Preptober 2019: Music in Verden

1:52 PM

Hello all!!

It's the start of Preptober! I decided to paticipate this year to help with the re-plot of The White Rose and to fill in any spots in which I had missed.

Today's (or should I say yesterday's) prompt is.....

To see the original post, CLICK HERE.
So, contrary to other areas of my world-building and to my musical self....I didn't really develop this area of Verden very well?

But this is a perfect opportunity to do so! So, I shall rummage through my Pinterest and get some ideas flowing here....

*Catherine flies about the stage, opening cabinets and flinging all sorts of strange instruments around.*

*Catherine mulls over them and examines the labels for several minutes*

AH! I think we've got something here....

~ Instruments ~ 

When I first drafted up ideas for Verden, I wrote down three things for instruments - eijas, jalos and drums - and never really got much further. It was kinda a background thing, I guess?

I've determined by further research that these are the Duventolian names for these instruments. They are, of course, known by other names in their respective cultures, but for the sake of clarity, we're sticking with one set of vocabulary (which is good because I don't know what other words there are...)

Eijas (A-yas) are the woodwinds of Verden. They are similar to either recorders or flutes, depending on the culture. They are often made with local wood, producing a regional sound for each one. The word eija is Finnish for "happy", in case anyone was curious.

In Duventoliel, eijas are small and produce a high, chipper sound. They are often of dark-stained wood and have carvings all over them. These carvings are of a lighter color, and often have ethnic symbols over them, which can include old runes or pictographs. They are based on soprano recorders.

In Aistaraina, eijas are even smaller, and produce the highest sound of all the eijas. They are not decorated, and great care is taken of them. They are based on the Celtic whistles.   

In Ceberlandon, eijas are held/blown out to the side, and have a complicated series of keys on them. They have a high pitch, often described as in between the Duventolian and Aistarainan eijas. They are based on the modern flute.

In Gwydion, eijas are much bigger and blown straight down. Some have keys and some don't. They have a mid-range pitch. They are based on alto and tenor recorders.

In Jaqaru, eijas are thick and produce a haunting mellow sound. They have a griffin carving tied with leather near the mouthpiece, and are sometimes decorated with feathers and other things from nature. They are based on the Native American flutes.

In Maisaka, eijas are long and not a straight tube but thicker on one end. They produce a deep mellow sound and are held/blown out to the side rather than straight down. They are based on one style of African flute.

In Shaltei, eijas are long and thick, and blown straight down. They are thicker at the bottom. They produce a deep sound, and a haunting quality similar to the Jaqaru flutes. They are based on the Shakuhachi flutes from Japan.

In Ravndal, eijas are thick, extremely long and produces the deepest sound of any eija. They have a unearthly tone that echos around a room. It is often exquisitely carved with various ethnic designs. They are based on the Austrailian didgeridoo.


These are the stringed instruments of Verden. They are also made of wood, often furnished with gut or wire strings, depending on the countries resources. Jalo is Finnish for "noble, gracious".

In Duventoliel, a jalo is a big bodied cello-like instrument with 6 strings. It produces a rich deep tone. It is played by sitting the instrument between the legs of the player and pulling the bow across the gut strings. It is based on the viola de gamba. There is a also a ladies guitar-like jalo, which produces a more mellow, vibrating sound for instrumental playing. This latter one is based on the baglama, a Turkish instrument.

In Aistariana, they have two different jalos. One is a smaller version of a Duventolian jalo, still with the six strings, but played up on the shoulder rather than in the lap. It is based on the violin.
The other jalo is one where it is a set of strings are stretched between a frame and backed by a fretboard and wooden body. This instrument is based on the old-fashioned lyre-guitar.

In Ceberlandon, they also have two different jalos. One is that smaller bowed jalo I mentioned from Aistarianan culture.
The other jalo is a medium-bodied instrument with a fretboard and eight strings. The strings are plucked and the fingers are held in combinations on the fretboard to produce different notes. It is based on the guitar.

In Gwydion, they have a circular bodied jalo with a long fretboard similar to the Ceberlandonian guitar. But this jalo has a more chipper sound when plucked rather than the mellow sounds of either the Aistarainan or Ceberlandonian jalos. It is based on the modern banjo.

In Jaqaru, it is very difficult to keep a jalo because of the climate. They have one stringed instrument that is rarely made or played. It's narrow-bodied, has only three strings and is laid on the player lap. It is played by strumming the strings with a feather end. It has a deep sound, and only used for a drone if needed. It's based on the mountain dulcimer.

In Maisaka, jalos (known as koras there) are upright instruments with a large round body and many many strings. Larger strings produce lower notes while shorter strings behind them produce the higher notes. The body is placed between the players knees while the neck extend up. The strings are plucked individually by the fingers. It is based on the actual kora, found in African music.

