prodigy = unusually gifted individual
prothalamion = a song that celebrates a (future or present) wedding, close to epithalamium = a lyric ode in honor of bride and/or groom (Kingsolver describing birdsong)
sibiliant = a consonant pronounced with a hissing sound (used by Kingsolver: "sibilant percussion" of dripping leaves)......speech sounds produced by forcing air through a constricted passage (as in the consonants f, s, z, or th as in thin)
Paganini = Italian virtuoso violinist, guitarist and composer (1782-1840). Child prodigy who started to fall into the pit of excess at age 16, but was helped by an unnamed lady who took him in for 3 years to study music and recover. He kept the scores to his violin parts secret. He had mercury poisoning that hurt his ability to play, and died of throat cancer.
deviant = diverging from what is considered acceptable behavior within a certain society. Esp: sexual deviance.