Crylorenzo

The Magic of Light and Music on Roshar

12 posts in this topic

I, and I'm sure many others, have long suspected that music plays a larger role on Roshar than is explicitly said and that is is/will be one of the big reveals of a book that will suddenly help us understand what is going on a lot better. What better book for a such a reveal than one called "Rhythm of War" and feel like we just got in Chapter 15 some extra information so I felt like I would compile the definitive knowledge we have as well as the areas of speculation. Please help me add to these lists, both what we know and what you suspect. This can include Cosmere speculations, since I will be doing the same. Update: As has been pointed out, most of these have more to do with Sounds than Music.

What We Know About Music and When It's Been Important in SA

We have heard from the Listeners before about the music of Roshar which the humans are unable to hear.

This ability to listen to the Rhythms allows Listeners to change form with a spren in their Gemheart during a storm. (Music and Stormlight?)

Update: We know that the leaders of the Fused encased in stone were sing a song that Venli could tell was powerful.

From Ch.15 we learn that the correct combination of light and music can attract spren to grow plants.

Ryshadium attract musicspren even when there is no music playing.

The Everstorm was created by chanting.

Hoid's Flute (Music) is important and he can with it help/make a listener see the story he is telling (Light).

Lightweaver's Ability affects both Light and Sound, (based on wavelength and frequency physics, I believe)

Navani hears a pure note when Dalinar opens up the perpendicularity.

Syl in her Interlude talks about the musicality of the storm, if I remember correctly. Update: Other spren, even deadeyes can hum to the Rhythms (we've seen Maya do this).

There are probably many more and I will update this as I remember them or as others post things.

Update: We also know that pure notes can be heard with Radiant Soulcasting. And chanting is used by ardents to do Soulcasting. In both cases there is the sense of harmonizing with other sounds.
 

What We Might Speculate About Where/When Music Is Important in SA

Roshar's landscape is an exact variation of a Julia set. I've often assumed this to be due to Rhythm of the planet creating such a mathematical formation. I believe this to be pre-Shardic and part of Adonalsium's design.

Cymatics has been established early on as a possible explanation for why certain cities look the way they do. I've wondered about this being due to Dustbringers who I speculate based off of Malata burn things using frequency, potentially on a large scale when banded together. Another new potential explanation is that the Fused organically grow such shapes with Progression and they come out Cymatically due to the natural Rhythms of Roshar. This may also explain other patterns such as the Shattered Plains. Update: Could also be from chanting/music in general.

We see in the Parshendi in general how the marbled pattern of their skin is unique for everyone and we've learned in RoW how the Fused maintain their pattern regardless of their body.

Due to the prevalence of Light and Sound in Lightweaver, I've wondered if some or all of the other Radiant power can be explained by musical reasoning. For instance, as I mentioned, Dustbringers burning/disintegrating using frequencies and vibrations of resonances etc. Are Truthwatchers able to "listen" to the music of the spiritual realm or bring others into "harmony" with their perfect selves? Renarin can definitely do things with light and create a light illusion of a perfect self in the case of Moash. Do Edgewatchers "increase the tempo" of objects they are growing? Some of this sounds good to me as I write it and other parts sound like a stretch even to me, but I'd love input on this idea. Update: A suggestion that because sound creates microchanges in air pressure that that could account for Adhesion. Abrasion is in some ways the silencing of vibrations/sound.

The "frequency" of Highstorms is currently not fully predictable, but what if it were with the right understanding of Roshar's Rhythms and their interactions? Is the Everstorm counter interference? Is the Origin the source of the music/Rhythms?

Update: With all the new Fabrial insights we're getting, the metals, again, can be like tuning forks set to particular Rhythms. The cages need set patterns that could also influence the vibrations. Additionally, Logicspren can output certain frequencies it seems. Other spren in fabrials could account for the light/color connection.

Additionally, we know that Honor supplies Stormlight - could Cultivation have more to do with Rhythm? We see how the combination of stormlight and music is so helpful in growing food, but only when combined. As an aside, could it be that Urithiru's Heart needs music/sound to help revive the Sibling?

