Development Credit: Faith
The skill, and art, of playing musical instruments. An instrument might be played in isolation or for an audience, as part of a group or alone. The context is different from PC to PC, but this skill is about the skill of that PC to create a pleasant sound.
Types of Instruments
Please note: these are examples only String (bow) ~ fiddle, viola, String (strum or pluck) ~ harp, gittern, psaltery, ukulele Percussion - drum, Wind (General) - shofar, cornett, flute Reed ~ clarinet, rackett, shawm Keyboard - piano Brass ~ sackbut
How Instrument Types / Schools Work
Each type of instrument is a skill in it's own right.
All knowledge and skill points, however, must be assigned to a specific instrument in that type. So you could not have ten knowledge in Musical Instrument: String (bow), they would be in Musical Instrument: Fiddle.
This one (fiddle in this example) is the PC's "Instrument of Choice" of that type. Whatever level of skill the PC has Fiddle, they are assumed to have all other instruments in the String (Bow) type at one level below the fiddle. Being able to play a string (bow) instrument gives her no bonus to playing a guitar or a flute!
If the pc wants to be able to play the viola (for example) at the same level as the fiddle, they need to have 11 specific viola knowledges to increase it's level to the same as the Instrument of Choice. The PC can not exceed their Instrument of Choice with another instrument of that type. If the pc GMs Fiddle (for example), in order to GM viola they would need to accumulate 11 knowledges to get it to Master, then the 27 needed to go from Master to GM - so 38 in total.
Detection: The ability to hear is a vital one to anyone who plays music. Detection can be useful for picking out notes and rhythm.
Psychology: There is very little in the world as emotional as a really good piece of music. A true musician is significantly advantaged by the ability to understand others.
Socialization: Being able to "hold" an audience requires a certain ability and stage presence. This skill gives you that.
The character is learning the basics of the instrument, discovering the sounds it is capable of making and the techniques to produce them - at the basic level. This level usually requires the repetition of basic tunes, scales and so on in order to develop the muscle memory needed to be able to play the instrument flawlessly. In the later stages of novice, a relatively decent sound is produced when playing a simple tune. There are still a lot of mistakes made, and anything but the most simple combination of notes is beyond the individual's skill.
Competency with an instrument is exactly that. The character can play the instrument well, managing to play basic and common music well, producing a pleasant sound of the kind they intended to. More complex melodies are beyond the character's ability unless they are practiced for a long time before playing them. Advanced techniques (which will be specific to each instrument) are beyond the pc and emotional nuance is not usually present in their playing.
The achievement of this level sees the character start to explore the nuance of the musical instrument in question. They develop their ability to play using advanced techniques and, although they still need to practice in order to use them confidently, they are now able to achieve this. Also, the music they play truly starts to capture the emotions of the piece and there is that "something" which makes listening to a melody truly magical.
Mastery of an instrument marks the ability to create a rare and beautiful sound, flawlessly merging between the player, the melody and the instrument itself. As the player progresses through this level, their ability to use advanced techniques becomes more and more immediate, until they are able to play even the most complex tunes with ease. Furthermore, they can inject real emotion into their music. A true maestro!