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A Harper is a craftsperson that is part historian, teacher, communicator and diplomat. Harpers are usually skilled musicians and are trained in the composition of ballads. Harpers work under the leadership of a MasterHarper, such as MasterHarper Robinton of the Ninth Pass.
Harpers primarily serve the people of Pern as teachers, utilizing music as a teaching tool. The Harper Hall, located in Fort Hold, is the training center for the craft. Apprentice Harpers are trained in all aspects of the craft by skilled Masters. After a Harper is promoted to journeyman, they are sent out to Holds and Crafthalls to provide training to the people of Pern. Harpers usually work specific contracts, providing teaching in exchange for food, shelter, and a certain pay. In rural areas, a Harper may travel to a number of holds, while in larger holds, a harper may be just one of many providing teaching. Being spread throughout the various settlements, Harpers see and hear much, and report back to the Harper Hall. In addition, journeymen and masters are relied upon to provide sound counsel and advice to the leaders of both Weyr and Hold. Harpers also provide musical entertainment for large gatherings or other special events.
Masters in the craft are promoted after passing certain tests and gaining a certain amount of experience. The Master Rank stone was a Sapphire. A Harper can specialize in one of several other «sub-crafts». If this happens, the person is still part of the Harper organization, but they take on the title of their «sub-craft» as follows: