Posted by: Joy | March 9, 2009

Guest Post: Music of the Races: Alliance

To put it simply, music is inescapable. Even as far off as Draenor or the countless worlds conquered by the Burning Legion, music is – more likely than not – still present. However, the question is… We know what human music is like; but what about orcs and draenei or even the non-playable races like tuskarr or nerubians? Well, this is why Blogatelle exists, so let’s take a look, starting with the player races of the Alliance.

Humans: Humans in Azeroth is likely the only race we’ll ever truly relate to, so relating to their music should be simple. Take, if you will, the grand cathedral of Stormwind City. The church is in congregation, the priests and paladins are kneeling in reverence to the Holy Light, and the common people fill the pews, reading from their sacred texts. What music would be playing? Or, for a better question, would any music be playing? Would there be sacred, Gregorian-esque chants? It may depend on the situation. During an Azerothian “high mass,” then an organ would likely be played, complete with sacred hymns involving the entirety of the church. During an everyday, non-special occasion, then a simple prayer and small chant would be appropriate.

This is only sacred music, though; what of the secular, the music of the faires and taverns? A light, jaunty brass tune during a “night on the town,” or maybe a violin and harp during a more fancy event, like a ball. This doesn’t even take into account travelling performers, such as symphonies, troupes, or “gypsies,” for lack of a better term. Music of the human race is all around, and while not as widespread as it once was (due to the destruction of Lordaeron and the apparent inability to reclaim Stromgarde from Defias and trolls and whatnot), it is still around. Music, along with the other arts, must be a huge inspiration to humanity in times of great peril, such as this. Think about it, with the Lich King back in full force and your son or daughter away in Northrend, what better way to take your mind off such troubling thoughts than going to the faire and listening to a few songs?

Dwarves: Ah, the dwarves. Ale, beards… More ale. Life looks like a constant party if you’re standing outside of a dwarven tavern, slack-jawed at how such a tiny man could down half a keg of ale. But what about the music? Well, in this setting it’d definitely be upbeat; perhaps some bagpipe music accompanied by other various woodwinds. A very “Scottish” feel, for lack of a better word. Also, let’s throw in some percussion, just for good measure, to keep the rhythm.

But what happens when a dwarf is to march to war in his father’s armor? Let’s visualize, if we shall, a dwarven fleet, loaded with soldiers and siege weapons, sailing to Northrend. This may, or may not, be the “constant party” spoken of above. These brave men and women are probably fearing for their lives, though, so a party might just do the trick. However, a traditional dwarven war song would likely be heavily percussionistic, using large drums to keep time during a march. From the Storm Peaks, a horn sounds, alerting your group to the danger. You and your men charge and pushe back the invading Scourge forces. After the battle, which held no dwarven casualities, a party is held. More ale and more beards!

Gnomes: Ah, gnomes… This one could be a bit difficult, but just a bit. Okay, let’s start with what we know about gnomes. They’re inventive, in terms of engineering and even everyday life. They’re curious, insanely so. Alright, so let’s take this information and translate it into something musical.

One word: Synthesizers. Granted, not as complex as we may think of them today, but come on, it fits gnomes to a “T.” Perfect for their engineering nature, and (since we can assume that an Azerothian synthesizer would be new) would draw upon the curiosity aspects of many would-be gnomish musicians.

What about experimental music? Something to test what, exactly, a musical instrument would sound like, say… If a piece of it was missing, or if it was merged with something else, or even made in a completely different way. Or perhaps music so abstract that you can’t really tell what’s being played.

I was hoping to link all of these different races and styles to a culture, or even subculture, in our real world for a bit of “connection” to make things a bit more clear; sadly, however, I could not find anything (outside of experimental music) that would ‘link up’ to gnomish music.

Night Elves: If, in my mind, there’s one instrument that could describe the general overview of kal’dorei music, it’s the string, followed closely by the woodwind. Now, mind you, I’m not an expert on any kal’dorei-ian music, but they seem to have a very “nature” feel, and the strings and woodwind sounded “nature” to me.

Also, another thing that pops to mind: They seem very… Asian? Japanese? Something along those lines. Imagine, if you will (which I imagine you will, since you’ve probably been doing so already), a small courtyard setting. A group of musicians play along the roads in Darnassus, plucking strings and blowing gently into woodwinds. Maybe on an instrument not too unlike a shakuhachi or koto, they play some rather soothing songs.

But, someone asks mid-typing, what about war? Well, to that I say, stop interrupting my typing I could see a good deal of percussion involved. Probably a good deal of “thud-pause-thud-pause” type of music. Very… slow may be the word, but I believe controlled would be the better one.

Draenei: Oh… sweet happiness. Where to begin with this totally original (from what I know, anyway) race? Okay. Crystals play a big part in Draenic society, so let’s have some conjecture, hm?

Alright, let’s say… Ah, let’s make this back on Draenor. Orcs are doing their shaman thing, ogres are being less-than-terribly-bright, and all is right with the world. So, you (the draenei in question) sit down and pull out your cherished set of chimes, perhaps Naaru-shaped chimes. Gently, you tap one with your finger, the first chime is knocked into the second, so on, so forth.

What about a chime “concert” of sorts? A few draenei get together and begin to play (or let the wind play) their assortment of chimes; maybe even some of them glowed with spectacular colors to enhance the mood. I don’t know why, really, but I could definitely see chimes being a highly used draenic instrument. Maybe because my first thought about naaru was “Holy crap, magical windchime race.”

Let’s end that here, shall we? I’m a bit busy thinking of ideas for part two (Horde Music) and being swayed by those last few links.

Sorry about the time it took (And sorry it took us so long to approve – ed.) but here it is… in half its entirety. The Horde article will be up soon; as usual, ‘ave a good’un, all.

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Responses

  1. I’d go so far as to say that the nature and resonance of Draenei crystals would be more like bells – that was the first thing that always struck me about these crystals.

    Plus, what about magnetic ramifications between one crystal type and another, that might make them hum?

  2. Really? I never thought of it that way, but’cha know, it does make sense, the bell thing. Chimes and bells would be pretty akin, wouldn’t they? Both tiny percussion instruments and whatnot.

    Also, I had no idea about the magnetic properties of crystals. Would’ja mind going into detail about that, or linking something? (An email, PM, etc.’d be fine.)


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