Medieval & Fantasy Minecraft Roleplaying

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[Project] Hollowworld Symphonic Poems


Survivor of Five Rivers
Hey Brown, you haven't posted anything in a while, and wasn't there something about writing music for the pantheon?

Well Jimbo, you're right, and that's what took me so long

Shalherana - The Lady of Life
(Volume up!)

Instrument featured: Harp

I'm back, and worse than ever before.

In order to properly explain this project I'm going to do a layman version and a big nerd version:

As an excuse for something to do and keep my art brain working, I set out on this project to create 3 pieces of art for all the current hollowworld pantheon (1 symbol, 1 drawing, 1 piece of music), and now I finally have the piece of the puzzle I'm actually semi-decent at; music. This is going to be much slower going than the drawings, because I can usually finish a drawing in a day or two, but writing music takes anywhere from a few days to a few years until you reach satisfaction. This one, after it was all said and done, took about 2 weeks.

Now onto the actual summary of what I'm doing: writing a symphonic poem for each diety, or in other terms, a piece of music that tells a story, a story outlined in the divine profiles and other books in game. This one is about Shelherana (obviously), and it is MUCH larger than I was expecting, even though this is still a greatly stripped down version of the original outline I made for myself. But I guess it's fitting, something this grand is deserving of the First. As far as the actual music goes, I tried my best to emulate an older style, as well as restricting the kinds of instruments I use to revolve around older practices. Given the ACTUAL timeframe of HW this is still way too advanced, but I didn't want to restrict myself so far back as to I wasn't going to enjoy myself, so I compromised.

And for any lore fans, I implore you to listen for musical cues that might represent different parts of the dieties stories. And if you really care, listen for what instrument gets the most exposure in each of the pieces that I'm putting out, they'll be different every time. Representing the dieties in music and with specific instruments, how very unoriginal of you Brown.



I don't actually know how many people here are going to understand a word of what I'm saying but it sure helps me just by putting things in writing so /shrug

A more in depth explanation of what is going on for any music aficionados. Creative limitation is a very powerful thing, and this project has certainly been the most restrictive to date. I knew I wanted at least an orchestra, for how big a project this was, but I also needed to keep to older conventions to fit the HW setting. I eventually settled with small, classical era orchestra (full string section, and a sort of double wind quintet; 2 flutes, oboe, clarinet, bassoon for woodwinds, and 2 trumpets, 2 french horns, and 2 trombones for brass) and romantic/baroque era stylistic conventions. While both those are far too advanced for the pre-renaissance era HW is technically in, romantic and baroque are both styles I have studied for years, so I know how to write for them, I knew I would enjoy it, and it was 'old enough' to pass off. Regardless, some modern techniques do sneak in because as a contemporary classical composer, it's kinda hard to avoid. Nevertheless this has been the strangest experience for me. As mentioned, this is a style that I have studied and enjoyed for years, so I know exactly what makes it work and I know exactly how to write for it. But that doesn't change the fact that it is SO far removed from how I usually write music that I constantly double over on myself saying "this sounds good, I know why it sounds good, I know exactly what I'm doing.... but it's just so weird coming from me!" Triads and melodies and a LOT of strings. I am happy with the results, but it's still a shock knowing that I made this.

The length of the piece is a bit troublesome, even though the form essentially boils down to Intro A B A. This may also have something to do with someone challenging me to also modulate to all 12 keys, some are more subtle than others. Modulating that much and in the way I have is most definitely not an older style, but I couldn't turn the challenge down. I ended on this sequence: Ab major, Db major, D major, E minor, G minor, C minor, Eb major, F# major, F major, A major, B major, E major, and finally, C major. Goddess of Nature? Of course you have to end on C major. As far as the structure and poem goes, figure that one out on your own. All the lore is there, giving it away is boring.
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I love this so much, like a good game OST can enthrall me for hours. And this does effectively the same thing, really giving me that immersive feeling of like a beautiful origin, followed by desecration, and then like a hint of perseverance, exactly how I think of Shally.

Not to mention those trumpets and that melodic motif throughout? Goosebumps, each time. The harp especially gives me like Dragon Quest IX vibes. Like, especially the part where they go to see the Almighty, the music and atmosphere is serene but also mysterious?

I dunno, I'm not particularly knowledgeable in music theory past my own instrument, so I can't speak to the form of it or anything. But I really think you've outdone yourself with this beautiful piece. I'm so excited to see what else you can come up with.