• Member Since 11th May, 2012
  • offline last seen 2 hours ago

GrassAndClouds2



E
Source

Octavia Philharmonica would like nothing more than to practice her cello and to compose beautiful music all by herself. Unfortunately, her teacher Princess Cadance has other plans! Sent to Ponyville to assist with logistics for the Vernal Equinox Festival, Octavia wants only to get through the ceremony with as little interaction with the local populace as possible, but her plans are derailed by the return of two ancient evils. When the ancient tyrants Burning Sun and Nightmare Moon break free from their prisons and initiate a new era of war and devastation, Octavia finds herself and five other musicians -- Vinyl Scratch, Fluttershy, Lyra Heartstrings, Bluenote, and Medley -- caught up in a desperate race to find the Elements of Harmony and stop the alicorns. It will be a difficult journey, but it just might be possible, if Octavia can manage to befriend the other ponies... and if she can learn to truly listen to the music of Ponyville.

First story in the Cadanceverse!

Cover art generously provided by Mimicry.

Special thanks to my betas Blackbelt, Lev the Lurker, and RK_Striker_JK_5

Chapters (17)
Comments ( 396 )

A really interesting premise, unique, expertly written and executed! This has the makings of that 10% of fan fiction that makes wading through the other 90% worthwhile.

The idea of Cadance being the princess is really clever and I don't think it's been done before, especially not in a retelling of 'Friendship is Magic' I also like the lack of subterfuge from her, such as Celestia's subtly prodding Twilight by sending her to Ponyville. Here Cadance tells her that she should, if not make friends, learn to work with others and is very above board about it. I like it.

I'm reminded of something Linkara said in his review of Batman: Fortunate Son, a comic about a musician. He found it frustrating that the the characters simply announced that his other character is a great musician but since comics are a visual medium, he has no way to verify this. And writing odd lyrics into a comic doesn't change that. But with your descriptions, you can actually make the transition of expressing music through a visual, written, medium. I saw it before in Symphony of Sun and Moon. That's a rare gift and you use it well.

Will be watching and reading with great interest!

Does that pony do anything except practise? I think she cares more about music practice than friends.

Excellent start! You always capture the essence of music very well in your stories about Octavia. I'm sensing that this version is a fair bit younger and more naïve than Lunaverse Octavia, am I correct? I love the way you've depicted Twinkleshine and Moondancer, too - you've captured their arts very well. It never actually occurred to me that Moondancer was, y'know, a dancer.

And Cadance! This is a very nice portrayal of Cadance. Her age definitely comes across, here, and she has some of the immortal patience we see from Celestia in the show, but I can still connect her with the Cadance of the show. I will be very keen to see how she compares to the mad alicorns, should that come to pass.

Hmm... I wonder what the elements will be? I hope each is something music related.

Vinyl Scratch, holder of the Element of Wubs.

Harmony
Cadence
Music

Makes sense. Can't wait for more.

Exactly what I was hoping for, I always love how you express music in writing. :raritystarry:

Very much looking forward to more.

This should be... good. :D I can't say too much more, but I can't wait to see the updates coming. You've got a massively strong grasp of music... well, to me, you do. :raritywink: But anyway, can't wait for more!

All right! I've been looking forward to this and we've got a good start already.

When I saw this in my feed I totally did that gasp Pinkie did when Twiiight first rolled into town.

Thanks to the fact that I've caught a smattering of information about this and what exactly the AU is I felt like I knew what was going on and thought this was a great start and looks like it'll be a very fun ride. If I hadn't caught that though I'd be totally lost from word one and really probably give up on this piece halfway through this introduction. You really needed to establish the AU more for this to feel more coherent. Not saying that the two older Alicorns are locked away in some fashion kind of makes this very hard to get into. That rather dire shortcoming out of the way this was a very well written and well styled piece. How you write about music is a joy to read each time I see it and I really look forward to seeing where you take this. Added to my favorites and email alerts.

An AU story where Beauty Brass (I guess she'll be 'Bluenote' here) becomes an Element of Harmony? This is going on my list. I can't wait to see what you do with her character.

I also can't help but wonder if Fiddlesticks will be Octavia's Trixie?

