From the galleries, the music grows louder and more complex as the slaves, surgically operated upon to sing but one perfect note each, are stimulated to more passionate efforts. Even the young emperor is moved by the sinister harmony of their song which in few ways resembles anything previously uttered by the human voice. Why should their pain produce such marvellous beauty? he wonders. Or is all beauty created through pain? Is that the secret of great art, both human and Melnibonean?
The Emperor Elric closes his eyes.
— Michael Moorcock, Elric of Melnibone