Skeletar And Dragon Lyre ExoticGuitars - Science Fiction Instruments

Luthier Peter McGilton has used his Masters Degree in Fine Arts, and post graduate studies in classical instrument construction, to take the guitar-maker's art to truly science-fictional levels. See the Skeletar and the Dragon Lyre below.


(Skeletar and Dragon Lyre)

I'm not saying that I know of an sf story in which there was a guitar like a skeleton (anyone?). However, I thought I'd share one of my favorite short stories; it has some great musical instruments. Jack Vance's staggeringly original 1976 story The Moon Moth is set on the human world Sirene, where every person sings his words to others, accompanied by different musical instruments. There is no money on Sirene; each person is evaluated according to his personal strakh, his prestige, repute or glory. Mastery of languge and music is essential in this culture.

A visitor to this world, Edwer Thissel, is trying his best to learn a bewildering array of instruments and musical styles:

...Thissel took up the strapan - this a circular sound-box eight inches in diameter. Forty-six wires radiated from a central hub to the circumference where they connected to either a bell or a tinkle-jar. When plucked, the bells rang, the bars chimed; when strummed, the instrument gave off a twanging, jingling sound. When played with competence, the pleasantly acid dissonances produced an expressive effect; in an unskilled hand, the results were less felicitous and might even approach random noise. The strapan was Thissel's weakest instrument and he practiced with concentration...

Read more in a brief article about another instrument - the stimic. The Moon Moth is a very absorbing story, and a fairly taxing murder mystery; it is a great read despite being almost thirty years old.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/7/2004)

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