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Author Topic: Gossiper Bird (Styrash: Mel'vévan) Song Game  (Read 6778 times)
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Deklitch Hardin
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« on: 20 October 2009, 22:13:29 »

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel back down from Remusia with a group of traders. They were using a packox on the long journey down to the lands of the Northern Kuglimz and introduced me to the joys of 'Spicy Packox Stew'. As well as meeting the Kuglimz, I met with the Injerin elves and the Kurikum dwarves. Children amongst the Injirim were observed playing a game unknown to me, but it was intriguing, and I watched it quite intently. In time, the game and song were both translated for my benefit, and I paid for its translation for inclusion in the Compendium. A full accounting for expenses incurred will follow in the fulness of time.

As is my standard practice, I will be making additions in Yellow!



Gossiper Bird Song Game

Miscellaneous > Game > Gossiper Bird Song Game

The elves of the Injerin tribe residing in the Shaded Forest in northern Sarvonia are well known for their artistic talents across a range of fields, including singing and dancing. It isn't any wonder, therefore, that the elven children from this tribe have expressed this creativity through a game in which they mimic the song of an imaginary female gossiper bird. Famously, female gossipers have an uncanny ability to mimic any sound they hear, including speech. They construct their songs out of snippets of overheard forest noises, animal voices, and human or elvish conversation. To the Injerin, this game is known as the Mel'vévan Song Game, mel'vévan ("deceitful bird" in Tharian) being the Styrash name for the gossiper bird. This game consists of a common refrain followed by children adding cummulatively to the song of an imaginary female gossiper bird, until the last child has to remember all the parts of the song for the group to win the game. It should be noted by the reader that an actual gossiper bird is not used in this game, the children use a token that has been shaped to look like a gossiper bird instead.

History
The origins of this game is unknown and is well lost in vagueries of time, however, it can be assumed that it was either soon after the the fall of Fá'áv'cál'âr or after the War of the Chosen. Whatever its origin, this fast paced and lively game is loved by elven children and brings out much joyous laughter and entertainment from both participants and those watching the game.

When played by experienced participants, the speed at which the game is played is quite fast and confusing, which has led to the introduction of miming and acting out of movements to go with their part of the gossiper bird's song as an aid to the others in the game. While their parents were involved in trading with the Kurakim clan of the dwarves, the Injerin children introduced the game to the Kurakim youngsters. These dwarf children contributed a steady beat to the game, through the use of dwarven drums, to aid in the passing of the bird around the circle in time to the words of the song.

As the song of the gossiper bird involves sounds in addition to words, understanding of the song wasn't paramount to the Kurakim children's participation in the game, and they took a modified version of it back to the Caverns of Kalern and other caverns located in the Prominent Mountains. Back at home, the Kurakim children changed the story of the song somewhat, with the song being based around the noises associated with the variety of occupations around their caverns. The dwarven youngsters still passed an object around a circle in time with a song, before entering the cumulative part of the game.

A further development was made in the history of the game when the game was introduced by the dwarves to the Kuglimz'ura ("nomadic tribes") and subsequently by the nomadic tribes to the Kuglimz'torik ("home tribes"). Each of the tribes developed their own version of the game, but as with the Kurakim version of the game, the basics remain consistent with the Injerin version ... an object is passed around while a standard refrain is sung, and the call of the bird, noises or words accumulate and get faster as the game progresses.

Equipment
The main equipment needed for this game is a small object that has been shaped to resemble the focus of the game and song. For the Injerin elves, this is a piece of wood that has been carved, shaped and painted to look like the gossiper bird. As this game originated in the Shaded Forest of Northern Sarvonia, rather than that found in R'unor, the bird depicted in the model is the Sarvonian variety. That is, with a korwyn gold streak of plumage over the predominantly green feathers. The bright sor’inyt orange beak is another key feature of the object.

