The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Character themes for the Order

    I'm an amateur musician who is taking a bit of a short-term break from music for health-related reasons, but as I am a huge fan of the OOTS, I wanted to take a stab at what sort of character themes would work for the OOTS.

    Depending on how things go, I might end up producing these. Overall music style, I'm thinking old RPGs - maybe FF6 or FF7 styled.
    Here are some quick dumps for individual character themes and leitmotifs.

    Given how much the main characters develop between stories, it might be fitting to right a new theme for each main character for each book.

    Roy -

    I was thinking something with a plodding synth bass - slow, but not overly serious or epic.
    Not sure about what to use for his lead instrument for his "character" theme, but for more epic scenes I'm definitely thinking of bringing in some epic orchestral strings.
    Honestly, I have the least ideas about what to do with him musically.

    Haley -
    I want Hayley's themes to feature a violin prominently. The instrument is suited well to slow, sad pieces, as well as faster tunes with more swing - the sort of stuff you might here at a carnival.
    Hayley's main theme, for more lighthearted moments, would be in 3/4, with a strong rhythmic focus rather than anything to melodically complex. This would let me right up a simple, repetitive melodic figure, which I can then elaborate on for her more dramatic pieces.

    Elan -
    Boy, sure would be great if there was an instrument already associated with Elan, huh?
    Oh wait...
    Lutes are fun! I think Elans motif would definitely be in a major key, and have some sort of bounce to it.
    I might have it be similar to Halleys in that its in 3/4, but I want it to be cleary distinct - no dark elements at all.
    Nale's theme would probably be a dark reprise, with the lute replaced with maybe a Cello or even E-Guitar, if we want to bend genres a bit.
    Tarquin would take Elan's motif, and twist it into a march, with an additional motif over the top - (This motif would be associated with the "Empire of Blood")

    Durkon -
    I think Durkons main theme would be a march. Snare drums, Tuba, simple 2/4 time.
    Initially, I would have the lead be a rather heroic trumpet, which plays strong, straightforward lines that are echoed by a larger brass section.
    However, I'd then add a b section with a slightly sadder reprise, reflecting Durkon's exile - Although maybe this would only show up during the Book 2 theme, bc I'm not sure if it's referenced any earlier than that.

    Belkar -
    E-guitar, no question.
    The "basic" character themes are meant to reflect the characters outside of combat, so no thrashy death metal. quite yet (although that definitely shows up during battle themes), so I think this would be more bass-focused, with apprehensive percussion and an evil, but not serious-sounding lead.

    Varsuvius
    Piano, with a complicated classical melody.
    I'd structure it after a fugue, due to how important patterns and structures are in that sort of thing (plus, I like writing Fugues)

    So! Here's my overly vague storyboard for the themes of the six members of the order of the stick.
    What are your thoughts? Would you be interested in actually hearing me make these pieces? Would anyone like to hear my takes on themes for the other characters?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin Guard View Post
    I'm an amateur musician who is taking a bit of a short-term break from music for health-related reasons, but as I am a huge fan of the OOTS, I wanted to take a stab at what sort of character themes would work for the OOTS.

    Depending on how things go, I might end up producing these. Overall music style, I'm thinking old RPGs - maybe FF6 or FF7 styled.
    Here are some quick dumps for individual character themes and leitmotifs.

    Given how much the main characters develop between stories, it might be fitting to right a new theme for each main character for each book.

    Roy -

    I was thinking something with a plodding synth bass - slow, but not overly serious or epic.
    Not sure about what to use for his lead instrument for his "character" theme, but for more epic scenes I'm definitely thinking of bringing in some epic orchestral strings.
    Honestly, I have the least ideas about what to do with him musically.

    Haley -
    I want Hayley's themes to feature a violin prominently. The instrument is suited well to slow, sad pieces, as well as faster tunes with more swing - the sort of stuff you might here at a carnival.
    Hayley's main theme, for more lighthearted moments, would be in 3/4, with a strong rhythmic focus rather than anything to melodically complex. This would let me right up a simple, repetitive melodic figure, which I can then elaborate on for her more dramatic pieces.

