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Table of Contents

  1. Song of the Land

  2. The Lay of Beren and Luthien 

  3. The Battle for Telgar

  4. And So I Sing

  5. Adagio for Cello

  6. The Harper's Path

  7. My Nightly Craft: A Group Song

  8. Dragon Song 

  9. The Frozen Logger: A Folk Song

  10. Life

  11. Impression

  12. Vocalize for Ensemble: Unfinished

  13. The Ballad of Ista: The Storm 


Song of the Land


A chord gently rolls through the guitar, sustaining in its echo. Softly, the sweet tone of a flute plays a melody which sounds almost familiar. The guitar echoes it, the sound of the plucked strings buoying the flute, carrying it along as it sweeps into a wave of music. From the height, the flute leaps into the next octave, soaring on the wind in a repetition of its haunting melody as the gentle strumming of the guitar fades back, its arpeggiation hardly noticeable save for the lack of silence.


The violin joins in counterpoint with the flute, the guitar gradually growing to take up the melody with the violin. The flute then finds a new song in the air, playing it against the first phrase of spring. Together, Parker, Oriana and Lili play of the wind over the open plains, the grass waving below, the blue of a lake under clear skies. The trio blends in harmony, painting Pern in all of its splendor.


The sound suddenly dies away as the guitar plucks out a timorous note, joined by a tremolo high on the violin. Thread! The flute soars and dives, and you can almost see the flaming dragons char the deadly silver strands midair, just as the bright instruments glisten in the light of the sun as they sound.


The violin takes the counterpoint, adding firestone to the flute's flame as the thread thins, unable to pass the Guardians of Pern. Parker and Oriana, triumphant, take up the wind and song, Lili strumming of the soil below as the music resolves into the distance.

The Lay of Beren and Luthien

Lyrics: J.R.R. Tolkien


It begins softly, the silent grandeur of an unknown, magical forest is the scene. With a simple melody, the introduction begins. Tinuviel enters, a portrait of the dancing elven lady. The key changes to minor, introducing Beren, wandering lost through the land. A vision of Tinuviel - flowers of gold shimmer in the harp as it echoes in variation of Tinuviel's melody. Beren watches Tinuviel as she dances through the forest, the mere sight of her lightening his soul and healing his body. The harp tells of the lady, the vocal melody of Beren, as she flees before him and leaves him desolate. A soft harp breeze tells lightly of his glimpses of Tinuviel as his jubilance comes through the melody, then drops away as winter comes on, Tinuviel gone. 


The harp silent, the melody tells of Beren's vain search through the snowy wood, until a glimpse comes -- high, far away, enshrouded in mists atop a hill -- a light shimmer touches the harp, like the mists about her feet. In an interlude, the harp slowly turns winter to spring, the joyous return of Tinuviel. The voice then enters in a song of spring and the elven lady, the one Beren longs to have beside him. Trembling, she flees the mortal Beren, but he calls to her, 'Nightingale'. Startled, she halts, and he catches her. The spell of love envelops them, bringing with it all the good and all the trials which lay before them. The melody sings of the present, though the harp hints at the future with a minor key. Tinuviel succumbs to the love which she feels, even though they are from different worlds. Regardless of the consequences, they pledge their everlasting love. The harp lists the trials of the two lovers - the path to Evil's door, the price of the Silmaril, the Elven King's wrath. But beyond lies the happiness of those whom even death could never part.

The Battle for Telgar


The morning clear and bright, the day yet dark
Telgar defended, but tragedy struck
Events set in motion, Rjodan killed;
Shirgall's unrest, his fate unwilled
In deepest dark, his death fulfilled.

The Lady Rebecca, fair as Pern
The tribesmen took, none to learn
The truth untold, the search begins
The Lord unaware, the warder wins
Confidence, and all light dims.


Lord Thern of Ruath, the mystery unwound
And the Lady Rebecca, safe was found
And yet the danger, which further lay
Was not yet to be found, that day
Until Shirgall, who warnings did say.


Telgar Hold, in sickness once found
Now prospers, and with folk abounds
To Thern, its aid did proffer
The Steward Parik an escort offered
To see the Lord and Lady safe, to Hold and shelter.


The Warder then, his traps did lay
To snare them, as they passed that day
Although in readiness, along that road
The path them well, did not bode
And Torvald attacked, as they rode.


