The Neopian Marching Band
Think of the most popular sports in Neopia. There’s Yooyuball, of course, Gormball, Beach Volleyball (and skiing, as a shout-out to all you Usuls out there!)... but you’re missing one. And what is it, might you ask? No, the answer is not underwater basket weaving. It’s band.
Yep, I hear you. What? you’re crying out, feeling like everything you’ve ever known has just been torn away from you much like a table cloth being pulled out from under an elaborate meal, resulting in an explosion of fine utensils everywhere. Band is a sport?
I have never considered it one, actually. But then I thought about it.
(The mind. It’s a powerful, if very, very scary, thing.)
For sports, you’ve got to practice. Ever heard of concert rehearsals?
Then, you’ve got your specialized equipment stores. Ever heard of the Neopian Music Shop?
And there’s the celebrities. Ever heard of ace flautist Neoroku Blumaramilo? (...okay, did I mention that that question was rhetorical?)
But anyway, the point of this article is not to debate the, er, finer points of fame regarding instrument-playing Neopets, much fun as that sounds like it’d be. The point is to show your Neopet (yes, your very own Neopet!) his or her full potential! Never been fleet of foot enough to win a deckball match? Too wimpy for River Rush? Not a problem, my budding bandie buddy! With a lot of hard work and enthusiasm (at least that shouldn’t come too roughly for you!), some day your pet may rise through the ranks to achieve... Drum Major Status.
(The drum major is the Queen Fyora of the marching band. The King Altador!! The big cheese!... The guy/gal who stands in front of the whole band and basically just controls the show, from its pace to its tempo. Also, they get pretty spiffy special uniforms.)
So, with that lofty goal in mind, here I am to introduce you to all the different kinds of instruments involved in a marching band, with special advice on which ones your pet may prefer to pursue.
Doesn’t it sound like a blast?
(again, very, very rhetorical.)
The trumpet. Ah, that most recognizable of instruments! Who carries all the regal-sounding solos? Whose high notes always possess a degree of sheer class, even when splitting apart everyone else’s ears? The trumpeters! They’re known for playing loud and proud. Very very very very proud. This would be a simply perfect fit for any pet who can typically be regarded as... well... arrogant and attention-hogging (but still lovable!). Come on, you know who I’m talking about.
Unis: Though one might think they would master the “traditionally girly” flute, most of Neopia’s more notable (the term being relative) trumpeters are, indeed, horned equines (excluding a certain Mr. Blumaramilo, of course). They thrive on the praise that comes with displaying their trumpeting chops!
Lupes: Seriously, they’re everywhere! I challenge you to count how many Neopian plots don’t include a major Lupe character.... Plus, a daring Lupe could do quite a job with the higher notes of the scale.
Eyries: Ditto to the Lupes, even if they may be a bit less ubiquitous.
Kougra: Triple ditto, anyone?
Bori: Though Boris tend to be shy, trumpeters do need at least one species of member who’s well-grounded. That’ll keep them from taking over the world with their MASSIVE HIGH NOTES OF D-D-D-DOOOOOOOOM. Also, musical options are limited when you’ve got three humongous claws adorning each hand. Good thing the trumpet also only has three valves.
Kyrii: You’ve got to be extra careful with them, though, as some kind of a hat (band terminology dictates use of the word “shako”) is worn by most bands during the field show, and these fellows are known to get a bit touchy when it comes to the upkeep of their ‘dos.
(Author’s Note: This reporter is totally, extremely, completely, wholeheartedly, believably unbiased on this section, considering the fact that she is totally, extremely, completely, wholeheartedly, believably not a trumpeter or anything herself. Never never never. The fact that this instrument was the first listed is just random. )
The flute. Good things come in small packages; this epithet applies, not only to the measly five Neopoints your great-aunt sent for your birthday, but to sound! The beautiful strains of a learned flautist are well worth the work of your ears, trust me! And who do you picture pulling off such a instrument but a kind of pet well known for being clean, quiet and careful?
Aisha: Everyone’s aware that these antennae’d wonders are practically prodigies in whatever they do. So when one takes up an instrument... well, you’d better prepare to be amazed. Strictly in a good way.
Kacheek: Anyone whose number one hobby is frolicking in the meadow must know how to conjure up joy in the hearts of others, even if it’s the simple, pure kind brought on by a piece of music.
Cybunny: These cute rabbit-like pets tend to be perfectionists, so it’d surely be such a treat to hear one trilling on a flute after hours of practice. Besides, most Cybunnies are not as rambunctious as their spry looks would lead one to believe!
Ixi: Ever-so-majestic and slightly mysterious, any Ixi would just adore all the kudos they’d be given for performing a wonderful flute section! It’s a well-known fact that hooves can work just as well as fingers... if you’re really determined. Which... um... which an Ixi could totally be. At least the clomping would be great for keeping time while marching eh?
Bruce: A pet who specializes in iceskating (anyone up for some Rink Runner?) is accustomed to acting lightly and flightily, even if they’re a bit on the... er... heftier side.