2590888: She's actually introduced first of all the other 5. :-)

Having some fun with this...

In Po-ne-ville, it's so simple and still
will things ever change, I don't think that they will....
(can't help it, that tune ran thru my head all this chapter)

Sweet! Didn't expect the next charter so soon... I just finished reading the first one. :derpytongue2:

Between this and Musicians & Dreamers, I haven't been very happy with Octavia's character today.

Octavia's pride really is showing at the end there. She does a good job of keeping it under control (imagine how Trixie would react to being told she "might even be as good as Twilight"), but it shows. I don't think this will end with Octavia ranting at the entire town about how they're all uncultured rubes who wouldn't know proper music if it bit them on the rump, because Octavia has more self-control than... :applejackconfused::flutterrage::pinkiegasp::rainbowhuh::raritydespair::twilightangry2: pretty much every other pony in existence. But she might think it really loudly.

The musical number was great! I never imagined the Mayor singing! Sadly, I'm not familiar with Chess. Perhaps I should become so. So... is it normal for ponies to break out into spontaneous musical numbers in this setting? I've never been able to figure out whether the musical numbers in the show are real or imaginary, in the way that we're not actually expected to believe that street gangs are all trained singers and dancers in West Side Story.

I'm just about to read this, but the idea makes me feel like I unknowingly copied yours D:

This was a very impressive start, the description of the music was lovely, the amount of thought you put into it is incredible and it really managed to reflect the character and the scene. I very much liked this take on Octavia it works very well and her friendship problem while somewhat similar to Twilight's is significantly different and suits her unique personality and universe. I really like this take on Cadence and her having multiple students is an excellent and original idea, she certainly seems to have that aura of calm, wisdom about her that Celestia has, but at the same time still feels very much like canon Cadence, her words carried a great deal of depth.

Oops... :twilightoops:

Sorry to be getting a late start after stating how eagerly I was looking forward to this, but for some reason FiMfic failed to give me proper notification that the story had gone live. I know you hardly need any more notes/advice by this point, but if it's not problem, I'll share my general thoughts/opinions.

Anyway, so far so good. Admittedly, it was a little hard to get fully immersed in Octavia's cello piece, without a context for the scene, but the later dance recital with violin accompaniment did a much better job of showing off your wondrous ability to weave music into text. On further consideration though, I must wonder if that was intentional. Octavia is at this point an isolationist, she plays intricately precise music, but lives in apart from the world around her and so her performance lacks any of the external relevance that would give it fuller context.

I love the parallels of Octavia only caring about practicing her music as compared to Twilight always having her nose in a book and how it makes both of them too busy to have any concern for friendships. Likewise, the use of Moondancer's performance as opposed to her birthday (though I'd have probably called it a "ballet" recital, or some other specific type of dance so as to avoid the awkward phrasing of "Moondancer's dance"). Although I'm left uncertain what kind of legitimate performance would be held so early in the morning that Octavia could be running so late as to have already missed most of it.

Which brings me to Pageturnner; can't really get a read on her yet, beyond filling a hybrid role of Twinkleshine/Spike. I did briefly wonder why you just didn't use Twinkleshine herself, until she showed up as the violinist at the dance (not so sure how I feel about that; I'd have likely used Symphony or Concerto, but it's really far too trivial a role to make a fuss about). Over all, Pageturnner might not really be important enough to matter in the long run, but still, I do find myself curios about one thing; how old is she? To further parallel Spike I could see her as very young pony, a teenaged intern. At the same time, however, I could see turning it complete around with her being older than Octavia and a longtime veteran of the castle staff. Though I suppose rushing and being seemingly subordinate to Octavia favors the former.

As to some other background pony uses. I love what you did with minuet, having her work with metronomes, or rather rhythmic timing (makes a whole lot more sense than the general fanon that she's a dentist). Lemon Hearts as a Pianist is a little more questionable; not because of anything I've done with the same pony elsewhere, but because like with Twinkleshine I have difficulty drawing a connection to the respective ponies' cutie marks; I'd have probably made them all students of the "arts", but not music specifically (except of course for Minuet, who as I said before I really like what you did). For Twinkleshine, I'd likely have had her managing the stage lighting, while maybe mentioning Lemon Hearts as a romantic poet or lyricist; both artists in their craft, but not necessarily musically inclined. Still, as I said before they are all just filling minor roles, so such things might not even be worth mentioning. More important is that it's a nice bit of external continuity to use these three ponies who also appeared in the first episode of the show.

On a note about Cadance; as a character her dialogue seemed spot on, given what we know of her show counterpart. However, I felt the narrative lended insufficient weight to her importance in way she was both introduced and described. Octavia walks into the recital and Cadance's presence is simply noted almost as an off-hand after thought. Now, assumable she regularly attends these recitals and such of the various artistic ponies she patrons, but still, she is also the reigning monarch of the land. Compare how when writing about either Luna or Corona, RDD will often throw a few titles out whenever they make their first appearance in a fic, using the narration as a sort of metaphorical herald.

“Oh! … hi, Octavia. I didn’t know you came.”

“You were late, though.”

Very minor quibble, but if Moondancer wasn't sure about whether or not Octavia showed up, how would she know the other was late. It seems to me the first line should have been something like, "I didn't think you were coming", or the whole exchange should be extended with Moondancer stating she didn't notice her at the start of the recital, thus forcing Octavia to admit her own tardiness in arriving. Or maybe, have Moondance being a bit naively oblivious and have Twinkleshine be the one to call out Octavia on being late.

...

Umm, sorry if I've rambled overly long, or in anyway sounded overbearing or condosending towards all the obvious effort you put into this fic. TLDR: you wrote something good here and you should feel good for writing it. Anyway, I'll see about getting to the next chapter shortly (and hopefully try not to talk your ear off so much in the comments there). :twilightsheepish:

2593614:

Very minor quibble, but if Moondancer wasn't sure about whether or not Octavia showed up, how would she know the other was late.

My idea (which I definitely could have been more clear about) was that, had Octavia been on time, Moondancer would probably have seen her enter, and would definitely have seen her at the start of the show (when MD walked onto the stage/said hi to everyone/bowed/etc). Since she only saw Octavia later, she knew that Octy had snuck in after the performance had started.


Thanks for the detailed comments. I really appreciate them. :-)

"I'm from Chenneigh," Octavia reminded her. "I spent most of my life far from Canterlot."

So Octavia's from the Pony equivalent of India then? Interesting.

Page Turners quite fun, very enthusiastic, and a good counter to Octy. I don't think its been said how old she is, I'm assuming younger than her boss although maybe a bit over the CMC's age.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Bluenote is going to the element of Laughter, although you might surprise me.

Good chapter and introduction of Bluenote, I find myself really liking Pageturner and Octavia's pride and cold rage at the end was very well done somehow I wonder if she might overextend and end up not performing something suitable because she can't relate to the locals? But that's just a guess. As usual very well written.

Bluenote's introduction worked weel and we got some more insight into Octavia's pride issues which was effective.

Ah! I found this last night on my PS3 and I couldn't favorite it (as I wasn't logged in, the PS3 is merely for reading). I spent all morning searching for this interesting little story! I can't wait to see where it goes! :raritystarry::raritywink::pinkiehappy::yay::duck::pinkiecrazy::twilightsmile:

Lol, I can totally see Octavia thinking, "Odd rustic folktales," when Lyra is babbling on about sacrificing chocolate cookies.

Interesting variations of the character personalities I'm used to.

Lyra seems rather .. dramatic

I can't pin down what elements (assuming you are using the normal elements, given the theme they could be musical terms in this universe) the newly introduced cast members would represent is Medley Generosity, making things might apply to that. I want to say Lyra is Loyalty but I think the Lunaverse is contaminating that is clearly a very different character.

I wonder if Octavia would wear a Sari for a formal occasion rather than a dress.

Lyra as Laughter/Capriccio this time?

Lyra is so melodramatic! I love her! Also... seriously, just talk to Bon-Bon already!

I really love Medley too. She is obviously very hard-working, and I feel sorry for her that it's not especially financially viable. It's interesting that she's a maker of instruments rather than a musician herself. So... she's a pegasus, and she's built an Aeolian harp... does that mean she can play it whenever she wants, just by flapping her wings? That's pretty awesome.

