Spirits, Suvial Music, And You

Discussion in 'Roleplay Discussion' started by StarriEyedMan, Sep 6, 2023.

  1. StarriEyedMan


    Mar 3, 2023
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    Hello! I have been doing a ton of reading on Hindustani (Northern India) music, reading a book titled The Life of Music in North India. This is an ethnography that focuses on music as a lifestyle in Northern India. One of the many topics in the book is spirits and spirit summoning (known in Hindi as “Jinns” (where we get the term Genie in English!)).

    These Jinns can be summoned with a specific Raga song (called a “Raag” [Rahg]). This Raag is called Malkauns. It can be listened to here:

    Raag Malkauns was once considered to be dangerous to play at night. Jinns, though not always evil, were often something to be worried about regardless- Even the benevolent ones.

    Music is traditionally believed to have special powers in North India. Some raags can bring rain. Others are said to be able to burn buildings down when played inside.

    Why do I say all this?

    It’s for those interested in Suvial spirit summoning. It’s to give cultural background to the lore, and its basis in real life. It’s also to give Suvial players a reason to play musicians. Indian Classical Music is beautiful, as you can hear above.

    I’ve learned a lot about Indian Classical Music, gurus, caste systems within a caste system, and I’m not even done reading the book. If interested in playing a Suvial musician, let me know! I’ll try to help you plan out your character.

    Some more fun facts:

    Traditionally, a musician is born from a long line of musicians. There are two major types of musicians: soloists and accompanists- the former more prestigious, so much so that a family of soloist musicians can be tainted as a bloodline if one family member is an accompanist. Soloists include Sitariya (sitar players) and vocalists. Accompanists are Tabaliya (tabla players [drums]) and Sarangiya (sarangi players [a bowed string instrument played on the cuticles of your fingernails]).

    Musicians take on their familial bloodlines as part of their very identity, but also the guru who trains them. The guru is a teacher of sorts, but must first trust you to teach you. Many gurus have you do grunt work, take them out to dinner, massage their legs, carry their instruments, book travel, and more, before they’ll ever teach you basic things, let alone very complex, rare, or secret knowledge. Often, you’ll introduce yourself as “[NAME] of [SUCH-AND-SUCH FAMILY], trained by [SO-AND-SO].”

    Musicians in India have adopted certain western instruments, like violin, harmonium, clarinet, and even saxophone! This adoption of new ideas is most common in Carnatic traditions (Southern India], but have also moved up north.

    A few final notes:

    I am not of Indian descent, let alone descended from a line of musicians. Many of these ideas are just relayed to you from what I have been learning from a second hand source (an anthropologist and Ethnomusicologist, yes, but one from America). Don't take my word as 100% truth. As always, exceptions exist, of course. As do other nuances.

    Many of these terms are derived from real-world Hindi. Elvenized Hindi rules of the Suvial language likely would need to be applied to any terms seen here.

    Finally, keep in mind that this is based on a book written in the 1980s, which itself draws from works across time and space. As such, many of these traditions might not hold true in modern India's Northern regions.

    Feel free to correct me below!
    Have a Massive day!
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