Album Commentary

01- “Green Rider”

 

It all begins with the French horn playing the ‘call’ of the Green Riders, special messengers of the king with magic abilities. The first three notes make up what is called a leitmotif, or a short musical phrase that represents a specific person, place, or idea. This leitmotif, among many others I will point out in upcoming songs, will show up throughout the entire album. Be on the look out for other times you hear that three note Green Rider motif, it always means something in the music.

02- “Escape From Selium”

 

Starting immediately after the first song I wanted the “Green Rider” theme to introduce our main character, Karigan G’ladheon. We’re in a forest surrounded by a warm morning haze, dew still on the blades of grass, and flutes and clarinets, I mean birds, are chirping to welcome the day. There is a traditional world flute here that represents the spirit of Sacoridia, the country Karigan lives in and where Green Rider takes place. You’ll hear it throughout the rest of the album. 

 

Karigan wakes up in a farm shed. Groggy and a little slow on waking, her theme is represented by the violin, a little rough and simple to represent Karigan’s level of awareness. Once she shakes it off she gets up, as shown by the plucking of the orchestra, and starts her day with the violin really singing her theme. Then she gets on the road and starts her journey back home.

 

I came up with her theme by humming it. Actually, I came up with all the character themes by humming. I wanted it to be simple enough to hum so it was memorable like each character, yet true to the individuality of each character. The voice has a large range of expression to it, allowing it to express each theme a little differently. Karigan’s theme needed to be unique, beautiful, adventurous, creative, folksy, determined, and a creature that needs to be free. Her melody travels within itself, and yet isn’t bound to certain chord expectations. Her most comfortable chord progression is one that works outside of the box and is free to move between musical modes.

 

On her journey back home, you hear the rhythmic dulcimer and harp bringing a folk music style movement, warmth, and a sense of budding adventure while the violin and clarinet play with Karigan’s theme. She’s walking through the forest in the summer and I tried to select instrumentation that was warm, playful, adventurous, and woodsy. 

 

When the music pauses, it represents Karigan’s thoughts, taking time to consider her decision to run away from school. The sincere clarinet has her doubting her resolve and recognizing her father would be disappointed in her action. But with a sigh of the orchestra, she resolves to just keep going and figure things out when she gets home.

 

Notice something at the very end? It’s the Green Rider leitmotif played by the french horn, giving us a hint at what’s in store for our little female protagonist.

Stay tuned for more album commentary!

©2018 Kristina A. Bishoff