description of a fictional people’s musical society

Create your own original musical culture, replete with instruments, concepts and contexts of music making. Consider coming up with your own musical terms to reflect a society with a unique set of performance techniques, and/or beliefs which could include rituals, or even the mythological (7%). Consider class lectures as an example for inspiring your own material (3%). Your creation may reflect your own ideals and concerns for current times as well

In a solar system not far from us, located within the Milky Way galaxy, there exists a unique and fascinating planet that has a quite interesting way of communicating amongst its higher beings. In this culture, communication takes place by way of musical elements. The primary mode of communication, like speech for humans here on earth, is a kind of song. The humans do not communicate by using particular words, but rather by short melodic outbursts of song, with occasional syllables added. As song is the primary form of communication, this species has developed interesting instruments and various forms of elaborate melodies by which to communicate higher feelings, and for ceremonial purposes.

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The primary form of communication is called bililang. For basic day-to-day purposes, there are various melodies that serve a functional purpose. For instance, a short, five note, rising melody signifies when to wake up. Mothers and fathers sing this to their children. Another example is a common greeting, similar to good day, which is a seven note rising then falling melody, often heard throughout the day. Also a very common melody heard on the streets is a short, three note falling triad that signifies happiness with how beautiful things are. All of this communication takes place in a peaceful and prosperous society that has existed for tens of thousands of years. Their communication evolved in such a way as to allow the speaker and listener to most directly communicate emotion through sound.

On this particular planet, these beings, called ravali, have evolved in such a way that they communicate by sharing emotions using sound. Because the people live in peace and prosperity, they have developed daily ritual spaces that define their existence and provide a means to pass the day. There are simple morning rituals, where families and neighbors gather together and sing to start their day. They sing complex melodies and often join together in intricate harmonies when communicating. They share their dreams from the previous night and comment on them. The older beings will share their experiences with the younger ones and the meanings of the dreams will be shared and learned from. The melodies that are sung in these rituals are quite complex, as the dreams are also communications in visual form, and audio as well, to the ravali people. Ancestors and descendants appear in dreams to them and the aim of these morning rituals is for the people to create and sing melodies that pass on the emotion and meaning of the dreams.

These morning rituals are a good chance to get a closer look at the style of singing. In conversation, ostinatos are often used to provide supportive feedback. The timbre of their voices is smooth and bright, almost like a bird. There is a vast array of pulses in their musical communication, from rapid staccato-like high pitches, to low, slow-moving rolling tones. Finally, their harmonics are quite interesting, as they follow a strict overtone series, and so the complexity of melody and harmony is much richer than what can be commonly found on earth in the 12-tone equal temperament scale.

Finally, one instrument, called a varalira, that is used quite often throughout the day is an aerophone, which when blown through, produces both a soft breezy sound, like wind through the trees or tall grass, and middle register tones of simple melody and/or harmony. This is a conical, spiraling instrument about three feet long with holes at various places where the fingers are placed and moved to create different pitches. The harmony is produced by covering several holes, which divert the air stream to other internal sections of the instrument. This instrument is used to freshen and clear the mind from normal communication.

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