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Tajaran Music and Folk Instruments

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Type (e.g. Planet, Faction, System): Musical System

Describe this proposal in a single sentence (12 word maximum): A proposal to add a music system that Tajara abide by and instruments to accompany it, as well as explaining human diffusion 

How will this be reflected on-station? Tajara may like/dislike certain song types, instruments may be added (or not), better reflect a different aspect of Tajara culture

Does this faction/etc do anything not achieved by what already exists? No

Why should this be given to lore developers rather than remain player created lore? Alb said he would be fine with more Taj music lore, as well as some others in the community

Do you understand that if this is submitted, you are signing it away to the lore team, and that it's possible that it will change over time in ways that you may not forsee? Yes

Long Description: First, we should go over the actual musical system Tajara adhere to. This will use a lot of musical terms.

Tajaran music is modally-based, with there being 8 modes in total. A scale can be constructed from each Mode, which is the arpeggio of the mode. To simplify, there are a total of four notes in one modal scale. Two are octave, and there are two in between. Microtones between the two notes in between are used frequently, which would sound very odd to human ears. This is done because Tajara perceive music as “sadder” with the more flat a pitch is, and “happier” with the sharper a pitch is. Notes are relative to the notes that come before it. Even if a low note is played, if it is juxtaposed with a lower note before or after it, it will be perceived as happy. Depending on the mood of a song, a Tajara player may tune their instrument lower, to make the song sadder; the opposite is also true. A common tradition is to let the weather decide the tuning of an instrument--Cold weather naturally makes an instrument flatter, ergo colder weathers will make songs sadder. And indeed, one may notice that if each note is perceived relative to the notes that come before it, there will *always* be a happy and sad part integral to the song. This is on purpose, as it reflects the duality in sadness/happiness which is also found in S’rendarr and Messa. Some Tajara may also liken Dissonances to Raskara. Also, it is true that just because a note is “sadder”, it won’t inspire tears. Sadness is a wide emotion, as with happiness. It depends on the context of the song and the Mode to determine the exact emotion.

As stated before, there are Eight modes. Though it is not stated outright, they are intertwined with the Gods of the Ma’ta’ke Pantheon.

These are the Modes listed in order: Mrazur, Manur, Rrauor, Surour, Kaoel, Draeol, Aauol, Deor.

They respectively represent these Gods’ values and desires, or even the God itself: Mata’ke, Marryam, Rredouane, Shumalia, Kraszar, Dhrarmela, Azubarre, and The Dead Gods. 

To those less musically inclined, one may refer to the Modes by the name of the God itself.

An example of a song using this Tajaran System: A song based on the Modes of Rrauor and Aauol, or Rredouane and Azubarre. The song itself seems to symbolize the relationship between luck and love. First, a theme is presented in the Mode of Rrauor; the mood is usually ascending (aka happy), and it is tuned higher than normal to show the exciting-ness of luck and flirting. The Second movement modulates to the Mode of Auol; It is first dreamy and slow, ascending softly, but there are dissonances sprinkled within and it begins to descend. This represents how love can quickly turn to misery, especially if it is spurned by luck.

Folk Instruments:

P'rrama (literally, eight-string):


If one were to think of a folk instrument of China, they would think of a Mandolin. The American South, the Banjo. When one thinks of a folk instrument of Adhomai, they think of the P'rrama. This is an instrument that has maintained its status among Tajara, even with human diffusion. It is usually plucked, but a special type of bow can be used to bow with the instrument. The holes on the bottom change the octave of the notes that are played, thus extending the range of the instrument. Each String starts on the first note of one of the eight modes for easy playing. It is used both solo and with other instruments, human or Tajaran. It is a common staple among Village folk and city folk--To be blunt, it is universal. Humans can play it, but the octave range is disabled due to a lack of a tail. As well as this, the strings are much thicker to accommodate stubby Tajara hands.

Makkra Baq (literally, Instrument of Das’nrra):


This instrument does hail from the island of Das’nrra, but it has long been a staple of Tajara everywhere, since at least the times of the Holy Empire. One plucks the strings, creating a meek and Harpsichord-like sound. It is almost always used in a solo/duet setting, as it’s small voice can easily be overshadowed by other instruments. In spite of this, it maintains quite a folky sound, and it is more common in rural areas than in cities. This can be partly because of the popularity of human instruments in cities.

