Music

Table of contents


The range of music in Newgulf is huge, different for every tier of society, high end and low end, personal or public — but no matter where one stands, it is important. On the simplest level, it is a method of self-expression that any living being can engage in. It is a way of telling a story that is easy to relate to, with an element of emotion worked all they way through. Music can be used in bars and brothels for humor, as a way of showing off at private parties and engagements. Perhaps most importantly, though, it can be used as a focus point and a channel for magic, turning it from a scatter-shot to a scalpel.

Common Music

The lowest denominator, low class music is generally an expression of personal emotion, sung when working on farms or with beasts, loud and often bawdy in public. A lot of lower class music is sung, or played on simple instruments like recorders, pipes, very basic strings like ukuleles, guitars, and of course, percussion instruments such as drums and triangles.. The songs often tell tales, frequently of great Folk Heroes?, and teach a lesson at their conclusion. Almost everyone knows these songs. They're not meant to be merely performed, but sung along with. They are a group activity.

In the privacy of the home, music is frequently used in a religious capacity. Hymns are frequently sung before dinner, before going to bed, and are a staple of the church. These songs are generally extremely simple, with basic refrains that people can easily pick up after one or two recitations. Music helps encourage community, and generally puts forth a message of hope.

There are, of course, some forms of Entertainment in which participation is not expected. Traveling troops, theater groups, musical on stage or, sometimes, religious canters, also exist among the lower classes.

Aristocratic Music

Among the Aristocrats, music is much more intellectual. While many of the same songs make their way up through the ranks, they are considered uncouth and vulgar, not outright forbidden but certainly frowned down upon. "Common music" comes with all the negative connotations: those same simple instruments might meet frowns or rolled eyes, whereas more complicated ones such as harpsichords and pianos, more elegant and elaborate flutes and brass, are much beloved and praised.

Generally, the Aristocrats perform their music. In private engagements, small and personal parties, one person might take up place at the piano and play, or a commoner might be hired to play the harp in the corner. For larger events, a full band might be put together with elegant guitars, woodwinds, percussion, and almost always some form of piano.

The be all and end all of aristocratic music, however, is the Opera. A musician's dream is to write or perform in an Opera, especially in the great Opera House? in the Estates. There aren't a great deal of operas already written, but more are being added all the time, as this is the height of operatic writing. These performances are usually well-funded, elaborate, with intense costumes. The music is an important element, of course, but a lot of the importance of opera is wrapped up in the show and the spectacle that comes with it.

Instruments

The creation of musical instruments is a highly esteemed position. There are simple instruments, made from simple materials - wood, bone, tanned leather, the standard range - and then there are the expensive instruments, the pieces passed on through families. These are made from the Great Materials, usually grown in one fluid piece, textured to enhance or edit sound. The creation of instruments is an involved, complicated process that takes years [decades, even] to master. These fantastic instruments can produce strange sounds, help focus magic even more clearly.

Music in Magic

There is nothing intrinsic in music that makes it useful for magic. There is nothing mystical about its use to focus and clarify the mind: it's just a very powerful way of turning emotions to something useful, to calming or inciting passion. The songs people sing are well-known and easy, people don't have to think, they just channel themselves into the music and the singing or their instruments. Music is especially helpful for Blood Magic users, as there is an emotional element to music already, and it merely is a matter of enhancing it.