Among the Kurakim, the object is typically a small toy hammer shaped out of metal. Even among the children of the dwarves, the adage 'you aren't a real dwarf if you don't have a hammer' has a certain degree of truth.

The objects used amongst the Kuglimz tribes depend on the tribe in question. The researcher of these works has had first hand experience with the Lyr'Teimor and the Helvet’ine tribes. The children of these tribes mostly use a rough horse's head made out of metal as the object which is passed around the circle. Of the other tribes, second hand accounts from traders is the only source of information. Amongst the Fal’cone, for example, the object is rumoured to be a candle, it is suggested that the Trk’matiu children use a shell as the object in their game, while the Fird’Gormz children reportedly make use of a small, wooden model of pick axe for this game.

The Kurakim version of the game also includes the use of dwarven drums to keep beat. On the occasions when the Kurakim children play it with those of either the elven or human tribes, the drums are introduced into those games as well. The drums are not needed, and sometimes the children keep the beat by banging their feet on the ground.

Game Setup
The players sit in a circle on the ground and decide who is going to start off with the gossiper bird. The game works best if there are between 10 and 15 children in the game.

The players should also know the words of the song that forms the basis of the song.

Rules
The rules of this game are quite simple.

As each syllable is sung by the children in the circle, the object is passed around the circle, going to a new child with each syllable. It is passed around to the left.

When the children get to the last word of the song, the child who has the object says a short phrase or makes a noise that would go with the topic of the song. An example of such a phrase, used in a game being played:
I like to collect the cerubell from the Shaded Wood


The children start the song again. The child who ends up with the object at the end of the song this time, says something new that is associated with the object in question, followed by what was said by the first child. An example of this is as follows:
We trace our history right back to the destruction of Fá'áv'cál'âr
I like to collect the cerubell from the Shaded Wood


The process then continues, with a new brief comment/noise made by each child who ends up with the object at the end of each time that the song has been ended.
The third child might say:
Buzzzzzzzzzzz Buzzzzzzzzzzzzz
We trace our history right back to the destruction of Fá'áv'cál'âr
I like to collect the cerubell from the Shaded Wood


If a child ends up with the object more than once at the end of the song, it is considered polite that they give the object to the closest person to them who has not had a go yet. This child is around the circle to the left.

The game continues until everyone has successfully recalled all the statements or noises in order, or until someone makes a mistake. Other players are permitted to make actions or movements to demonstrate what they said as their action to assist the child who is currently trying to complete their part of the game. It is not permitted for any of the other children to speak at this point of the game, if that does happen, the game is considered to have been lost by the children, and they can start again.

The game is successfully completed when the last child in the group has managed to say the noises/sounds/words of everyone in order. When that happens, the whole group has won the game!

Good players of the game get quite fast and quite animated when they play the game as the excitement grows.

Finally, here are the songs that are used in some of the versions of this game.

The Injerin version:
Telltale in the tree,
What's the news you've heard?
Prattle and tattle and babble and rattle
And tell me a secret,
deceitful bird.

A Kurakim version:
I hear a dwarven smith hard at work,
Hammering metal all of the day,
This is one job he would never shirk,
Tell me blacksmith what you hear and say.

A Kuglimz version:
I hear a kev'lor horse riding past,
Noble and mighty, with a loud neigh,
Bearing a rider and moving fast,
Say oh warhorse what you heard today

This researcher was fortunate enough to witness a group of Injerim children engaged in this game. They managed to successfully complete the entire game. There were ten elven children in the game, and the following was the finished version of what they said2:

How much metal for wood crafting, master dwarf.
<A howl that was reported to be an almost perfect imitation of the call of the Mithril Wolf>
I will use my magic to form my house.
cuu-loo! cuu-loo! 3
Missed it by that much
All of the elves went out to dance
Take up arms! Orc Attack!
Buzzzzzzzzzzz Buzzzzzzzzzzzzz 4
We trace our history right back to the destruction of Fá'áv'cál'âr
I like to collect the cerubell from the Shaded Wood


Notes
1, 2 Each song, together with the completed version of the game has been translated from the original language, Styrash, Thergerim or Kuglimz'Seitre to Tharian.
3 The distinctive call of the cuuloo ground bird
4 The noise made by the malise
« Last Edit: 31 October 2009, 19:00:05 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged

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Deklitch Hardin
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« Reply #1 on: 20 October 2009, 22:24:00 »

Just a few brief notes ...

