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Oathbringer release party ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

Music on Roshar... How, why is it important, I mean more a why--

Brandon Sanderson

Why music? Music, the Rhythms you are speaking about specifically, or what?

Questioner

...There seems to be a lot that connects to music, with like the Dawnsingers, there's lots of people hearing the Rhythms--

Brandon Sanderson

It all comes from the Rhythms. That's all kind of interconnected.

Questioner

So they kind of hear where the Rhythms are originally coming from?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not saying that.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#3 Copy

Nepene

You've mentioned several philosophical concepts used in the writing of your books, like Jung's collective unconsciousness, Plato's cave. Could you expand a bit on your use of those in your books, and whether you think it is necessary to use philosophy to make a good fantasy world?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't think it's necessary at all. The writer's own fascinations--whatever they are--can add to the writing experience. But yes, some philosophical ideas worked into my fiction. Plato's theory of the forms has always fascinated, and so the idea of a physical/cognitive/spiritual realm is certainly a product of this. Human perception of ideals has a lot to do with the cognitive realm, and a true ideal has a lot to do with the spiritual realm.

As for more examples, they're spread through my fiction. Spinoza is in there a lot, and Jung has a lot to do with the idea of spiritual connectivity (and how the Parshendi can all sing the same songs.)

Nepene

Not completely sure where Spinoaza comes in. I guess the shards are part of the natural world and have no personality without a human wielder.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes on Spinoza there, and also the idea of God being in everything, and everything of one substance. Unifying laws. Those sorts of things. (Less his determinism, though.)

Warsaw signing ()
#4 Copy

Rasarr

If you took a Parshendi... And they were born outside Roshar and never visited Roshar in their lives, would they hear the Rhythms beyond Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Would they hear the Rhythms beyond Roshar... If you took one that was not born on Roshar, would they feel the Rhythms off-Roshar or just Rhythms in general?

Rasarr

Rhythms in general.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they would sense them.

Rasarr

Even beyond Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

What they are sensing... it's something that pervades the Cosmere but on Roshar has specific way of manifesting.

Rasarr

Is it the same thing that Soothers and Rioters are using?

Brandon Sanderson

Now you're straying into RAFO territory with your question/good question...

Starsight Release Party ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

So the Parshendi Rhythms. They talk a lot about them as like music. So do you imagine them as rhythms where they talk like this or is their a melodic quality to it? 

Brandon Sanderson

That is what they're doing. There's not very much melodic quality to it. They set songs to the Rhythms. The way I have it in the books, in my mind, and the canon, is there is Connection between them and the songs of Roshar. That they can pick up a Rhythm when there's actually not enough of it, even in a sentence, because of the intent of the Rhythm and what the other person's hearing. So they can hear a Rhythm even if it's only a couple words being said, that you couldn't learn, if you were just a human listening. No matter how good you were. Some you wouldn't be able to pick up because there is not enough information there. 

Questioner

So they're just like kind of complex rhythmic things that you could write out musically.

Brandon Sanderson

You could. You definitely could write them out.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#7 Copy

Avatar_Yung-Thug

Quick question: I had a hard time "hearing" the Parshendi's singing in my head while reading The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance. Are there any real world examples you drew from you could give me so we have a better idea of what they sound like to you?

Brandon Sanderson

It was tough, as I didn't want to constrain their language in English to a certain rhythm, as I felt it would be too gimmicky on the page. I used Hindu chants in my head, though, so that might help.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#8 Copy

Ansalem1

Hypothetically, if all of the Listeners were to go extinct would the Rhythms still exist?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

WeiryWriter

Are there any other species in the cosmere that also interact with the Rhythms like the listeners do? (Though not necessarily in the same way?)

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.