Music in Novarya


Answering the question: is there such a thing as “electronic” music in the Motherland, in Novarya particularly?

That is an interesting question. I believe the answer very broadly would be “yes”, in that Novaryani (and others) enjoy experimentation of various kinds. I think “electronic music” in the sense (not the style, just the sense) meant by Tellurians might be somewhat old-fashioned by now. Information-technics have moved on a long way from where Telluria is and “electronic music” in that sense seems a little like pixel art — something that is close to the raw limitations of systems in their relatively early stages.

In Goldenhead, Adelini-chei (in the Old Imperial Café scene) was using her personal ordinator system (which has no screens or speakers or any other visible apparatus, but sends messages directly to the visual and audial areas of the brain) to manipulate a musical score. Interestingly, this was also visible to Therana-chei. Such systems are not restricted to an individual, but can be as “open” or “closed” as one wishes to make them.

In fact, her score was intended to be played with physical instruments, but sound itself could have been manipulated rather than the visual representation of sound, and music of this kind (direct sound-perception manipulation) is certainly made and can be compiled into actual recorded sound as required. There are many forms of aethyr-music (using sounds that do not occur in nature) of this kind.

Aethyr-music is, I think, akin to what it is termed. Words like “digital” and “electronic” would sound very old-fashioned and clunky. I am also not sure they were ever used except in technical contexts — there is much less of a tendency to let “trade jargon” become common speech (a surprising number of English idioms are printers’ jargon – such as “cliché” and “out of sorts”).

Aethyr is, of course somewhat misusing a word that has a specific and entirely non-material meaning (even the most rarefied technics are, of course, material). However, something along those lines — but more clearly differentiated — is what is used, I believe.

Interestingly, Andelini, who had some very radical* ideas about music, nonetheless did restrict herself to physical instruments, despite clearly having the apparatus and expertise not to. Possibly she felt that the Music of the Spheres could best be reproduced by physical instruments and that aethyr-technics were a step away from rather than toward the Primordial Music.

Of course, most composers are not trying to reproduce the Primordial Music itself, so that consideration would not normally occur (and Andelini-chei had some rather unexpected results, as readers will know). Naturally the story is fictional, but it does represent Novaryan ways of thinking about these things.

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* Radical in the proper sense of “going to the roots” — at least that was her intention.