    Elan -
    Boy, sure would be great if there was an instrument already associated with Elan, huh?
    Oh wait...
    Lutes are fun! I think Elans motif would definitely be in a major key, and have some sort of bounce to it.
    I might have it be similar to Halleys in that its in 3/4, but I want it to be cleary distinct - no dark elements at all.
    Nale's theme would probably be a dark reprise, with the lute replaced with maybe a Cello or even E-Guitar, if we want to bend genres a bit.
    Tarquin would take Elan's motif, and twist it into a march, with an additional motif over the top - (This motif would be associated with the "Empire of Blood")

    Durkon -
    I think Durkons main theme would be a march. Snare drums, Tuba, simple 2/4 time.
    Initially, I would have the lead be a rather heroic trumpet, which plays strong, straightforward lines that are echoed by a larger brass section.
    However, I'd then add a b section with a slightly sadder reprise, reflecting Durkon's exile - Although maybe this would only show up during the Book 2 theme, bc I'm not sure if it's referenced any earlier than that.

    Belkar -
    E-guitar, no question.
    The "basic" character themes are meant to reflect the characters outside of combat, so no thrashy death metal. quite yet (although that definitely shows up during battle themes), so I think this would be more bass-focused, with apprehensive percussion and an evil, but not serious-sounding lead.

    Varsuvius
    Piano, with a complicated classical melody.
    I'd structure it after a fugue, due to how important patterns and structures are in that sort of thing (plus, I like writing Fugues)

    So! Here's my overly vague storyboard for the themes of the six members of the order of the stick.
    What are your thoughts? Would you be interested in actually hearing me make these pieces? Would anyone like to hear my takes on themes for the other characters?
    Wow, this sounds really cool! Good luck!

    For Elan/Nale/Tarquin, you could have it essentially be slowed down version of the theme, kind of like how in FF2 the Pandemonium theme is basically the world map theme slowed down. Your plan seems to be something to that effect already. The "Tarquin has a marching theme" sounds good. I will say that Elan's theme would be more carnival-esque than Haley ("Come hear the bard's tale" and all that), with Haley being upbeat but a bit more dramatic.
    Last edited by Squire Doodad; 2019-08-18 at 11:20 AM.
    An explanation of why MitD being any larger than Huge is implausible.

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  3. - Top - End - #3
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    The bridge for Elan's theme should also feature a kazoo somewhere .

    Other than that I love this! I love the idea of Tarquin and Nale's themes being dark reprises of Elan's. Don't know much about music composition, but maybe V's theme could have an ominous undercurrent melody that becomes louder and more prominent until it dominates the theme. Then the spiraling ceases and leaves way to a calmer, more hopeful reworking of the initial piano theme.

    Honestly I would choose piano for Roy as well. I think it fits well to reflect his role as the reliable leader.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Imo, piano has too much of an androgynous tone (Which fits better for V than for Roy)
    I might have his theme be more of a drums-centric piece

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order



    Took a swing at a basic Roy motif

    Audio here: https://vocaroo.com/i/s1RnYgdaTAf9
    Last edited by Goblin Guard; 2019-08-18 at 01:20 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin Guard View Post
    Imo, piano has too much of an androgynous tone (Which fits better for V than for Roy)
    I might have his theme be more of a drums-centric piece
    Maybe something like a jazz piece?
    An explanation of why MitD being any larger than Huge is implausible.

    See my extended signature here! May contain wit, candor, and somewhere from 52 to 8127 walruses.

    Purple is humorous descriptions made up on the fly
    Green is serious talk about hypothetical
    Blue is irony and sarcasm


    "I think, therefore I am,
    I walk, therefore I stand,
    I sleep, therefore I dream;
    I joke, therefore I meme."
    -Squire Doodad

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Try Roy in a viola, but in R&B overtones. (Think of some of the odd chord constrvctions of the post-war era.)

    Belkar is funk guitar with horn accents.

  8. - Top - End - #8
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    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    I am ALWAYS on board for this sort of thing, although not knowing much about music I can't contribute much.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Quote Originally Posted by ti'esar View Post
    I am ALWAYS on board for this sort of thing, although not knowing much about music I can't contribute much.
    If we merge this with the voice acting thread (just using people who’ll work for free) we can create a rough audio version of an OOTS cartoon! Mwahahaha! We even have stills for it!

