The reader of this volume will probably be most familiar with the music of the Andals. This is a blessing from the Seven as much as it is a curse, for our ears deceive us, making us think we have a good understanding of sacred music simply because we are accustomed to hearing it daily. I want to start by making the bold claim that most people are at odds when it comes to define what constitutes Andal music. In my experience most high-born lords and ladies think of Andal music as the chants we hear in the Septs, while the smallfolk would rather delight themselves in bawdy songs that would make any Septon feel the urge to cover his hears. Yet high-born and smallfolk are correct in calling their preferred music Andal music, and in the coming pages we will understand how the southern kingdoms developed their traditional music beyond the confines of the septs while keeping a unifying framework. We will divide the different musical traditions of the southern kingdoms as follows:
The Crownlands would be but a sidenote on Westerosi music had it not been for Aegon the Conqueror and the amalgamation of Andalosi and Valyrian music that occurred after the conquest.
Far away from the reach of the Starry Sept and the Iron Throne, the kingdom connecting the South and the North has a reputation for blurring the lines between Andal music and First Men music as much as possible, serving as the most origin of many musical innovations.
The Reach is home to two important societies: The Faith and the Citadel. The Starry Sept has had the greatest influence over what type of music is deemed appropriate for sacred rituals and thus it is fairly conservative when it comes to music. In this chapter we will start by learning about the common background that pervades all Andal music.
The Westerlands seems to be in perpetual strife against the Crownlands for having the largest and most magnificent musicians in all the continent. If one wishes to listen to the best musicians perform the most sublime music, the Westerlands is the place to visit.
The Stormlands unique location makes it the first kingdom to receive any new trends coming over from Essos. Westerosi musicians eagerly await the sighting of an Essosi ship that might have a musician aboard willing to play some music from across the narrow sea.
The most isolated and distant kingdom from Starry Sept seems to fall behind most modern developments when it comes to music. A blessing in disguise, this detachedness from the musical centers of power has allowed many old forms and styles to be preserved. An important caveat is that the music of the Mountain Clans of the Vale are not included in this section but rather under the First Men chapters.