The Lord and Lady, and Telgar's men
With Lemos did defend, of them
The Steward Parik bravely fought
Against the traitors, good force they brought.
Friends of right, the victory sought.


The battle was fierce, as men can tell
But lords and Lemos defended well
Against the Tribesmen, defenses clustered
Telgar and Ruath, their forces mustered
Their defenses good, to fate they trusted


Kadan his sword, bravely swung
To defend the Lady, as is sung
While Torvald, with his men did chase
To kill the Lord they came in haste
And Steward and Lord, together did pass.


The Steward Parik, the Lord Thern
The Warder fought, their strength he learned
As he could not, defended be,
Forced he was, their skill to flee
And that day, forlorn was he.


The traitors, they could not defend,
And soon the battle, came to its end
Many fell, but many survive
For their lords, their service they give
To see their holds, in prosperity live.

And So I Sing


A slow introduction, the harp accompanying a mysterious, floating melody on the flute.


What cannot be seen, is felt.
What cannot be written, is sung.
What cannot be heard, is felt.
What cannot be told, is sung.

The flute rises octaves, floating softly down upon the inexpressable.


What cannot be learned, is felt.
What cannot be learned, is sung.

The tempo speeds up slightly, the harmonic rhythm now driving forward where it once was static. The flute follows the lead of the harp, rising in volume and intensity with each passing phrase.

One cannot see true partnership;
One cannot hear pure faith.

Softer now,

One cannot hear true love,
And so I sing.

The flute takes a last fling into the quicker melody, the rhythm of the harp supporting and driving behind until they slow, the mystery of the introduction returning.


The music falls silent, gently.

Adagio for Cello


A chord at the beginning, arpeggiated. Then the melody, plain and simple, from the cello alone. The clarity is only accentuated with the occasional fullness of an arpeggiated chord, across all four strings.


It gradually becomes more complicated, the bow traveling quickly across the strings in patterns... hands shift from the top of the neck to low down on the fingerboard, the pitches surprisingly clean.


The complexity winds itself out, again with the clear melody singing out in the rich mid-register of the cello. Embellishment in the form of moving chords lends a solemn beauty to the piece as it comes to a close on the same notes as it began.

The Harper's Path


A gentle arpeggiated strumming begins out of silence, the melody plucked above bittersweet.


The Harper's path leads never homeward,
Though homeward the road may lie -
For ever beyond lies the deep blue sea
Or a patch of bright blue sky

Pern, carry me on my wayward path,
My journey long and bold
And shelter me as I seek my fate
And let your folk be told:

The knowledge of Pern is boundless
As boundless the seas do flow;
Seek to learn and pass it on
For Pern and folk, we all must know.

A road is never the only road
And two ways have not one voice;
Choose your own way wisely, Friend,
And you shall not regret your choice.

The knowledge of Pern is boundless
As boundless the seas do flow;
Seek to learn and pass it on
For Pern and folk, we all must know.

My Nightly Craft: A Group Song

Lyrics: A. McCaffery [MIDI file of my RL arrangement]


Tempo: 1

Harp: %N lightly brushes %p fingertips along the strings, creating an eerie sensation of insubstantiality. The harmonics ring quietly, ever blending with each other and with the long, floating descant of the flute.


Flute: A haunting melody weaves a tapestry of moonlight through the beams of the harp strings, lingering in a mist of sound.


Soprano: "My nightly craft is winged in white;"

Soprano: "A dragon of night-dark sea."

Soprano: "Swiftborn, dreambound, and rudderless;"

Soprano: "Her captain and crew are me."


Flute: %N's tone rises, growing, to an almost shrill, fluttering sound, then subsides again as the harp takes the foreground in a vast crescendo.


Harp: Sea waves sweep wide wings, %N's hands in constant motion across glimmering strings.


Soprano: "I sail a hundred sleeping tides"

Soprano: "Where no seaman's ever been"


Harp: %N plucks long, ringing notes, taking the recapitulation of the flute's original descant while the flute, low in its range, trills intensely.


Soprano: "And only my white-winged craft and I"

Soprano: "Know the marvels we have seen."


Harp: The notes become softer, %p hands moving more quickly as %N once again uses only %p fingertips against the strings.


Flute: %N begins low, still trilling softly, then gradually begins a long climb in pitch as %s fades the tone to a mere breath.


Soprano: %N remains still for a moment after the last sound has faded, letting the effect only gradually wear off before all the players relax.

