Salaen (Ylffer: "music") is an Ylfferhim folk music related to, but extensively different in form that found in the Zeiphyrian and Auturian Forests.

Like the more folk music of the more southerly forests, Salaen is made up of chromatic scales that contain not just semitones, but because elven hearing is more accurate they can further divide pitch into quartertones, found between each tone and its respective semitone. However unlike other elven folk musics, the actual tunes are not created around chromatics, but around a scale that consists of tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, quartertone, tone, quartertone, semitone. This gives the music a more "normal" sound to human ears than that of the Quaelhoirhim, but it sounds slightly shimmery as the pitch wobbles slightly. Traditionally the first note of this scale is either G, A-flat, or E, though some tunes exist which do not utilise these keys.

A Theratam Flute

View picture in full size Picture description. An Ylfferhim musician playing the reed crafted theratam flute to a forest twotail listening attentatively. Image by Faugar.

 Also unusual about Ylfferhim music is that the melody instruments are all wind instruments and themselves are not carefully crafted to make quartertone sounds as in other elven cultures. Instead, elven players of traditional melody instruments learn to "bend" the note that they are playing [listen to the bending example]. Normally air is expelled from the throat; to bend the note, air is forced from the throat toward the roof of the mouth and then out, accompanied by a slight change in mouth shape, which results in a slight change of pitch. In the example given the player has bent the note a semitone to make the change audible to human ears.

The two main melody instruments are the Shyratam, a seven holed instrument with a hole at the back, which is capable of playing pieces in scales starting at any given note, and the Theratam, a reed instrument, more common in the west of the Quallian, with six holes. It is keyed, so that is plays only pieces written in scales with one particular note. The Shyratam only has a two octave range, while the Theratam's pitch is altered by the intensity of breath, and thus can play about four (depending on the players lung capacity). There is a slight difference in the sound of the note produced by the two, due to the materials they are crafted from. The reed crafted Theratam gives a thinner, more delicate and more haunting sound than the Shyratam, which is crafted from branches of the Adlemir, and thus is more solid sounding. In the example, The Shyratam plays first, then the Theratam to demonstrate this [listen to the comparison example].

The Ylfferhim, like some other elven tribes do not use drums. Accompanying instruments are usually the Mohar, a many piped instrument, whereby pipes are arraged side by side in chromatic sequence forming a kind of arc shape. The note is produced by blowing arcross the top of the instrument. They have a beautiful light sound, however, the movement from one pipe to another makes the sound disjointed and therefore unsutible as a melody instrument [listen to a Mohar example or to Mohar example 2].

The Agelom plays chords, a distant relative of the lute that is found in numerous other elven cultures. It has six double strings streched over a cavity that is the sound box, flanked by a scratch board to procect the instrument from the movement of a pletrum, usually carefully made from rock or wood.

Tunes are of three varietes, Mohan are fast, rather mornful tunes, where long notes are bent to quartertones to signify, as in Ylfferhim speech, intimate personal involement, as though the musician is singing about himself or about his audience, depending on where the bending of the note is placed. For example Ylfermohan is the song of Treanais [listen to this song] after she lost her love, and is played by many a musician suffering similar circumstances.

Lophger are fast, rousing, and triumphant, and are very common in Quaelhoirhim culture too, so are probably the oldest of the forms. They are therefore much more chromatic in nature.

Cantalai are elven lullabys, and may often have words. Many say that Cantalai are perhaps the most beautiful music in Santharia.

"Salaen Music", performed by Wren
Format: MP3/WAV, Length: 5-15 seconds. Click the following links to download the short meldodies:
Bending Example (123 KB), Shyratam/Theratam Comparison Example (212 KB), Mohar Example (46 KB, low quality), Mohar Example 2 (232 KB), Song of Treanais (159 KB). Return to the top

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