1) I asked Master Anfang for permission to use the Gossiper Bird as the basis of this children's game. It kind of grew as I went along when I saw the potential of using those dwarves and the Kuglimz in it as well. Then I kind of let my imagination run wild

2) It is actually based on a game I have done with children in the classroom. Or actually, the part of them passing an object on the beats of a song was. The song I used in the classroom was the Kookaburra Song ...

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Very merry king of the bush is he
Laugh Kookaburra Laugh Kookaburra
Gay your life must be.

In that version, the children who ends up with the ball is out and helps to keep the beat. Children who aren't paying attention/holding the ball too long or something like that are out (with a class of 30 children, you need to do that, so that you can get the numbers down to manageable numbers. :D

The songs I've used in this were my own composition, as far as I know. If someone has better rhymes for the dwarf/kuglimz version, please share.

3) I have at least one Easter Egg in there ... to a tv series from the 60's which more recently became a movie.

4) I hope I did justice to Master Anfang's Gossiper Bird :D

Dek
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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #2 on: 21 October 2009, 07:44:42 »

Hi Dek,

First of all, let me say that this is a lovely idea! I like these snippets of Santharian children's culture that we have on the site here and there - and this is an adorable addition. It's cute how the elven and dwarf children, while their respective elders are busy doing their adult stuff, make good use of their time together by exchanging games!

Second, the game is just tailor-made for the gossiper. A game where you can make up your own sounds! Wonderful! I must try and teach it to my friends! I'm flattered that the gossiper has made it into children's folklore. Also, the gossiper entry itself doesn't actually say much about the Injerins' relationship to the bird - so this entry is a welcome addition to gossiper-lore. Thanks and aura!

Third: comments! I don't have time for a full uri right now (I'll explain below), but noticed a few things:

(1) Your description assumes that the reader knows the gossiper's ability to mimic. You might want to enlighten the uninitiated by adding, near the beginning, a sentence like: "Famously, female gossipers have an uncanny ability to mimic any sound they hear, including speech. They construct their songs out of snippets of overheard forest noises, animal voices, and human or elvish conversation."

(2) I think  I've understood the game: at the end of each time the song is sung, the child who has the token invents its own noise, and then repeats the whole series of noises the others made up before, right? Maybe it would help the reader of you included a short example within the description (e.g.: the first child, say, howls like a wolf; the second cries "orc attack!", and then repeats the wolf's howl; the third creaks like an old tree in the wind, before repeating first "orc attack!" and then the wolf's howl, etc. ...).

(3) The songs. I like the content, and I know how much sweat and tears even a few lines of rhyme can cost. But I do find the metre (rhythm) a wee bit bumpy in some of the lines.

I'm not the greatest of poets myself, but I've got a suggestion for the Injerin song. In content (meaning), it's the same as your version, I'd say:

Telltale in the tree,
What's the news you've heard?
Prattle and tattle and babble and rattle
And tell me a secret, my bird!



A bit of a tongue-twister, I know! Well, see what you think. If you like my suggestion, you can have it! There could  be more than one version of the song, of course.

I'd love to do a thorough check, but on Saturday my best friend from kindergarten will get married, and I have - very unwisely - promised to play guitar and sing. So I'll be sweating with nervousness and spent a lot of time rehearsing until then.

Early next week work will keep me busy, so it might be 10 days until I'm back with enough time and breath for a uri. But back I shall be - unless somebody else is quicker! (Of course, feel free to bell-ring again if less important things cause my feeble mind to forget!)

Anyway, Dek - thanks so much for this little treasure of a game!

Shabakuk
« Last Edit: 21 October 2009, 07:51:14 by Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang » Logged

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Deklitch Hardin
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« Reply #3 on: 21 October 2009, 15:59:54 »

Hi Shabakuk,

Thanks for your thoughts and comments about the game.

(1) Good point about the describing of the bird. I've included your suggestion about that in the introduction to the entry.

(2) Yes, you understood the game properly, and I agree that providing such an example in the description would help the reader.

(3) Yeah ... I didn't really like the metre of my version of it either, it sounded off to me as well ... quite forced. I liked yours a lot more. I've used your suggested wording throughout the poem, except for the past few words. I figured that if the song was being translated to Tharian, the original word there would have been Mel'vévan in the elven version, which translates to 'deceitful bird'.

I would be happy to change it to 'my bird' if others think it would fit better, as well, but at the moment, I'm kind of liking the 'deceitful bird', as I'd think the translator, whoever Dek got to do it, would write it down literally into Tharian.

I hope the wedding goes well, and that you don't get too nervous when it comes to playing and singing at it!

Once again, I'm pleased you like the entry,

Dek
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« Reply #4 on: 22 October 2009, 01:19:40 »

A few minor things to fix - I quote the respective sentences along with the corrections:

Quote
Whatever its origin, this fast paced and lively game is loved by elven children and brings out much joyous laughter and entertainment from both participants and those watching the game.

The dwarven youngsters still passed an object around a circle in time with a song, before entering the cumulative part of the game.

Each of the tribes developed their own version of the game, but as with the Kurakim version of the game, the basics remain consistent with the Injerin version - an object is passed around while a standard refrain is sung, and the call of the bird, noises or words accumulate and get faster as the game progresses.

As this game originated in the Shaded Forest of Northern Sarvonia, rather than that found in R'unor, the bird depicted in the model is the Sarvonian variety.

The objects used amongst the Kuglimz tribes depend on the tribe in question.

...and children of these two tribes mostly use a rough horse's head made out of metal as the object is passed around.

- I like to collect the cerubell from the Shaded Wood

- The word "Kuglimz'ura" should at least be explained in brackets ("Plain Tribes").

- Side note: When I first read the Overview it was not clear to me that there is no gossiper bird involved in the game and I thought someon actually tries to imitate what a gossiper bird sings. Maybe clarify that a bit better in the Overview, Dek, so that readers don't get on the wrong track!

Anyway, nice game, and a good way to make use of an entry we have on site and make something Santharian out of it. The picture could also be used here, so good work here, Dek! thumbup Aura +1 from here as well!
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Deklitch Hardin
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« Reply #5 on: 22 October 2009, 12:16:51 »

Thanks for the check, Art. I've made the requested corrections.

With regards to the Overview, I think I've addressed your comments adequately. In any case, this is how the game works in my head:
The elven children pretend in the game that they are the gossiper bird. They do this by mimicing a call that the female gossiper bird might make. Each child in turn either makes a noise or says something brief that might be overheard by the gossiper bird and included in its song. The game doesn't actually involve a gossiper bird, just the children and a shaped token made to look like the bird.

Is that the understanding received from the way I've written the Overview?

In any case, a +1 aura from me for your corrections, Sage.
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« Reply #6 on: 23 October 2009, 04:06:05 »

Yep, that should do nicely :) I've also marked it ready for integration now, guess Shab has given his valuable input and I checked for the rest, so it sounds good to me!
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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #7 on: 31 October 2009, 06:13:36 »

Congratulations, Deklitch!

It's a wonderul entry.

I think the Injerin song works well with the "deceitful bird" at the end, as you've done it. I've even got a melody for the song. Once I can afford proper recording equipment, I'll try and submit an arrangement to the Dev Board.
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