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Musical Instruments

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Musical Instruments

Postby Zargen » Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:03 pm

So Iimagine music is going to be a big deal for some players. That got me wondering what kind of instruments we can expect to be in game. Wheres the cut off going to be in terms of whats available for our geographic area? Lutes drums fifes and flutes is what I came to the conclusion of. But what else? I dont think we'd see a piano this far north.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Taurgalas » Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:44 am

Pianos are probably out of the question but I imagine some stringed instruments like a cittern or lute, lyre, and harp. An argument could even be made for some variant of the bagpipes!
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Octavius » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:39 am

Good question.

I would have assumed fiddles and guitars, too.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Dero » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:23 am

I would figure there would be a mix of what people in Laketown use and also what the elves use as there might be a bit of trade there. There could even be remnants of what the dwarves used also. I could see woodwinds, primarily flutes and pipes, and maybe some percussion, but string I could see being big. Things that are easy to handle and move. You'd hate to drop your instrument into the water I would figure or it would also be annoying if the damp air rotted things out.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby macaelum » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:14 pm

Horns and trumpets would fit in well too!
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Zargen » Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:33 am

I am for bagpipes and trumpets, for the record :mrgreen:

Now what kind of -orcish- instruments should there be?

Bone flutes and skin drums are a given. But is that it? What kind of music do we think they'd enjoy?

My orcish tribesmen, feel free to chime in
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Throttle » Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:40 am

Skin flutes.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Octavius » Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:55 am

Throttle wrote:Skin flutes.


You are fired.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Emilio » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:13 am

Bagpipes!!! :D
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Hawkwind » Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:15 am

Northumbrian small Pipes.
Anthony Baines wrote: "It is perhaps the most civilized of the bagpipe."
A smaller, more manageable set of bagpipes from the north-east of England.
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A wind instrument made from one single piece of material which can vary, examples include bone, clay, wood and metal.
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Hand harp
Joanna Newsom said "I am producing sounds that people are not used to hearing from the harp."
A simple string instrument with large stationary kinds and the portable frolic-enabling varieties.
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Humble Flute
Ian Anderson said "I can never make up my mind if I'm happy being a flute player, or if I wish I were Eric Clapton."
A simple instrument, hollowed out with holes put in.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Emilio » Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:59 pm

Galician bagpipe - Gaita gallega
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Icarus » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:54 am

Hobbit-skull xylophone.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Octavius » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:12 pm

Icarus wrote:Hobbit-skull xylophone.


....you are fired, too.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Zargen » Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:46 pm

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Don't look 'em in the eye
Look down, look down,
You're here until you die

Look down, look down
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Look down, look down
You're standing in your grave.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Hawkwind » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:06 pm

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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Blackcat » Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:27 am

Taking the musical instrument thread a step or two further along the entertainment path ...

Morris dancers with bell pads on their shins and sticks! *runs and hides* Seriously though, think of the rhythmic stepping ... Just need some bells and wooden sticks and you've got yourself a party! Or have a look at the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance. Just need a set of humongous antlers glued to the top of a deer's head on a hobby horse like stick and off you go.

Morris Dancers http://youtu.be/fniZzaViEZc

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance http://youtu.be/ATaHxOxGvv4
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Nimrod » Mon Apr 07, 2014 3:47 pm

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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Zargen » Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:49 pm

a voluptuous, goat-faced gobliness writhes around lewdly to the sound of bone fifes and man-skinned drums. Her little knuckle-bone bell anklets making a racket only an orc could love.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Santi » Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:10 pm

Zargen wrote:Look down, look down
Don't look 'em in the eye
Look down, look down,
You're here until you die

Look down, look down
You'll always be a slave
Look down, look down
You're standing in your grave.


I can totally hear this being played with a gutbucket bass made out of a large bone, steel string and a small keg. Accompanied by man skinned-drums and a gong, of course. If only there were Orks in Les Mis.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Eugene » Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:49 pm

I did a buttload of research on the matter when I played Herb, so I am going to act in my usual fashion and respond to the thread with little regard to what has been posted prior.