Dragon Song

Lyrics: A. McCaffery


Resounding chords strummed on the low harp strings accent the martial rhythm of this beginning, the traditional "Alarm Chorus".


Drummer, beat, and piper, blow,
Harper, strike, and soldier, go.
Free the flame and sear the grasses
Till the dawning Red Star passes.

The music slows. The mood become sombre, the remaining accompaniment ethereal, blending into the background.


The Hold is barred,
The Hall is bare,
And men vanish.

The soil is barren,
The rock is bald.
All hope banish.

Quickening again, it becomes imperative, alert!


The Finger points
At an Eye blood-red.
Alert the Weyrs
To sear the Thread.


Seas boil and mountains move,
Sands heat, and dragons prove
Red Star passes.

Stones pile and fires burn,
Green withers, arm Pern.
Guard all passes.

Star Stone watch, scan sky.
Ready the Weyrs, all riders fly;
Red Star passes.

The tone becomes more watchful, guarding. The frenetic urgency is replaced by confidence, ringing chords in the bass.


Lord of the Hold

your charge is sure
In thick walls, metal doors,

and no verdure.

A mysterious, tricky interweaving of fingers on strings marks a change. The music slithers and blows in the air, uncatchable and yet disturbing.


Crack dust, blackdust,
Turn in freezing air.
Waste dust, spacedust,
From Red Star bare.

Returning to the previous, urgent section, the tempo picks up and the chords become major yet again.


From the Weyr and from the Bowl,
Bronze and brown and blue and green,
Rise the dragonmen of Pern,
Aloft, on wing; seen, then unseen.

A strand of silver
In the sky...
With heat, all quickens
And all times fly.

Wheel and turn
Or bleed and burn.
Fly ::between::,
Blue and green.

Soar, dive down,
Bronze and brown
Dragonmen must fly
When Threads are in the sky.

Cold, utter cold. The fragile high strings ring with a brittle tone, the lower notes almost indistinguishable. Nothingness.


Black, blacker, blackest,
And cold beyond frozen things.
Where is ::between:: when there is naught
To Life but fragile dragon wings?

Moderate in tempo, the flowing arpeggios lead into a familiar lesson song.


Honor those the dragons heed,
In thought and favor, word and deed.
Worlds are lost or worlds are saved
From those dangers dragon-braved.

Dragonman, avoid excess;
Greed will bring the Weyr distress;
To the ancient Laws adhere,
Prospers thus the Dragonweyr.

With a sudden, full-harp flourish ringing into the air, the words are pronounced!


Oh, Tongue, give sound to joy and sing
Of hope and promise on dragonwing.

The martial rhythm recurs, the strumming in the lower range of the harp imitating a drumbeat.


Drummer, beat, and piper, blow,
Harper, strike, and soldier, go.
Free the flame and sear the grasses
Till the dawning Red Star passes.

The music slows, a solid, steady rhythm emerging in suddenly plain chording. The melody is simple, the message clear above the softly flowing strings.


Weaver, Miner, Harper, Smith,
Tanner, Farmer, Herdsman, Lord,
Gather, wingspread, listen well
To the Weyrman's urgent word.

The Frozen Logger

(Attributed to the Weavers' Songbook)


As I sat down one evening,
Within a small cafe,
A forty-year-old waitress
To me these words did say:

I see you are a logger,
And not just a common bum;
For nobody but a logger
Stirs his coffee with his thumb.

My lover was a logger,
There's none like him today;
If you'd pour whisky on it,
He could eat a bale of hay.

He never shaved his whiskers
From off of his horny hide;
He'd just drive them in with a hammer
And bite them off inside.

My lover came to see me
Upon one freezing day;
He held me in a fond embrace
Which broke three vertebrae.

He kissed me as we parted,
So hard that he broke my jaw;
I could not speak to tell him
He'd forgot his mackinaw.

I saw my lover leaving
Sauntering through the snow,
Going gaily homeward
At forty-eight below.

The weather it tried to freeze him,
It tried its level best;
At a hundred degrees below zero,
He buttoned up his vest.

It froze clean through to China,
It froze to the stars above;
At a thousand degrees below zero,
It froze my logger love.

And so I lost my lover,
And to this cafe I come;
And here I wait 'till someone
Stirs his coffee with his thumb.



A gentle strumming breaks the air; delicate fingertips brushing breezes through the harp strings. The clear soprano tone is sweet, nostalgic.


