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´╗┐Title: Extracts from the Galactick Almanack
Author: Janifer, Laurence M.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Extracts from the Galactick Almanack" ***

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                       Music Around the Universe

                          By LARRY M. HARRIS

                       Illustrated by DON MARTIN

           [Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
                      Galaxy Magazine June 1959.
         Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
         the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

              Don't take your eye off music ... there is
           going to be a lot more to it than meets the ear!

This first selection deals entirely with the Music Section of the
Almanack. Passed over in this anthology, which is intended for
general readership, are all references to the four-dimensional doubly
extensive polyphony of Green III (interested parties are referred
to "Time in Reverse, or the Musical Granny Knot," by Alfid Carp,
_Papers of the Rigel Musicological Society_) or, for reasons of
local censorship, the notices regarding Shem VI, VII and IX and the
racial-sex "music" which is common on those planets.

All dates have been made conformable with the Terran Calendar (as in
the standard Terran edition of the Almanack) by application of Winstock
Benjamin's Least Square Variable Time Scale.

       *       *       *       *       *

_FEBRUARY 17_: Today marks the birth date of Freem Freem, of
Dubhe IV, perhaps the most celebrated child prodigy in musical
history. Though it is, of course, true that he appeared in no concerts
after the age of twelve, none who have seen the solidographs of
his early performances can ever forget the intent face, the tense,
accurate motions of the hands, the utter perfection of Freem's entire

His first concert, given at the age of four, was an amazing spectacle.
Respected critics refused to believe that Freem was as young as his
manager (an octopoid from Fomalhaut) claimed, and were satisfied only
by the sworn affidavit of Glerk, the well-known Sirian, who was present
at the preliminary interviews.

Being a Sirian, Glerk was naturally incapable of dissimulation, and his
earnest supersonics soon persuaded the critics of the truth. Freem was,
in actuality, only four years old.

In the next eight years, Freem concertized throughout the Galaxy. His
triumph on Deneb at the age of six, the stellar reception given him by
a deputation of composers and critics from the Lesser Magellanic Cloud
when he appeared in that sector, and the introduction (as an encore) of
his single composition, the beloved _Memories of Old Age_, are still

And then, at the age of eleven, Freem's concerts ceased. Music-lovers
throughout the Galaxy were stunned by the news that their famed prodigy
would appear no longer. At the age of twelve, Freem Freem was dead.

Terrans have never felt this loss as deeply as other Galactic races,
and it is not difficult to see why. The standard "year" of Dubhe IV
equals 300 Earth years; to the short-lived Terrans, Freem Freem had
given his first concert at the age of 1200, and had died at the ripe
old age of 3600 years.

"Calling a 1200-year-old being a child prodigy," states the Terran
Dictionary of Music and Musicians, rather tartly, "is the kind of
misstatement up with which we shall not put."

Particularly noteworthy is the parallel attitude expressed by the
inhabitants of Terk I, whose "year" is approximately three Terran days,
to the alleged "short" life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

       *       *       *       *       *

_MAY 12_: Wilrik Rotha Rotha Delk Shkulma Tik was born on this
date in 8080. Although he/she is renowned both as the creator of
symphonic music on Wolf XVI and as the progenitor of the sole Galactic
Censorship Law which remains in effect in this enlightened age, very
little is actually known about the history of that law.

The full story is, very roughly, as follows:

In 8257, a composition was published by the firm of Scholer and Dichs
(Sirius), the Concerto for Wood-Block and Orchestra by Tik. Since this
was not only the first appearance of any composition by Tik, but was
in fact the first composition of any kind to see publication from his
planet of Wolf XVI, the musical world was astonished at the power,
control and mastery the piece showed.

A review which is still extant stated: "It is not possible that a
composition of such a high level of organization should be the first
to proceed from a composer--or from an entire planet. Yet we must
recognize the merit and worth of Tik's Concerto, and applaud the force
of the composer, in a higher degree than usual."

Even more amazing than the foregoing was the speed with which Tik's
compositions followed one another. The Concerto was followed by a
sonata, Tik's _Tock_, his/her Free-Fall Ballet for Centipedals,
_Lights! Action! Comrades!_, a Symphony, an Imbroglio for Unstrung
Violin, and fourteen Wolfish Rhapsodies--_all within the year_!

Scholars visited Wolf XVI and reported once again that there was no
musical history on the planet.

Success, fame and money were Tik's. Succeeding compositions were
received with an amount of enthusiasm that would have done credit to
any musician.

And Wolf XVI seemed to awaken at his/her touch. Within ten years, there
was a school of composition established there, and works of astounding
complexity and beauty came pouring forth. The "great flowering," as
it was called, seemed to inspire other planets as well--to name only a
few, Dog XII, Goldstone IX and Trent II (whose inhabitants, dwelling
underwater for the most part, had never had anything like a musical

Tik's own income began to go down as the process continued. Then the
astonishing truth was discovered.

