I’m a big fan of soundtracks, movies and otherwise; it might not be as high-brow as classical music, but it’s still interesting to analyze. The theme from the third installment of the Elder Scrolls fantasy RPG series, Morrowind, “Nerevar Rising,” I’m particularly fond of. It was so tuneful that it has been used in every subsequent Elder Scrolls game soundtrack. No one remembers who the crap “Nerevar” is — some dark elf lord or other — but when the theme plays, we are catapulted into the spirit of adventure that is at the heart of the Elder Scrolls.

The original is my favorite, very lyrical with the melody in the strings…

For Elder Scrolls IV, Oblivion, the melody was reprised in the brass — the strings merely playing an adrenalizing do-op (listen below). Moving the melody to brass made sense for Oblivion, because the location of gameplay switched from Morrowind to the Roman-esque Empire of Cyrodiil. The theme sounds more official in brass, as if to say: “Todo, we’re not at the Ren faire anymore!”

Of course, Skyrim’s music is the most testosteroney of all, featuring deep male voices reminiscent of Howard Shore’s “Bridge of Khazad-Dum” (we’re in Nord country, after all). Balrog/ dragon — same diff! But Nerevar Rising can still be heard at :53. I think it’s neat to be able to trace one melody though its various incarnations…

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