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VII. Music, Song, and Instruments

The incorporation of music, song, and poetry is of utmost importance among the Tehir tribes. An unwavering consistency among a people whose lives are in a continual state of change, poetry and song are used as both instruments of entertainment and as mediums to enforce and promote social standards, tradition, and the ways of the tribes. Chanting or song is very popular during ceremony and ritual, and the Tehir language lends itself handsomely to both, especially during the sustaining notes of their instrumentations. While the language can sound very musical, song and chanting is fairly rhythmic with atonal accents on the extreme notes (high and low).

The composition of various songs and poetic works is seen as the sphere of both men and women, although each may use them in varying ways. The people of the Tehir tribes are renowned for their intense poetry and songs, their mysterious and passionate works seen as strength of character and mind. Men (especially those with great power and influence within the tribe) compose long, intense poetic pieces, which they recite around the campfire in the late evenings while staring intently into the fire with a near trance-like gaze. The subjects of these pieces usually include tones of strength, honor, trust and an unyielding dedication to the tribe. Such works of poetry are designed to inspire the young of the tribe, while instilling a sense of pride and loyalty.

The women of the Tehir tribes often take quite a different approach to song and poetry then that of the men. The elderly women often weave great stories and songs of past travels to far off lands riddled with wild excerpts and fantastic adventures, while instilling a sense of tradition and humility. All the women of the tribes have their very own set of songs, which are passed down through the lines from grandmother, to mother, to daughter. Zamads are songs of great importance, with great meaning to the tribe, sung by the women only at pinnacle tribal events such as weddings, deaths and births.

There is one unique to the women of each individual tribe, which has never touched the ears of a man, and never will. Such a zamad is a rare song that is sung only by a mother on the night her daughter becomes a woman. Rumor holds, the womanís new name is realized through her motherís zamad. On this night the mother and daughter enter a tent alone. Within the tent the mother and daughter sit facing each other the entire night, the mother whispering a constant repetition of the special zamad she has prepared for this one night. In the morning the mother and daughter emerge from the tent together, the mother presenting her daughter as no longer a child, but as a woman of the tribe with a new name to match.

Much like song and poetry, the playing of musical instruments is an integral part of the daily life of people in the Tehir tribes. The most commonly used instrument among the tribes is the ayr. The ayr is much like a lute and is crafted of fine, thin wood with a rounded pear-shaped frame. The strings of the ayr are different from any other musical instrument as they are set in a double-string pattern with five sets of two strings each. These strings are often crafted from the tough, fibrous intestinal material of goats or sheep. The combination of the unique double-string pattern and the material used for the strings allows for a haunting, mysterious sound from the ayr. This sound is not replicable by many other instruments and is conducive to the complex and often layered harmonies played by the Tehir tribes. In addition to the ayr, which is overwhelmingly the most common instrument of the people, the Tehir have also been known to often use tambourines and a variety of percussion instruments.



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