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Music is a major part of most cultures across Nirn with music and poetry commonly being heard in taverns and cities, and dedicated schools and institutions for the musical arts existing across Tamriel. Music is also heavily featured in Tamrielic religions.



The god Jephre the Singer is credited with inventing the music of nature, teaching birds to sing songs and streams of their tinkling tune. Jephre is credited with inspiring the first great ballads of the elves.[1]

The anthology of tales known as the Myths of Sheogorath has a story dubbed "Sheogorath Invents Music", which instead tells of the mad god inventing music. A young woman he encountered commented on how beautiful the birds' songs were. The Mad God agreed, but noted that mortals could not do the same. And so Sheogorath invented the first musical instruments from the body parts of that woman. From her tendons he made lutes, her skull and arm bones he made a drum and from her bones he made flutes. He presented these gifts to the mortals, allowing them to make music.[2]

The Khajiit believe that the most ancient sounds were gifted to the world by Khenarthi, and so they honor her with music and song.[3]


Aldmeri musical notation is notoriously difficult to read.[4] The Altmer also perform songs that were written by the Aldmer.[5]

The Bretons of Glenumbra Moors celebrate the holiday of Broken Diamonds by singing the Sephavre which is a song in Old Bretic that is the anthem for the murder of Kintyra II and the sorrow that still pervades Glenumbra Moors.[6]

The Dead-Water Tribe of Naga use throat songs such as battle hymns, marching songs, and challenge chants.[7]

Dibella is called the Lady of Music.[8]

The Dro-m'Athra are linked to music. Khajiit can be transformed into Dro-m'Athra by being exposed to the "Bent Dance", which is a dance without music, only following the rhythm of the beating Heart of Lorkhaj. If a Khajiit is being corrupted by the Bent Dance, the "Chase Away" song (S'virash Sahaala) can be sung to break it if the corruption isn't too strong.[9] The "Chase Away" song is the only song that can break the Heart's tempo; the notes dance up and down the scale, confusing the Darks and making the Heart sluggish and weak.[9] The tempo eventually breaks, and the corruption will pass.[9] The "Chase Away" song is slippery and unpredictable, as Azurah is. The Khajiit hold that it must not be used unless the need is great.[9] In ancient times, it was used to treat diseases and ward off cane-locusts.[9]

Singing near Dro-m'Athra gives them a chance to twist the song to their tune and worm their way into a normal Khajiit's heart.[9] Songs, chanting, music and relics such as Khenarthic Bells, which are rung in reverence to Khenarthi, can also be used to drive back the Darkness.[10]

The Dwemer were often known to use tonal architecture, which is the manipulation of sound to alter reality. The Dwemer used sound in mining, medicine, architecture, and even psychology. According to ancient Chimeri scholarship, the Dwemer could employ tonal forces to bend weaker minds to their will, which is a form of complex aural hypnosis.[11]

Imperials have musical symphonies and opera houses to create and enjoy music.[12][13] The Imperial Legion also has marching songs.[14]

The Nords of Skyrim have skalds who write and recite songs and poems. These skalds are known to join the Imperial Legion as war bards.[15] "Skald" is an old Nord word meaning "bard".[16] Skald's Retreat on Lake Honrich's Isle of Gold is a place where Skyrim's skalds can study their trade and spend time among others with similar talents and interests.[17] The Bards College in Solitude is another facility where bards can study music, poetry and other similar arts. Skyrim's bards can elect to celebrate important occasions by putting on a salskap, a gathering of bards featuring song, poetry and drink.[18] In Skyrim, exceptional singing voices are said to be a "blessing from Kyne".[16]

The Sixth House and Dagoth Ur displayed a pronounced affinity for sound and music, though it's difficult to know if this was part of its makeup before its fall. Nearly every shrine encountered in Vvardenfell featured a set of large bells or chimes, which seemingly played an important role in the House's rituals. Some of the more advanced forms of Ash Creature have long, perforated, trunk-like snouts which may be used as musical instruments.[UOL 1] The fictional epic Poison Song depicts the house having a strong connection to music to the point that its descendants can somehow "hear" its songs still. Dagoth Ur also proclaims he is "OLDER THAN MUSIC".[19]

Other Uses[edit]

Music can be used as a means to cast spells or carry out rituals. In 2E 582, Vaermina compelled a skald to sing a tune to words found in a specific tome held in Skald's Retreat's library.[20][21] The song this bard sang plunged Skald's Retreat into a space between Mundus and Quagmire.[21][22] A performance of The Song of Sinmur, one of the old songs of the Companions was enough to wrench Skald's Retreat from Vaermina's grasp.



