Music has always been regarded
as an integral part of culture, for humans,
dwarves, orcs and
hobbits alike. However, few races have
absorbed music as seamlessly into their culture as the
Eyelians have. While music is typically used as an auditory form of
entertainment, Eyelian music is sometimes visual (as
is the case in the Menhov-Hekona "Beast-Tongue" songs), and it has often been
used for practical uses, namely communication involving drums. Nearly every
young Eyelian has grown up with a drum or flute in
hand, and learning the songs of the Eyelian people
is a task begun at the youngest ages. These songs are often sung at major
ceremonies (the three rites of the Eyelians come to
mind), or after a particulalry bountiful harvest or hunting trip. In essence,
Eyelians will sing and play for many occasions - be
it a somber funeral, or a joyous birthday.
Style. :Eyelian music is often defined by its primitive, rhythmic style. Their instruments tend to be simple, easily crafted, and portable, though there are exceptions to the rule. For instance, the massive Ha'hap drum can take weeks to months to carve and craft.
Drums. Eyelian drums, or Oma, range in size from monoliths taller than the Eyelian playing it to tiny "twin" drums that the smallest Tamers can bang. In other words, Omas can be as large as a ped and a half, to a bit over a palmspan. Eyelian drums are typically made of wood from the urban tree, the most plentiful tree in the Eyelian area. The skin stretched over the drums is usually deer, though bovine skin or other leather is not uncommon.
This massive drum stands just over a ped tall. Ha'haps are made from large rings of wood, with deer or boar skin stretched across. It is played with a sturdy mallet, about a fore long. They resonate with deep, rumbling booms, and have been used for long-distance communication for centuries. Sadly, few Eyelians still live who remember this ancient percussive language. In this day and age, it is far more likely that an Eyelian would live in a more developed city, with all the comforts of courier services, and non-Eyelian neighbours who do not appreciate the thunderous sound of the Ha'hap.
The Tesest is one of the most widely exported Eyelian drum. It stands about half the height of the average Eyelian, and is traditionally made to be half the height of whomever the drum is crafted for, and is roughly oval in shape. The top is composed of three areas: the setoae, or middle; the tox, or wooden edge, and the toxenot, or skin-covered edge. Each section releases a different sound, roughly equivalent to a note. The inner portion is the deepest and most resonant, with the tox releasing a sharp, hollow, sound. The tesest most closely resembles a narrower version of the Thergerim Kaorpuvkor.
Heshtake ("Twin Drums")
These drums are always found in pairs, and named "Twin" in the Eyelian tongue. Each drum is about two palm-widths wide, and made of simple wood and tightly-drawn skin. These drums are primarily played by the Eyelia (wolf) tribe. Their quick, rhythmic, playing style has made them popular with the graceful Yourth tribe as well.
Flutes. Eyelian flutes are made of primarily two materials. Northern Eyelians tend to use wood from the urban tree, or other plentiful foliage, but the southern tribes have learned how to fire-harden clay from the desert people they trade with. Both types of flutes are commonly adorned, carved, shaped, or otherwise decorated to suit the player.
These pipes are composed of seven to twelve short wooden reeds lying horizontally. The pipe at the left end is the largest, producing the deepest, lowest notes, and the right-most pipe is the shortest, producing a higher note. These light, easy-to-play pipes are popular amongst travelers and children, but all Eyelians can enjoy their music.
This flute is popular amongst the more musically talented Eyelians. It is very similar to the common Santharian flute, and many scholars believe that it is actually a more modern version of the He'Hekona, adopted by the other Sarvonian races and tribes over the years. The major difference between the two instruments is that the flute is played perpendicularly to the face; the recorder is played straight out from the mouth. It is composed of one long, stout, hollow piece of wood, dotted with holes all down the top. The mouth piece is narrow, and a large hole sits at the bottom to release sound. The He'hekona is played by adjusting ones finger position in order to cover holes, thus changing the note produced. Music from this pipe is often haunting, though it can also be used to provide a hearty jig for happier times.
Vocals. Eyelians have a rich oral tradition, one that is heavily affected by their singing. Many popular Eyelian myths are passed down in call-and-respond songs, where the singer speaks a line and the audience responds with a phrase. In its simplest form, the call-and-respond song is useful as a children's game, as in the example presented below.
This song is used by the Tamers to add a bit of interaction to
the storytelling experience. It is considered a fun song, almost a comedy, as
it is generally followed by a happy Eyelian mother tickling her child, and
young Eyelian children shouting each other's names. However, as is stated
above, the call-and-respond song is just as often used to pass down an
adventure or myth.
The Eyelians are also famed for their "Beast-Tongue", or Menhov-Hekona, songs. These songs are always told in the secret beast-tongue of the Tamers, and are composed of chirps, grunts, howls, and other animal sounds. The sounds expressed bring forth memories of beaches, forests, and mountains. This is a fascinating experience for a non-Eyelian, as various animals are often drawn to the music. As the Eyelian "sings" in this ancient tongue, the tune grows into a visual chorus as well, with deer prancing at the edge of vision, stormcrows and sparrows flying overhead and perching nearby, and even the occasional wolf-pack howling in the distance.
This mode of singing is very popular amongst the many Tamers who have their own animal companions, as both man and beast can sing along, in a true moment of fellowship and togetherness.
There are taboos involving this type of performance. It must never be used for ill will, and it is outlawed for the purpose of hunting. Also, no outsider has ever become a competent performer in the art of Menhov-Hekona, and the Eyelians aim to keep it that way. Thus, the secret language can be spoken in front of Eyelians, but non-Tamers can never be taught it.
"Introduction to Eyelian Music", composed and performed by
Format: MP3, Length: 0:41, Original Santharian Work.
Click here to download the song, use right-click and "Save as..." (652 KB).