When Pageturner started teasing Octavia about liking Medley, I thought at first that she meant Octavia was interested in Medley romantically, but then it became clear that Octavia actually making friends at all was a big deal. I think it is a very good reflection on Octavia's character that she saw fit to support Medley's enterprise.

After seeing the way Octavia treated Medley, it does appear that she has a personal grudge against Bluenote. It'll work itself out, though. Tavi's much more likeable this chapter, so we know she's certainly capable of it.

I like that you've distinguished this Lyra from L!Lyra, while still keeping other aspects of her character the same. There's plenty of canon shots showing Lyra bouncing up and down and being hyper, so it works.

I like how Medley's problem with Rainbow Dash is the exact opposite of Raindrops' problem with Rainbow Dash.

So far, it looks like Octavia is going to follow Twilight's example and ignore everyone until all hell breaks loose, as opposed to pissing everyone off and getting chewed out by Cadence (followed by all hell breaking loose).

2599993:

I like how Medley's problem with Rainbow Dash is the exact opposite of Raindrops' problem with Rainbow Dash.

Yep. :-) By design.

Wll, things are progrssing. I'm liking all the little pieces of character insight. And a bit of worldbuilding too. Is Cadance really Luna and Celestia's sister here, or is that a distortion, I wonder?

Pageturner is best Spike

Great chapter. Man, Ponyville's welcoming committee should go on tour with that musical number. :p Also, the pony-eating tuba?! Bluenote, you monster! :raritydespair::raritywink:

Another great chapter. *Slips Lyra some decaf*

Finally we got the wubs! Wubs for all!

Ah, that feeling you get as a passenger when you see the accident about to happen, but all the stomping on the floor on your side of the car has no effect on the brake pedal. I'm pretty sure Pageturner feels that right now...

That's it, Octavia! You'll show these ignorant rubes what happens when they like music you don't like! And how dare Fluttershy not be a professional musician!

I like the deeper exploration of Fluttershy's bird choir. It's always been a bit of a background thing in the show, but she must spend a lot of time on it.

Great chapter, Lyra was extremely entertaining. I do feel Octavia;s mood is a bit inconsistent with how she was feeling earlier with no real time between being angry/grumpy to where she was later. I like the idea of Cadence letting the sisters being forgotten, though i'll be interested to see her reasoning. I'm guessing it's that she did not want anyone trying to somehow bring them back, or she just fins it painful to talk about.

Oh, good. For a second there, I thought Octavia was going to pull a Twilight Sparkle and just grump about until all hell broke loose.

No, it looks like she's going to take an active, almost Lulamoony, approach to not making friends.

This version of Fluttershy is rather less shy than the other versions really. With all her charity work I'm wondering if she's Generosity rather than Kindness. Not sure who Vinyl is, honesty? although that could be Octy herself, a rather painful honesty really.

Yep train crash waiting to happen, "You're all doing it wrong, do it my way, I'm Amazing"

“Too many desserts?” yelled Lyra. “How can you possibly have too many desserts?”
“Preach it!” yelled Pinkie Pie, from somewhere in the crowd.

Can we have an Amen! Hallelujah!

Yikes.

I know Octavia hasn't been a 100% class act, but I wasn't expecting her to become the town's whipping pony in the span of one chapter, and I certainly wasn't expecting that sort of reaction from Medley. Good thing she gets a chance at redemption...

Okay, I read the first chapter and...I'm not feeling this one. You've still got the talent for weaving music into your narrative seamlessly, but nothing here's really standing out that much. Maybe it'll get better.

...

Also, where's the blackjack and hookers? :trollestia:

2612824: On the one hand, yep, Medley does have some anger issues. On the other, it's still probably a good idea to ask someone before you volunteer their stuff. :-)

I'll be traveling abroad, but I do hope to have the next few chapters up over the next week or so.

2612749

As a hobbyist baker, I wholeheartedly agree.

Burn the heretic!

I feel really bad for the slow pace that I'm reading this fic at, but I was in a sour mood these past few days --cause of local stuff-- and I didn't want that coloring my view of this fic. Feeling much better now though, so let's dive back into this baby.

