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The Masterbard is the master musician of Athera, able to reach a near-magical level of music and sound.

The schooled timre of a masterbard's voice could fashion an outright command . . . For a masterbard, the edges of mage-sight and music lay twined to a single wrapped thread.[1]

The Masterbard is also the keeper of tradition, and is often called upon to clarify rules of precedence and laws.[2] This position is passed from master to apprentice along with the Masterbard's lyranthe which was crafted by Elshian. The Masterbard also affirms the law of the land and the rights of free singers.

According to the author, some Masterbards are more powerful than others. In Curse of the Mistwraith, Halliron is present when Arithon is stricken with tienelle poisining, but cannot help him. "Halliron could have done something to ease a passing if Arithon died. He could have helped anyone conscious, and perhaps bolstered a failing life -- but mitigate a tienelle poisoning, no. His opening statement if you recall, was that Arithon's talent would one day surpass him."[3]

The gift of a Masterbard is theorized to be capable of restoring the identities of all of the Mistwraith's victims.

Musical Scales

Masterbards would know both true and tempered scales, and use both. If they were playing for dancing or session, they'd likely use tempered for flexibility of key. If they were playing to access emotion, or strike into the higher frequency harmonics, they'd absolutely retune for key, in a true scale. Their craft would not evoke if any note were off the exact frequency to strike the overtone harmonics.

Masterbards in the Story

Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Ships of Merior.


  • When Arithon visits the Kingdom of Havish for the first time, Sethvir charges him by his office as Masterbard to perform for King Eldir's court, in Halliron's memory.


  1. © Janny Wurts, Curse of the Mistwraith, p. 570 (US-Hardback)
  2. © Janny Wurts, Ships of Merior, p. 42 (US-Hardback)
  3. E-mail with Janny Wurts, February 3, 2008