Tik was not a composer at all--merely an electronics technician! He/she
had recorded the sounds of the planet's main downtown business center
and slowed the recording to half-speed. Since the inhabitants of Wolf
XVI converse in batlike squeals, this slowing resulted in a series of
patterns which fell within sonic range, and which had all of the scope
and the complexity of music itself.

The other planets had copied the trick and soon the Galaxy was glutted
with this electronic "music." The climax came when a judge on Paolo III
aided in the recording of a court trial over which he presided. During
the two weeks of subsonic testimony, speech and bustle, he supervised
recording apparatus and, in fact, announced that he had performed the
actual "arrangement" involved: speeding up the recordings so that the
two-week subsonic trial became a half-hour fantasia.

The judge lost the subsequent election and irrationally placed the
blame on the recording (which had not been well-received by the
critics). Single-handed, he restored the state of pure music by pushing
through the Galactic Assembly a censorship rule requiring that all
recording companies, musicians, technicians and composers be limited to
the normal sonic range of the planet on which they were working.

Tik himself, after the passage of this law, eked out a bare living as a
translator from the supersonic. He died, alone and friendless, in 9501.

       *       *       *       *       *

_JUNE 4_: The composition, on this date, in 8236, of Wladislaw
Wladislaw's Concertino for Enclosed Harp stirs reflections in
musical minds of the inventor and first virtuoso on this instrument,
the ingenious Barsak Gh. Therwent of Canopus XII. Nowadays, with
compositions for that instrument as common as the _chadlas_ of Gh.
Therwent's home planet, we are likely to pass over the startling and
almost accidental circumstance that led to his marvelous discovery.

As a small boy, Gh. Therwent was enamored of music and musicians;
he played the _gleep_-flute before the age of eight and, using his
hair-thin minor arms, was an accomplished performer on the Irish (or
small open) harp in his fifteenth year. A tendency to confuse the
strings of the harp with his own digital extremities, however, seemed
serious enough to rule out a concert career for the young _flalk_, and
when an Earth-made piano was delivered to the home of a neighbor who
fancied himself a collector of baroque instruments, young Gh. was among
the first to attempt playing on it.

Unfortunately, he could not muster pressure sufficient in his secondary
arms and digits to depress the keys; more, he kept slipping between
them. It was one such slip that led to his discovery of the enclosed
strings at the back of the piano (a spinet).

The subtle sonorities of plucked strings at the back of a closed
chamber excited him, and he continued research into the instrument in
a somewhat more organized manner. Soon he was able to give a concert
of music which he himself had arranged--and when Wladislaw Wladislaw
dedicated his composition to Gh., the performer's future was assured.

The rest of his triumphant story is too well known to repeat here. The
single observation on Gh. Therwent's playing, however, by the composer
Ratling, is perhaps worthy of note.

"He don't play on the white keys, and he don't play on the black keys,"
said Ratling, with that cultivated lack of grammar which made him
famous as an eccentric. "He plays in the cracks!"

       *       *       *       *       *

_JULY 23_: On this date, the Hrrshtk Notes were discovered in a
_welf_-shop cellar on Deneb III.

These notes are, quite certainly, alone in their originality, and in
the force which they have had on the growth of subsequent musicians.

To begin at the beginning: it is well established that Ludwig Hrrshtk,
perhaps the most widely known Denebian composer, died of overwork in
his prime. His compositions, until the famous T85 discoveries of G'g
Rash, were almost alone in their universal appeal. Races the Galaxy
over have thrilled to Hrrshtk's Second Symphony, his Concerto for Old
Men, and the inspiring Classic Mambo Suite. It is, as a matter of fact,
said that G'g Rash himself was led to his discovery by considering the

"How can many different races, experiencing totally different emotions
in totally different ways, agree on the importance of a single
musical composition by Hrrshtk? How can all share a single emotional

His researches delved deeply into the Hrrshtk compositions, and a
tentative theory based on the Most Common Harmonic, now shown to have
been totally mistaken, led to the T85 discoveries.

The Hrrshtk notes, however, found long afterward, provide the real

Among a pile of sketches and musical fragments was found a long
list--or, rather, a series of lists. In the form of a Galactic
Dictionary, the paper is divided into many columns, each headed with
the name of a different planet.

Rather than describe this document, we are printing an excerpt from it

    Love       Anger    Hunger     Sadness       Madness
    Hate       Joy      F'rit      Prayer        Love
    Prayer     Madness  Sadness    Full          Joy
    Vilb       NPE      Non-F'rit  Golk          NPE

In completed form, the document contains over one hundred and fifty
separate listings for race, and over six hundred separate emotional or
subject headings. In some places (like the Terra and Sirius listing
for Vilb, above), the text is marked NPE, and this has been taken to
mean No Precise Equivalent. For instance, such a marking appears after
the Denebian _shhr_ for both Terra and Mars, although Sirius has the
listing _grk_ and Fomalhaut _plarat_ in the desert.