2593725

Thanks for the detailed comments. I really appreciate them.

If you ever stop appreciating them, please don't hesitate to inform me that I'm crossing some kind of line. It's not my intention to be overly critical or rudely offensive, but sometimes I can be a little to bluntly honest when it comes to voicing my opinion. Anyway, on with my so-called thought on Ch2...

Ooh, and right off the bat Pageturner is here for more. Makes sense I suppose, since otherwise the narrative would be pretty lonesome before Octavia meets her future friends to be. Still not sure what, if any, larger role she has to play in the story, but I'm interested to find out.

Also, the distinctions between C!Octavia and L!Octavia be coming into focus. Last chapter we had her completely eschewing all extracurricular activities, while now she's already trying to compose her performance piece before having met any of the other ponies that will be preforming. The first mistake cuts her off from any external sources of inspiration, while the latter shows a blatant disregard for the holistic qualities of the performance. Octavia's not off to a very promising start, even if it's pretty much already a forgone conclusion she'll learn better by the end of the fic.

The song sequence, well, that was kind of weak. The lyrics were okay, I guess, but without an ability to connect them to a meaningful rhythm, the whole endeavor only served to frustrate and distract me, breaking my sense of immersion in the story (and yes I know you provided a link to the source piece, but that really only works with an instrumental arrangement, otherwise the disparity between what is being heard and what is being read only serves as an even greater distraction). It didn't help that the song was also rather overly long, steadily chipping away at my desire to keep reading with each passing second of its near 7 minute run time. Furthermore, there just didn't even seem to really be any context for the song to be there in the first place, so it all felt more like something that was just put there for its own sake rather than for any greater narrative purpose. You might be the master of turning raw music into text, but your attempts at incorporating song continue to pale in comparison.

When writing pure music, your words resonate at a viscerally emotional level; I might not be able to literally "hear" the music, but I can "feel" it. Your attempts at incorporating song, however, lack any of that same appeal. The affect is dull at best, distracting at worst, and overall just does a disservice both to your own superlative skills as a writer and the original works from which you adapted them. If you heed only one piece of advice from me let it be this... just stop trying to write songs into your fics, or at least dial it back. Stop using these giant orchestral pieces as your foundation and instead try working with some simpler ditties/tunes, things that a wider audience is more likely to be familiar with and capable of humming by memory alone.

...Wow, that rant went on a bit longer than intended; sorry about that.

Anyway, once the song was finally over and the story proper allowed to continue things started getting better, if a bit expositorally formulaic; notably the scene with the mayor really just seemed to fill space rather than add to the narrative. Also, still no good read on Pagetunner as a character, rather, thus far she seems only to exist so Octavia has somepony else to talk to. Not really trying to be critical there; it's a lackluster role, but important never the less.

I was a little wary of Octavia making the rounds to Sweet Apple Acres (and presumably visits with Rainbow Dash and Rarity to follow). Mistaken though it may have been, I really preferred the impression I got in the first chapter, that Octavia was only overseeing the entertainment not the entirety of the event. I think that would have helped distinguish this from being just another retread of the pilot from the actual show, making this story more uniquely Octavia's own while also allowing the narrative to focus on introducing your C6 without any distractions from the destined heroes of other worlds. Still, Bluenote made a good first impression regardless.

...

Well, I'd really wanted to get at least two chapters read, to start making up for lost time, but this chapter just left me feeling drained and exhausted. Need to go do something else for a bit, clear my head, and hopefully comeback with freshly enthusiastic opinion.

Chapter 3 was a nice easy read.

I mostly like Medley, and how she tunes instruments and build wind-chimes and other similar such. I also like how she's hard pressed for weather work because of Rainbow Dash, however I'm less thrilled with her shop being strapped for cash because of it.

Lyra was, well I don't really know what to say about her yet.

“Treason! Heresy! Outrage! In fact -- just RAGE!”

My God, Lyra is approaching M-Rarity levels of overacting

Congratulations Octavia, you made a whole town hate you in less than 48 hours, and even made foals cry, that takes real talent.

Luckily two evil gods just turned up to take the heat off of you.

Wow. That was a real mess.

Login or register to comment