Not too long ago I came across a somewhat 'curious' music band, whose most remarkable trait, to me, was its name: Lyranthe.
No kidding, but apparently there really is/was (I am not exactly sure about its current status) a Progessive Metal band of this name. At first, I thought it to be a mere coincidence, but according to the Encyclopaedia Metallum (http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Lyranthe/50296) it is not as there is a direct reference to Janny and her books.
Two songs from their first and so far only album, called 'Oculus Inferno', can be found on YouTube: 'There will be gone' and 'Paraphilia'. I am by no means an expert on Progressive Metal or Metal in general, so I cannot really make a statement about the quality of the music. That being said, it sounds interesting enough to me.
Well, just wanted to share this odd piece of information.
Seems the reference to Janny's glossary entry was on the old official page for the band, so Athera's instrument must be what inspired the name.
I had no luck finding an interview yet where someone actually asked about the band name.
I tracked some info on the band down and listened to the album, I am not a lover of metal, progressive or otherwise, but it was not that bad, my ears are still ringing though. I think Janny's bagpipes would be preferable.
Info on the band
Vocalist Walter Ballard, Jr. has the album up on soundcloud if anyone wants to listen.
Certainly some of the song names a WoLaS fan could let their imagination have fun with, there was nothing specific in the lyrics.
I noticed on the myspace page there was a unreleased demo called Death by Teacup, I was real disappointed there were no vocals.
Thanks a lot for the link to Soundcloud! I am listening to the full album right now.
I tried to find the band's founder on Twitter in order to ask him directly about the name. Well, let's just say that Will Anderson isn't a particularly uncommon name. Maybe I will write to former band member Peter Orullian, who has a Twitter account, and ask him if he knows how to contact Will.
Personally, I prefer Power Metal (European style), which is more melodic and 'cheerful' in comparison to Progressive Metal.
As for bagpipes, I have to admit that I find it a bit difficult listening to them. The songs played on these instruments all sound the same to me and I have trouble detecting an inner structure. However, these 'dueling pipers' made me laugh pretty hard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amNF_F6oeRU
Anyway, I wonder what Arithon, Halliron and Felirin would have to say about this kind of music...
Now that I think of it, I am really curious what the musical history of Athera is. I do not seem to remember any mention of different music genres and periods (comparable to rock, pop, folk, Renaissance, Baroque et al. in our world). Even the difference between the music in Dascen Elur and Athera does not seem to be that significant, apart, of course, from the content of the songs.
Athera may have had some electric harp.. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6iAaVY1G_c)
Blind Guardian's "The Bard's song" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_tORtmKIjE) might be more at home on Athera. Blind Guardian being perhaps one of the best Euro Power Metal bands.
Most of our music variation is due to changes in society, technological advances, and the physical distance between some places and their isolation. Humanity settled on Athera under strict terms and were not free to evolve however they wanted to, they gave up their original culture. Athera's bards seem to have followed the Paravian example when it came to music, travel all over Paravia and not much changed in 5000 years. They still have the exact same hand crafted instruments, and some of their music is still of Paravian origin. The out of tune fiddler at West End might have been a bit different to a Masterbard.
There would be a reason why Athera needed her masterbards to follow a similar style as the Paravians, rather than turn into heavy metal enthusiasts making a lot of noise and depending on personal opinion not much harmony.
Maybe music had changed a bit on some parts of Dascen Elur, Amroth seems to have started their own religion, their royalty does not seem much like Paravian royalty, maybe their music changed as well. Rauven worked on evolving their magic, they might have had a reason to stay traditional.
I think I asked on the Lyranthe my space page about their name, the thing is not very user friendly but presumably the message was sent. Not sure if Will Anderson still bothers with it though.
And Dakar's out of tune singing and tavern songs are going to be nothing like Paravian music, so Athera does have some different styles of music. And the bards seem to learn them all, although there might be more difference now between clan and townborn bards.
'The Bard's Song' is just wonderful! I am still a newbie when it come to (Power) Metal, having listened only to Nightwish and Hammerfall so far, so recommendations are always welcome. :-)
On the one hand I would agree that the history of music is closely connected to social and technological changes. But on the other hand it would still seem odd to me if no changes had occured on Paravia musical-wise.
For example, the Compact did not prevent the spilling of any royal blood during the uprising; neither did it keep the s'Brydions from creating their culverin. True, the weapon was taken away from them eventually but the fact remains that people still have the ability to create something new. And I don't think that Asandir would show up on some random bard's threshold in order to confiscate a newly created music instrument or to scold him or her for going a bit jazzy.
What I try to say (in a not very elaborate way, I am afraid) is that, while being bound to the Compact and stripped of some of their freedoms (e.g. the restriction of mining), humankind on Athera still possesses the desire for and abilty to change. I mean, when there are different kinds of magic, how couldn't there be different musical styles? And I don't just think of the difference between tavern music and quasi-holy Paravian music. Sure, the latter one has to stay the same more or less, but the 'normal' music would be freer to undergo changes. A musican tied to a household in one of the cities does not need to concern himself with the land after all; for him the personal taste of his employer would be the only thing of importance.
Does this make any sense?
On an unrelated note, I would love to see some more interaction between Arithon and other musicans! Not very likely to happen right now since he is pretty busy staying alive and all that, but it would be great nonetheless. I am also wondering whether Arithon would be able to find an apprentice. It was already damn hard for Halliron, but with Arithon having reached such a high level it might prove to be even more difficult to come across someone promising.