Arenthian "squeeze boxes" are popular amongst Colovian travelers.[23]

The Orcs of the Wrothgarian Mountains also commonly play accordions which are jokingly called "Orc-cordians".[24]

Bells And Chimes[edit]

Argonians from Dhalmora sometimes wear tail bands with bells attached to them.[25]

Hourglass alarms use pressure-sensitive plates inside them that triggers a wind-up bell when a certain amount of sand falls on it.[26]

Wind chimes are often made with a variety of materials such as fox bones[27], driftwood[28], brass, silver, scrap metal, seashells, fragments of scrib[29], and ogre bones to name a few.


Drums are a common instrument throughout Tamriel and are commonly used by bards, armies, and tribes.

They can be made from a wide variety of materials, such as the back-teeth of bull alits which make acoustically impressive drum bases[30], guarskin drumheads[31], wooden bases, elk skin drumheads[32] and giant snake skin drumheads[33] to just name a few.

The Bosmer celebrate the life of revered Spinners by creating a drum out of their skin.[34]

War drums are used by the Imperial Legion, Orcs, and the Yokudans.[35]

The Tsaesci are known to have pellet drums.[36]


Common amongst the Khajiit.

Flutes And Fifes[edit]

Flutes and fifes are common instruments, with there being many variants such as slide-flutes[37], kazoos[38], and nose-flutes[39] for example.

They can be made from a variety of materials such as silver[40], moon-sugar cane[41], armbones[42] and hand-carved kwama limbs.[43]

The ancient Yokudans had instruments similar to modern flutes made of gold but the knowledge of how to play these has been lost.[44]


An Argonian instrument similar to Vossa-Satls, they use frogs to produce music.


Dead-Water Tribe warriors wear battle gongs on their arms and strike them to frighten enemies.[45]



Dragonhorns are legendary artifacts crafted primarily by the Dragonguard, used as weapons against the Dragons. They are magical warhorns carved out of the horns of dragons, inscribed with various arcane runes, and are capable of producing a tonal sound that incapacitates dragons.[46]

Old Orsinium possessed a horn called the Horn of Beasts which had been crafted by Zbulgat the Wild-Walker. This horn summoned the creatures of the Wrothgarian Mountains. Bears, echatere, and hundreds of other wild creatures rallied to defend the city walls when the horn was blown, however King Golkarr blew the horn three times during a single moon cycle, and on the third blare the horn cracked. This horn was later recovered from Old Orsinium by the House of Orsimer Glories museum.[47]



Lutes are a common instrument throughout Tamriel and are commonly used by bards.


One known type of marimba is an Argonian style marimba made of carefully-selected resonant reptile teeth.[48]

Music Boxes[edit]

Music boxes are used all over Tamriel and play a specific song.

The Altmer are known to make clockwork nightingales that when wound up can fly across a room whilst singing.[49]


Pungis are often used by snakecharmers in Hammerfell.

The Maormer of Pyandonea are also known to use pungis to charm snakes of all sizes.[50]


Mostly played by Khajiit


Tambourines are made from a variety of materials such as cherrywood[51], silver, and the skin of hoarvors.[52] The Baandari use tambourines.[53]





An Argonian instrument.


Whistles are one of the most common instruments across Tamriel, with them being used for a variety of reasons.

