About the Craft


A Harper's Life


Events in the Harperhall


Meet the Harpers


In the Vaults

Drumming and Communication 

[ Class Logs ] Basic Music Theory ] Beginning Drums ] [ Drumming and Communication ] Modern Composition Techniques ] Teaching Ballads ] Beginning Viola ] Jam Session ]




You say, "Hello all."

Parellia walks down into the archives vault.

Zaqs smiles and sits down.

Teraille looks up from her drumming yet again to nod to Tomias. "Have a seat," she invites, as her fingers continue to beat out odd rhythms. "I don't know that we've had lessons together yet. I'm Teraille."

Tomias sits down, and takes his Bodhran out of it's weyrhide case.

Zaqs grins "I'm Zaqs"

You say, "Well met, Journeyman Teraille."

Petra sits down quietly.

Teraille quirks an eyebrow at that. "And you would be...?" she prompts lightly.

You say, "I am Apprentice Tomias."

"Tomias," Teraille repeats. "Well met, Tomias." She still her fingers finally, letting her palm lay flat on the drum hide. "Have any of you done any work with drumming before?"

Zaqs shakes his head "No."

Tomias raises his hand.

Teraille nods to Tomias. "Was it the drum as an instrument, or the drum as a method of communication?"

You say, "Mainly as an instrument."

Petra shakes her head no.

You say, "I realize that drum message measures are different, however."


The young girl you see before you is quite feminine in her appearence though she appears to be quite shy looking away blushing at your glance. Her long black silky hair is plaited into a braid that easily reaches her waist. She is 5 feet four inches tall and weighs only 105 pounds. At first glance she looks as though the wind could blow her small framed body right over; but, at a closer look you see that her body is quite well toned. Petra's eerily silver eye's are exactly the same hue, tone, color, and shape as her faithful cat Sepa; who is almost always perched as firmly on her owners shoulder as any fire lizzard. The only difference in her and her cat's eyes is the slight differnce in shape.
She wears a dark vest over a light colored short sleeved tunic that has a few holes in it. She wears light pants and thick soled wherehide boots. On her belt is a highly ornate knife in a sheaf, and a empty looking money pouch. Petra 's Pack hangs heavily from Petra 's shoulder. Perched on Petra 's shoulder is Qaielnos. Is wearing a knot of a Appy it is blue and white in the colors of harper craft with a single loop in it's double cord. Petra is 17 Turns, 3 months, and 27 days old.

Teraille considers this, then nods. "All right. We're going to be learning how to use a drum as a method of communication. We do this through drum codes, which were created long ago to carry messages from one hold to another. Have you all seen the drumheights of Ista and the drums up there?"

Tomias nods. he's visited them on occasion.

Zaqs nods.

Petra nods.

Teraille nods, completing the circle. "Good. That's what they're used for. And you guys are going to learn the most basic patterns. I'm not going to get overly complex today, but it will be a start."

Zaqs says, "Okay."

Petra nods again slightly.

You say, "That sounds good to me."

"I'm going to be tapping the patterns out on this," Teraille smacks her palm down on the drum to indicate it rather more loudly than necessary. "It's also possible to do it via snapping, whistling, tapping your feet... This is just easier to figure out what's being said on."

Petra giggles slightly at the lound noise.

Teraille taps out a quick, complex pattern on the drum. "Who thinks they can repeat that?" she wonders, her eyes sweeping the three.

Tomias taps out the measure, but flubs it a little. "Oops.

Zaqs thinks about the measure and tries it out.

Tomias tries again, and gets it right.

Petra tries the measure finally getting it right on her third try.

Teraille grins at Tomias. "Good work," she praises his second attempt, nodding to Zaqs as he gets it, and Petra as it falls into place for her. "Good," she repeats. "Now. Bet you have no idea what you jsut said."

Zaqs tries again almost beating the measure correctly.

Petra grins and nods, "not a clue."

Zaqs shakes his head "Not at all"

Tomias shakes his head.

Teraille nods. "Figured as much," she notes. "The hard thing isn't always learning the measures. It's learning what they translate into. Have you ever had a fragment of song running though your head without remembering the words?"

