I settled for a classic Wagner’esque way to give certain characters, places, ideas, etc. a leitmotif. This way, the connection between characters and places would be a lot easier to compose and understand. I really wanted to be able to tell a story just with the music and I thought – and still think – this is the way to go.
I will use this website to give a general overview of the concept and give some examples of possible interpretations and pieces I wrote with it.
I created a Design-Document in which I keep everything regarding this soundtrack project including ideas, notations, etc.
I started by thinking about the greater structures forming the economy and society in Alagaësia.
The first property that is immediately recognizable about every character is their affiliation.
The basically immortal Elves
The human-dwarf alliance of the Varden
The people of both parties basically uninvolved in the war
and of course
The Dragonriders as a kind of overshadowing instance
Brilliant accidents on the way to oblivion.
Hey, I'm Malte. A teacher for maths and chemistry and a musician for the Inheritance Project.
I started TIP because I wanted an outlet for my desire to write a soundtrack to something. On my journey, I quickly found Jake who joined me on my mission.
Now we are looking for others to join our adventure and are looking towards the future in excited anticipation of what there might come.
I decided to implement various indicators about which party is featured in certain scenes. The indicators should be flexible enough to leave room for the leitmotifs I eventually settle for.
All this should make the identification through music a lot easier.
The basic concepts are the following:
I wanted to show the grace of the Elves as well as the age of the race and settled for the classical orchestra. It has a huge sound to show the power the race and every individual elf. It has a huge dynamic range to highlight the different aspects of the lifestyle of the elves.
The woodwinds are great to show the playfulness and joy many elves show throughout the series. The brass section is capable to deliver immense loudness and power when the force or wrath of the nation is shown and the solo strings are capable of intricate melodies and can deliver a huge amount of emotion to the viewer.
Also, since the orchestra is in use for so long, many people recognize the sound of a classic orchestra as old and are well aware of the differences a classic orchestra has in comparison to the more modern approach composers like Hans Zimmer take.
The following is a snippet of Arya's Theme to show what I mean by "the classic orchestra". It relies heavily on strings, woodwinds and brass. Less than in the huge modern approach current game and film music is taking, but it still has this classic cinematic feel to it. A part of Arya's leitmotif is a certain instrument you can hear in the snippet that will take a huge part of her characterization and development on behalf of the leitmotif itself, but more on that later.
Here is the snippet of Arya's Theme:
The Varden were a bit difficult. They aren’t a race by themselves, so it’s difficult to pinpoint aspects of the people in a certain style that is immediately recognizable as “The Varden”.
I choose the “War Drums” of the Varden as their defining element since they are mentioned a couple of times during the war and can be heard through different instrumentations and such. I needed a certain rhythm that could actually be used as a “march to war” and has a martial feel to it, but still works in a chamber orchestra size.
I settled for this rhythm:
The Empire should get an aggressive style indicator. It must be able to cut through almost everything in a matter of seconds to display ambushes and has to support different other character-leitmotifs as a background element without being overwhelming.
The main leitmotif for the empire is this:
I wrote a bass string figure to represent the Empire. It contains a melody part and a rhythmic part, and both should be able to identify the empire on their own.
I'm sure you want to listen to some stuff I made for this project and I'm happy to share some of it. I will try to implement a kind of library of the stuff I already finished, but I don't know exactly how since I'm not a web developer.
I will do my best to make everything available through my Soundcloud, but the upload limit is kinda disruptive. Maybe I will open a new channel just for "The Inheritance Project" (I did) or I will use my YouTube, I don't know yet.
The first example is a track dedicated to the "Battle of the Burning Plains" at the end of "Eldest".
It is a combination of the war drums of the Varden with the String Ostinato of the Empire while the French Horn section repeatedly plays the leitmotif. It is composed to work in the background as well as over establishing shots as the main part of the audio. It has a strong emphasis on the Empire Theme while keeping the martial rhythm the War Drums of the Varden are playing. The Choir shouts should strengthen the association with the "manpower" of both armies.
The next track is a rendition of Eragon's leitmotif.
As the Main Character of the Cycle the Motif of Eragon must be the easiest to recognize while being the most flexible since he has a lot of big changes character-wise in the story.
It is also extremely hard to fit him in one of the bigger structures since he is basically part of every single one except the Empire and the Urgals. So, I decided to write a short motif for him, which can be adapted in a lot of ways to make sure I can write something for every situation he is a part of.
Now for the part, most of you are here for. The Main Theme.
The Main Theme was difficult since it has to describe almost every aspect of the franchise. It has to depict the dragons and the riders. It has to be fitting for every race living in Alagesia and it must fit Eragon since he is the main character; but how should Eragon be depicted? As part of the people like he is shown in the beginning? As a dragonrider even though he is only on his way to becoming one?
A possibility would be to implement a Main Theme that changes with the development of the main character, but that is the job of his theme. So to keep it simple and recognizable, I settled for a classic heroic Main Theme. It doesn't really contain any other leitmotifs completely but keeps referencing certain themes that become important over the development of the story. I decided to "brand" the series with the music instead of overcomplicating things. The theme should be easy to recognize, easy to hum, and strong enough for a brand connection.