One day at a time
Save up the memories
Treasure them,
Protect them,
They are yours forever.

The strumming changes, like the flowing of water into eddies as it approaches a mighty waterfall. The delicate notes become confident, the singer reckless and encouraging.


One day at a time
Experience each moment
Embrace them,
Risk them!
They are yours forever.

Slowing, the harp's intensity never diminishing, the music takes a turn into pure imagination, a realm of incredulity and passion.


One day at a time
Approach each with wonder
Live them,
Love them.
They are yours forever.

Slowing more now, the delicate strumming returning as if it were a reminder of that already gone by and at the same time yet to come.


Flinch not,
Fear not --

The pause is filled with silence for only a moment.


They are yours forever.

A recapitulation of the song is accomplished with only a few notes, the same eddying waters melting back into the spring rains of nostalgia before arpeggiating delicately on.




More spoken than sung, the harp accenting rather than accompanying the imagery.


The shimmering life before me
Standing liquid dreams
The taste of love within me:
A burst of blessed thought -

"You are mine; we are one
"And forever shall we be -


Simple melody, the harp arpeggiating and driving forward on the winds;

The years, they pass like they had dragon's wings;
Wings of gold, to blink from black to sun;
We learn, we fly like time itself
The wind upon our faces - Free!
The weyr beneath us gliding safe
Above our home;


The gleam of orange-gold
The strength in mighty wings
A burst of vibrant thought:
"We are one;
"They will never catch us now!"

A slight pause; the melody returns, the crescendoing harp strumming accent.

I am scared;
She's never felt so rough
So mad with passion of being;


We burst upon the herd like lightning
Blood our kill - No! Only blood it!

I am scared;
She's never felt so strong
"They'll never catch us now!" she screams
Into my head and launches for the sky!

The lower strings rumble a thunderous bass as the music launches into the clouds - the sweeping strings blowing storms into the same simple melody...


The seconds pass like they had dragon's wings;
Wings of gold, to sweep the sky before the sun;
We dive we rise we spiral, fly like time itself

The wind upon our faces free
The weyr beneath us gliding swift
We climb above our home -


I am scared;
We've never been so fierce
We've never been so strong
We've never felt so rough
So mad with passion of being us!

"We are one!
"They will never catch us now!" I scream
Into her head and launch with her into the sky!

The storms calm; the arpeggiation returns as the music floats far above, delicately plucked from the highest register of the harp--gradually, gradually growing and deepening until the climax:


Nothing matters but the sun, the wind, the sky;
Nothing catches us but sun and wind and sky;
We lift on golden wings then drop into the crowd so far below
They seem so slow;

We float on golden wings until but one we're all alone
The only one with wings so strong
The only one with arms so warm;
"We are one;" we feel the passion flow
Like wind upon our faces flying free!

It melds into accenting chords once again, the singer sing-speaking the words once more.


The shimmering sands before me
Glowing liquid dreams
The taste of love surrounds us

A burst of blessed thought:
"You are mine; we are one"
As the hatchlings stumble forward to their own;
"And forever shall we be -

%P fingers poise above the strings, allowing the last chord to ring until the word is no more.

Vocalize for Ensemble



A low rumble resounds from the longest strings of the harp. The glistening lengths of gut vibrate, blurring as the atonal melody takes hold upon each. It gradually sweeps upward, projecting the thrumming into the stone of the floor, the very air itself trembling in anticipation. The harsh plucking of the upper strings of the harp stands out suddenly, then falls back into the collage of sound that is the rest of the group. It wavers, fingers running all the way up to the top of the harp and down again before abruptly ending. A grand chord punctuates the suddenly static texture, followed rhythmically by another, and another. Time pauses, it seems, space fractures and all that is left is sound. Soft, soft. As if the harp were in a light rainstorm, the harpist's fingers fall ever so gently on the translucent strings. It sings of an old folk song, suddenly and incongruently fluid. But the sound is transparent, merely calling up the memory before fading away, overtaken by the ensemble's dissonant present. The melody - the same atonal melody that forms the bond to hold the music together - glides along the harp strings, singing strong and clear and fluid.