Mah Kii (literally, War Horn):


The Mah Kii is an ancient instrument, once commonly used by medieval-period Tajara. Instead of a snare or a flute-like in human wars, this would accompany soldiers and knights in their battles for morale. It goes by many local names, and it has a sort of divine and religious connotation with the instrument. The Holy Village will probably greet new arrivals with this horn, and when walking the path of Messa, one may even hear this instrument. It has fallen out of use drastically as warfare has changed. Rhazar’Hrujmagh caravans still use this instrument to start raids or battles on targets, and some have even attempted to incorporate these instruments into Electro-Swing bands. However, due to its short range and its connotation with the heavens, it is not used often.

Dyneech Mro (literally, rhythm drum): 

 This instrument evolved from the fact that there was no rhythm defining instrument other than the drums. Thus, the Dyneech Mro was born. It is essentially a larger P’rrama, without the octave holes. There are only five strings, but the lowest string has a string extension which can be used using an extra peg. All Modes can be played on this instrument. It is not a solo instrument, and a bow has rarely been used with it. It exists purely to compliment other instruments, and it does that job well. It has a twangy timbre that sets itself apart from the P’rrama, but it is low enough to not be the focal point of a song. However, a common motif in Tajaran music is to have a “Mro Solo”, where the Dyneech Mro is played by itself. It usually consists of extremely fast notes in a repetitious fashion. This motif is still present in Tajaran music today. 

Various Drums and Snares:

The drum has been a staple of Tajara-kind for their entire presence on Adhomai. They come in many forms, some bearing resemblance to human types. Often times, they will accompany a solo Makkra Baq or P'rrama. They are quite easily incorporated into Tajaran-Human music, so they are still quite popular. Drumsticks made from the bones of animals are most commonly used to create a large sound, or a hand may be used. They are also the only instrument to be played during a Tajaran Play. Experimental plays may use human instruments or even choirs for music, but these are but experiments. For a traditional Tajaran play, it will almost always be accompanied by a steady drumbeat or heavy snares.

The Tajaran Voice:

A side effect of the artificial breeding done on Tajara has resulted in the races of the Tajara to have different possible ranges and timbres on their voice. Zhan’Khazan are most usually a Bass-Baritone voice. Hharar are Tenor-Alto, and M’sai/Njarir are almost always Soprano. The Tajara voice is the most universal Tajara instrument, and due to traditional schooling, many children have at least basic singing skills, though this is fading away in the cities. They can be played solo, or with any manner of instruments. If one were going to a fancy dinner party, or some troops needed morale support, you would find a singer or singers singing away. Singers are by far more popular than any instrument player.

Tajaran “Band”: 

During a political or religious ceremony, it is customary to have a Band play. On holidays or any other political/military/fancy event, a band is usually hired. However, a Tajaran band is different than a human band. The band usually consists of any number of singers, 1-2 P’rrama (1 bowed, 1 plucked), 1 Dyneech Mro, and some assorted drums and snares and cymbals. This staple of Tajaran music has seen little modification, even with the advent of human diffusion. During Religious ceremonies or holidays, a Mah Kii may also be used sparingly.

Human Diffusion:

By far, the most popular form of Tajaran music today is “Electro Swing”, as some call it. Popular in the Orion Spur and most Adhominian cities, it’s reputation can not be downplayed. But how did it come about? When humans first made contact with Tajara, musical ideas were exchanged quite quickly. Adhominian cities have seen quite the mark-up in human-based songs and instruments (discounting harmony/melody/modes, which remains purely Tajaran). Bloodstorm is a popular band subscribing to this style--using Human and Tajaran instruments to display Tajaran themes that attempt to harken back to the roots of Tajara. Electro Swing is different, in that it represents a genre of music that is wholly syncretic, and can be enjoyed by Man or Tajara. Tajaran composers found Atonal jazz to be quite appealing in their human discovery and integrated this style of music with human synthesizers and traditional Tajaran instruments. Both Tajaran and Human conventions of Modes, keys, themes, etc can be followed or not followed, which results in an incredibly unique sound that can be enjoyed by both races. Human diffusion on Tajaran music has been incredibly impactful, with some human instruments seeing use on Tajara (though most of them are stringed).

