Skyrim: What Is the Music of Life? (& What Is the Correct Answer to It)

What Is the Music of Life in Skyrim What Is the Correct Answer to It

Dark Brotherhood has always been one of the most interesting factions in the Elder Scrolls games. Their dark storyline and macabre rituals were a welcome and refreshing break from the otherwise vanilla high fantasy setting. Dark Brotherhood is also present in Skyrim, you take part in an exciting storyline that involves the emperor of Skyrim himself, but before you can start your journey as Agent of Sithis you need to answer a riddle to gain access to their sanctuary. As soon as you approach the Black Door you can hear ominous whispering asking you “What is the Music of Life” let’s see what the answer is to this.

  • Article Breakdown:
  • The answer to the “What is the music of life?” riddle is “Silence, my brother”.
  • This is the correct answer that will unlock the access to Dark Brotherhood Falkreath sanctuary situated in the Pine Forest.
  • This is just the first of the overall two Black Doors you will encounter in the game. 

Black Doors: What are they and how do you interact with them? 

Throughout the ages, Black Doors have been associated with the Dark Brotherhood, a specialized faction of elite assassins serving the god of the void Sithis. Every Dark Brotherhood chapter has its sanctuary guarded by a single Black Door. Black Doors usually take the appearance of a black, grey, and red stone door with skeletal motifs and as soon as you approach them you can hear drums and other sound effects reminiscent of a slow heartbeat and heavy breathing. 

Even though Dark Brotherhood has been present in all Elder Scrolls games, the first time we had a chance to see the Black Door in action was during the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. As you try to open the doors in Dark Brotherhood Cheydinhall Sanctuary, the door asks you “What is the color of night?” the answer to this is “Sanguine, my brother”.

Oblivion black door
Black Door in Cheydinhall Sanctuary as seen in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

That general “question-answer” dynamic while entering the Dark Brotherhood sanctuary for the first time has stuck around since then and is even present in the Elder Scrolls Online. If you don’t know the correct answer to the question you will not be able to enter the sanctuary, but there will be no further consequences. 


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How do you interact with the Black Door in Skyrim? 

You can approach and interact with the Black Door in Skyrim at any time. But you will only be able to enter after you acquire the correct catchphrase. There are two Black Doors in Skyrim, one belongs to the Falkreath Sanctuary situated in the Falkreath Hold and the other Black Door is at Dawnstar Sanctuary situated in Dawnstar Hold. 

Falkreath Sanctuary Black Door 

You can acquire the entrance phrase for the Falkreath Sanctuary Black Doors during the quest “With Friends Like These”. This will also be your initiation into the Dark Brotherhood. After you’ve received the “We know” letter from the courier the next time you sleep you will be kidnapped and transported to an Abandoned Shack. As soon as you wake up you will notice Astrid, a leader of the Falkreath chapter of Dark Brotherhood and she will force you to kill one of three possible victims who are currently being held captive in the shack, blindfolded with their arms bound. 

No matter who you decide to kill apparently Sithis will be pleased and Astrid will welcome you to the family. She will also reveal to you both the location of the Black Door and the answer to the riddle you need to solve in order to gain access to the sanctuary. 

A map marker for Falkreath Sanctuary will appear, and as soon as you approach the Black Door and interact with it you will hear a familiar sound with a disembodied voice asking you “What is the music of life?“, the answer to this question is “Silence, My Brother“.

Falkreath black door
Falkreath Sanctuary Black Door

Once you’ve given the correct answer to the Black Door, you can enter Sanctuary where you will soon meet the rest of the Dark Brotherhood members. You are obligated to answer the Black Door’s question only when you are entering the Sanctuary for the first time. 

Dawnstar Sanctuary Black Door 

The other Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary in Skyrim, Dawnstar Sanctuary is guarded by the Black Door as well. You will need to enter this Sanctuary during the quest “The Cure for Madness”. 

After Cicero goes on a bloody rampage while you are away on a mission, Astrid will task you with finding him and ending his existence. You will track Cicero down and discover that he’s holing up in an old and abandoned Dawnstar Sanctuary. You will meet Arnbjorn near the entrance but he will not know the correct phrase needed to enter the sanctuary.

Dawnstar Black Door
Dawnstar Sanctuary Black Door

The phrase for the Dawnstar Black Door can be found in Cicero’s Journal, one of the quest items you will need to complete this quest. When you approach and interact with the Dawnstar Sanctuary Black Door the door will ask you “What is life’s greatest illusion?” the answer to this is “Innocence, my brother“. The answer can be found in the final volume of Cicero’s Journal (Vol. 5), on the fifth page. 

cicero journal

Once you’ve gained access to this catchphrase and entered the Sanctuary, the next time you find yourself here during the quests “Death Incarnate” and “Hail Sithis!” you will not be needed to provide the answer. 


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And that’s pretty much it, everything there is to know about Black Doors in Skyrim. If you’re interested in more Dark Brotherhood-related content you can check out our guide through the “Bound Until Death” quest

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