Aurbis: The Musical

Foreword: play this song as you read. It automatically repeats.

Music is the underlying force of the TES universe. It has laws and structures governing its function in the world just as physics does. This is my effort to describe the Theory of Music.


The Octave

The octave is used both on Earth and in Mundus as a perfect set. 8 has abundant significance in numerology. So let's assume that Mundus keeps the eight gods, eight notes pattern.

The problem is that the octave goes CDEFGABC. See the problem? C happens twice. This is true in any transposed octave. So using the Imperial pantheon of Akatosh, Arkay, Dibella, Julianos, Mara, Kynareth, Stendarr, and Zenithar, I chose to take Dibella and Mara as the twin C notes, as they are the most similar-yet-different gods.

So our octave goes like this

C Mara

D Zenithar

E Arkay

F Kyne

G Stendarr

A Akatosh

B Julianos

C Dibella

Why this ordering, you ask? I explained Mara/Dibella as C above, but let’s expand on this.

Akatosh is the fundamental tuning pitch of this entire system. In the beginning of pitch-standardization, pitches were based off organ pipe heights. A, 440Hz, was an eight-foot pipe. Ada-Mantia as a Tower would be the tuning length for Akatosh, A.

So with Akatosh defined as the A note of any octave, the rest begins to fall into place.

C,E,G make a third, and so I wanted some of the more basic gods in there. Arkay, life/death, and Stendarr, mercy and fortitude, fit well with the “feel” of the CEG chord (it is strong and works very well, but not very “pretty”)

F, however is a pretty note, and so that’s where Kyne went. F is also the third Important note of the scale (F, G, and A are basically the stars of the show). With Kyne as F, Mara became low C and Dibella high C. (Incidentally, a perfect fourth, C-F, is exactly a half-octave, so the waves resonate very well with each other. Mara, handmaiden of Kyne, fits here perfectly.)

This leaves D and B open, and Zenithar and Julianos to be placed. I placed Julianos next to Akatosh and Dibella, since his sphere of intellectual work is close (sort of) to Beauty and the Fundamental. Zenithar, labor, goes well next to Arkay's life/death and Mara's family.

The Accidentals

This is where we break off markedly from the music you know. Western canon uses the 12-tone C C♯ D D♯ E F F♯ G G♯ A A♯ B octave. This only has five accidentals, which is where the Daedra go. The Daedra are in the set of Creation, but their tones are alien to it and can work for or against it, depending on use. Daedra fit very well as accidentals. However, we need sixteen. To this end, we turn to the 24-tone scale, C C♯ C♯♯ C♯♯♯ D D♯ D♯♯♯ D♯♯♯ E E♯ F F♯ F♯♯ F♯♯♯ G G♯ G♯♯ G♯♯♯ A A♯ A♯♯ A♯♯♯ B B♯. In this scale, the double sharps [n]♯♯ correspond with the single sharps [n]♯ of the 12-tone. Note that every note of the twelve-tone now has a halfway note to its right, including the formerly-accidental-free note pairs of B/C and E/F.

We have sixteen-and-one Daedra depending on how you count Sheo/Jyggalag. And while the description of the Wheel as having eight Spokes and sixteen Spoke-Voids may make you think there are two voids between each spoke, this does not necessarily have to be true. The octave is not evenly spaced for the primal chords, so the Wheel Spokes are not rotationally symmetric. Their spacing is not made less beautiful as a result. Rather, this asymmetry is what makes the Octave as a whole more special.

Notice how the Four Corners of the House of Troubles and the Three Good Daedra fall into place exactly in between the Aedric Tones. My placement logic for the Daedra is as follows:

The 4CotHoT and 3GD are not necessarily placed HGHGHGH, as rotational symmetry is unneeded.

The seven selected Daedra are to go in the seven gaps-between-Aedric-Tones, and are to be neighbored by Aedra whose properties are similar to their own. Mara is familial, and Zenithar governs labor. Malacath embodies both of those. Zenithar’s work and Arkay’s life/death are both touched by Mehrunes Dagon’s destruction (ruining the former, speeding the latter). Azura, Twilight, is similar to Arkay and Kyne’s Wind. And so forth.