Does Kaladin's battle prowess have anything to do with hearing the Rhythms of battle? Or could his battle ability upgrade to hear this to then fight alongside someone as a war pair? The new Strength before Weakness t-shirt has me wondering about Kaladin and Venli and them being a war pair would be incredible. Now that I think of this, I want to see it so bad.

Again, I'm sure I'm forgetting/missing things and I will update as people add ideas

Light and Music In The Cosmere

I don't remember any instance of music being magically relevant on Scadrial though I now wonder if the justification for metals always being Investiture relevant might have to do with them being Spiritual tuning forks of a sort. Update: Seekers hear pulses and it has been confirmed that they could hear the Rhythms of Roshar.

In Warbreaker, sound and color are very important. We know that Awakening is used with sound commands up until the 10th heightening. We also know that people with lots of Breaths distort light around them to bring out the richness of colors. Finally, we know that color is important in Awakening, though we don't know exactly why it is necessary. Also, the Iridescent Tones in the religion based around the Returned in Hallandren - I always assumed both words to reference colors, but now I wonder about tones being a reference to music/sound. We also see certain painters being Invested enough to access the Spiritual realm in their painting and use of colors

We know that Lightweaving is similar to Yolish Lightweaving, which I assume is pre-Shattering and from Adonalsium's original magic which I increasing feel is based on wavelength/frequency/music/arts?

In White Sand, could Sand ribbons have any relation to frequency? Also, we see here that there is some color importance between invested sand and non-invested sand.

Similar to how there are 3 realms, could it be that there is physical wavelength/frequency, cognitive wavelength frequency, and spiritual wavelength/frequency

Update: We know Dawnchant to be a pre-shardic language on Roshar. Note its name: Dawn (light) chant (music). Coincidence? I think not!

Again, I would love to add to this list of possibilities.

tl;dr I see light and sound/music to a be fundamental magic system to both Roshar and perhaps the Cosmere as a whole with echoes all the way back to Adonalseum and I am trying to compile where we see it definitively and where it might be only hinted at.

Thanks for reading and hopefully I get enough replies to further flesh out this theory. If someone else has already discussed this, I'm happy to be pointed that way as well.

 

Edited by Crylorenzo
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Thanks for this post, I have been thinking along the same pattern for a while, too. Would love to write more, but am in a hurry. Just wanted to add my little theory about this: What if Honor supplied the light, and Cultivation stands for the rythms? What can she influence by that?

Will try to be back soon.

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3 hours ago, Crylorenzo said:

There are probably many more and I will update this as I remember them or as others post things.

Spren, even deadeye spren, can hum Rythms during actions, weve seen Maya doing so.

Also, we have all case of Fabrial Cages, they must be in correct pattern - I think they are imprintment of particular needet Rythm and resonate with him, via cymatics.

4 hours ago, Crylorenzo said:

Due to the prevalence of Light and Sound in Lightweaver, I've wondered if some or all of the other Radiant power can be explained by musical reasoning. For instance, as I mentioned, Dustbringers burning/disintegrating using frequencies and vibrations of resonances etc. Are Truthwatchers able to "listen" to the music of the spiritual realm or bring others into "harmony" with their perfect selves? Renarin can definitely do things with light and create a light illusion of a perfect self in the case of Moash. Do Edgewatchers "increase the tempo" of objects they are growing? Some of this sounds good to me as I write it and other parts sound like a stretch even to me, but I'd love input on this idea.

I will add Adhesion Surge, as surge of Vacuum and pressure - sound is practicly microchanges of air pressure. Also, Abrasion - this is like "Silencer" - without abrasion, is no vibrations, without vibrations is no sound - and we saw this! Lift and Mink can apear in places unnoticed.

 

4 hours ago, Crylorenzo said:

I don't remember any instance of music being magically relevant on Scadrial though I now wonder if the justification for metals always being Investiture relevant might have to do with them being Spiritual tuning forks of a sort.