Tolkien wrote remarkably little on the state of music in Middle-Earth. What scholars have to work with are implications based upon what Tolkien did and did not include in his own writings. What I distinctly remember was my utter surprise that music in Middle-Earth was shockingly rudimentary and inconsistent with real-life history. Pianos are totally out of the question, as well as any string instrument with anything but a simple fretboard. This means no modern guitars, but we somehow get fiddles. If I recall correctly, there was a distinct lack of polyphony and very little in the way of percussion beyond simplistic manifestations.

Basically, nothing past the Early Medieval Era. Don't quote me, though, since I'm trying to remember information from over half a decade ago. We do get a hell of a lot of wind instruments, though.

Emphasis on wind instruments.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Taurgalas » Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:35 am

Pretty much correct there, Eugene. And much of that is to one extent or another, remaining in my peripheral vision. Necessary things first, but I have a love for music as did Tolkien. I want our players to be able to fully embrace their musicality.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby macaelum » Sun May 04, 2014 1:33 pm

Eugene wrote:I did a buttload of research on the matter when I played Herb, so I am going to act in my usual fashion and respond to the thread with little regard to what has been posted prior.

Tolkien wrote remarkably little on the state of music in Middle-Earth. What scholars have to work with are implications based upon what Tolkien did and did not include in his own writings. What I distinctly remember was my utter surprise that music in Middle-Earth was shockingly rudimentary and inconsistent with real-life history. Pianos are totally out of the question, as well as any string instrument with anything but a simple fretboard. This means no modern guitars, but we somehow get fiddles. If I recall correctly, there was a distinct lack of polyphony and very little in the way of percussion beyond simplistic manifestations.

Basically, nothing past the Early Medieval Era. Don't quote me, though, since I'm trying to remember information from over half a decade ago. We do get a hell of a lot of wind instruments, though.

Emphasis on wind instruments.


The Hobbit, chapter 1, even mentions that Bifur and Bofur played clarinets, although the clarinet was not developed in Europe until around 1700-1750; you do not hear clarinets in the orchestral music of Bach and Handel, but you do in Mozart and Haydn. The clarinet developed out of an earlier instrument called the chalumeau. And the same paragraph mentions "viols", which are not exactly violins -- viols were earlier, they were fretted, and there was a whole family of them with voices ranging from bass to treble -- although I think he also mentioned a violin or fiddle elsewhere.

My thought is that when Tolkien wanted to refer to the musical instruments he found in Middle Earth, he just used the names of the most similar modern instruments that his English readers in the 20th century would be familiar with. And so maybe we should do the same.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby crayon » Sun May 04, 2014 11:18 pm

I did a buttload of research on the matter when I played Herb, so I am going to act in my usual fashion and respond to the thread with little regard to what has been posted prior.

Tolkien wrote remarkably little on the state of music in Middle-Earth. What scholars have to work with are implications based upon what Tolkien did and did not include in his own writings. What I distinctly remember was my utter surprise that music in Middle-Earth was shockingly rudimentary and inconsistent with real-life history. Pianos are totally out of the question, as well as any string instrument with anything but a simple fretboard. This means no modern guitars, but we somehow get fiddles. If I recall correctly, there was a distinct lack of polyphony and very little in the way of percussion beyond simplistic manifestations.

Basically, nothing past the Early Medieval Era. Don't quote me, though, since I'm trying to remember information from over half a decade ago. We do get a hell of a lot of wind instruments, though.

Emphasis on wind instruments.


After the Song of Iluvatar, I have to imagine Middle Earth was pretty over the whole music thing.

