Shocking Music (Feghoot No. LVI)

The Feghoot series is by Reginald Bretnor writing under the pseudonym of Grendel Briarton.

The natives of Qsgg III, besides being exceedingly vain of their sciences and arts, were the busiest non-humanoids in the galaxy. In their desire to excel, they produced new theories and gadgets by the hundreds of thousands, created astounding new architectures, made mobiles, painted, and composed concerti from morning to night.

Only in the performing arts were they really inferior, and they struggled for years to perfect electronic musical instruments which would function properly in their highly charged atmosphere. Finally, in 2992, they announced their success, boasting of a conductor’s baton which automatically controlled all charged atoms.

It was Ferdinand Feghoot, the most honest, perceptive, and sensitive of all critics, whom they asked to be the sole judge at the premiere. The program consisted of “El Amor Brujo”, “Nights in the Gardens of Spain”,” La Vida Breve”, and all of “The Three Cornered Hat”.

Feghoot listened attentively to the quite splendid performance, and it was some time before he sadly delivered his verdict, that they had failed to surpass the greatest musicians of Earth.

They were stricken. Heaping “urq” on their “nz'”, they burst into the shrill pentatonic wail which was their form of weeping.

“Please, please,” begged Ferdinand Feghoot, touched to the core. “Please don’t take on so! Believe me, it’s not any lack of ability, . . . You’ve just got too many ions in de Falla!

(Copyright © 1962 by Mercury Press. First published in THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, November 1962.)

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