Skyrim Soundtrack Facts & Trivia

Skyrim is a captivating game, to say the least. The engaging gameplay, the exciting plot, and the fact that players can't help but sit on the edge of their seats while playing are just a few elements that make Skyrim one of the most sought-after games today.

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But something the creators absolutely perfected, maybe even overly so, is the game's musical composition. The soundtrack by Jeremy Soule made up of 53 beautifully composed tracks takes everyone by surprise. Some people don't consider this on a conscious level, but music takes a huge part in any gaming experience. And those who have an understanding of music recognize right away, that Skyrim's is something special.

7 Moving Away From Melody

People who have an ear for music compositions recognize, that most of the soundtrack is not exactly melodic. This is most recognizable in the fifth game of the series, when Todd Howard decided to go with a much more aggressive musical style, leaving traditional melody behind.

Ditching the melody leaves people with an alluring mix of musical motifs, that help gamers submerge into the world of Skyrim. Soule understood the assignment perfectly, and while he strayed further and further from traditional methods, he created the perfect non-melodic melody by adding hints of musicality that hold the entire piece together even in the chaos, therefore making it perfectly understandable to listeners.

6 The Inspiration Behind Soule's Creation

While this was not said aloud by the creator, music lovers everywhere are trying to figure out what inspired Soule to create this masterpiece. It's almost glaringly obvious that he was inspired by great composers from centuries ago. Although the soundtrack perfectly represents his own style, there are occurrences where great composers like Tschaikovsky come back to life.

It's obvious from his past works that Soule is an "old school" composer, who is often inspired by the greats of the past. The melodies and textures he uses, and the methods he represents bring these composers back to the present day, and he perfectly mixes this with his own electroacoustic style. Thankfully, he's not the only great composer involved with gaming today who is looking back to the greats for inspiration.

Elder Scrolls ​​​​​is among the most well-known games for a lot of reasons. And one of those is the perfect musical background that accompanies the gameplay. The game has a Scandinavian theme, and gamers take the role of Dragonborn, a mortal being with the power and soul of a dragon. This of course led to the creators of the game craving a fitting soundtrack for the hero.

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Todd Howard decided to reach for the stars and envisioned a choir of barbarians singing the epic soundtrack. Soule took this to the next level by creating an entirely new dragonic language which the barbarians could sing in unison. This later became one of the most well-known scores in the game.

4 Who Were The One Hundred Barbarian Singers?

It's no surprise that most music today involves heavy editing and "trickery", for the better good of the final product. This is true for the Skyrim soundtrack as well. What sounds like at least one hundred barbarians singing the epic soundtrack was in fact a choir of just 30 people.

The effect was achieved seamlessly by layering multiple recordings sung by the same choir, but n slightly different ways. A lot of movies and other soundtracks use this method to achieve a fuller sound, while only having to put together a relatively small choir.

3 The Lyrics Rhymes In Both Languages

To make the assignment even harder, creators wanted Soule to compose a song that would rhyme in both the made-up barbarian language and English as well. And so, surprisingly, it does. The song makes sense in both languages and conveys almost the exact same meaning. Above all else, it does rhyme in both languages.

Additionally, this means that players can read the lyrics in English, and live through a similar experience as if they were listening to the original soundtrack. And while only a few people take the time to find and read the text, it's absolutely worth it.

2 Behind The Technique

A lot of untraditional techniques are used in the soundtrack of Skyrim. Simply put, Soule experiments with the feeling of melody existing and not existing in the same score. By keeping various keys between two comfortable states, he creates a more neutral and unusual environment. But why is this important?

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Because of these long-lasting neutral tones, gamers get used to a sort of dissonance and lack of resolution, and ultimately boundlessness. This is later enhanced by other musical techniques. And to bring this full-circle, there are also added perfect chords, which everyone recognizes, creating a sense of openness and familiarity. This phenomenon was explored by Michiel Kamp and Mark Sweeney in "Musical Landscapes in Skyrim"

1 Bringing The Environment To Life

The most important thing to consider when thinking about game soundtracks is that they have to completely submerge gamers into a specific world. And when that world is something fictitious and varied, the task becomes even harder. Thankfully, Soule was the perfect match for this game, as he successfully brought all environments of the game to life.

While there are elements that are similar for listeners from basic music theory or other games in the series, Soule does an amazing job introducing variety into the soundtrack by using different layers, and even psychology to the soundtrack. With the use of huge gaps, perfect melodies, and even the lack of melody at times, he creates a world that can be relived by players by only listening to the soundtrack.

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

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