There are various types of whistles relating to animal training and hunting such as dog whistles[55], birdcall whistles used by foresters[56][57]

Altmer Songs[edit]

Argonian Songs[edit]

Dancing on Eggs

Breton Songs[edit]

Dunmer Songs[edit]

Imperial Songs[edit]

Beans, Bloody Beans

Black Fredas

Bold Admiral Richton

Dark Blooded Foes

Dawn and Dusk

Down by the Ginger Garden

Farewell to Colovia

Green and Gracious Land

I'm Glad I'm Not No Orc

Inkkit Hinkit

Island Lads Down from the Mountain

Olga's Smickett

Pilgrim on the Road

Sorrow Waters

The Golden Grove

The Imperial Volunteer

The Isle of Summerset

The Jolly Archer

The Twelve-Night Drunk

Wind and Rain

Khajiit Songs[edit]

Nord Songs[edit]

Orc Songs[edit]

Redguard Songs[edit]

Non-Specific Songs[edit]


  1. ^ Of Jephre
  2. ^ Myths of SheogorathMymophonus
  3. ^ The Sky SpiritsAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  4. ^ Aldmeri Sheet Music in ESO
  5. ^ High Elf Songbook in ESO
  6. ^ Broken DiamondsRyston Baylor
  7. ^ Dead-Water Throat Songs in ESO
  8. ^ Augustine Viliane Answers Your Questions — Sybil Augustine Viliane
  9. ^ a b c d e f Twilight Rites and Hymns
  10. ^ Events of Chiaroscuro Crossroads in ESO: Dragonhold
  11. ^ A Guide to Dwemer Mega-StructuresVorinara Kleeve, Dwemer Scholar
  12. ^ Imperial Opera House Poster in ESO
  13. ^ Renee Geonette's dialogue in Oblivion
  14. ^ Legionnaire Marching Song in ESO
  15. ^ Jorn's dialogue in Skyrim
  16. ^ a b The Improved Emperor's Guide to Tamriel: SkyrimFlaccus Terentius, 2E 581
  17. ^ Jorunn the Skald-KingHelgreir Lute-Voice, Bard of Windhelm
  18. ^ Leiborn's dialogue during A Salskap to Remember in ESO: Greymoor
  19. ^ 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 15Vivec
  20. ^ Engling's dialogue during Song of Awakening in ESO
  21. ^ a b Sage Odana's dialogue during Song of Awakening in ESO
  22. ^ Events of Song of Awakening in ESO
  23. ^ Arenthian Squeeze Box description in ESO
  24. ^ "Orc-cordian" Squeeze Box in ESO
  25. ^ Argonian Tail Band in ESO
  26. ^ Brass Hourglass Alarm in ESO
  27. ^ Fox-Bone Chime in ESO
  28. ^ Driftwood Chimes in ESO
  29. ^ Scrib Chimes in ESO
  30. ^ Alit Molar Drum in ESO
  31. ^ Guarskin Drum in Morrowind
  32. ^ Orsinium's Remembrance War Drum in ESO
  33. ^ Snakeskin-Head Conga Drum in ESO
  34. ^ Spinner's Skin Drum in ESO
  35. ^ Yokudan War Drum in ESO
  36. ^ Akaviri Pellet Drum in ESO
  37. ^ Stormhold-Style Silver Slide-Flute in ESO
  38. ^ Carved Onion Flute in ESO
  39. ^ Woodhearth Nose Flute in ESO
  40. ^ Sterling Silver Fife in ESO
  41. ^ Sugar Cane Flute in ESO
  42. ^ Pactbreaker's Arm-Flute in ESO
  43. ^ Concert Kwama Flute in ESO
  44. ^ Ancient Yokudan Flute in ESO
  45. ^ Dead-Water Battle Gong in ESO
  46. ^ Abnur Tharn's dialogue in ESO: Elsweyr
  47. ^ Horn of Beasts
  48. ^ Xal Thak Dental Marimba in ESO
  49. ^ Windup Flying Nightingale in ESO
  50. ^ Maormer Snake-Charmer's Pungi in ESO
  51. ^ Cherrywood Tambourine in ESO
  52. ^ Hoarvor-Skin Tambourine in ESO
  53. ^ Baandari Pedlar Crown Crate Season description
  54. ^ Ancient Brass Sackbut in ESO
  55. ^ Dog Whistle in ESO
  56. ^ Bird Call Whistle in ESO
  57. ^ Brass Duck Call in ESO

Note: the following references are not from official sources. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.

  1. ^ Concept art of an ash creature, from The Art of Morrowind