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Checking on things...

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Saturday, September 16, 2000, 23:51
Yes, I am aware that I suddenly dropped out of the threads.  I was
netless for a few days, and been busy watching the Olympics and working
on some nuts and bolts for my project, now an RPG which may or may not
spawn a novel or animated series (let's say a cross between anime/manga
and Matt Groening).  The computer game storyline, character profiles
and other stuff is my priority.  But since I can't program worth a
frog's butt, I might as well sell the idea to a game company.
Hopefully I'll get a shiny nickel...

Anyway, a few things y'all can ponder:

1) While playing with MIDI patches and mixing all different insrument
patches and stuff, I came up with two likely candidates for native
instruments of Techia.  I'm posting here on Conlang instead of
Conculture because I need help with names and other things, and I'm
only subscribed to Conlang which keeps me busy enough.

The two instruments.  The first is something I'm nicknaming "sitanjo"
though I'm hunting for a real name that would make sense for an East
African culture influenced by "classical" civilizations from India to
the Mediterranean and living in the West Indies.  This thing has a
mininum of sixteen or strings: four (or five, if the first string is
doubled) set up like a banjo on a usually fretless neck, with a dozen
or more sympathetic strings set up like a lyre, or more correctly, a
_krar_ (Ethiopian lyre with a banjo-like round body).  The body is
basically a drum, and the instrument is a relative of the banjo.  The
drumhead is fixed upon a wooden resonator (older instruments used
gourds).  The wooden back is a deep bowl and the string scale longer
than the standard guitar, so this instrument has a very distinct and
dark resonance and is louder than most plucked stringed instruments.
It does just fine played solo or behind a solo vocalist, and is used
for Techia's rich tradition of epics which tell of heroes long ago or
sing praises to God.

The second instrument is more likely to be Calistan than Techian.  This
instrument is more of something I'd love to play myself rather than a
concultural thing.  It's a ten-stringed type of bass cittern, tuned in
five courses (each pair an octave apart), tuned E-A-D-G-C.  The lower
string of the low C is the same pitch as the low C of a standard 88-key
piano or a five-string bass guitar.  The instrument is played like a
double bass, that is, upright, since its extra-long scale (full size is
42 cm/) makes it hard to strap on like an electric bass.  Fortunately,
the body is much smaller than the double bass's; it's a very large
teardrop with THICK resonance.  (An Irish bouzouki is similar to what
I'm talking about.)

I'm calling it a "bass cittern" tentatively for now, while waiting for
a possible better name...

2) The Olympics have begun!!  I thought Seattle was impressive when I
visited there in mid-1998, but Sydney is really winning me over.  Hard
to find harbors with water so blue.  A far cry from the muddy (and
oil-tainted) waters of Galveston Bay.  As proud a Texan and American I
am, I am really considering moving to Australia, most likely Sydney
(and I know people there through IRC).

A lofty and remote dream indeed.  But I was thinking...

If the Olympics were to be held in the homeland of any conculture or
conlang-speaking nation, what would the native sports be (and of course
the origin of the names of each sport), and which existing sports would
be your best bets for gold medals?  What are your sports heroes' names?
 Any Pele or Michael Jordan types which become national heroes and not
merely sports giants?

(A future post on the concept of Conlang-related stuff on heroes and
hero-worship is coming... and of course, what is your word(s) for


"...and thank you God for the bad things adults do, which distracts attention from
stuff I'm doing, amen." [Bart Simpson]

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