UPDATE: There's now a working draft for "Soul Music" at http://sandbox.scp-wiki.net/gigmaster-s-sandbox
Alrighty, this is my first idea for an SCP, so be gentle.
… What am I kidding. Bring out the plastic wiffle bats with the rusty nails.
Here's the concept: ordinary wooden violin with case, rosin and bow, made in ~1700s. Found in estate sale in Scotland in 1940, came into the custody of heiress who died on stage a month later while giving a benefits concert after having no known musical skill. 'Appropriated' by Foundation agents. Found to have four distinct anomalous properties; apart from the following, it is no different than any other wooden violin, and containment includes a properly conditioned space to prevent warping and cracking.
1. Persons playing the violin gain skill in playing it remarkably quickly; they report 'finding their talent in life,' 'more relaxed and focused than ever,' 'discovering themselves at last,' etc. Imagine the feeling you get when you finally write something good - and know it. They feel compelled to continue practicing.
2. When someone who has been practicing with the violin for a short amount of time plays for an audience of even one person, the audience is affected by a similar feeling, but on the receiving end, feeling profound pleasure and ease while listening to the person performing. In addition, their overall mental health improves as they listen, with greater effects evidenced the longer they listen. This includes (but is not limited to) the ability to cure mental illnesses, including some inflicted by the effects of other SCPs.
3. Persons performing for someone else shorten their life as they play; the intensity of the effect is related to how long they play, and how many people they play for. This can either be overt - dying on stage as their 'appointed time' comes - or more subtle, with them dying from a heart attack several days after a performance, hugging the violin to their cooling body.
4. Persons who have played the violin feel a steady compulsion to play it again, and/or show off their ability to others. If prevented from doing so, feelings of ennui and depression manifest in 100% of subjects, generally terminating in suicide after a medium amoung of time. In addition, any who listen to the instrument with musical ability or talent (not necessarily trained) will feel an urge to 'pick up the torch' when the last player to use it passes on.
Thoughts? I mostly want to make sure something exactly like this hasn't been done before. I also want to double check that being able to ease mental illnesses won't break some part of the collectively assumed setting. If there aren't any critical stumbling blocks, I'll start writing this up over the weekend.