Fandom: Homestuck

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  • Prompt Tag: 'Playing musical instruments with all the practice struggling and Suffering that entails'

Length: 1.6k, Oneshot

Date Posted: 2021-08-21

Collections: We Die Like Fen: Time Loop



The Gods and music have always been intertwined.


Written for Elsin.

The notes are wrong. You can't help it; your fingers are clumsy on a flute like they've never been on the frets of your bass guitar, but that's what makes it special. Frets and chords and strumming makes sense, the resonance and the ripples of low and soothing soundwaves across the water, but fingerings and breathing want to be windy things that jump out of your throat and jerk your fingers like the rainbow of rubber bands around them are puppet strings.

It's not bad, though. In each failed attempt, your feelings land somewhere between relief and fascination -- finally, there's something you have to try at if you want it to work.

You reset the microphone.

And a one, two three--

And the Witch of Space was, as all gods are, of musical sort, and She sang in plucked strings and resonance. And when She played Her lute1, all the lotus-flowers spun and danced for Her, and so they gathered bridges of leaf-pad and bloom upon Her lagoon so that She might walk across them with ease. And the Frogs sang Her chorus, for they are the Witch's own beasts alongside the Dog and Wolf, and so Awakening's Ballad would be sung.

And Her fellow Gods would join Her from afar, with the hammer-harp2, violin and voice3, and the Four would make a pleasing melody for Themselves across a vast spun web, calling and replying in song. And from this we receive the songs of Verdancy and October, and many more.

The Twelve are quick and violent Gods, more to action than to song, and the Nobles are silent in Their loneliness. But the Four sing and play together in divine eternity, such that we might know melody alongside Them, and such that Their songs might grant a path ahead, and reveal the secrets of the world.

1. some translations render this as 'guitar', but lute is generally considered more plausible historically

2. possibly a pianoforte or similar

3. the original word here suggests not singing, but a vocal tradition similar to Alternian slam, with heavily rhythmic vocalization mimicking percussion or a modern 'sound board'

A scratchy squeak cuts through the note. The bow must need more rosin, you assume. The application, at least, is muscle memory as much as playing; you don't need to think about the steady slide of the rosin brick across the horse-hair (did you remember to tighten it earlier? What are you forgetting?), leaving you free to keep keen ears on the hallway and the murmur of Mother's drunken stumbling.

She doesn't interrupt your violin practice. She never does. You mother understands enough, even in the midst of her ironic 50's housewife routine, to know that daughters are not to be bothered during music practice.

(You wonder if she ever stops to listen, when you're playing. She's never offered a compliment that made sense, but you are young enough to still almost hope, in that infantile way, that she might be paying attention.)

The bow is over-rosined. You dust it off with a shake, and tighten the horse-hair again with neat, tidy twists. Mother's footsteps fade down the hall.

And again, from the beginning--

Notes: the melody transcribed here is believed to be one of the Four's own creations, typically attributed to the Seer of Light, as it appears arranged for Her sacred instrument. Modern communication with the Gods has loosely confirmed this belief, and by extension the sacredness of the melody to the Light-Seer, although claims regarding its relation to the Seer's divine Quest to Play The Rain remained unsubstantiated.

(The Song of Playing The Rain remains an enigma which the Seer Herself has, despite Her nature, never deigned to clarify. Common scholarly thought is that it refers to the Song of Endless Climbs; however, counter-theorists have proposed the Song of Aggrievance as the true melody, and some modern speculation has imagined the song to be not a song, strictly, but a metaphor in musical form pertaining to the transcription of the Guardian's Code.)

The Song of Aggrievance has been recycled as a traditional hymnal tune for the Four and the Seer alike, and considered a base "motif" of the Skaian Revelescendoes.

For the fifteenth time this side of the hour, you save a new copy. If anyone else was looking at your filesystem, you'd hope they'd cherish the paltry peek it offers into the depths of your twisted digital webscape of a mind.

