Soundtrack Review: The Music of Skyrim

Jeremy Soule The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Edited: Confusing sentence has been removed. I apologize for not thinking more clearly about the reference.

Over the past five-8 years, who hasn’t seen some of the screen caps from the game, showing the excellent graphics? Even I’m familiar with the game, although I’ve never played it and don’t intend to. However, I had also heard good things about the music, both soundtrack style and the incidental music in the game. What pushed me into buying it was a review on Grim’s Hall.

I don’t think it is quite as great as the reviewer said, but then I listen to lots and lots of “Epic Music” and am used to the genre. That said, it is a very good collection of over four hours of music that ranges from Renaissance dance to tavern music to Viking rowing songs to battle charges to tone poems that set a scene. Moments rise to greatness, and some are just nice background music.

Jeremy Soule’s compositions at times remind me of Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings soundtracks. You do not have the leitmotifs of the trilogy soundtrack, at least not that I noticed, but then I wouldn’t expect them. However, the depth of orchestration and the intensity of the compositions is very much like Shore. There is far more variation in Soule’s soundtrack, as you would expect from a world-spanning game like The Elder Scrolls.

One refreshing difference between this soundtrack and much of the Epic Music (and some other video game scores) is the use of male choruses. Again, this gives Skyrim more of a movie feel and probably is part of why it reminds me of Howard Shore’s LotR compositions. Scandinavian and Slavic influences are strong in a number of the tracks.

Soule’s soundtrack has been added to my “frequent rotation” list for times and places when I need epic music. The price is a little higher than some, but given the amount of music that you get and the quality of the compositions, it is a good buy.

FTC Notice: I purchased this for my own use and received no compensation from the composer or publisher.


10 thoughts on “Soundtrack Review: The Music of Skyrim

  1. “Who hasn’t seen/read the really over-done joke about the guard, former raider, who got the arrow to his knee?”

    Me, apparently. I had to consult 😦

        • In the video game Skyrim, NPCs have canned dialogue they say if you walk past them. Most are greetings, some of them are rumors about what’s going on in the world (that can be investigated by you), some are ego strokes of the “aren’t you?”…
          And then there’s the one line spoken by seemingly every fifth guard you pass. “I used to be an adventurer like you. But then I took an arrow to the knee.” There are a *lot* of guards in the game. You will walk past several in any town, and some on the roads. You will hear it a lot. At some point, it starts being funny that all these guards have the same story. And that they’re wearing armor that doesn’t protect their knees.

      • Oh that’s ok, it prompted me to look us something new. This is one of the cool things about the internet — in my youth it took a lot of effort and travel and asking around to look up cultural references if it was something outside my personal sphere, and I would have skipped it just because it was a nuisance. Now I can search for a term in another tab. Wondrous.

    • Wow. I, the nigh-ultimate Not-a-gamer-(do-you-understand?) got it. But I did have some previous exposure. Whilst I am indeed Not A Gamer, I follow (or followED) a few online comics with more than a little gaming influence.

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