Scores For Scriveners: Three Kingdoms

One of the things that people have said they’d enjoy reading from me is more about music. For a very long time, I ran a regular feature on this blog, which I called Friday Music — I shared stuff that I’d been listening to recently. I may do so again, but I thought it might be interesting to also devote some time to cover the sort of music that I listen to far more than anything else: Soundtracks.

When I write, it is accompanied by scores. Usually (although not exclusively) instrumental, and taken from film, television, video games, what-have-you. I have a frankly ridiculous library to select from, and I almost always begin a project by creating a playlist, designed to evoke the “feel” of what I’m trying to write. These playlists grow as I find new, evocative material, until they are many hours and, in some cases, days long.

Yeah. I might have a problem.

So I figured that I’d start a new feature, Scores for Scriveners, where I spotlight some stuff from my writing playlists. To kick things off, what better place to start than my massively-late magnum opus, Far West. Folks who know about it are aware that it’s a fantasy setting that mixes Spaghetti Westerns and Chinese Wuxia. As such, those are the things which inform the playlist I created.

Occasionally, however, you stumble upon something that’s suited exactly for purpose. That’s the case with Henry Lai’s score for the 2008 Hong Kong film, Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon. This score perfectly mixes inspiration from Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western compositions (whip cracks, choral exclamations, guitar & wind instrument combos) with traditional Chinese music and instruments. It’s damn near a perfect Far West soundtrack.

Check out the opening theme:

See what I mean? Pretty much a perfect blend. Other tracks lean heavily in one direction or the other, but still are amazing distillations of exactly the sort of feeling that I’m going for when writing Far West. Here’s another track:

Finally, here’s a video with three of the shorter tracks combined.

So there you have it. The first entry in what I hope to make a regular Monday feature — a good way to start the week, I think.

What about you? What music do you listen to that you think would make good writing accompaniment? Sound off in the comments below.

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