Challenge: Retcon TES III-V theme to Daggerfall

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Malentor
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Re: Challenge: Retcon TES III-V theme to Daggerfall

Postby Malentor » Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:06 pm

I personally prefer Heberling's theme to that of the later Elder Scrolls, by a huge margin - possibly because it wasn't in my face every time I played the game. :p

The Morrowind theme got on my nerves very quickly, and it is only by the grace of the nice choir work that I can stand listening to Skyrim's version of the theme.

Just tried listening to Morrowind's theme again, and it still feels just as annoying. Sigh.
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Phobos Anomaly
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Re: Challenge: Retcon TES III-V theme to Daggerfall

Postby Phobos Anomaly » Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:57 pm

One thing I notice is that the music of Daggerfall in general has more "dramatic" chords progression, instead of the morrowind theme which is more "emotive", trying to merge the both is a task that requires a good compositional sense which I don't have. I think AlKhwarizmi's piece achieved that, but I end-up making something more "morrowindly" than "daggerfallian" hehe.

http://depositfiles.org/files/euil16ocw

The pass is phbs.

I use the same Key and some instrument of GStory, that way the ear will perhaps approach to a familiarity with daggerfall.
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Brendan_
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Re: Challenge: Retcon TES III-V theme to Daggerfall

Postby Brendan_ » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:51 pm

@AlKhwarizmi:
I certainly recognized Daggerfall passages in your composition. I didn't really sense any of GStory in it though and I expected it would be the core of the theme, not the famous OverSnow or other in-game tracks. I think the high hat cymbals were too jazzy for the main theme of an epic fantasy.

And also I didn't hear the Soule motif. TES III, IV, and V all use it more-or-less down to the same notes, just with different tempo and instruments.
I get your idea of sounding like something the Soule motif evolved from. But I think it works better if it is the same species. Musically it's a brand mark saying "This Is the Main Theme of an Elder Scrolls Chapter".



Carefully listening to "Nerevar Rising", "Reign of the Septims", and "Dragonborn" their structures basically mix what I keep referring to as the "Soule motif" without actually explaining what I mean (I'll get to that) and passages that are uniquely their own. I think mixing the most distinctive passages from GStory with the passage common to all the other Chapter themes -- the Soule motif -- will do the most honor to original Daggerfall and its place as part of the most amazing RPG series ever.


So, what am I referring to with "Soule motif"?
Nerevar Rising, 0:08 to 0:24. This is the motif shared by all the main themes of TES III-V. But the passage from 0:08 to 0:37 (or so) is what Nerevar Rising repeats three times (like the Tribunal), growing grander each time. Dragonborn quotes this Full Soule passage, while Reign of the Septims trails off at the note we hear at 0:24 and does its own thing.
Reign of the Septims, 2:11 to 2:20. This composition differs markedly from Nerevar Rising. Before getting into the melody, it does a slow but driving build-up with strings and shimmering cymbals, then brightly powers through the Soule motif with brass, crescendos to a fevered pitch before breaking to a serene flight of strings. It goes back and forth between bombast and serenity.
Dragonborn, 1:53 to 6:08. Dragonborn actually uses the Full Soule passage that Nerevar Rising is made of, but you'll snatches of in the brass earlier in the piece. Dragonborn is, however, full of its own unique passages before it ever gets around to putting this motif front-and-center. It has a longer build-up than Reign of the Septims but features chorus and drums heavily, while its predecessors were more strings and brass.


So, with now two terms -- Soule motif and Full Soule passage -- after analysis, what to do with Daggerfall?

The composition of GStory actually is very similar to what Soule did. It could be called 1+1+2. The Soule motif is 1+1; the same little ditty is repeated twice, but with a twist the second time around. The Full Soule has 1+1 and adds on 2 -- a longer phrase that just winds down from the high note 1+1 ends on. And in Nerevar Rising, it just repeats those 4(?) measures three times.

GStory is similar with its 1+1+2, but instead goes back to 1+1 in a way that sounds like "The End" ...before starting again. Honestly, GSTORY.MID seems like the second half is absolutely identical to the first, like midi copy+paste. So until someone proves that wrong, I'll consider it properly to be 1A+1B+2+1A+1C.

Thematically, GStory is rather different. TES III-V are more emotive and expressionistic. GStory is a slow march with military and funeral qualities, grand and somber. Given the game's backstory -- two dead kings after a ruinous war -- it fits the sense of national tragedy. It could be said GStory is more about the world while TES III-V are more about the hero, though Nerevar Rising feels like it's more about Vvardenfell than the Nerevarine.



