Arithon's Musical Techniques and the Lyranthe

originally posted by Hannah

Unrelated to the above thread, I had this question last night as I was falling asleep. Generally, those types of thoughts aren't ones that make enough sense to bear repeating when the morning comes, but I'm going to post this anyhow.

Janny, if you have any non-spoiler insight you can shed on the nature of this question, I would welcome it.

Anyhow, we all know Arithon is an unmatched bard. When people hear him play, they're unfailingly touched. Even Cattrick was "damned well" entertained in FP. The bellmaker's comment in FP around that same section, something about 'here's a Masterbard with a true ear for fiendbane' [paraphrase, and he might not have said 'masterbard'], almost indicates that the title of Masterbard is not like King, where there can only be one per country at a time, but maybe just an honorary of "rank" of musical skill. So possibly there could be more than one person considered a masterbard? Enough times, Arithon has been referred to as Athera's true Masterbard, however.

But it seems that word would get around and connections would be made. In Riverton, for example, Caolle was a known companion of the amazing bard in residence. When Caolle was taken captive by the Koriathain, they knew who he was and they knew who Arithon was, and if they didn't know then they would have found out, it seems, that Arithon was there posing as a bard. And a darn good one. That info could have gotten back to Lysaer.

The Jaelot fiasco (the first one) should have been a huge tip-off as well.

Lysaer himself had heard Arithon's raw talent in CotM. Common sense would seem to indicate that since Arithon did not have to become king at that time, he would have still maintained his playing.

But if it was ever said in the series, I've missed it: is Lysaer completely oblivious to the (possibility of connecton) between Arithon and a traveling musician? Lysaer always seems to know more than we give him credit for. But you would think if he was aware that sometimes Arithon would show up at random taverns to play, that he would broadcast that info, so people would be aware and more likely to capture him.

I just don't recall anything having been said about it previously. No musings of Lysaer about it.

Or maybe I'm too used to 21st-century mass communication. Maybe I'm overestimating Athera's capability to "spread the word."

It's just a half-baked inquiry, I guess. It was something that's been bothering me is all. 'Bothering' may be too strong of a word.


originally posted by Legion

I can't say for sure but assumedly Lysaer does know but theres not much he can do about it! With his shadow mastery Arithon can look like anything he wants so a description of a bard can't be released to the public for identification.

The only way people could catch arithon by knowing he masquerades as a bard would be by arresting every free singer they came across. Its already been stated in the story that this is considered bad luck at the least, although sunwheel followers have disregarded this in the past.

Just my view on it though.

originally posted by Hannah

I thought of that as well. If Lysaer was aware, the only action that could be taken would probably harm a lot more innocents than capture one wily sorcerer. Look what happened in Jaelot when people started killing any man they saw with black hair and/or green eyes. Hmm.

Hannah -

There are two factors to consider here:

Resonance, which relates to frequency - when two unlike frequencies collide, a new one is forged out of the mix. Therefore Harmony/harmonics is one component. A new standing wave forms out of the break into chaos, when those two frequences intermingle. The new 'tonal signature' will be not so "low" as the lower source, and not so "high" as the higher one, but a point inbetween the two. The higher will lift the lower.

If the two sources are out of harmony, one result; if the two sources are in harmony, or in concert – another set of harmonics will be struck off - reinforcing both tones.

The second is INTENT, which lies behind any human endeavor: why and for what goal. This sets the boundaries for the forward cascade of event.

To answer each and every point you raised would take a lot of time - therefore, I've outlined the underlying theory that is the foundation. You can speculate the rest from there.

originally posted by motley

I noticed throughout the books, on this (umpteenth) reread, apart from a reference to free singers, the first minstrel, and then a scene in Jaelot where a private party was disturbed, there's not a lot on the musical culture of Athera apart from the Masterbard himself. Doesn't Arithon ever attend other's performances? :smiley:

What is the musical scene in Athera like? Any drumming? Any groups of travellers and entertainers? Amateur thespian groups and private musical soirees in rich homes?

I also notice the previous post by Janny is in the same vein of one of the theories I posit in the 'Rampant Spectulations' entry I just wrote - on resonance. :smiley:

Don't you love it when that kind of coincidence happens?

originally posted by Blue

What would be interesting would be to see what kind of criteria Arithon might apply to a potential successor… "Must be able to run like blazes when Aliance officials show up…" would probably be first on the list.

originally posted by Meredith Lee Gray


I've wondered similar things. We have had some mentions of other bits of musicality in Athera. But they're few and far between (aside from the inherent musicality that runs through and beneath all living things on that planet, as it has been mentioned repeatedly).

There was someone playing a fiddle (badly, or at least it was out of tune) in CotM. In one of Arithon's more recent stays with the clans (the Shand wedding?) I think there was a mention of a "band" for lack of a better term… or at least a group of people playing assorted instruments, and then some hilarity ensued when Arithon was trying to play some of the different ones. And I remember Halliron's frustration at endless auditions for the position of his apprentice (as a diehard Idol fan, I always picture a sort of Simon Cowell "NEXT!" type of deal in my mind here), so obviously there are plenty of musicians. And I think it's fairly common practice for courts and holdings, as well as taverns and the like, to employ bards (the s'Brydions didn't seem to bat an eye at least)

I'm trying to think if there has been mention of any other specific instruments present on Athera besides the fiddle and the lyranthe (and probably trumpets for announcing dignified personages and stuff).

Further proof that we need Janny to give us a thorough (illustrated!) encyclopedic guide to Athera.


originally posted by Kirsten Laurelle Wallace

There's been definate mention of flutes. I think it appears in Warhost of Vastmark.

originally posted by Mark Stephen Kominski

Arithon being able to pose as a "free singer" implies that there are likely numerous such other "free singers", who if I'm not mistaken frequent the South Coast taverns, at least. Re there being little mention, when you're writing about the best, everyone else must seem like "second fiddle" (ok, that WAS bad). :wink:

originally posted by max

I want to say a big THANK YOU to you Janny for choosing to create such beautiful and musical names for your characters!! It is so hard to read stories where the names are wayy difficult to pronounce or sound like they should have named their dog with that word. speaking of music I hope Arithon meets the next masterbard and starts to train him. A nice fresh young man with lots of drama and character flaws. By the way have you all heard that lovely new song on the radio called 'Lightningbug'? It's incredible!!

originally posted by max

Sorry. that song is called 'Fireflies'.