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Quote Originally Posted by Schroeswald View Post
    If we merge this with the voice acting thread (just using people who’ll work for free) we can create a rough audio version of an OOTS cartoon! Mwahahaha! We even have stills for it!
    I can't help but ponder how Rich would react to a fan-made cartoon of OotS (assuming it's actually good and not just complete and utter trash).
    An explanation of why MitD being any larger than Huge is implausible.

    See my extended signature here! May contain wit, candor, and somewhere from 52 to 8127 walruses.

    Purple is humorous descriptions made up on the fly
    Green is serious talk about hypothetical
    Blue is irony and sarcasm


    "I think, therefore I am,
    I walk, therefore I stand,
    I sleep, therefore I dream;
    I joke, therefore I meme."
    -Squire Doodad

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Elan motif!
    (Normally I'd be making this stuff in FL Studio, due to better instruments, but musescore is better for sharing sheet music)
    https://clyp.it/uai2xjm2

    In the final product, the Banjo part would be taken by a Lute, and the Flute part would be a Kazoo.
    There'd also probably be some simple percussion.
    Last edited by Goblin Guard; 2019-08-19 at 03:10 AM.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    This is very exciting! I don't know much about music, so this thread is probably better off without any opinions of mine, but I can't wait to see where you go with this.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin Guard View Post
    Elan motif!
    (Normally I'd be making this stuff in FL Studio, due to better instruments, but musescore is better for sharing sheet music)

    In the final product, the Banjo part would be taken by a Lute, and the Flute part would be a Kazoo.
    There'd also probably be some simple percussion.
    Quite nice! It's a very pleasant, upbeat sounding theme. I'd say at the part where it stops put in a second round of the banjo, probably with something like a harp in the background? Or possibly combine a small bit of Haley's theme (whenever you decide how you want to do that) into it.

    Then again this is Elan, he would want both a Banjo and a Lute

    I can see the Tarquin iteration being something of a drum based form of the song. Probably loud trumpets for the flute part.
    An explanation of why MitD being any larger than Huge is implausible.

    See my extended signature here! May contain wit, candor, and somewhere from 52 to 8127 walruses.

    Purple is humorous descriptions made up on the fly
    Green is serious talk about hypothetical
    Blue is irony and sarcasm


    "I think, therefore I am,
    I walk, therefore I stand,
    I sleep, therefore I dream;
    I joke, therefore I meme."
    -Squire Doodad

  14. - Top - End - #14
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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    I realize you’re already composing, but I would handle the instruments and themes a little differently. There might be a way to give characters instruments that match their arc a bit better.

    Vaarsuvius is a powerful evoked who doesn’t know how to be a team player. In the beginning, V tends to overshadow others with brute force, and discovers there are limitations to pure power. Musically, V tends to take over, and must learn to provide counterpoint and support. V’s instrument: pipe organ. At first, its pedals-to-the-floor power with all the stops yanked out, and later it’s more subtle.

    Durkon has the opposite problem: he is too steady and self-effacing to really show who he is. He’s well suited to an instrument like the harp (or, if you prefer, a rhythm guitar), which mostly plays support. But Durkon is also a big believer in family, so I might go with the viola. Never much of a lead, except in need, but when backed by the string section, he is mighty.

    Roy needs an instrument that is somehow undervalued or underrated, since he is the fighter that is perpetually overlooked by his wizardly father. I’d go with French horns. They’re good at supporting a variety of instruments from other families (like woodwinds and strings) and very martial combined with supporting brass.

    Elan and Haley should have instruments that pair well together. I suggest lute and oboe. Together they pair well. When Nale steps in to impersonate Elan, use a mandolin. When Crystal and Haley have their musical counterpoints, give Crystal an English horn (another reed, slightly more brassy and nasal).

    That leaves Belkar. I wouldn’t use an electric guitar for him, because it’s a lead, and Belkar is not a leader. I’d use drums and percussion for him, because they can be used to show that he’s off in his own little world, out of sync with the others, without creating disharmony.

    Now you get interesting pairs. Elan wants to be a wizard — the lute tries feebly to replicate the grandeur of the pipe organ. Belkar and V are squabbling? Drums vs pipe organ, drowning out everything. Roy reuniting with Haley? Oboe and French horn.

