Undreamable Abysses

 The Music of Erich Zann  by H.P. Lovecraft

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    January  7, 2014

If music could transport man into an unknown realm, what kind of music would it be? Something glittery and spiritual? Or something frenetic with deformed purple notes? If any author can bring a reader to the threshold between the real world and beyond, it’s H.P. Lovecraft.


In The Music of Erich Zann, our narrator is a university student of metaphysics. The city is probably Paris, but the name  is not confirmed. The student takes a room in the boarding house on the Rue d’ Auseil, which is a steep and narrow street, a cliff actually that lies beyond the dark river, beyond the bridge made of dark stone—a perfect metaphor for the edge of madness that defines the story.

Erich Zann is a Renaissance viol-player and a mute with a wrinkled satyr-like face. He lives in the one-windowed garret of the peaked boarding house on the Rue d’Auseil and every night plays his music. The student lies away each night, listening to the haunting and eerie notes. He is so intrigued that he knocks on the musician’s door to establish a friendship and hear more of Zann’s odd music. But Zann’s music fills the student with dreadful and brooding vibrations.

“Then one night as I listened at the door I heard the shrieking viol swell into a chaotic babel of sound; a pandemonium which would have led me to doubt my own shaking sanity had there not come from behind that barred portal a piteous proof that the horror was real—the awful, inarticulate cry which only a mute can utter, and which rises only in moments of the most terrible fear of anguish.”

Are you ready to enter the boarding house garret and experience not only the ghoulish howls of Zann’s musical viol but plunge into undreamable abysses?


Read the short story at hplovecraft.com 

Listen to the narration by Mike Bennett on YouTube

For you film fans, watch John Strysik’s adaptation in two parts (total time 17 minutes):

Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeMNDhTWJ-o

Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqQWrZFHouA


Note: Women in Horror Month is February. Get ready Tales of Terror fans!

Sirens Call Publications



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GoodKindles.net      The Gothic Wanderer

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed


Filed under fiction, horror, literary horror, paranormal, quiet horror, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror

2 responses to “Undreamable Abysses

  1. I hope you like it, Jay. I liked it a lot because it deals with the mysteriousness of music and this is a subject in my next novel that I’m working on. Music can transport us in so many ways. Lovecraft had quite a skill in capturing the unknown elements of that world.


  2. Jay

    This is a Lovecraft tale I haven’t read. The premise does sound like it’d be perfect for his style. Plus I have a weakness for stories with abysses and pits… 🙂


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