From Echoes of Angmar

One of the most unique social systems in Shadows of Angmar is the player-generated Music System, which allows players to train specific instruments and play their own music! To play music you'll need an instrument. Instruments vary in their effectiveness in battle, yet for the music system you only need to know the nine basic types: Clarinet, Harp, Horn, Flute, Lute, Theorbo, Drum, Cowbell and Bagpipes. By default, the Minstrel is the most popular class for playing music. This is due to fundamental roleplaying guidelines and the fact that the Minstrel can start off playing most any instrument. However, this isn't the rule. Each class starts off with the ability to play a Lute and one other class-based instrument.[1]

Getting Started

1. Starting at level 5, train a musical skill at your trainer.

Everybody can play the Lute.

Burglars, Hunters and Lore-Masters can play a Clarinet.

Captains, Champions and Guardians can play a Horn.

Minstrels are blessed and can play Bagpipes, Clarinet, Cowbell, Drums, Flute, Harp, Horn and Theorbo!

2. Buy an instrument from your local Bard.

3. Equip your instrument: Open your inventory (press i) and double-click (or right-click) on it. If instrument is not already in hand, press ENTER and type /music (as if you were going to say something) You can also set a shortcut for quick-playing: /shortcut X /music where X = number of quick-slot

4. Tada! Instrument in hand, you should now be in play mode! 5. Press keys 1-8 to play notes, using shift and ctrl to go high or low.

Playing freestyle

You can buy an instrument from your local Bard, or have it crafted by a Woodworker. You equip your instrument by double-clicking on it in your inventory. You'll then type /music to enter the music mode. If you'd like to freestyle and mess around with a bit of real-time playing, simply press the 1-8 keys to play notes, using Shift and Ctrl to go up or down in octaves. This provides 37 musical notes through 3 chromatic octaves.

Playing pre-made songs

The system does have an excellent way of playing pre-made songs as well, through the ABC (.abc) files. There are literally dozens of websites and an entire section of the official LotRO forums dedicated to the music system and utilizing these ABC files most effectively. Just about any popular song you can think of has an ABC file. You can find some extensive directories on the LotRO music forum and a more detailed guide here to playing freestyle, remapping keys, creating ABC files and even using your Wiimote to play!

To play a pre-made ABC file, simply download the file to your \Documents and Settings\<user>\My Documents\The Lord of the Rings Online\Music directory. Then while in play mode (/music), type /play [filename], where [filename] is the name of the file, minus the .abc extension and brackets.

Syncing with others

Many ABC files are done in parts, where there's one part for the Lute, one for the Harp, etc. This was done for bands who'd like to each have their own contribution to make the songs sound fuller and more realistic. There are a few steps to syncing a song with a friend. First, you must both be in the same fellowship and have the same song file. Then each person simply types "/play [filename] sync" and a ready message will appear, letting everyone in the fellowship know that they are about to sync. When everyone is ready, someone types "/playstart" and song will begin.