The clarinet. This is a pretty popular instrument choice, along with the flute. It requires nimble fingers and tons of focus; have you ever heard one play a badly squeaked note? (Here’s a hint; you don’t want to.)
Nimmo: Picture this—a quiet, calm pond, filled with lily pads, and in the very center, a lone Nimmo sits, majestically pouring his heart into a clarinet. No Neopet has longer fingers or a more thoughtful mind!
Lenny: ... Okay, they may or may not be any competition for the “thoughtful mind” count. We don’t want to pick any species fights here! (Completely ignoring the fact that this pet has been the winner of the Wooden Spoon Award time after time, ahem.) The Lenny’s feathery wings might be a bit of a problem, though, when it comes to notes that must be played quickly, but, hey, any pet who looks so similar to the Lenny Conundrum wizard should be able to face anything.
Shoyrus: Quiet but with a streak of mischief, a Shoyru could indeed make an admirable clarinet player (albeit one who might delight in squeaking on purpose to mess everyone else up, from time to time).
Jetsam: Stop rolling your eyes! They can really put a crisp bite on a note.... Okay, you are now free to roll your eyes once more.
Usul: Ah, a cute little clarinetist! Goochee-goochee-gooooo~! Besides, that prim posture just screams woodwind aficionado!
The bass clarinet. No, no, no, this is not the same as a clarinet! But since you’re not already a band geek, you probably can’t be expected to know that, so I’ll let you off the hook this time. What is this instrument, then? Well, picture a saxophone. Then give it the coloring of a clarinet. It’s like the child of those two, kind of!... I am fail at explaining. You should probably go ask someone smarter for a passable description. Sarah the Zafara might work.
Draik: This is a somewhat rare instrument, so it’d fit well with a somewhat rare pet. Who but someone so expensive that they’re constantly ditched in favor of adopting a more attainable Scorchio or Shoyru could truly appreciate the clarinet’s obscure son? Also... do you see how quick those fingers are? Epic!
Techo: These pets are pretty laidback. I mean, when was the last time a Techo tried to invade Meridell, huh? They could probably excel on any instrument because of their concentration (Buzzer Game) and nimble-ness, so why not this instrument?
Zafara: Zafaras are slightly offbeat in their appearance and personality, but this doesn’t make them any less awesome! And their unique attributes are helpful when it comes to studying an instrument with unique attributes of its own. Also, it doesn’t hurt that they’re rumored to bring good luck. ... And massive Zafara-adopting rush in five, four, three...
Krawk: Those fungus caves in Krawk Island are very deep. Any music played within its depths might just be lost forever... so who would know if a Krawk had to practice for hours upon hours to sound polished?
The saxophone. Yes, “saxophone” is a vague term. There is the standard alto (smaller) and tenor (larger), not to mention the baritone sax and even the soprano sax (cough golden clarinet cough), if you wanna get really fancy. The technicalities aren’t important now. What is is that the sax is the best way for a jazzy cat to express himself! Saxophone players tend to be soulful, but also more than adequately able to appreciate a good prank when they see (or pull) one!
Blumaroo: There, they’ve even got “blues” in their name... kind of. Point is, it’d be simply entrancing to listen to a passionate ‘Roo wailing away on his sax, maybe wordlessly conveying the miserable tale of how he rolled a Game Over on the last dice before Jackpot...
Quiggle: Don’t lie. You’re fully aware that Usuki imposter + saxophone = sheer and utter greatness.
Gelert: The most loyal of all Neopets is a pretty tough title to uphold, but these whip-eared fellas are up to the job. As such, they’d be diligent musicians, always striving to please their drum major by playing those notes just a little faster, or infusing just a little more pizzazz into that scale...
Acara: Their horns are shaped like saxophones. Thus, this instrument’s odd shape would seem familiar to them, and they’d make positively perfect players! And as anyone knows, Acaras are adventurous. Well, no instrument is more exciting than this one, ladies and gents.
Scorchio: Can’t you just see it? I mean, do I even need to explain how these handsome, sturdy dragons could really belt out some sick longtones? Be careful that they don’t snap their reeds, though... oof. Those things can get expensive!
Buzz: Fluttering off the ground a bit would be a blissful way to accompany a soaring solo, eh? Look, there’s even some poetry hidden there. Buzz saxophone players for the win(d ensemble)!
The trombone. The classic instrument preferred by pranksters everywhere. Who knows why? Maybe it’s because that slide is so ridiculous. Ridiculously awesome! Whatever the method behind the madness, no trombonists are shy. They’re especially prone to screaming out random words at random times, and can provide suitable sound effects for the dramatic situation of your choice. Whap-whap.
Meerca: Most mischievous Neopet ever, a few trombone-playing Meercas would be the cause for a riot of laughter! Plus, they’d be dang skillful, pulling and pushing their instrument’s slides with their long tails. Something that can support a Meerca’s whole body is strong, no matter how floppy and noodle-y it may seem to be!