Usage of different allomantic metal is sensed by Seeker as different rythm of pulses. Also, Seeker can hear Rythms of Roshar.

 

4 hours ago, Crylorenzo said:

tl;dr I see light and sound/music to a be fundamental magic system to both Roshar and perhaps the Cosmere as a whole with echoes all the way back to Adonalseum and I am trying to compile where we see it definitively and where it might be only hinted at.

So, you are talking that Adonalsium is Iluvtar :D

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I am still in a hurry, but I have some minutes to add some points.

Why is the ancient language called "dawnchant"? Was the language derived from chanting? Or was it chanted?

The Shattered Plains have shattered in a pattern that resembles a cymatic pattern. Did powerful people chant until it they were shattered?

The cities that fit with cymatic patterns, how were they created?

The fused from chapter 14 (?), the ones that were enclosed in stone, were singing a powerful song together. Venli feels the power and wonders.

What magic is possible when both fused, singers and humans rediscover the full power of this combined magic?

Edited by Jenet
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Agreed - there are still so many unanswered questions and I feel like this gets somewhat to the root of it. I'm hoping that Dawnshard will get more into this as Brandon has said that it has some juicy tidbits for the Cosmere. Also, interesting to note that I will add above is that Dawnchant is a combination of light (Dawn) and music (chant) - good eye!

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I have been fascinated by all this for a long time now, and a little puzzled by the low interest I sense from other readers. Hence my enthusiasm and short outburst yesterday. :D

I am not sure I am able to conjure up a sensible summary of my thoughts, though, it's mostly a general feeling lying behind everything in these books. Just like you can sense the feeling of the Silmarillion and the ages that has passed while reading the Lord of the Rings.

There has been an awesome age, very long ago, forgotten by singers and not known at all by humans, where the inhabitants of Roshar lived in harmony with the surges and the rythms of the planet. This harmony (pun intended) was so strong that they could create and destroy huge structures with it, perhaps even living things. Illuvatar was mentioned, good idea.

Honor and Cultivation were lovers. Honor was the source of stormlight, and Cultivation was the source of the Rythms. We know that the rythms and the highstorms were there before the shards arrived, but they might have taken control of them. Together these forces could create much more than they could separately. We have some signs that this might have been, in addition to the ones I have mentioned earlier:

- Ryshadium are followed by musicspren. These horse-like creatures are too large to be able to run quickly especially with a heavily armored rider up, unless they are supported by magic. I have always supposed that the musicspren has something to do with that, but not understood how. After the latest chapters, I realize it might have to do with a combination of stormlight and rythms. A riding instructor myself, and very into the importance of the rythm of the horses' hoofbeat in order to judge the quality of the gait and the sustainability of the movement, and even the horse's ability to grow strong, I am all astonishment at the thought. Is it possible that Sanderson really understands this? I dare not believe it. But he understands so much else, I am ready to believe.

Thing is: If magic just reinforces natural phenomenons, or builds on the logic we are used to from physics and biology, this is perfecty logical. The rythm of the horses is strengthened by stormlight to create the extraordinarily powerful ryshadium. This attracts musicspren.

Who are the dawnsingers? Did they create Roshar the continent? Brandon has confirmed that the form of the continent is based on a Julia set. A mathematical, fractal pattern, created by a function.  Could be induced by music. We also may assume that the cities that Kabsal shows us with his cymatics demonstration are created by the dawnsingers or in other ways by strong sound waves. If a few fused are able to chant up an everstorm, I guess there are more to be had with a very large group of experienced, powerful beings. To be able to do this, you just need more power. Add stormlight to the rythms, and there you go.

Also, on a side note, there is the interlude with the two ardents studying cooking and flamespren. It seems flamespren have something of quantum physics "logic" in them. They change as long as they are not measured. When they are observed, represented by their length being measured and noted down, they stop changing. This means that intent is significant. Something changes when a human observes and measures a flamespren. Intent is a very important factor in real life alternative medicine. Something tells me that it is important in Rosharan magic as well. I am not sure how yet. 

