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  • Not A Granny
    Nov 28 1:20 AM
      WOSSNAME - NOVEMBER 2007 -- PART 6 OF 6 (continued)

      ====Part 6 - HOROSCOPE, AND CLOSE

      19) CLOSE



      The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

      Your musical instruments: xylophone, didgeridoo, susurrophone

      As ever, Boring'uns are drawn to musical instruments that are
      simple, unobtrusive, or, well, boring: nothing with too many strings
      or too many holes or capable of producing too many exciting tones,
      nothing too loud, and above all, nothing too prone to inciting
      violence. To this end, the xylophone might as well have been
      invented expressly for Boring'uns. It's made of unthreatening woods,
      played by being struck (gently, for you lot) with rubber mallets,
      and prone to stay in the same place once it's assembled; it also
      serves as a useful table once you've decided that more than two
      differently-tuned bars is entirely too much like excitement.

      The Fourecksian didgeridoo, on the other hand, can only play one
      note. One low, deep, soothing -- some might even say boring -- note.
      And it's played by the method known as circular breathing -- in
      through the nose, out through the mouth -- which promotes a calm,
      relaxed, meditative state. And It has no keys, bars, strings,
      slides or anything at all apart from a hollow tree branch and some
      beeswax smeared around the mouthpiece. Perfect!

      The susurrophone does have keys and a double reed, but is unique
      among woodwinds in that it only produces a whisper no matter how
      hard you blow. The twelve-gauge contrabass susurrophone is the best
      of all instruments for the shy, excitement-hating would-be virtuous,
      as it whispers in such a low register that you might as well not be
      playing at all! Very relaxing.


      Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

      Your musical instruments: trumpet, triangle

      Andies are infamous for often playing the strumpet, but tuneful
      Andies will find that removing the initial S will lead them to an
      exciting musical hobby! Just hie yourself to the nearest blacksmith
      with some brass tubing and he'll bend and hammer it into a truly
      distinctive instrument. The trumpet is not the easiest brass
      instrument to play -- because it tends to produce 'wolf tones',
      especially bright, loud notes that agitate any nearby werewolves and
      can even bring on The Change at inconvenient times -- but trumpet
      music is wonderfully rousing, notably for neighbours you don't much
      like. Trumpets, which were developed from the mediaeval wooden Shawn
      (not Ogg), come in a variety of keys and sizes and can play every
      note in the standard Morporkian scale (and a few that no composer
      ever anticipated). For the more adventurous -- and Andies are
      nothing if not adventurous! -- try the related Fluebelhorn, pride of
      Uberwald orchestras and winner of both the Longest Note and Loudest
      Note categories at the Copperhead Consolidated Mining Band Brass
      Competition for three years running.

      Another good instrument for Andies is the triangle (your local
      blacksmith is going to love you). The triangle is said to be the
      instrument of angels, and known to be one of the instruments used by
      those committing folk music; nonetheless, the triangle can be
      surprisingly challenging to play. Orchestral composers often write
      rhythmically complex triangle parts -- possibly as a means of
      getting back at the triangle players, who get the same pay as
      everyone else but get to spend most of their time dozing at the back
      or doing the Times crossword. Some players use knitting needles for
      a gentler tone. This means you can make sweet music *and* knit your
      socks for next winter, at the same time.


      Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

      Your musical instruments: Quirmish horn, tuba

      Cor! In fact, Cor blimey! The Quirmish horn, historically known as
      the Cor Ankhaise and -- interestingly -- neither Quirmish nor a
      horn, is just the thing to tootlingly thrill you winsomely woodwindy
      Footies. A long, sleek instrument, related to the Brindisian Oboe
      D'amore (a favourite of those of the Casanundan persuasion), the
      Quirmish horn will fill your days with melancholy melodies.
      Ambitious players might attempt the north face of Tuttifrutti's
      famed Rhapsodie for Cor and Catgut, or scale the heights of
      Horsehack's Lost World Symphony. The Cor's double reed develops good
      kissing technique (see Oboe D'amore), and its length, heft and
      general hardness are good for speedily resolving orchestral

      The tuba, stately basso of the brass instruments, is played by a
      movement more usually known as "blowing a raspberry". This means
      that you can perform rich, warm passages and secretly display your
      contempt for the rest of the orchestra at the same time. Many famous
      Uberwaldean and Zlobenian composers favoured the tuba -- consider
      the famous tuba passages in the Ring of the Nibelungungungen -- and
      it is also a featured instrument in many Dwarf operas: perhaps the
      most famous piece known to non-dwarf music aficionados is the Gold
      March of Bloodaxe, popularly known as the Haul of the Mountain King.
      In a world of warbling sopranos and screeching piccolos, the tuba
      will *always* let you down.


      Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

      Your musical instruments: banjo, sukinoto

      The banjo is famed throughout the Ramtops and across the Octarine
      Grass Country as the queen of folk instruments, although some say
      more honestly that a truer description would be the Seamstress of
      folk instruments...or at least the brazen hussy. Originally invented
      in Howondaland, where it was traditionally crafted out of gourds or
      the skulls of Omnian missionaries, the banjo was updated early in
      the Century of the Fruitbat by an unnamed Dwarf craftsman who saw a
      use for some low-grade ore tailings and smelted them down to make
      the familiar modern metal frame. It is played by plucking (with
      metal fingerpicks), strumming (with very tough fingernails), clawing
      (very popular with werewolf banjoists), or in the case of more
      lively gatherings, throwing against a wall and using the resultant
      twanging clang as a start-point for the Hedgehog Song. Those of a
      less brazen disposition might consider the Hunghung shamisen,
      because it has fewer strings and weighs less, although it's not
      nearly as useful in a pub fight.

      The sukinoto (literally "wet garden ornament") is an Agatean musical
      device. Consisting of an buried upside-down pot with a hole at the
      top and a small pool of water inside, the sukinoto is placed beside
      an outdoor handwashing bowl; water dripping into the pot, creates a
      pleasant bell-like sound. Each part of the instrument-or-device must
      be tuned separately, and each part of the assembly requires much
      poetry. It is said that certain jars are born to become sukinoto,
      owing to their natural bell-like tones. Entire sets of scrolls have
      been written about the best placement of the washbasin and the
      correct length of time for washing the hands beside a sukinoto, and
      sukinosamas -- "musical handwash-masters" -- are accorded the same
      sort of respect as senior samurai and venerable swordmakers. Which
      is fairly extraordinary when you consider that what they're playing
      is, after all, a drainage system!


      The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

      Your musical instruments: squeezebox, clarinet

      The Gazunda rules the lips, abdominal muscles and pectorals, so the
      squeezebox, otherwise known as the accordion (or, in some quarters,
      the discordion), is by far the best choice of instrument for you
      Gazundians. Indispensable for Morris dancers, harvest-ball bands and
      Bonk polkestras, the squeezebox comes in two flavours -- button and
      key -- utilises a membranous bellows made from leather, paper, or
      leftover insides of sheep, and is the only type of instrument used
      by strolling players to imitate the death-gasps of murdered
      characters on stage. Most major churches deplore the squeezebox,
      believing its jaunty nature lures young people into sin, but the
      Unreformed Church of Petulia, Goddess of Negotiable Affection,
      blesses it precisely for this reason. So give in to the lure of the
      squeezebox and go insane with the membrane!

      The clarinet (Brindisian for "undersized trumpet") is favoured by
      snake charmers, pocket orchestras, ratcatchers, and music halls all
      across the Disc. A mellow-sounding woodwind that travels well and is
      easy to assemble, the clarinet has a wider range of tone and
      register than most other woodwind instruments, and an all-clarinet
      ensemble can challenge a vocal choir for richness and variety of
      timbre. That said, it's not exactly sexy; you won't find a clarinet
      in the hands of the world's greatest lovers, unless it's being put
      to some creative and not exactly musical use. Don't arsk.


      Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

      Your musical instruments: mousepipes, viola extravaganza

      The heart, wrists and hindbrain are ruled by Lesser Umbrage, and you
      need lashings of all three for your destined instrument: the
      mousepipes. Traditionally used in battle by the Nac mac Feegle to
      make their enemies' ears explode, mousepipes are made from
      mouseskin, often with the ears still attached. Properly-played
      mousepipes can do far more than fell enemies or clear out stubborn
      blockages of earwax; when attacked with sufficient vigour and
      emotion, they can even affect the local weather. A difficult
      instrument to play, mousepipes are best learnt out on open moorland,
      where the novice's "off" notes and wheezing stop-starts are unlikely
      to fell anything more than a passing stoat.

      The viola extravaganza, a truly unique musical experience, was
      invented by Leonard of Quirm and was the first and only bowed
      keyboard instrument in existence. The idea of a set of steam-driven
      rotating bows running perpendicular to a set of push-down keys
      (causing the moving bow to sound the pitch of the corresponding
      string) came to him when he was redesigning his revolutionary
      coffee-making machine. Of course, he called it the Machine for
      Making Pleasant Musical Noises by Means of a Rotating Drum
      Interacting with Strings and Keys, but Brindisian piano designer
      Benito-Serendipito Giansoni -- the only person ever to build one of
      these -- gave it the rather shorter name by which it is known.
      However, in his first and only public demonstration, Bensoni allowed
      the pressure to creep up in the steam boiler, and once he hit the
      big crescendo in Carphammer's Illusione Chorale, things became...
      ballistic. He was last seen as a blur heading up the north face of
      Cori Celesti, followed by a large sonic boom; since then, viola
      extravaganza lessons are only given as musical theory.



      Well, that's it for another month. As the year winds to a close and
      winter lays its icy little fingers over everyone but Fourecksians
      and denizens of the Land of Fog, let WOSSNAME wish you a pleasant
      December and a stress-free holiday season, be you Omnian, Ioian,
      Reformed Potatoan or whatever. Happy trails to you, and we'll see
      you in a few weeks with our all-singing, all-dancing Hogswatch

      -- Annie Mac


      End of Part 6.
      If you did not get all six parts, write: interact@...
      Copyright (c) 2007 by Klatchian Foreign Legion