Lutari: With a long and lithe body... that’s kind of similar to the structure of a trombone itself, um, right? Anyway, though, they have that little grin, the one that means something slick is totally about to go down...
Mynci: ... What? How did that banana peel ever get inside the bell of your tuba?
Xweetok: Don’t doubt the selection, dude! Just experience the radical musicality of this pairing for your self.
Wocky: They’re fun petties, and appropriately tricky, as well. A fun fact, though; Wockies get more grossed out by spit valves than most. It’s because of that luscious fur coat they have, you know.
The mellophone. The more ninja-like cousin of the French horn. While elegant and gorgeous-sounding of all, those elephants-of-instruments are dang clunky for parading around a football field or... well, parade route... with! The mellophone gives similar tones, but is a lot more user-friendly. Cue the sigh of relief.
(Not to be confused with a gigantic silver trumpet that’s scarfed down way too many Neggs.)
Ogrin: Studious but slightly shy, these super stripesters would be stars on an instrument with rich tones that requires a lot of thoughtfulness to play.
Gnorbu: See the above circumstance please, if you will.
Chia: ...No, seriously. Don’t laugh, it’s offensive. Just because you highly resemble a gnomish potato doesn’t mean that you can’t be an... er... member of a prestigious band, all right?
Elephante: One look at that winsome face (and shiny, mysterious jewel! Ooooooooh~) tells you that an Elephante is someone who can appreciate a lavish music number when he or she hears it. And playing by ear would be but a breeze for one with appendages so humongous!
The tuba. ...Or sousaphone, if you prefer. Tuba section! Power! Oom-pa-pa! You’re gonna need a hefty Neopet to handle this instrument. Sorry, that’s one stereotype that’ll stand simply because a tiny Kacheek would literally not be able to hold up his tuba. That’s a bit of an obstacle when it comes to playing, you know.
Skeith: Duh. Skeiths are big, bad, and bold!... Or at least two out of the three. Come on, that ain’t bad. Anyway, a Skeith would definitely have the power to blast out some totally nasty (in a good way... ) notes! And imagine the awe (and slight fear!) you’d strike in the hearts of other bands when they caught a glimpse of your humongous spiked tuba prodigy, barreling his or her way onto the field...
Yurble: Who’s that adorable pet lugging the sousaphone, eh? That’s what everyone’s sure to say when they see the stout Yurble with the colossal instrument. Well, they’ll be saying much more after they catch the first few chords; you go, Yurb!
Grundo: Just remember this... Grundos did all of Sloth’s brute work for a long, long time. They’ve got some serious stamina. Not to mention muscles!
The baritone. Ah, the baritone! They seem to have developed a, unfortunate reputation as somewhat aloof, many not really excelling in band but staying enrolled “just because”. Well, I bet one of these pets could turn that stereotype on its knuckle-headed head!
Tonu: TONU LOUD! TONU POWERFUL! TONU... surprisingly small? But it’s okay if this Tyrannian tuba-reject can’t quite handle the next step up. Baris are highly valued, as well!
Poogle: If you’re ever heard that most dreaded of acronyms, “MSP”, you already need not hear any more of how aggressive and fearful these seemingly-cute guys and gals can really get.
Grarrl: Ah, here’s a nice hefty dose of might for the band! Maybe these dinos could even play two baris at the same time... oh my gosh! The possibilities!
Moehog: A Moehog could totally play the baritone. Maybe even rise up to the rank of section leader, if they got good enough!
And now, before we have to draw this admittedly outstanding Neo-article to a close... what about the pets who noticeably lack hands, fingers or feet?
*insert gasp of horror here*
You might as well stop your gasping... there’s hope yet for (okay, let me get a deep breath here) JubJubs, Kikos, Pteris, Ruki (clumsy pincers), Korbats (the wings being attached directly to the arms would be too big a hindrance), Tuskaninnies, Chombies (their feet are even blockier and stranger than most), Flotsams (though oddly enough, their limited edition counterparts are gifted when it comes to legs), Peophins, Koi, and Hissi!
Why is this, you may ask?
Two words for you, friend: pit.
(What, that’s only one word? Well, we’re talking about band here, not grammar. Sheesh!)
In answer to your follow-up question (I am psychic, thus, I can predict these kinds of things), it’s because the pit members don’t do any actual marching. They play percussion instruments (but not to be confused with the drum line), and usually set up in front of the drum major on the field. There they remain, happily providing whatever crashes, squeaks (wait, they’re covered, that’s why we’ve got bass clarinets), thunks, or tings are necessary.
They look pretty cool, not gonna lie.
And how could that not be enhanced by the sight of a flippered Koi vigorously banging his head against the keys of a xylophone, or a Hissi beating on a bass drum with her wings?
(Disclaimer: the author of this article is not responsible for any head trauma, big black bruises, sore limbs, or spontaneous beliefs in Jelly World that may occur directly after heeding the advice used in this article. Take those issues up with Lawyerbot. ... Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a massive Zafara-adopting rush I’ll be needing to attend to.)