"A handful of bread for a song."
(Common invitation to
musicians and singers)


Music is popular on Gor, though there is no written music. Melodies are passed down to children or students. Much of Gorean music is very melodious and sensuous. It is also described as possessing a certain wild, barbaric quality. A song of the Tuchuks, the "Blue Sky Song," has a refrain that says, "Though I die, yet there will be the bosk, the grass, and sky." Music of the Vosk Delta is described as wild.

Among Gorean musicians, czehar players have the most prestige. Next follow the flutists, then the players of the kalika. The players of drums come next. The farthest one down the list is the one who keeps the bag of miscellaneous instruments, playing them and parceling them out to others as needed. There are no bowed instruments on Gor.

There are both single and double flutes. Flute music is very important in theater. The name of the flute player usually appears on theatrical advertisements immediately after the major performers. The flute player is often on stage and accompanies performers about, pointing up speeches, supplying background music and such.

The Musician and Singer Castes have a common invitation extended to caste members: "A handful of bread for a song." They do not live well but never starve. "No musician can be a stranger," thus by custom, they are freely permitted within almost any city. Also by custom, they are not supposed to be enslaved, for it is thought that he who makes music must, like the tarn and Vosk gull, be free. They are thought to be a happy caste, loved by many.


Cymbals (Zills): These are finger cymbals used on the thumb and first fingers of either or both hands. They are most often used by slaves when dancing.

Czehar: This boxy instrument is long, low, and rectangular and is played held across the lap. It has eight strings and is plucked with a horn pick.

Flute: A woodwind instrument that can be played by blowing into a side entry or an end entry.

Flute, Double: Two flutes are joined by a double and common mouthpiece. Each portion of the double flute is played with one hand.

Herlit-Bone Whistle: This is similar to a penny whistle and is made from herlit bone.

Kalika: This is a six-stringed instrument. Like the czehar, it is flat-bridged and its strings are adjusted by means of small wooden cranks. It less resembles a low, flat box and suggests affinities to the banjo or guitar, though the sound box is hemispheric and the neck rather long. Like the czehar, it is plucked.

Kaska: This is a small hand drum. Between the kaska and the tabor, both small hand drums, may be the sound, that is, a deeper or higher tone.

Lyre: Similar to a small harp, it is played by being strummed with a pick, like a guitar or a zither, rather than being plucked like a harp. The fingers of the free hand silence the unwanted strings in the chord.

Notched stick: A simple instrument played by sliding a polished tem-wood stick across its surface.

Red Hunter Drum: This drum is large and heavy. It has a handle and is disk-like. It requires strength to manage it. It is held in one hand and beaten with a stick held in the other. Its frame is generally of wood and its cover of hide, usually tabuk hide, is fixed on the frame by sinew. The drum is not struck on the head, or hide cover, but on the frame. It has an odd resonance. Its size can measure two and one half feet in diameter.

Sistrum: This is a percussion instrument. It consists of a handle and a U-shaped metal frame, made of brass or bronze. When shaken, the small rings or loops of thin metal on its movable crossbars produce a sound that can be a from a soft clank to a loud jangling. Also known as a rattle.

Tabor: This is a small hand drum. The drum head is usually made of verr skin.

Tambourine: This musical instrument is a percussion one. It consists of a frame, often of wood or other material, with pairs of small metal jingles, called zills. The term tambourine denotes an instrument with a drum head, though some variants may not have a head at all. Tambourines come in many different shapes with the most common being circular.

Tarn Drum: A large drum whose sound is used to control the flying tarn armies and to set the pace for the large army marches.

Trumpet: Since pistons may not exist on Gor, the trumpet mentioned here may be one played by mouth and breath control, similar to a bugle.