    Background: I once composed a musical adaptation of Henry IV Part I, mixing instruments and time signatures for various characters. There were multiple themes that all came together in the big “war” number. Hotspur and Hal had the same musical theme, one in 12/8 and the other in 6/8, with Lady Hotspur (harp) in a 4/4 counterpoint.
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  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Quote Originally Posted by Fish View Post
    That leaves Belkar. I wouldn’t use an electric guitar for him, because it’s a lead, and Belkar is not a leader. I’d use drums and percussion for him, because they can be used to show that he’s off in his own little world, out of sync with the others, without creating disharmony.
    Belkar would be heavy metal drums? He pretty much has to have electric guitars though, that's who he is
    A small guitar solo in the middle with a drum kit running most of the show would work though, to emphasize how he isn't really a major entity, but he often has his own epic moment.
    An explanation of why MitD being any larger than Huge is implausible.

    See my extended signature here! May contain wit, candor, and somewhere from 52 to 8127 walruses.

    Purple is humorous descriptions made up on the fly
    Green is serious talk about hypothetical
    Blue is irony and sarcasm


    "I think, therefore I am,
    I walk, therefore I stand,
    I sleep, therefore I dream;
    I joke, therefore I meme."
    -Squire Doodad

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Quote Originally Posted by Fish View Post
    I realize you’re already composing, but I would handle the instruments and themes a little differently. There might be a way to give characters instruments that match their arc a bit better.

    Vaarsuvius is a powerful evoked who doesn’t know how to be a team player. In the beginning, V tends to overshadow others with brute force, and discovers there are limitations to pure power. Musically, V tends to take over, and must learn to provide counterpoint and support. V’s instrument: pipe organ. At first, its pedals-to-the-floor power with all the stops yanked out, and later it’s more subtle.
    I actually like the idea of the Pipe Organ. However, I feel like the Pipe Organ has a certain religious connotation that wouldn't really fit to V - I was planning to use it for Redcloak.
    In a way, the piano actually fulfills a similar role - a useful and versatile solo instrument, that is often ommitted in large orchestral settings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fish View Post
    Durkon has the opposite problem: he is too steady and self-effacing to really show who he is. He’s well suited to an instrument like the harp (or, if you prefer, a rhythm guitar), which mostly plays support. But Durkon is also a big believer in family, so I might go with the viola. Never much of a lead, except in need, but when backed by the string section, he is mighty.
    I feel like a Harp is a bit too graceful for Durkon. The rhythm guitar take is nice, though. I'm going to do a brass-heavy take on Durkon's theme next, but afterwards, I'll definitely give it a try with your instrumental suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fish View Post
    Roy needs an instrument that is somehow undervalued or underrated, since he is the fighter that is perpetually overlooked by his wizardly father. I’d go with French horns. They’re good at supporting a variety of instruments from other families (like woodwinds and strings) and very martial combined with supporting brass.
    Roy using Brass is good. I don't know enough about Orchestration to say that a French Horn is "undervalued", but I'll trust your judgement here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fish View Post
    Elan and Haley should have instruments that pair well together. I suggest lute and oboe. Together they pair well. When Nale steps in to impersonate Elan, use a mandolin. When Crystal and Haley have their musical counterpoints, give Crystal an English horn (another reed, slightly more brassy and nasal).
    I think the Oboe is too rooted in classical music to really fit Haley - while it is used in other genres in large arrangements, I don't think particularly elaborate instrumentation really fits Haley's character.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fish View Post
    That leaves Belkar. I wouldn’t use an electric guitar for him, because it’s a lead, and Belkar is not a leader. I’d use drums and percussion for him, because they can be used to show that he’s off in his own little world, out of sync with the others, without creating disharmony.
    Percussion heavy Belkar is good - I'll def keep that in mind when writing themes with him and other characters. However, for his solo pieces, I'd defeinitely go with a modern instrumentation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fish View Post
    Now you get interesting pairs. Elan wants to be a wizard — the lute tries feebly to replicate the grandeur of the pipe organ. Belkar and V are squabbling? Drums vs pipe organ, drowning out everything. Roy reuniting with Haley? Oboe and French horn.
    These are some great ideas! As you can see, I disagree on some of the instrumental choices, but the general approach is brilliant.

    Also, show me your Orchestration thing :)
    I'd love to hear it.
    Last edited by Goblin Guard; 2019-08-23 at 12:38 AM.