The Ainur have a monopoly on the electric guitars and pianos, it would seem.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby Eugene » Thu May 08, 2014 6:24 pm

macaelum wrote:The Hobbit, chapter 1, even mentions that Bifur and Bofur played clarinets, although the clarinet was not developed in Europe until around 1700-1750; you do not hear clarinets in the orchestral music of Bach and Handel, but you do in Mozart and Haydn. The clarinet developed out of an earlier instrument called the chalumeau. And the same paragraph mentions "viols", which are not exactly violins -- viols were earlier, they were fretted, and there was a whole family of them with voices ranging from bass to treble -- although I think he also mentioned a violin or fiddle elsewhere.

My thought is that when Tolkien wanted to refer to the musical instruments he found in Middle Earth, he just used the names of the most similar modern instruments that his English readers in the 20th century would be familiar with. And so maybe we should do the same.


See what I mean? The development of musical instruments and structures in Middle Earth makes no sense at all. Not even simple guitars and no polyphony, but somehow we get violins and - as you now point out - clarinets. Considering Tolkien was highly educated, I don't think he would have been so lazy as to either do no research into the matter or insert nouns so specific without adding something along the lines of "it was the equivalent to the modern day instrument." However, given the totally confusing nature of the development of music that is described in Middle Earth, I could very well be wrong. Maybe we should ask Stephen Colbert?

crayon wrote:After the Song of Iluvatar, I have to imagine Middle Earth was pretty over the whole music thing.

The Ainur have a monopoly on the electric guitars and pianos, it would seem.


Quite the contrary, my cheeky friend: a great deal of music was played in Middle Earth by its inhabitants.
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Re: Musical Instruments

Postby crayon » Thu May 08, 2014 9:32 pm

Eugene wrote:See what I mean? The development of musical instruments and structures in Middle Earth makes no sense at all. Not even simple guitars and no polyphony, but somehow we get violins and - as you now point out - clarinets. Considering Tolkien was highly educated, I don't think he would have been so lazy as to either do no research into the matter or insert nouns so specific without adding something along the lines of "it was the equivalent to the modern day instrument." However, given the totally confusing nature of the development of music that is described in Middle Earth, I could very well be wrong. Maybe we should ask Stephen Colbert?


There were a lot of inconsistencies in Tolkien's writings depending on when they were written. The Hobbit, in particular, has a slightly different feel and tone from the Lord of the Rings, and, naturally, a lot more inconsistency. That kind of slip-up would probably, if somewhat surprisingly, be consistent with that particular work, but I doubt you'd see something similar in LotR or the Silmarillion.

There are also a lot of inconsistencies in works that were more or less assembled post-mortem from his notes, because really, with a writer that prolific, you're going to have a lot of ideas on paper. A lot of half-finished thoughts. A lot of unfinished drafts.

For example, there is in fact a text in which we find out that Elendil (pictured below) was in fact a TIME TRAVELING GHOST who journeys into the FUTURE (contemporary Cornwall) to take a man and his son (obvious reference to JRR and Christopher Tolkien) on a journey through TIME in his DeLorean.

Image

Of course, by DeLorean, I mean a lot of fancy stuff like genetic memory.

From the more CONSISTENT Middle Earth texts, I would think that music was treated somewhat distinctively by each race, with Elves trending towards string instruments (harps, etc.), orcs and goblins (with goblins seeming to disappear from the canon at various stages, off-and-on) trending towards drums, and humans trending towards haughty horns and perhaps trumpets, with obvious crossover where cultures overlap. I doubt orcs had any patience for music that wasn't made by banging on stuff though.

The oft-ignored dwarves may perhaps have been gifted with technologically anachronistic musical devices because:

a) They're dwarves and technology and making things tends to be their THING thematically?
b) I'm not sure what else they could trend towards to distinctively represent their racial musical heritage?

I'm not sure. Music is complicated.

It could also be said that, in fact, given Middle Earth's predilection for music in general (the world was created in a song), it could just be the case that music was more of a PRIORITY in Middle Earth, and terms like anachronistic cease to apply because the stories and the world have a DIFFERENT context.
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