Sep 10, 2013

Nine Songs for the New World

Hey, folks! Sorry I missed my appointment with the latest short story finalist. I was, um, delayed (yeah, by your own laziness. Shut up.) I will most likely post the next one on schedule this week. Until then, let me amuse you by living up to my nickname of Jukebox Princess.

This is a post I've had in mind for a while, ever since I started working on the New World portion of my story. Even though my writing has grown vastly since I started using One Year Adventure Novel, I'm still roughly adhering to the OYAN story structure, the major points of which are as follows:

The Inciting Incident
Embracing Destiny
The New World
Black Moment
The Coming Storm

From the curriculum: 

Chapter four is our introduction to a whole new world neither we nor the hero have experienced before. This new world can be one of magic, or of a far-off land. It can be a new world of knowledge or a new trade...whatever the world of your novel is, this is where we truly see it for the first time. Another common function of [this section] is the introduction of tests posed by the new world. This new world, be it one of knowledge or of magic or of China or of slavery, is and must be a wild, untamed place with rules and dangers all its own. Such a place demands talent, skill and practice if it is to be overcome. The hero must not climb the mountain too easily or overnight.

In the case of my novel, the New World actually comes before the Embracing Destiny, but mine is also a double-whammy, with Arionwyn thrown into the dangerous realm of magic and a foreign country not entirely friendly to her kind. It's only after she embraces her destiny that she returns to territory familiar to her.

But enough of that. If you follow a structure similar to OYAN's or even any structure at all, your character is likely to encounter an unfamiliar setting once in a while. Music for these scenes is likely to be wondering, bright and hopeful, and tinged with a little bit of mystery. And that's exactly what I've tried to compile. May I present to you: Nine Songs for the New World!

Jeremy Soule - The Streets of Whiterun
This song is excellent background music for "discovery" scenes or almost any upbeat low-key scenes. The gentle piano/harp pattern in the background complement a soaring violin melody with rising strings and subtle choir.

Anne Dudley - A Different Land
Anne Dudley picks up the pace a bit in this song reminiscent of an archaic marketplace from the movie Tristan and Isolde. Bustling drums and nimble strings lend a sense of busy-ness and an alien setting without being too obvious.

John Powell - Wounded
"Why don't you away?" This brief but well-loved piece begins with a bang and rapidly descends into soft vocals, chimes, and trilling strings. Even though I've seen the movie multiple times (which usually cripples my use of the soundtrack) I can still imagine so many things to this song...mermaids, jungles, hidden treasure.

Two Steps From Hell - Beneath the Ice
In this unreleased track from TSfH's Skyworld, soft electronic chimes and low strings lead into a soaring melody that has it all - beauty, mystery, majesty, grandeur. Really makes me wonder what they found beneath the ice...

James Newton Howard - Penthouse/Training
This odd piece by James Newton Howard, a favorite composer of mine, explores the poignant, wistful sense of leaving home behind, coupled with the possible dangers of the new setting. (Allow me to geek out for a moment: Every time I hear Katniss' home theme at 1:21, it makes me want to bawl.)

Ramin Djawadi - The Kingsroad
This piece stands out of the mostly low-key Game of Thrones soundtrack. A string melody in an extended variation on the main theme sweeps across the song, breaking now and then with huge drums like waves upon the shore.

Howard Shore - The Council of Elrond
The first half of this song is an old standby of mine. Not only does it feature the beautiful voice of Enya, but it conveys a sense of starlit wonder that was just perfect for the opening scenes with Arionwyn in Laecla. The soft, alien elven theme builds into a gorgeous, floating melody featuring a minimalistic duo between Enya and a few low, melancholy strings.

Epic Soul Factory - Grasping Some Beauty
This one was a wild card for me, neither from a movie I'd seen nor an artist I liked. I can't even remember where I found it on the wide, wide web. But as soon as I heard the echoing piano melody, accompanied by the odd background noises, I was hooked. I based a drabble of mine off this song and I love it to this day.

Jo Blankenburg - Arion
I wish I had more occasion to use this one. A beautiful piano undercurrent runs through lofty strings and a gripping key change before coming to rest in a clean, majestic ending suitable perhaps for a midnight flight on dragonback. I also suggest you investigate Leaving Lemuria by the same artist.


Harry Gregson-Williams - Journey to the How
I probably listened to the first minute and forty-eight seconds of this song about 200 times while writing in one of my favorite settings: The Boundary Forest. It made me very glad my mp3 player has a "repeat section" function, because that minute-and-forty-eight-seconds is about as perfect for my setting as a piece of music can get. Harp trills and fairy-like chimes pervade the background of this gentle but ominous track. I think I've listened to the rest of it about twice. Picky, I know.

Well, there you have it: nine songs for your new world. (Ten if you count the last third of one.) Have I missed any of your favorites? What music have you used for writing the New World in your novel?

(Image credit:


Sandra said...

Hmm, I think I'll have to revisit this post once I get into the New World stage. A lot of these songs would help! Thanks!

Victoria Grace Howell said...

These are some neat pieces! Thank you! :) I love this kind of music. :D

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Sarah Ellen said...

Great idea, Elizabeth, I love this post!

I've been trying to think of how to ask you this, so I think the best way is just a comment on one of your more recent posts:
On my own blog I'm about to start a monthly post based on a "fave five" idea - just posting some of my favorite things for the month (usually dealing with writing and such). I was wondering - I so enjoyed your post "Intelligence" (and just your blog in general) that I was curious if you'd be willing to let me reference it in a couple weeks on my blog? If you'd rather me not do that, no problem, just let me know. Thanks!

ElizabethLiberty said...

Sorry I didn't reply! I've been out of it for a while. :D And wow, no, I wouldn't mind at all! That'll make two places that post has been backlinked. Who knew my ramblings could be so popular. xD

Sarah Ellen said...

Thanks so much, Elizabeth! :D I'll be mentioning your post on the first Monday in October :)