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    RedSorcererGirl

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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    If you want inspiration, there is an old thread of themes people did a while back for oots http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...dtrack-Project

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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    I think Tarquin's theme could be sorta like slipping from Dr Horrible? Starts off composed and haunting, like an unified military march. But rapidly descends into insanity?
    Last edited by Morgana; 2019-09-02 at 09:17 AM.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgana View Post
    I think Tarquin's theme could be sorta like slipping from Dr Horrible? Starts off composed and haunting, like an unified military march. But rapidly descends into insanity?
    I'd imagine it would start off purely like the military march, with no hint of anything less than perfect composition, but variations would occur later that came across as more discordant and insane.
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    RedSorcererGirl

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    Man, this kinda makes me want to learn to compose...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin Guard View Post
    Elan motif!
    (Normally I'd be making this stuff in FL Studio, due to better instruments, but musescore is better for sharing sheet music)


    In the final product, the Banjo part would be taken by a Lute, and the Flute part would be a Kazoo.
    There'd also probably be some simple percussion.
    Seems suitable.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    If we're doing villains, what are our thoughts for Durkula/Greg?

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Greg’s should probably be a darker mirror of Durkon’s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schroeswald View Post
    Greg’s should probably be a darker mirror of Durkon’s.
    Or, Greg has no theme at all.

    If we're talking about a video game or a show or something, Greg would have Durkon's theme with a slightly sinister tambourine or something in the background, and then after his "reveal", he would have no theme. Or Hel's theme, if she gets her own (though it would also arguably be Greg/the vampires theme more than Hel's own theme).
    An explanation of why MitD being any larger than Huge is implausible.

    See my extended signature here! May contain wit, candor, and somewhere from 52 to 8127 walruses.

    Purple is humorous descriptions made up on the fly
    Green is serious talk about hypothetical
    Blue is irony and sarcasm


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    I walk, therefore I stand,
    I sleep, therefore I dream;
    I joke, therefore I meme."
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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Quote Originally Posted by Squire Doodad View Post
    Or, Greg has no theme at all.
    I would make Greg’s theme an abbreviated version of Durkon’s. If Durkon’s theme is in quarter and eighth notes, then Greg’s could be whole and half notes, long and sustained, taken from Durkon’s theme; or skip multiple notes in Durkon’s theme all at once to go on to the next sonorous tone. Greg only knows some of Durkon’s life, not the whole thing.

    Example Durkon, with numbers instead of notes:

    1 2 3 2 3 4 5 4 2 1 5 3 6 5 1

    Example Greg:

    1 ... 3 ... 4 5 4 ... 5 ... 6 5 ...
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    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    An interesting idea would be to generally have a theme for Durkon that is straightlaced but uplifting, but occasionally introduces a slightly melancholic riff on occasion not so much as a central motif than as an underscore. Then, Greg's theme would be centered around this same riff at a deeper octave, now taking central role.

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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    I am neither creative nor musically inclined, but I love this thread.

    Maybe use something like a Thoramin for Durkon* but with the same tune/melody to show how he seems like Durkon but the discordant notes are there.

    Alternatively, it could be good for the various pantheons of gods just to emphasis their difference from the mortals.

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    Default Re: Character themes for the Order

    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin Guard View Post


    Took a swing at a basic Roy motif

    Audio here: https://vocaroo.com/i/s1RnYgdaTAf9
    Can you render that as though it were played on a Fender Stratocaaster rather than a piano?

    Here is my thought on the instruments you may want to use:

    Roy: Electric Guitar, some kinds rock/blues fusion. He's a fighter in plate armor: gotta be a little bit metal, tempered by his brain and empathy ... blues (and of course, I am hugely biased towards blues anyway, that's just me)

    Haley: Viola or violin, and I am leaning toward the former. Second thought: she is so versatile, of all of the characters, I think she'd be the best fit with piano

    V: Cello; nothing does melancholly like cello. V seems sad most of the time.

    Elan: Saxaphone (you can slide in some kazoo sounds easily here) but also be upbeat and joyful.

    Belkar: Rhythm guitar, sorta that pile driving formula metal stuff from the 80's to go with his album cover with Bloodfeast

    Durkon: French Horn or Drums, I can't decide on which, though as I look at the rest of the band, drums/precussion.

    Up to you, as you are the composer.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2019-10-08 at 03:21 PM.
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