Just a quick update on my last post on the music of World of Warcraft. In a comment (the only one…) Mann said that his favorite music in the game is the Azuremyst Isle theme. I just checked it and it actually is very enjoyable and very soothing. The oboe (clarinet too?) and harp theme is very tuned to the surroundings and my dirty undead warlock’s Karma almost got cleansed by it! I had to go pay Prophet Velen an extremely short visit in order to get back to the dark side.
That got me thinking about the music in the older regions of Azeroth and, then, I remembered my first steps as a Blood Elf on Sunstrider Isle, in Eversong Woods and in Ghostlands. I had forgotten about it but those zones have some of the best theme music in the game. The cello dominating the soundtrack is, obviously, dear to my heart as I’ve been playing the damn thing since I was eight.
That soundtrack came out with Burning Crusade and was written by Russel Brower, Derek Duke and Matt Uelmen. Besides the obvious graphical overhaul since the launch of vanilla WoW, you can definitely tell that Blizzard has paid a lot of attention to the mood and feel of those new zones. The Blood Elves and Draenei starting zones have awesome soundtracks and the whole music of Northrend is some of the best written for a computer game in my opinion.
It’s a funny thing, the cello. Most people just know it’s some kind of big violin but most of them have been affected by it at some level. Whenever you watch a movie and the general mood seems to switch to melancholy/nostalgia, listen carefully to the music. Chances are that a cello took over the score. I read once that the cello had such a profound effect on human emotions because it was the one instrument whose frequencies resonated the most with the human voice. I have to say that listening to Teodora Miteva play the Kol Nidrei by Max Bruch, automatically brings tears in my eyes… and I’m a tough cookie when it comes to letting my emotions seep through!
Talking about tear jerking music, Symphony No.3 by Gorecki is absolutely amazing. I can only listen to it on sunny days or when I’m high on serotonin… It was first played in a church in Warsaw to commemorate the atrocities committed by the nazys during world war II. It’s heartwrenching as it is but when you know that the lyrics for the second movement are based on words that were scribbled by a woman on a Gestapo cell wall, it’s, well, too much for words really.
One last thing about the resonance of instruments with humans. In the song Jenny Wren by Paul Mc Cartney, he used an instrument called Duduk. It’s a traditionnal middle and eastern Europe flute thingy and when I first heard it, I couldn’t tell if that was someone’s voice or something else.
Listen to it and tell me that’s not one of the prettiest instruments you’ve ever heard, after the cello…