Janny, just in case you are reading along, would Arithon's unprecedented mastership of music affect his - theoretical - search for a successor? Also, what happens if the current Masterbard dies without having been able to pass on his knowledge? Halliron was, if I am not mistaken, pretty worried about this prospect.
I do not think Arithon will be needing a successor, I expect him to be around for a long time, and share his music a bit more. Might need a new Lyranthe though, that one has had a charmed life so far, it might not survive what is coming.
But Arithon finally being able to pass on some of what he has learned would be nice, after all the dust settles from all those conflicts coming up in the next book. And he can finally find some place secure from rabid fanatics, to start a new life.
The network of Bards would probably be useful for helping to settle all the hatred and misunderstanding, once they are free to express themselves in their music and play what they like without being persecuted, or executed. And probably Arithon will have more of a chance to influence the music being heard.
The lyranthe is the perfect musical instrument, and there are plenty of other ones around. If they are trained to use all that they have, maybe they are happy as they are? Maybe some of the other musical instruments were developed while on Athera. They would have given up what they had when they settled, and apart from the Lyranthe, everything else seems to be different. The flutes the sunchildren play are different to what we have seen humans playing, and we have not heard of any Paravians playing anything else.
Jazz was a cultural thing, started up by a blending of cultures. Athera does not have that culture or any chance of it being brought in. Our world has many very different cultures, spread over a wide area, Athera has only a few, that have been living on Paravia for over 5000 years, and Paravia is not that big. When they settled they gave up their culture and settled under the terms of the compact and charter law. Without any technological advances, why would their music suddenly change?
There is already a wide variation in their music and songs, and they are basically one culture when it comes to music, there are no outside influences, no new influx of people from distant lands or worlds. Dascen Elur was an Atheran colony and only 500 years old, on a world with little land and resources, so surviving was their main focus. And the only two to return certainly made big changes, and evolved music to a new level of mastery. If Lysaer achieves nothing else useful, at least he managed to unify most of the towns people, and seems set to have them all following him.
Maybe in the 7th age Athera's music might have changed, but they would till have masters of the Lyranthe and still have some remnant of the Paravian culture. And still probably not have any higher technology, at least some of them would not need it and have no use for it. Athera is going to evolve along a different path to our world.
Perhaps a lyranthe duel like this guitar duel.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40XQDVEAblA
Arithon might also be at home amongst these guys with cellos.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zf2aIVKp1OY
The guitar duet is lovely; quite sweet but also funny. Also, that e-guitar looks awesome, and even though he probably would prefer a more traditional instrument I cannot help but think that its green colour would suit Arithon rather well.
I would disagree with the bit about a successor for Arithon. He may not be in a hurry to find an apprenctice due to his longevity but he has already lived for about two and a half century and there is no guarantee that he will survive the last book (I for one would not put my money on it). In the end he would need a successor, unless he achieves some kind of semi-immortality similar to the one of the Fellowship Sorcerers..
However, you could be right that his lyranthe may not live past the events of 'Song of the Mysteries', though I hope that it won't meet its end. The destruction of instruments gets to me; it was already gruesome enough when Lysaer crushed Arithon's old lyranthe. And remembering his reaction to the news back then, another 'lyranthe casuality' could just as well prove to be too much for him.
I am wondering, is there really a network of bards? Sadly, there have not been many in the books so far - by name only Halliron and Felirin, if I am not mistaken -, so it is hard to tell. Also, didn't Felirin take a pride in his 'wilderness' (having lived with the clans and all that). That would seem to imply that not all bards possess this trait, what would make them much more heterogeneous.
It is quite possible that I project my own character onto others here; but if I could play an instrument I am sure I would try to find new ways of expression, let it be by means of a new musical style or a new instrument. Not because there would be anything wrong with the old instruments and styles, but going new ways and being creative would just seem natural to me.
And I believe that a fine townborn lady would seek to impress her friends (or foes); so employing a musican who does something new would be a way of portraying herself as the leader of fashion.
Sorry about the Jazz-thing. That reference was meant to be a placeholder or stand-in for any new musical style. I wasn't talking about real Jazz since, as you said yourself, our world and Athera are two completely different places; thus, it would be impossible to transfer our musical history to Athera.
Loved the guitar duel, but I think of Arithon more like the second group with the cello's, all that electrifying emotion and energy seems more like him.
Jazz was a good example, but there are no other cultures to bring new music and ideas in. Until the Mistwraith and the rebellion, nothing much seemed to change in the third age.
Nearly all bards do something new, they make their own music and songs as well as preserve the old ones. Spending time with the clans just means they would learn more of the old Paravian music and hear some of the newer clan ones about more current events. The bard referred to as a friend to the clans in CotM was most likely Felirin, before he ran into trouble. And we know he had soent time with the clans after that since he learned one of Halliron's later songs.
Originally a bard would have been free to play to who ever they chose. At the start they seemed to still be free to mix with the clans, probably they would be too scared in the current Paravia. But the clans have their own bards.
And Janny only gives us Names if they are significant in some way, everyone else goes nameless, so we are never going to find out the names of many bards. There is no way Arithon could have been all the bards mentioned in Traitor's Knot, I think even back then he would have had a bit of help.