In Shaltei, jalos are made from a small body and a long neck. The two strings are stretched between them, and it is played with a long bow. The player places his fingers on various points of the string to create different notes. It is based on the Chinese erhu.


This concept is rather self-explanatory, but there are differing styles of drums among the cultures. Drums can either be plain or decorated, depending on the person.

Duventolian drums are medium size drums that produce a bright tapping sound. Based on the modern snare drums.

Aistarainan hand drums are about the size of a large tamborine, and are made with sheepskin stretched over a wooden frame. They are hit with a small wooden stick, which twirls in the players hand. They are based on modern bodrans. They will also use Duventolian style drums as well.

In Ceberlandon, drums are not as popular as other instruments but they will utilize an Aistarainan style drum occasionally.

In Gwydion, drums are bigger, oval shaped and have a medium pitch to them. They are based on American Tom drums.

Jaqaru drums are typically the size of a medium-sized circular table, but can also be bigger. They are made of leather over a wooden frame, and hit with light-deep strokes of hard circular mallets. They are often on stand.

Maisakan drums are made of goat hide stretched over wooden frames. Most follow an oval shape, and can range from high to low sounds when hit.

Shaltei has deep, bass drums, which are accented by a large gong. They are always on a stand

Ravndal also has very deep large drums, but these can be carried like a modern bass drum.

For the Taika, a nomadic tribe of gypsies, there is a tamborine-like instrument that serves as their only source of music. 

Other instruments of note:

sarvi - a Duventolian instrument made of silver that produces a bright sound. Based on the trumpet, the name comes from the Finnish word for "horn".

pibroch - an Aistaranian instrument with four top pipes that produce a deep tone, a blowpipe, a pipe on the bottom where the notes are, and a bag connecting them all together. They only produce one octave of notes with no sharps or flats, and they must have a reed in the bottom pipe, which is known as a chanter. It is played by inflating the bag and squeezing the air through all the pipes, moving the fingers in formation of the notes. And if I have to tell you what I based this off of, you clearly are not Scottish.

acordio - a Ceberlandonian instrument that is played by squeezing and pulling a bag, holding the fingers over various keys. It is based on the concertina, the name comes from the Catalan name for accordion.

ubada - a Maisakan instrument that is made of a gourd filled with beans. Used as a percussion instrument. The name is based off of the Somalian name for gourd (ubbada).

clavi - a Ceberlandonian instrument that is made of hammered strings and keys in a large box. The player presses a series of keys to produce notes. Based on the clavichord and modern piano.

~ Styles of Music ~

In Duventoliel, simple folk songs and Celtic/Norse rhythms come to mind. Subjects often revolve around history, legends, daily life, with some religious overtones as well. There is a lot of singing.

In Aistaraina, music is upbeat and fast. They love a good dance. They often sing about women, battle, and also have slower songs about life at home, though they tend to be much more instrumental.

In Ceberlandon, the music has more of what we would call almost a classical or operatic feel. They sing of various subjects, often in other languages.

In Gwydion, the music is similar in style to neighboring Duventoliel, but there are more instrumental music.

In Maisaka, the music is driven by a strong beat/rhythm, with happy singing. They are excellent drummers.

In Jaqaru, the music can range from slow and uplifting to fast for dancing. Many of the Tribes will host social dances and feature multiple bands of musicians.

In Shaltei, it is very ethereal. Light, floaty instrumental music denotes their culture. The only singing is a slow, meditative chant-like tone that is used for religious purposes.

In Ravndal, it is rhythm, rhythm, rhythm. There is not really much singing, more like chanting. There is no real refinement in this society, so even social songs are loud, boisterous affairs. They chant about everything under the sun, some of which cannot be played for more polite audiences.

*pant pant*

Well, that should satisfy the most curious of any fan. It would be interesting if I even used half of this stuff....

Anyone else participating in Preptober this month? What kind of music is in your WIPs? 

Scribbingly yours,


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  1. Oooh, I love that you figured out what the different types of music are in your Fantasy world. :)
    I still need to figure out music for my many worlds, I seem to focus more on the magic in it than the actual music people like to listen to, but I'll try to figure it now. :D

  2. THIS IS SO COOL! It is so awesome that you have come up with different types of instuments for different places! I love how you have inspiration from Finnish words. It's neat that the Aistarainan drum is based on the bodhrán! That is the one instrument that I'm attempting to learn and it's not really working. *sigh*

  3. My golly gracious goodness, girl, for not having given any thought to the music in your world....*trails off* *blinks* No wonder Verden feels so alive!!

    (Also. Your new fall aesthetic is so pretty.)

  4. Wow. Massive props to you for going so in-depth! This is awesome!


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