My suggestion:
Slow build up as a military funeral march rhythm, put the Soule motif in a minor key at the beginning, then 1A+1B+2, break off into something light and beautiful, then bring the grim and fatalistic curtain down with 1A+1C.
Basically, you start with a funeral, go to new life and rebirth, then a reminder that everything still dies ...or haunts its own home crying for revenge.
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Brendan_
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Re: Challenge: Retcon TES III-V theme to Daggerfall

Postby Brendan_ » Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:07 pm

Malentor wrote:I personally prefer Heberling's theme to that of the later Elder Scrolls, by a huge margin - possibly because it wasn't in my face every time I played the game. :p

I agree, you hear it too often playing Morrowind. My opinion is that it shouldn't have been played in-game, at least not after your first arrival in Seyda Neen. The main theme ought to be in the title sequence (which Morrowind did), and continue into the main menu if you click past. It shouldn't reappear while you're actually playing; that only signals an out-of-game context.
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Re: Challenge: Retcon TES III-V theme to Daggerfall

Postby AlKhwarizmi » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:12 pm

In this try, the decision of not including GStory was intentional. I wanted to have a try at what I could do by combining elements from my favorite Daggerfall music and building my own theme. (not that GStory is not at the level of my favorites too, but as it didn't appear in game, I didn't develop the same fondness for it - I think I didn't even know it until I started browsing these forums).

About not including the literal Soule motif, it can easily be done in the second half of my composition (the progression of the melody is the same, so if we change the current melody to the Soule motif with a matching key and rhythm and adapt the accompaniment, it should basically work). Honestly, if I didn't do it it was mainly because I was thinking about copyright. Daggerfall is free so adapting its tracks to modern technologies to distribute them in an also free remake should be fine, but the games that have the Soule motif are not free, so I thought maybe there could be a legal problem. But maybe there isn't, I don't know enough about these things.

Anyway, my plan (if I don't get a busy streak at work) is to make more tries from different angles, including using GStory, as it has been fun to use a tracker again. This one I can always use for my own future RPG :)
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Re: Challenge: Retcon TES III-V theme to Daggerfall

Postby Gez » Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:54 pm

I love the Daggerfall soundtrack, and I can't get tired of the Morrowind main theme (Nerevar Rising/Call of Magic).

I have neither the talent, the technical knowledge, nor the patience to go much further than this, but here's my idea of how to retcon the Elder Scrolls theme into Story. (The G is for General MIDI, since Daggerfall had different versions for FM synth and wavetable cards. If Story made it to the final game, there might have been an FSTORY.MID for people with Adlibs...)

Yeah it's just the first few seconds of GMIDI with some minuscule tweaks. I have literally no idea how to edit MIDI. I took some free software thing called Sekaiju and fumbled awkwardly around. Moving the notes, inserting some, everything done very approximatively... And then deleting everything after the first few seconds because I can't imagine repeating the process throughout the entire song.

But hey, if my idea for how the themes can be mixed inspires a real musician, I'll be glad I did it.
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Re: Challenge: Retcon TES III-V theme to Daggerfall

Postby greenlight » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:58 pm

The file doesn't play for me...? Winamp can't play it, although I used it to play midi files before.
In Soviet Russia books burn nazis...
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Re: Challenge: Retcon TES III-V theme to Daggerfall

Postby Brendan_ » Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:10 pm

Future RPG? Intriguing...

I'm really glad you're having fun composing again. I take it you've done some in the past. Any old tracks to share?

Songs can't be copyrighted, only performances and recordings. Sampling the themes would be illegal, but making your own recording playing the notes-- even with the exact same instrument played with exactly the same rhythm, attack, everything-- is 100% legal. The only way to get into trouble is claiming your recording wasn't you but Jeremy Soule playing, and that would be more a matter of fraud or maaaaybe libel.
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jet800
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Re: Challenge: Retcon TES III-V theme to Daggerfall

Postby jet800 » Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:49 am

greenlight wrote:The file doesn't play for me...? Winamp can't play it, although I used it to play midi files before.

The only player i was able to play it with was... WMP (windows media player). Weird!
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Re: Challenge: Retcon TES III-V theme to Daggerfall

Postby Gez » Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:55 am

It's probably because I am a clueless noob at making MIDI files. That said, it works for me in WMP, XMPlay, Foobar2000, and even in this.

I haven't used WinAmp for over a decade, so I dunno. Does it need a MIDI plugin? If so, do you have it? Does it requires configuring a soundfont (like XMPlay does)?

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