The Bird Drum has no relevance to birds whatsoever, and why it
is named that way is a complete mystery to all muscians. It is probably
the most frequently used of the percussion instruments and is the only
instrument that does not reside atop of the glorious Percussion Table.
Instead a pair of Bird Drums sit at either end of the table and are
opertated by the two "Slammers".
Its frequent usuage is as a result of its modern, ingenious pedals which
allows it to produce a higher or a lower tone; e.g at one moment it can
produce an Ey and the next an Ah. This is the first ever drum in
Santharian history which can easily
change its pitch. These marvelous pedals operate by tightening the drum
skin, increasing the tension which in turn increases the drums pitch. The
only downside is that the Bird Drum can only raise its pitch and cannot
lower it past its original tone. However its booming sound is a glorious
This huge drum, shaped rather like a saucepan without a handle,
is almost two peds in
diameter. Its rather unappealing name is courtesy of the first
Sarvonians to import the instrument from
Nybelmar, as they found its original name
impossible to pronounce - though its
Zhunite creators doubtless enjoyed the euphony of "Wiqu'stara", meaning
"Waterfall". The Clang Drum is made out of metal and sits on a wooden frame and
uses similar playing sticks to the Twinkle Stars to avoid any unnecessary
reverberations of the instrument.
The Clang Drum or "HukkerPuv" in
Thergerim Taal (literally, "Thunder Cauldron") is a particular favourite of
the dwarves, who enjoy listening to huge
groups of percussionists attack these sound makers in unison.
Dwarves are known to have groups of up to
twenty playing the Clang Drum to produce very aggressive and powerful sounds. -
As the well-known bard Judith of Bardavos
informs us: "My dwarven friends tell me that
the beat of the HukkerPuv played at its strongest is an echo of the pulse of
Trum-Baroll's heart and the rhythms of
the deep places of the earth, violent but
structured, powerful and passionate..."
Originating from the deserts outside of
Strata, this ancient and rustic tambour has
been played among many a generation. The instrument is made by stretching dried
and steamed cactus hide over a
tringular birch soundbox, about 3
handspans wide. It is an
instrument deeply connected to its player and often percussionists add their
own unique features to their instrument. A little bell here and there, some
ribbons, or a custom woodburned design. The skin is hit by a small double ended
beater that is held between the index and the thumb, and it is tapped with
varying violency onto the cacti
hide skin by repetivley twisting the wrist in rhythmic patterns. It is often
heard acommpanying the orchestra when fast hunting themed pieces are being
The Dukulpuv is a giant doubleheaded drum. Forged from bronze
or iron and set on a huge wooden stand, the drum is played by two musicians,
one on either side. Each using a large wooden mallet shaped like a forgehammer,
they strike in synchronized beat patterns. The tough, tanned animal skin
stretched on both bdrum faces is slightly tauter on one face than the other, so
that the drum resounds in a chord, or a "do-so-do-so" rhythm. It is a bass
The Echo Log is a very large instrument- though not to such a
scale as that of the Ogre Chest Drum. It is around half the size of a
cedar tree trunk and is completely hollow. Although this low tech
instrument is usually reseved for al fresco performances, it is in no way
a rarity to the ear. The instrument is beaten by the player with two large
batons, causing a peculiar sound that has been poetically described as "a
civilization falling into oblivion, slow, tragic but full of grace all
The cousin of the Vindekette. The two relatives are almost
identical to each other, apart from the fact that the Garnettes cups are
made from a metal, resulting in a clashing sound instead of the humble
click. Unlike it cousin, Garnettes can come in a varitey of sizes,
producing a wide range of clashes, it is even possible to wear one size on
one hand and another on the other one, generating a totally unique sound.
