Since I've completed my debut novel and am working on my next project, I thought I'd share some of the music scores I've been listening to that helped inspire some of the scenes in my novel. These scores can either serve you as a reader or a writer. For me, they were definitely helpful when I wanted to complete a particular scene (eg. battle, duel, a chase, escape, etc.). I'm embedding some of the tracks I'm referencing from Spotify. Hopefully, they can play on your platform as well.
1. The Epic Fantasy Battle Scene
The Epic Fantasy Battle score is probably the most sought after. No fantasy work can go without a major epic battle or two in a book. However, to hunt for the right score that goes well with your scene is often difficult, because the track itself may already have its own pulse, beats and crescendos that do not match your specific peaks and valleys.
Still, there are definitely lots out there, most of which can be easily found in film soundtracks like Gladiator's The Battle or The Lord of the Rings' The Fields of Pelenor. You may also reference game soundtracks like those from The Witcher series, God of War and so on. Personally for me, I'd prefer tracks that are more obscure and not attached to a published media (so the imagery in my head is fresh and not influenced). There are a few that gets me going like Audiomachine, Ninja Tracks and Two Steps from Hell. Check out Impervious by Audiomachine, The Machination by Ninja Tracks and A Million Deaths - Orchestral version by Fleshgod Apocalypse. The latter track has a unique mix of urgency and emotion, while keeping the tone rather melancholic and moody. Just take a listen and share your comments.
2. The Duel or Melee Fight scene
The one-on-one duel is another scene that happens quite often in fantasy. If it is a major duel with the main villain or something, normally the fight moves from one scene to another, and the music picks up as they fight, chase and fight again. Great scores from Rob Roy or Robin Hood might come to mind, but if you're looking for something without the baggage of an attached film or game, check out Corruption from Two Steps from Hell. If you want something a little more melancholic (as they fight, tire themselves, reconsider what's at stake and then fight again), listen to You Are a Memory by Message To Bears. Finally, a great go-to score would be Ten Thousand Slain by Audiomachine. This track may also serve as an epic battle score.
3. The Chase or Pursuit Scene
Some stories may involve the protagonist and his/her crew/clan/merry band of adventurers, escaping from something, someone or whatever. While a score from any of the Indiana Jones movies comes immediately to mind, I thought something a little more unique sounding might be useful for the purpose of this article. Probably the pursuit involves detours, distractions, stumbles, near-captures and a fight breaking out in a square or something. If your fantasy world has an oriental feel to it, then you might want to consider listening to Flight Of The Silverbird by Two Steps from Hell. For something a little more medieval European style (especially if it's a pirate chase/escape scene), consider Norwegian Pirate from the same team. One of my personal favorites is Leap of Faith by Audiomachine from their excellent Ascendance album.
4. The Climatic Plot Twist or Reveal Scene
There are probably scenes in the story that has a sudden plot twist or reveal that make you go 'Holy---!' or something. Well, there are scores I usually turn to sort of mentally prepare myself for. Going back to Audiomachine's Ascendance album, Prevail is one of them. It has a major uplift that crescendos to an amazing level. Take a listen. Another great track from the same album is Invocation. This track has a slow build-up at first (perhaps a conversational or discovery scene before the major reveal, but once it hits its crescendo, you'll know that moment). Another great track for plot twist reveal would be Singularity by Nick Murray and Roger Shah. While the track starts off soft, it really picks up. The track can also serve for scenes where the character flies, surges upwards, makes a big sacrifice and so on.
5. The Revelation or Great Discovery Scene
There are probably also scenes where the protagonist(s) uncover a secret or stumbles onto a hidden lair/treasure/etc. Maybe they are tempted but needed to do some soul-searching or question the honor and integrity of what they were doing. Maybe there's a scene where the protagonist needed to be alone for awhile upon realizing that there's a higher level perspective to things rather than just what's mundane or routine. Tom Player's Close Your Eyes is a fantastic score to set the mood for such a scene. Another similar score is Danny Olson's Sol and Horizon, both of which start off slow and soft but build up into an awe-inspiring crescendo.
Well I hope these have been useful and inspiring. Let me know if there are scenes you're working on or reading that aren't covered above and maybe I'll add on more recommended tracks to the list. Cheers!
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About the Creator
Terry Astrial is an alias I'm using for this website & our social media channels (yep, it's not my real name). I'm born & raised in Asia.