Zaqs nods

You say, "Hasn't everyone?"

Petra nods.

"It's like that," Teraille explains. "You remember the pattern, but not the words. That translated to "Emergency." It's one of the most important patterns."

Petra nods as she taps the pattern out again to memorize it.

Zaqs taps the pattern out slowly engraving it into his memory.

Tomias practices the code several times, faster and faster each time, until he has it.

Teraille considers her pupils. "How long did it take you to learn that? Estimate." Her head tilts to one side.

You say, "About five minutes, perhaps a bit less."

Petra shrugs, "couple of minutes I s'pose."

Teraille nods. "How many words would you guess we use on any sort of regular basis?"

Zaqs shrugs "five?"

You say, "Probably, seventy or so."

Petra shrugs, "i haven't a clue, seven or ten?

Teraille blinks at Tomias. "I'll bet you a mark I can list more than seventy words I use regularly /right/ now."

You say, "That's a wager I wouldn't take, even if I had a mark. :)"

Petra grins slightly.

Zaqs smiles.


An air of presence follows this young woman, whose five feet and eight inches of height don't seem enough to describe her. Her long brown hair has been pulled around in a type of twist. It winds once around a loose bun and then falls in an unsecured tail hanging several inches below her shoulders. Confident green eyes sweep the room, seeming to take it in with a single glance. Her stance is easy, and her footing solid. As she speaks, her hands move easily in a silent illustration of her points. Lightly tanned skin covers a figure toned by exercise and hard work. Her eyes, though not hard, are firm, and still carry with them an air of serenity and self-satisfaction. A hidden light sparkles behind them still, but it is under control, and adds to a subtle maturity. Her chin is held proudly, adding to the appearance of height.
Teraille is (obediently) wearing green, in bulk. Her dress is simple, dragging on the floor in a bright green fall of fabric. Her hair is tied back in a green headband, and even her sandals have been dyed green. Will Efette be happy? We can hope so.
A brief glimpse of silver-white fire catches your eye.
Teraille's knot -- in harper blue and white -- has the two chords, one loop, and long tail of a journeyman. It is arranged with quiet dignity on her shoulder. Teraille is 29 Turns, 6 months, and 2 days old.

Teraille grins. "I would bet around a few hundred." She taps lightly on the drum as she speaks. "So. Multiply. Assume seven minutes per word -- because it /will/ take more time for some -- and three hundred words. What kind of time committment are we talking about?"

Zaqs says, "hours."

Petra frowns slightly, "a lot of sevendays worth of hours."

You say, "Thirty-five hours."

You say, "That is if we practiced them constantly."

Teraille blinks at Tomias. "2100 divided by sixty... Yeah. You're good. Can you guys imagine spending that much time in lessons with a teacher tapping on a drum and naming words?"

Tomias shudders. "No.

Tomias But isn't that why drum apprentices spend six months to a turn in the drumheights?

Petra nods her head, "I can."

Teraille grins at Tomias. "Yes. But they aren't learning it from a teacher. What happens is that he gives them one of these." She waves a few pieces of hide in the air. "These are drum codes, transcribed into notation. They take them and learn them on their own time. And guess what? you guys get to take these and learn them on your own time!"

Petra grins, "neat."

Tomias takes his packet of hides and starts to look them over.

Teraille hands out the packets, then rises. "Come back in a sevenday, and we'll go over them, all right?"

You say, "Ok."

Zaqs pulls out a hide and starts to jot down the lecture.

Petra nods as she takes her packet looking at it.

Logfile from Tomias





See a problem? Have a question or comment? Email us or visit us on the Moo.

Harper's Tale MOO Web SiteThe Masterharper's Office Graphics Copyright P. Rutins & J. Hamilton, 1999

Design Copyright S. Minkus & L. Ledger, 2003

Content Copyright the Members of the Harper's Tale Harpercraft, 1999-present

Pern and the concept of the Harpercraft is the property of Ms. Anne McCaffrey, who kindly allows us to play in her world. Thank you!