There are often four or five different sizes of Garnettes, laid out on the
The Kaorpuveen is the baby sister of the Kaorpuvkor. Also two
opposed hemispheres, with bat membrane pulled
taut for a higher tone. It can be played with sticks or with the tips of the
fingers to soften the sound. Often the wooden frame is carved with bat motifs,
just as the Kaorpuvkor is decorated with
lizard shapes. This drum belongs in the category of soprano
The Kaorpuvkor is a wooden upright drum. Carved in an elegant
semisphere set in a second inverted semisphere, the drum frame resembles a bowl
tilted atop a boulder. The face of the drum lies at a 45 degree angle away from
the musician, who sets the drum between his knees and uses double sticks to tap
out a sharp, clear percussive sound on the
lizardskin face. It is classed as a tenor
are very strange and peculiar instruments, that started off as a prank
tool among the jesters of old. Melancholy Maidens are made from hollowed
out cedar, that is intricately carved into a snail shell shape, with a
small flared bell at one end and a triangular mouth piece at the other.
The Percussionist will need to blow quite heartily to create is weird
sound. The Melancholy Maiden is aptly named, for the noise it makes sounds
identical to that of a woman sighing deeply, the sound is so convincing
that according to local legend it fooled even the great
Santhros, long ago...
lovely wee instrument, which is a prominent feature on the Percussion
Table that is never left to gather dust. As the name probably suggests,
this cute little whistle is made from the dried husk of a large Mushroom.
Two holes are punctured on either side of the fungi, and the mushrooms
dried innards are carefully scooped out. A
pea (or any other circular pulse
for that matter) is then dropped into the now empty mushroom, and if you
blow into either of the holes, it causes the organic sphere to vibrate
inside the husk, creating a melodic tweeting sound. This all natural
instrument is coveted by the
Aellenrhim and the Eyelians
for its birdlike tone and its nature friendly construction process.
drum shell which is shaped in a very similar way to a barrel, only on a
much larger scale. Dried and treated animal skin (different crafters using
different pelts) is stretched tightly over the shell to create an enormous
The name "Ogre Chest" is used as a reference to the instrument's sheer
size, which is obvious when you look upon it - the diameter of the drum
being an amazing six peds.
Two wooden sticks - similar to batons but thicker - are used to beat the
shell to conjure the booming noise that has been compared to
Urtengor's hammer crashing onto
This large and fearsome drum is stowed safely behind the table, making it
the instrument farthest from the audience. In the rare occasions that this
breathtaking drum is used it is, ironically, played by the "Twinkler"...
A traditional and fun Brownie
instrument that could be played for hours on end without boredom. The Rain
Shaman is constructed from thick eur'oak branches which are hollowed out in
such a way as to leave a spiral "path" or shelf curling down the interior wall.
They are then filled with about a
tot of granite chips or
seashore gravel and sealed at both ends. If turned upside down, the granite
chips are sent sailing down the spiral shelf creating a pattering sound
reminiscent of rain that is more musically useful than most might imagine.
Similar to the Trickle Chimes (see below) in some respect, Ringing Pipes
are a very popular and versatile percussion instrument. Though in their
homeland of the Peninsula of Shar they were made from wood, the variation that
has found its way to Santharian shores is
made of metal.
The instrument consists of eight hollow pipes, each around two
palmspans long and of
various lengths between two
fores to three peds,
tied to a frame from shortest on the right to longest on the left. The player
of the instrument strikes the pipe to produce a ringing sound, each pipe
producing a different pitch. Due to the different pitch possibilities and
combinations, the Ringing Pipes can have very varied effects depending upon the
composition in which they are used.
The Sand Sticks are a percussion instrument of
Shendar design which share many
similarities to the Brownie-invented "Rain
Shaman". The Sand Stick is a very simple instrument in its design and its use.
It consists of a wooden handle that ends in a globe shape, usually a
gourd or other dried vegetable husk.
This globe contains, obviously, sand, but small chips of wood or even dried
grains can be substituted for a slightly different sound. They are mostly
played in pairs, one shaken in each hand. Its simplicity allows it to be used
for a number of different effects, so this is a very versatile and popular
piece of the percussionist's arsenal.