You've got so many file name changes you don't know what you're doing anymore. The current project is version six or eight or seven-and-a-half, and the filenames you wrote last night at three in the morning aren't helping, because apparently the one you left open isn't it. One of the files is literally just called "play that shit" -- it's a five-second clip of a beat you don't remember making that crashes SickBeats when you open it in the editor. Guess that beat was just too sick for the program to handle. You've resampled it back in just for the hell of it.

Hit play again. Reverb sounds off. You adjust the slider, replay a couple more times, just short loops to get a feel for it. Still off. There's a note that's going sour somewhere and you're about to spend fifteen minutes fucking around trying to figure out which track it's in. Pitch correction only fixes a little. You guess you could hit up GG and ask her to re-record the bass, but you've only got another twenty minutes before Bro gets home and he'll be busting up in your space for the computer first thing, most likely, so either you're doing it now and hoping she's actually online at six A.M. or whatever time it is on Radioactive Helldog Island, or you're calling her later.

The bass doesn't sound that bad. You could cut that part, maybe.

(Or you could just suck it up and fix it.)

TG: hey gg


Your Site For News, Trivia, and More



THE SYMBOLISM of the Knight's disc remains a topic of hot debate in modern Sburbian circles, and it all comes back to one thing: music.

The gods' anachronisms aren't exactly fresh news to us by now. If you've paid any attention to the last few centuries of lore developments, you'll have heard all about the parallels between Sburbian artefacts and classic computing, the reinvention of the Heir's "hammer-harp" (aka the piano), or the Witch and Page's ancient firearms, but the Knight's disc was, historically, a mystery.

Medieval sources believed it to be some kind of wheel, tying into the vision of time as an endless and onward circle, and this stayed as the standard interpretation until later scholars reverse-engineered the mechanical clock referenced by the Knight's elements, and found the inner "gears" to match some of the older imagery of the Time aspect symbol used by both the First Four's Knight and the Pantheon of Twelve's Maid.

So you're probably thinking: that's one hell of a mystery that sure didn't need solving, but damn if it didn't just get solved. But there's more to the Knight's disc than at first glance.

With time and progress has come the recent discovery and reverse engineering of the record player, an archaic device intended for analog sound playback, and which sure looks a lot like those fancy circles the Knight uses to rewrite the flow of time. Researchers believe... [Read More]

Dad taught you this piece. Said it was your one of Nanna's old favorites -- it feels like a real old-fashioned tune, kinda film noir and detective-y. You still fumble all over the keys during the fast parts, but you're getting better at making the melodies line up, and you can almost play the whole chorus now without stumbling.

When you get bored, you switch to your own stuff, because you could always use more practice. It's more fun to play something you know, anyway. But Nanna's shrine on the mantle shelf feels like it's looking at you, sometimes, and so you still start off practice sessions with at least a couple tries at it, just to be respectful.

(One time, you found Nanna's record collection in the garage with the record player, and Dad let you take a listen. You used to wonder if her ghost was listening, too.)

(You'd probably see more ghost slime or something if she did, though. That is, if ghosts were real.)

The Heir, guarded by the Breeze's kind whims, did not succumb to the Lord's sweet corruptions. With a great wave of His hand, He would sweep away all Error, such that the world before Him might recover. But, as He swept and swept, so did the Lord's corruptions multiply, and so it grew clear that, by Breeze invoked alone, His strength would fail him.

Thus the Heir descended, deep into the wyrm Typheus's lair, for to be granted death or salvation. And Typheus raised itself before him and asked: is it choice or battle you seek? And the Heir said: choice, I guess.

Typheus granted the Heir passage, and He strode forth unto the heart of the wyrm's lair, and found Himself entrapped and sinking in the great sea of Oil which drowned the lungs of the land. But the Heir recalled His gift, brought upon Him by His ventures in the realms of the Furthest Ring, and as His head slipped beneath the surface, He raised a Hand, and all at once the Oil dispersed. In every age the Oil remains a reminder of this moment, the Heir's triumph and mark of mastery upon the world.

When the room had cleared, the Heir stood before a great hammer-harp of iron pipes that Typheus's Oil had blocked. He raised Himself to the height of its keys, summoning a pair of great hands, ethereal in form and strength.

And the Heir laid His fingers upon the great instrument of the Pipes, and He played.

Reparations, 6:4-13