Hrrshtk may be hailed, therefore, as the discoverer of the Doctrine
of Emotional Equivalency, later promulgated in a different form by
Space Patrol Psychiatrist Rodney Garman. Further, the document alluded
to above explains a phrase in Hrrshtk's noted letter to Dibble Young,
which has puzzled commentators since its first appearance.

Hrrshtk is here alluding to the composition of his Revolutionary Ode,
which all Terra knows as the most perfect expression of true love to be
found in music:

"It's a Revolutionary Ode to me, my friend--but not to you. As we say
here, one man's mood is another man's passion."

       *       *       *       *       *

_SEPTEMBER 1_: On this date in the year 9909, Treth Schmaltar died
on his home planet of Wellington V. All the Galaxy knows his famous
Symphonic Storm Suite; less known, but equally interesting, is the
history and development of its solo instrument.

The natives of Wellington V feed on airborne plankton, which is carried
by the vibrations of sound or speech. This was a little-known fact for
many years, but did account for the joy with which the first explorers
on Wellington V were greeted. Their speech created waves that fed the

When eating, the natives emit a strange humming noise, due to the
action of the peculiar glottis. These facts drove the first settlers,
like Treth Schmaltar, to the invention of a new instrument.

This was a large drumlike construction with a small hole in its side
through which airborne plankton could enter. Inside the drum, a
Wellingtonian crouched. When the drum was beaten, the air vibrations
drove plankton into the native's mouth, and he ate and hummed.

(A mechanical device has since replaced the native. This is, of course,
due to the terrific expense of importing both natives and plankton to
other planets than Wellington V for concerts.)

Thus, a peculiarity of native life led not only to the Symphonic Storm
Suite, but to such lovely compositions as Schmaltar's Hum-Drum Sonata.

       *       *       *       *       *

_SEPTEMBER 30_: The victimization of the swanlike inhabitants of
Harsh XII, perhaps the most pitiful musical scandal of the ages, was
begun by Ferd Pill, born on this date in 8181. Pill, who died penitent
in a neuterary of the Benedictine Order, is said to have conceived his
idea after perusing some early Terran legends about the swan.

He never represented himself as the composer, but always as the agent
or representative of a Harsh XII inhabitant. In the short space of
three years, he sold over two hundred songs, none of great length
but all, as musicians agree to this day, of a startling and almost
un-Hnau-like beauty.

When a clerk in the records department of Pill's publishers discovered
that Pill, having listed himself as the heir of each of the Harsh XII
composers, was in fact collecting their money, an investigation began.

That the composers were in fact dead was easily discovered. That Pill
was their murderer was the next matter that came to light.

In an agony of self-abasement, Pill confessed his crime. "The Harshians
don't sing at all," he said. "They don't make a sound. But--like the
legendary swan of old Terra--they do deliver themselves of one song in
dying. I murdered them in order to record these songs, and then sold
the recordings."

Pill's subsequent escape from the prison in which he was confined, and
his trip to the sanctuary of the neuterary, were said to have been
arranged by the grateful widow of one of the murdered Harshians, who
had been enabled by her mate's death to remarry with a younger and
handsomer Harshian.

       *       *       *       *       *

_DECEMBER 5_: Today marks the birthday of Timmis Calk, a science
teacher of Lavoris II.

Calk is almost forgotten today, but his magnificent Student Orchestra
created a storm both of approval and protest when it was first seen
in 9734. Critics on both sides of what rapidly became a Galaxywide
controversy were forced, however, to acknowledge the magnificent
playing of the Student Orchestra and its great technical attainments.

Its story begins with Calk himself and his sweetheart, a lovely being
named Silla.

Though Calk's love for Silla was true and profound, Silla did not
return his affectionate feelings. She was an anti-scientist, a
musician. The sects were split on Lavoris II to such an extent that
marriage between Calk and his beloved would have meant crossing the
class lines--something which Silla, a music-lover, was unwilling to

Calk therefore determined to prove to her that a scientist could be
just as artistic as any musician. Months of hard work followed, until
finally he was ready.

He engaged the great Drick Hall for his first concert--and the program
consisted entirely of classical works of great difficulty. Beethoven's
Ninth Symphony opened the program, and Fenk's Reversed Ode closed it.
Calk had no time for the plaudits of critics and audience; he went
searching for Silla.

But he was too late. She had heard his concert--and had immediately
accepted the marriage proposal of a childhood sweetheart.

Calk nearly committed suicide. But at the last moment, he tossed the
spraying-bottle away and went back to Silla.

"Why?" he said. "Why did you reject me, after hearing the marvelous
music which I created?"

"You are not a musician, but a scientist," Silla said. "Any musician
would have refrained from _growing_ his orchestra from seeds."

Unable to understand her esthetic revulsion, Calk determined there and
then to continue his work with the Student Orchestra (it made a great
deal more money than science-teaching). Wrapping his rootlets around
his branches, he rolled away from her with crackling dignity.

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