Though not one of the more common members of the Table, Singing Fingers
are a very novel yet remarkably simple instrument. Singing Fingers are composed
of hollow, metal spheres, each with a tiny round stone inside. These spheres
are attached to straps of leather, which in turn are strapped onto the player's
fingers. Since the average person can fit one to three "Snow Criers" per
finger, as many as thirty individual spheres, each with their own slightly
varying chime, can be worn at a time.
After these ringing attachments are secured to the hand the user simply shakes
the hands at various speeds to conjure up a delicately rhythmic melody that has
been called "the sound of crying snow". It is also possible to perform very
exotic dances with this instrument - choreographed to be entertaining both
physically and musically.
Sleepy-Mice, named after the mythical bed-time persecutors of small
children, are little instruments made from inflated spheres of
wison hide, with a tiny
circular hole on the side. Attached to the entrance of this hole is a
miniature metal reed. If squashed (pushing all the
air out of the sack) they are designed
in such a way that they will automatically inflate themselves, and in
doing so the generate a high-pitched squeaking noise from the metal reed.
There are various sizes of Sleepy-Mice, each with its own unique reed,
generating its own unique tone.
Thunder Discs are percussion instruments of exotic design; though probably
from Nybelmar, some believe them to
originate from the fabled shores of Aeruillin or even Cyhalloi. Regardless
of where it comes from, the Thunder Disc is a very commanding instrument.
It is used only on rare occasions in conjunction with other instruments,
but when it is used it has a powerful presence and effect.
Its design is that of (as the name suggests) a disc. The disc is crafted
from various metals and comes in various sizes, but all are equally easy
to play. The large disc (which is hung from a wooden frame) is struck with
a baton-like stick to produce a gargantuan noise that erupts like a storm
throughout the performance hall, the reverberations of its presence
lasting seemingly only to display its power.
Trickle Chimes are cute little instruments that are very popular amongst
Erpheronian children. They
are constructed by attaching 13 small silver rods of different sizes (each
with its own note in the "high" pantheon), to a wooden arch standing just
over a handspan in
height. Despite it having the musical capabilities to play some simple
tunes, its sparkling little "tings" are just used to play an accending or
decending glissendo. Usually this is achieved by running a wooden beater
in a swift motion across the tiny chimes.
Probably the sweetest instrument on this list, Twinkle Stars are the
rather improbably delicate cousin of the Thunder Disc. In a whimsical
competition at the School of Tunes in Bardavos,
it was recently voted the most feminine
Sarvonian instrument by the senior students... the Gittare being its most
masculine counterpart, for those who want to know. Twinkle stars consist of
twenty different sized star shaped pieces of aurium alloy, suspended in a
random sequence and at varying heights from a sturdy, decorated black-iron
frame. Note that twenty stars are the most common number, but these instruments
have been designed with anything from three to over a hundred.
The stars are numbered in order of the pantheon note that they play (low Ey
being the first, generally). They are played by hitting the stars with two
small wooden beaters with fur-coated ends, which stops the stars reverberating
uncontrollably. The percussionist's left hand will play the bass notes and the
right the treble counterparts; the two often play simultaneously resulting in a
beautiful harmony. Its pretty twinkling tones are highly appreciated by the
elven-kind, but you will never find a
Thergerim tapping away at this dainty
simple and ancient instrument with a simple sound to match. Basically they
are two small wooden cups, each attached to a leather strap; the leather
straps are slipped around the percussionist's hands with the cups standing
upright on both palms. The percussionist will then clap the two cups
together, creating a loud clacking noise that can even be heard through
the orchestra's superior amplitude.
cheeky and devilishly simple instrument, with a sound like no other.
Anyone with a pair of functioning hands could easily craft one of these
instruments, for the main and only component of a Wobble Curtain is a
large, thin sheet of cheap metal. For the sake of the "performer's" skin,
a simple handle is generally smithed onto one edge. If shaken in a fanning
motion, the Wobble Curtain produces a wobbling warble which has a jolly,
infantile effect. Not generally appreciated by serious musicians for its
cheeky sound, Wobble Curtains are far more often used in children's
theatre productions, Black
Butterfly Rovers' acrobatic demonstrations, and as accompaniment to
jesters' and jongeleurs' performances.