A rapid, high trilling from the flute appears without warning above all other sound. Like a sweet-throated avian, the twirling descant soars musically on the trembling breeze. Gloriously free, the atonal melody breathes in the open, airy sound of the flute. Then the richness of the flute's full tone doubles the sound, shaping and rounding the music before letting go. Low and harsh, the flute sounds on long, trembling textures. The pitch rises slowly, ever so gradually, then falls again without ever having attained its goal. Weaving and interweaving, the flute blends in with the other instruments to create a rippling sea of music. Long and mournful, the high, clear flute pierces the air and drops, fluttering. The melody rises again, shaping itself until it is the familiar theme once more - although when it actually transformed is a mystery.


Strong, hard. The cornet speaks, proclaiming in bursts of atonal glory!
Trading notes with the bassoon, the cornet outlines a slow, deliberate basso continuo of the theme. Although the brassy tone can cut through, it stays muted as its higher notes proclaim the octaves of the bassoon's reedy bass. A single blast on the cornet silences the group. The air hangs still, only to be sliced by a second clear blast, the start of a far-reaching horn call. Alone, it begins... then, with a sudden decrescendo, the sound takes on a tension, joined one-by-one... the flute, a single melody in a round... the sopranos, together forming a counterpoint... the baritones, in a round with the sopranos... the bassoon joins and then the air is filled as the harp joins in and each counterpoints the other. Then each pauses, in turn, leaving at last only the cornet. Alone once again, the horn call repeats.. or is it different? and at a nod, the sound dies. A smooth, rich brass gives the atonal theme a glory that can never be rivaled - the long, slow vibrato on the glossy mid-range, then the bell-clear tones as the melody leaps upward to glide dragonlike through the skies. A muted question, the cornet sounds. It is not answered, and fades away.


The Ballad of Ista: The Storm

Lyrics: Harper Master Shinnai [MIDI file of my RL arrangement]


After dinner, as usual, the harper brings out a lute. As the requests for songs begin, he holds up his hand for silence.  "This ballad has recently come from the Harper Hall--and before that, from Ista Hold with thanks to all who have sent much-needed aid after the storm. It is an account of the tragedy, firsthand, as written by one of the few surviving harpers who were at Ista Hold when the hurricane hit."


He tunes the lute quietly as the audience settles down. Then he begins, a light, ominous strumming vibrating the lower strings of his lute as a brief introduction to set the scene.


A shadowed moon,
A rising wind,
The sea all white and grey
Take shelter in
Your Hold, my friends,
On this foreboding day.

The strumming grows fluid, its rhythm complex as its accented discords imitate the storm-seas.


The darkened noon,
The rising tide,
Waves crashing against the door;
Take heart, my friends,
Our door has stood
This furied wind and more.

The music grows in intensity, the strumming soft but accented, like a hoarse whisper of alarm rising in pitch and urgency.


The rising tide,
The crashing waves,
The shock felt deep inside--

Silence -- then a small, slow melody of ironic sadness.


Twas not the sturdy
Door that gave
Against the surging tide.

The crashing sea returns as the first theme, strong now to depict the battle between the solid Hold and the wild storm, images of plunging waves and roaring winds encouraging each other as they strive to beat the cliffside to sand.


The shutters, burst
By hasp and clasp
Were built against Thread, not tide --
The shelter found
Was shelter lost --
The sea now raged inside.

A chord, stopped before it can ring, is all that is necessary to tell the fate of those who the storm found. A moment of silence, and the mood of the ballad changes. The storm is over now -- but it has not faded.


For friends now lost
To Pern's bright seas
For those who saw them go --
I cannot say
Or tell you now
The duties you all know.

Respectful and soft in memory of those who will never listen again, of those who will never play again,


Hold fast, my friends,
The day's now bright
What once was fury is calm;
Your Hold yet stands,
Your people firm
Beneath the shading palm.

For friends now lost,
For friends now found,
My hold will come aright --

He crescendos, proclaiming the Istan harper's vow to Hold, kin, and to all who sent their aid:


By Faranth's first
Bright egg, I swear --
The dawn shall clear this sorrow's night.

Only the lute echoes the last phrase, and that briefly, but the words still ring in memory as the ballad comes to a close.


The dawn shall clear this sorrow's night.


"A sincere thanks to all of you comes from the harper that wrote this song. She hopes that Ista may one day be able to fully repay your efforts," the harper concludes.


--Distributed by the Harpercraft, written by Shinnai, Hold Harper of Ista.

Converted to HTML from (#2399)Oriana's Songbook on the Harper's Tale MOO on Mon Oct 30 14:14:48 1995 EST.  







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