The ten remnant Daedra are to be attached to the five Daedra who have room for quarter-tones. Again, note that in the 12-tone octave, there is no accidental between E/F and B/C, so in the 24-tone, E♯ and B♯ are the quarter-tones and cannot have tertiary notes. Namira and Vaermina are associated with ostracism and persecution, and are placed to either side of Malacath by what they destroy. Namira destroys families, and Vaermina labor. Clavicus Vile is bad bartering to Zenithar’s good, and Peryite is illness and death. And so forth.

For the purposes of this list, accidentals are left-associative. Thus, n♯♭ is n, raised one-half, lowered one-quarter.

C Mara

C♯♭ / D♭♭ Namira

C♯ / D♭ Malacath

C♯♯ / D♭♯ Vaermina

D Zenithar

D♯♭ / E♭♭ Clavicus Vile

D♯ / E♭ Mehrunes Dagon

D♯♯ / E♭♯ Peryite

E Arkay

E♯ / F♭ Azura

F Kyne

F♯♭ / G♭♭ Meridia

F♯ / G♭ Molag Bal

F♯♯ / G♭♯ Hircine

G Stendarr

G♯♭ / A♭♭ Sanguine

G♯ / A♭ Boethiah

G♯♯ / A♭♯ Nocturnal

A Akatosh

A♯♭ / B♭♭ Hermaeus Mora

A♯ / B♭ Sheogorath

A♯♯ / B♭♯ Jyggalag

B Julianos

B♯ / C♭ Mephala

C Dibella

Incidentally, if one makes this list into a wheel, with Aedric overtones as the longest spokes, the 7 Prominent Daedra with spokes of middling length, and the ten remaining Princes as the shortest spokes, one gets this result:

However, if we rotate so that D is our top, the end result is reflectively symmetric. D Major is incidentally commonly called the Heavenly Key in the Western music canon, and having Work in such a subtly special place is rather fitting in my opinion.

Lorkhan

There is more to music than just the tones. The beat, the rhythm, the measure, all terms for one underlying piece: tones alone are nothing without the foundation given by the drumline. And this is, of course, the Ninth God, the Doom Drum, Lorkhan. (It is pretty ironic that the Space God provides the music’s Time, but Time and Space are intermingled oddly here) Lorkhan is not a Tone, but the Sound-without-Tone, the Pulse. Separate from the Octave and just as necessary to the Performance as it.

Towers

MK has stated that the Towers are like maestros, performing and conducting the Song of Creation. They can be compared to roles in an Orchestra, and I will do so here.

DIVINE

  • Ada-Mantia: Tuning Note of the Octave, the Conductor.

  • Red Mountain: Beat of the Song, the Percussion.

MORTAL

  • White-Gold Tower: the Trumpets, proclaiming glory far and wide.

  • Crystal-Like-Law: the Flutes, structured yet elegant.

  • Green-Sap: the Strings, glorying in wood and gut and hair.

  • Snow-Throat: the Horns, a rich warbling sound, melodic and majestic without seizing attention.

  • Orichalc: the Trombones, deep and powerful and alien-yet-alike to the rest of the Orchestra.

  • Numidium: the Tubas, strong and dominant, punctuating the song with brassy power.

  • Khajiit: the Tuned Percussion, working with the Drums yet playing Tones.

  • Unknown: Unknown


In conclusion, I present to you the Orchestra of the Aurbis, in structure and form. The Song goes ever onwards, and though sections may be silenced, silence is ever a part of music. So long as the Conductor stands, the Song will go on. The coda of a kalpic movement does not necessarily herald the conclusion of the Performance, but merely provides an opportunity for a new movement, a new expression of the Great Song, to be played. The Symphony is complete in and of itself, and can never be destroyed. All they require, is an Audience.

All it requires, is us.


Post-Script:

There is a sequel.