|Parts of some sub-machine melodic instruments.|
Friday, 11 February 2011
A breif encounter with some Dwarvish industrial music
"I was, it has to be said, snooping around when I encountered these fragments of the deep forges. I had previously spent my time at Nordemriecargor politely engaged in barter, but as the second day of discussion over the comparative worth of silver and coconuts drew to a close my eyes where aching for the sun, and my lungs for previously unbreathed air. I should, I suppose, have stuck to my Dwarvish minder, but in need of mischief I soon gave the poor surface-dazzled miner the slip, and chose my path with will-full abandon. I soon found myself following some unusual booming noises to a largish shaft and wheel.
Outside two highly skilled but rather tetchy upper-class Dwarves where tinkering with some gaudily painted mettle tubing. Finding a comfortable spot among the vegetation free scree I sat and did the quick sketch overleaf [above]. Having good sharp hearing from my Elvish ancestry, and a rudimentary understanding of Kroltz from my time in the southern mines such as Stordonafagel (these northern Nazouralians being above such plebeian activities as speaking 'common') I was able to ascertain the purpose of the pipes.
In the Kingdoms and Queendoms bellow there are (as I had imagined) vast workshops, forges and foundries. These often employ up to two hundred or so Dwarves, all engaged in the noisy practicing of their arts. In some there are, as well as the beating of many hand held hammers, the pounding of great water-driven forge hammers, whose blows can reverberate throughout the entire hive. In order to keep focused on the work in hand it is a convention that all work to the rhythm of these vast hammers, entering a sort of meditative trance. It has been found in certain hives (such as at Nordemriecargor) that this can be enhanced further by the introduction of a melodic element. This is improvised around the central rhythm in order that this rhythm does not become soporific.
Of course the instruments in question need to be very loud, using scale, magic and certain alloys in order to amplify them adequately. This is what the acoustic engineers (as the two artisan Dwarves turned out to be) where doing on the surface, away from the interfering beat of the hammers. The instrument parts had been lifted up a series of vertical wheel driven shafts.
The instruments themselves seemed to consist of some sort of trumpeted harp; part of an array of paddle beaten pipes; and one of a series of water-power driven bellows used to play some kind of over-sized and over engineered whistle. This instrument the two Dwarves talked about in such passion and technical detail I was unable to get more than the vaguest notion of what it was like. All the instruments where painted in bright colours.
Unfortunately for me, before I could embark on a more detailed drawing I accidentally dislodged a stone with my foot and the sharp-eared Dwarves spotted me. I hailed them and approached in what I hoped was a nonchalantly friendly manner. They did not respond well.
More fortunately for me, before they had actually reached me (I think with the intention of testing their drawn war-axes on my skull) my bumbling minder also arrived on the scene and apologetically led me away backwards, his face draining of all colour as he bowed repeatedly to the two artisans, placing gold coins for them on the floor.
He then insisted I did not mention anything about my encounter to anybody in the Hive, a request to which I gracefully acquiesced.
My trading was concluded with surprising speed that night, and I got a reasonable price for my coconuts, all things considered."