Additional Notes: I am willing to add more folk instruments if they are needed. 



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Really interesting approach to Xeno music that is very comprehensive. The way certain emotions are expressed, through tuning and relative pitch has great potential for interesting storytelling/gimmicks in Tajaran music. 

My only question is how time signatures/rhythms work. Do they work similarly to western music, with 4/4, 3/4, cut time, etc.?

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Since writing was not available to most Tajara, no time signatures were used. Instead, there was an estimated time of completion, and a player should finish around that time. Most songs were implied 6/8 or 12/8.

Since most Tajara music is for dancing, most of it is in 6/8 or 12/8. Of course, other time signatures could be used, especially in modern times. Most modern Tajara music nowadays will have western time signatures. 

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I have read and I think it is well thought out. I do believe this would be a good addition, but I am not so sure on the technical side of the wiki, and how this might fit into it. I will talk to my deputies when possible about this, and we will how this can be adapted to fit our wiki format.

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On 25/01/2020 at 20:27, Alberyk said:

I have read and I think it is well thought out. I do believe this would be a good addition, but I am not so sure on the technical side of the wiki, and how this might fit into it. I will talk to my deputies when possible about this, and we will how this can be adapted to fit our wiki format.

Any word on integrating it?

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On 29/01/2020 at 17:51, DeadLantern said:

Any word on integrating it?

Working on it. Myself and my deputies are kinda busy with life and the tajaran arc. But, I like this and it will be added as soon it is possible.

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Does this type of lore change technically impact people's characters since it's establishing based on the subspecies, that they sound a certain way, so does this mean your big gruff M’sai still sounds like a girly "femboy" when he talks?  they can't be a gruff gravelly voice of your typical movie hero story?

Same with the others being put into a certain vocal range, so do we, unless stated otherwise in a flavour-text that we automatically assume that a given Tajara sounds a certain way?

Lore additions should provide fun framework.

I like that vocal singing is far more valued than instrumental work, mainly because I imagine the poor probably didn't have access to fancy instruments and literally relied on singing and maybe simplified versions of the fancy instruments, a human-centric comparison would be along the lines of the equipment and setup of a modern rock band vs a bluegrass band in a field with a washboard and a guitar with three strings, down to the poorest of poor, no instruments maintaining beat with chest thumping and foot stomping and pure mouth noises for musical substance, when considering the technological gap between the rich and poor music, or ability to make it within the Tajara society

Also due to the past being one giant war, I imagine people weren't sitting around playing instruments and that things got a lot more simple(small instruments, harmonica-like, basic percussion? anyone can pick up a stick and smack the ground with it), maybe even most authentic Tajara stuff being lost/assimilated by human music with true traditional Tajara music doesn't really exist outside of very small niches,  traditionalists and religion.

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1. Yes, this does technically impact people's characters. However, any Tajara can sense if a M'sai is sounding "gravelly"--sure, it would be higher than one would expect, but the voice is compared to the rest of the species. So a big gruff M'sai would still sound gruff, for a M'sai. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, especially with the heinous inbreeding of the Njarir, producing some shortened lungs. And I am sure there are still exceptions, because voice is a fickle thing.

2. I completely agree with you on why vocal singing is more common than instruments. All people are born with a voice, and all people can sing--especially in a stratified society, where people are in their set roles as miner, hunter, worker, etc, you will have to find a way to make music, even without an instrument. That was my reasoning on why Tajara music is vocally-dominant.

3. I am sure smaller human instruments such as the harmonica diffused during the war, as many Tajaran instruments are too large and too hard to maintain in a warfare setting. However, for this lore addition, I did not envision it as one side being the traditionalist music and one side being the human music. In real life, we commonly see syncretism to at least some degree, not complete musical dominance. I imagine Tajaran music as being very Tajaran-centric in rural areas, with the cities having human-tajaran music and some pure human/tajara based music.

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