I feel that the madness and death of Honor has done something to the Rosharan magic system, a little like what happened in Elantris. More than what we already know. The whole structure is flawed because the powers of Cultivation and Honor are not balanced any more. 

And what happens when Kaladin finally understands, and perhaps hears, the rythm of war?

I hope others will help me understand more by adding to this discussion.

Edited by Jenet
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19 hours ago, Jenet said:

And what happens when Kaladin finally understands, and perhaps hears, the rythm of war?

Oh. OH.

Well this has been a very interesting thing to hear...

What if a key part of Kaladin and his battle prowess is that, at least when he has his bond with Syl, he can hear some rhythm or another that can enhance his already high skill in combat. Or maybe him being able to be 'attuned' to this rhythm allows him to better understand the flow of battle, and this could be related to the way the singers always attune to certain rhythms when doing things, such as contemplating a in issue, or the chanting they had during all the battles on the Shattered Plains... Maybe the natural symbiosis of the singers with the spren in their gemheart is what allows them to attune the rhythms, and the Nahel bond can allow humans to somewhat simulate this ability. All beings on Roshar have displayed some ability to, even if only faintly, hear the rhythms. We have comments from Rlain about how Rock and others in Bridge Four seem to almost hear a rhythm a times, or the fact that slaveform could seem to do the same at times, but never actually attuned the rhythms. I have so many speculations now!

Don't mind the ramble there, I just got fully into the swing of putting every idea onto paper, so to speak. If you think any of those are good to latch on to, feel free to.

(FYI, it's spelt 'rhythm', a lot of people forget the 'h')

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13 hours ago, Realmatic Shadow said:

Maybe the natural symbiosis of the singers with the spren in their gemheart is what allows them to attune the rhythms, and the Nahel bond can allow humans to somewhat simulate this ability

No, weve hear about Parshmen before Everstorm, that they are able to work with Coordination in the same Rythm, even when they are far away from each other. So they can hear Rythm even in slaveform, mean without spren. But maybe bonding spren is what allow parsh to affect themselvs by Rythm.

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Its a good theory as far as things on Roshar are concerned. I think the rhythms are likely connected to cultivation.

But when it comes to the other worlds in the cosmere I think its a bit of an over reach. Brandon based all his magic systems on real world physics which can generally be described by frequencies. That doesn't mean that the real world is influenced by music and neither would scadrial or sel.

I've also wondered whether its music or just rhythms. From the scene in RoW where they are learning to grow plants, the ardents are beating a drum, no melodies needed. And of course the singers talk about the rhythms not music.

 

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Thought I'd post other places I've found similarities. Seems like both radiant and fabrial soulcasting are related:

Quote

Adolin nodded, and Kadash walked back to the five and gave a few brief commands. He spoke quickly, nervous. It was odd to see that in Kadash, who was normally so placid and unflappable. Soulcasters had that effect on everyone. The five started softly chanting, a harmony to the singing of the ardents outside. The five stepped forward and raised their hands in a line, and Adolin found his face breaking out in a sweat, blown cold by the wind that managed to sneak past the silken walls. At first there was nothing. And then stone.

Quote

And then, briefly, Shallan heard a sound. A low thrumming, like a distant group of voices, humming together a single, pure note. Jasnah’s hand sank into the rock. The stone vanished.

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Both points duly noted and updated the original post accordingly. Thanks for the quotes Blightsong! And KSub, agreed that it's more about sound than music itself (though music itself has some importance at least on Roshar (Ryshadium, Pure notes). As for Cosmere-wide, agreed that it probably has more to do with frequencies.

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10 hours ago, Crylorenzo said:

 As for Cosmere-wide, agreed that it probably has more to do with frequencies.

Something something quantum field theory everything is a frequency in different quantum fields woooooo

...My brain is just all over the place today. Maybe I had too much coffee...

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