nihilist Cult) donned iron death
masks and dosed themselves with a narcotic known as kaj. The
instruments used here include twenty-foot long black iron temple horns
decorated with the images of leering skulls; the uraj, a bellows-driven
pipe organ that requires a team of forty slaves to fill its giant
bellows; iron drums beaten with mallets carved from the bones of the
Rajans' enemies, and black iron cymbals. As the music builds, a Shadinn
executioner circles the intended victim, slashing at the air with his
axe. At its conclusion the victim is slain, and thereby "converted" to
the dark religion of the Rajans.