In my world, magic can be channeled through instruments with the proper components. How would street-level brawls be fought with this magic, seeing as each spell takes time to do? The stronger the spell, the longer the musical piece. Time period is modern day.
closed as too broad by sphennings, L.Dutch♦, John, Aify, Vylix Sep 9 '17 at 7:59
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Combining the idea of a wind instrument with a staff. A large, stout hollow staff swung rapidly cold make whistling or other noises (think of a Didgeridoo, for example).
Steel reinforcing hoops around the ends would also make these effective as non magical weapons
A whistle built into a steel weight attached to a chain and swung in circles of varying size could also be used to make a spell, and the weight and chain makes an effective way of attacking or blocking physical attacks (entangling a sword for example). The Japanese Kusarigama could serve as an example.
Preparing a Kusarigama for use
Finally, magic cam be used as an adjunct to regular forces. The earliest well documented example is actually the ancient Spartans marching to battle in time to flutes:
And when at last they were drawn up in battle array and the enemy was at hand, the king sacrificed the customary she-goat, commanded all the warriors to set garlands upon their heads, and ordered the pipers to pipe the strains of the hymn to Castor; 3 then he himself led off in a marching paean, and it was a sight equally grand and terrifying when they marched in step with the rhythm of the flute, without any gap in their line of battle, and with no confusion in their souls, but calmly and cheerfully moving with the strains of their hymn into the deadly fight. Neither fear nor excessive fury is likely to possess men so disposed, p277 but rather a firm purpose full of hope and courage, believing as they do that Heaven is their ally.
Plutarch • Life of Lycurgus verse 22.3
Spartans "moving with the strains of their hymn into the deadly fight"
So combining musical instruments with devices which can be converted to weapons, or marching into battle with musicians seems to provide the most effective way of using music to create magic in a battle.
Yes, throwing a fireball, that can incinerate a castle gate, takes a pianist, two guitars and a complete brass section. Sure the spell's score spans four full movements of several hundred measures each. It is an incredibly difficult spell which should only be attempted by master musicians; but how often do you need to burn down a castle gate?
For street fights, quick licks are the name of the game. A good street musician can burn an opponent's skin in three measures. The best can blind in half a measure; eight lightning quick sixteenth notes to push the light out of their victim's eyes. The magic doesn't care about the metre. If you race through the notes, and get them all right, the magic will still come.
There is a legend of a drummer who can kill with single beat. Don't mess with drummers on the street! They're deadly.
Wait, are you talking about...
On a more serious note, interrupting and protecting the musicians becomes the main priorities when fighting or using this magic. Shields, compact instruments, and annoying distractions are all good here.
Alternatively, you can think of musicians as artillery: keep them away from the sounds of battle and have them deliver mighty magical motifs from a distance. Or conceal them and have magic spells suddenly appear.
So what you have is magic that is based around sound, but magic is almost always bound to thought as well. Some worlds have spells that require moonbeams, instead, yours will require an "A" chord.
Down to brass tacks. The first aspect is to define what kinds of physical components. I'm going to imagine a guitar for this. You could have it require a specific wood for the neck and frets, to channel the magic out. Rosewood is common in mundane instruments I think, but I don't know exactly why. Maybe investigate why, choose a similar but more rare wood for the magical variety. Next, the body. A guitar body is shaped like it is because it resonates is a special way. Change the shape or line it with steel like a Dobro guitar for magical resonance. Finally, the Strings. Coat them with gold or other precious metals. Really you can do what you like. Just put some reasoning behind it.
Next, the Music. Most songs are composed to illicit a response from the listener. The bands Five Finger Death Punch or Disturbed tend to write angry songs. That anger, with added magic could generate fireballs. Simon and Garfunkle songs could draw out a torpor in it's victims. I have no idea what Skrillex would do...maybe a twitching seizure. Again, a little logic here goes a long way.
That's all background, now for the actual answer about Combat apllications. Maybe you could think of specific chords as quick and dirty violent projections. not too specific, slightly directional, and as risky to the caster as the enemy. Maybe a specific repeating group of musical phrases could generate a shield for the group to resist some sort of onslaught, or deflect bullets. Breaking the tune breaks the spell. A quiet song gives stealth abilities. Not invisibility, but inattention. A complete song could produce a specific and more complex result. Cracking a safe maybe. Disturbed's "The Light" would be a great healing song. Who knows?
As in a great many stories and games, your wizard is probably going to be support for a larger group. Lower HP and needing protection. The Author Stephen Brust said it best, "Not matter how powerful the Wizard or Subtle the Mage, a dagger between the shoulder blades will seriously cramp his style"