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(Created by User:IlL)

Traditional Sowaár music is monophonic. Like in many spheres of Sowaár life, there is a division between elite and folk music. The two styles differ not only in the language used (for elite music, Classical or very posh High Sowaár; for folk music, one of the vernacular Sowaár varieties), but also in instruments, scales and form.

Elite music

The Sowaár were highly influenced by the tetrachordal and heptatonic musical traditions of Hetom and Naquiz, but they made the style their own.

In traditional Sowaár elite society, one was expected to able to play music and to improvise music and poetry. Courts would routinely hold improvisation competitions.


Some instruments used in elite Sowaár music are the lute (ya'óog), various spike fiddles such as the erhu (shjhedgaáñd), the lyre (biliiwíd), various end-blown flutes (joweét'), a reed instrument (ko'kósh), a large drum (khoól) and the woodblock (gho'éeñ). String instruments usually are unfretted but marked at perfect fourths.



The Sowaár tradition takes an almost purely melodic, rather than harmonic, approach to tuning, unlike the Talman and Bjeheondian traditions. Traditionally, the building blocks of Sowaár scales are genera (tetrachords or pentachords, i.e. divisions of the perfect fourth into three or four intervals). Innovations over the years have led to finer divisions of the perfect fourth being used in elite music. Nevertheless, steps in any genus are no smaller than about 40 cents.

The general term for a genus or a division of the fourth in Sowaár is hambaáj.

The octave may be divided into two perfect fourths plus one whole tone, to form a scale type known as 'áañjh. The perfect fourths divided into hañbaaj may also be stacked on top of each other indefinitely, without regard to octave equivalence, a practice called shiilyohóokhin. The same hambaáj or melody may be imitated a fourth above or below in this case. Or, the melody may be voiced in parallel fourths or fifths in an organum-like fashion (the only example of harmony in Sowaár music).

Etsoj Jopah analyzed hambaáj in terms of rational divisions of string lengths. More recently, the theorist Woñjéyi proposed representing the Sowaár musical system by dividing the octave into 29 equal parts. One of his rationales was that the perfect fourth in 29edo is 12 steps, a highly composite number.

Some hambaáj

There are some hundreds of hambaáj.

The numbers shown are approximate 29 equal temperament equivalents of step sizes.


Unllike in popular tetrachords, all the small steps may occur near one end like in Ancient Greek tetrachords.

  • esyóoñ: 5 5 2 (similar to C D E F in Pythagorean tuning)
  • naajyetóh: 4 4 4 (similar to the equable diatonic genus)
  • bajíñd: 3 4 5
  • slót'an: 3 3 6
  • ohkásdiñ: 2 1 9
  • moc'aásh: 2 5 5
  • jook'etóh: 3 3 3 3
  • jhatóñhesh: 1 5 4 2
Larger hambaáj


Elite music is often set to poetic meter. Improvisations, however, are often meterless. There is a smallest note length, and there may be small basic rhythmic figures in the melody, but the rhythms are not organized into measures. When percussion accompaniment is used, "small" percussion such as woodblocks may sound on each "beat" in the music. The drum marks the beginning and end of sections.

Military music and very solemn ceremonial music uses duple meters such as 2/4 or 4/4.


Nyeech’ shaasyoj k’iilyañzhaag bisjhesyagi lowaʔasyiin ch’aayekoot’ shiilyohookhin. (LLLLSLLSSSSSSLLSLLSLL)

Looʔsyah cy’asde bishooladeeñt’ jhewot’igii ʔaañsyok’ jighoosiiñ sjhedaal. (LLLSSLSLSSSLLLSLLSL)

Forms and styles


Much of Sowaár music was traditionally improvised or passed down. Sowaár notation works a little like unheightened neumes: it marks rhythm and rough melodic contours. The hambaáj to be used is also indicated. Much is left to the discretion of the performer, however. In vocal music, just the hambaáj is specified, and the rest is left to the rhythmic and tonal contours of the lyrics.

In modern times, modern Talman staff notation (assuming a 58edo) may be used, although this is often deemed less than satisfactory for Sowaár music.

Folk music


Social context


Folk hambaáj

Folk hambaáj only use tetrachords and pentachords. Tetrachords used in popular music prefer to keep very large steps in the middle.



Folk songs are meterless while folk dances are metered.

Forms and styles

Modern popular music


As in many parts of modern Tricin, amplified guitars, bass guitars, drums, electric violins, and keyboards form a typical popular music ensemble.


The Hosné'eh dialect is the standard language of much of the Sowaár modern popular music canon, though many bands use Hosné'eh-accented High Sowaár, to the chagrin of many a purist. This convention was established by early Sowaár band T'elyamokhliib ("The Grey Ospreys") who hailed from Hosné'eh. Use of pure High Sowaár is limited to "grandiose" songs with historical, fantasy or religious themes, or songs describing upper-class life.


  • Sowaár math metal uses lyrics in complex, Sanskrit-like poetic meters of Classical Sowaár. The music's rhythm follows the poetic meter; heavy metal bass guitars or amplified guitar solos may improvise in traditional Sowaár scales. The lyrics are often in High Sowaár [equivalent of RP], but some are in the Hosne'éh dialect usually used for popular music. Power chords are also often used.

Famous musicians and composers

  • Dlaác'ox: court composer, erhu player
  • Wonjéyi: theorist and composer
  • Bisrooladéend: musician
  • 'Injolaám: modern artist