I would like to find out the title of the book or short story that meets this criteria.

Science Fiction novel that the characters use only musical instruments (eg. saxophone, guitar, violin, piano, etc.) for communication with others?

To support my question here is an article "Musical Instruments Used for Communication" that shows that this type of communication exists.

  • Just musical instruments, or would a species that communicates tonally and with harmony (such as the Pierson's Puppeteers) be acceptable? Feb 18, 2011 at 3:43
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    @zypher please explain why you closed this question.
    – Tony Meyer
    Feb 18, 2011 at 5:42
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    Is this a recommendation question or a name that particular book question? You might want to clear that up. Feb 18, 2011 at 15:13
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    @zypher after the matching stories are listed. If you mean that the list is excessively long, I'm not convinced that is the case. If you have evidence that it is, please provide it.
    – Tony Meyer
    Feb 18, 2011 at 22:21
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    @zypher this does not seem to be a subject matter that would have a large list associated with it, therefore it is answerable.
    – benstraw
    Feb 20, 2011 at 1:26

2 Answers 2


Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind had a lot of communication via music/musical instrument.

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    As being the closest to what I was looking for.
    – Darius
    Aug 11, 2011 at 21:12

The Moon Moth by Jack Vance has musical instruments as one of the prerequisites for communication (nobody would listen to you unless you play one).

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    I think I should edit my question so it says that using musical instruments is the only way of communication.
    – Darius
    Feb 18, 2011 at 3:30
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    Otherwise the songbirds in "Mikal's Songbird" by Orson Scott Card. They might actually be what you're thinking of, since IIRC they were not allowed to speak, only sing. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikal%27s_Songbird doesn't say.
    – Мסž
    Apr 6, 2011 at 3:47

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