Oblivion Symphonic Variations Music Album 1

Orchestral music inspired by the original score, to add to your game.

1. The Road Ahead 2. Heartland Vista 3. [B...


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Orchestral music inspired by the original score, to add to your game.

1. [Explore] The Road Ahead 2. [Explore] Heartland Vista 3. [Battle] Legion's Rally 4. [Public] The Forgotten Age 5. [Explore] Emerald Paradise 6. [Public] Last Haven 7. [Explore] Light from the Shadows 8. [Battle] Turn of the Tide

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Download 'oblivion_symphonic_variations_music_album_1.zip' (27.89MB)


  Oblivion Symphonic Variations Album 1 


Version 1.0
October 2008

Orchestral music inspired by the original score, to add to your game.

1. [Explore] The Road Ahead  
2. [Explore] Heartland Vista 
3. [Battle] Legion's Rally   
4. [Public] The Forgotten Age  
5. [Explore] Emerald Paradise  
6. [Public] Last Haven 
7. [Explore] Light from the Shadows
8. [Battle] Turn of the Tide

Created with EWQLSO Silver and Garritan Personal Orchestra.

Copyright (C) 2008 Li-Hsin Huang
This music free to share under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License

Previously released as packs 1 through 7.

Note: some of these files use variable bitrate encoding and won't show
the correct run-time in media players.


Copy the MP3 files to the appropriate folder under OblivionDataMusic.

Production notes

1. [Explore] The Road Ahead  
2. [Explore] Heartland Vista 
   May 2007

By the time I started playing Oblivion in 2007, there were so many mods
available, I was hoping to find some new music specifically composed for
the game that matches the original, in style, thematic structure and 
orchestration.  There's lots of interesting music out there but I 
didn't find quite what I was looking for, so I thought I'd have a try
at creating some.

I really love Jeremy Soule's original score and I wouldn't mix it with
anything that stands out as very different.  To avoid deviating too far
from the normal music, I decided to pick particular styles to use as seeds,
and see where that takes me.  

"The Road Ahead" is probably closest to "Glory of Cyrodiil" 
(atmosphere_01.mp3), in the introduction and main sweeping theme, with the
feel of the strings from the middle of "Minstrel's Lament" 

"Heartland Vista" is obviously similar to "Wings of the Kynareth"
(atmosphere_07.mp3) with its string quartet intro and clarinet theme.

Okay, there's still lots of room for improvement.  Some structure and 
melodies need to be less rigid and more atmospheric.  And I have to figure
out how to use my sample library better to avoid some odd sounding strings.
But I guess it's a start, and some of you might like these for your journeys.
Happy adventuring!

3. [Battle] Legion's Rally
   May 2007

I got the idea for "Legion's Rally" when I heard the cello ostinato 
in the game's opening sequence.  I thought there was a lot of potential 
in that repeating bass line to explore for a march-style piece, and 
Oblivion is in need of a triumphant battle tune to balance the somewhat 
bleak outlook of the originals.

The French horn tune was tailored to fit the bass, though the trumpet
fanfare started as an improvisation when I couldn't come up with a
more structured counterpoint.  For the couple of bars of trombones,
I wanted to get a Robocop like sound with clanging metals, but I'll
save the anvils for another piece.

Well, I had almost too much fun putting this together.  Hope you have
as much fun dispatching your enemies to it!

4. [Public] The Forgotten Age  
   June 2007

Taking a slight detour from Oblivion, "The Forgotten Age" was modeled on
a track named "Recovery" from the Conan the Barbarian movie -- a truly 
memorable score by the great composer Basil Poledouris, who is sadly no 
longer with us.

I first saw the movie on TV many years ago.  I remember that straight
after the scene with that tune, I rushed over to my piano, trying to
figure out what I'd just heard and how a few simple notes could be 
combined into something that left such a profound impression on me.

Since then, I've always wanted to write some music in that style, 
so I thought I might as well fit it into Oblivion along the way.  
I switched to the GPO for the main instruments to see if I could
get an expressive sound out of the PC and I'm quite happy with the

Try it out in Imperial City! 

5. [Explore] Emerald Paradise 
   July 2007

I guess this is a celebration of all the wonderful trees and plants that
make it such a treat to go wandering around the countryside.

The music is based around the kinds of interweaving flute sounds heard in
"King and Country" (atmosphere_08.mp3).  I actually planned backwards,
starting from the ending, which I wanted to be similar to a section
from the original song.  I noticed the climactic two notes from there
matched my favorite line from the first piano piece in Goyescas by 
Enrique Granados, so I adapted the ascending 8 note buildup from that.  
I've always wanted to hear it played by an orchestra, and it merges with
the Oblivion part quite well.

You may notice the main tune has the same rhythm (at half the speed) as 
another song...yes, it started out as the slow section of "Heartland 
Vista", but that grew too long so I dropped it. The shimmering woodwind
background accompanying the 2nd occurence is actually 2 flutes and an 
oboe, each playing random notes from a chord.  I added that just as
temporary padding while I made other parts, but it worked out so well
that I kept it. 

When I finally got round to writing the opening, I couldn't think of
anything special, so I just based it on the ending, which seems to give
it a nice circular feel.

Well, I hope both you and your horse enjoy listening to this as you
explore the lush greenery of Cyrodiil.

6. [Public] Last Haven 
   Sept 2007

A fairly short and lightweight song this time, Last Haven starts off
sounding like several of the standard town tunes.  The particular gimmick
this time round is a descending passage played on the harp or piano, 
which repeats itself through most of the piece.  It was probably derived 
from the the harp tune at the end of "Watchman's Ease" (town_04.mp3) 
judging by the distinctive rhythm.

The 2nd half is somewhat experimental, and was originally supposed to be
some random filler music while I waited to return to the first tune.
I recorded the piano backing (later split with the harp) and improvised 
all sorts of things over the top, most of which I threw away.  But 
surprisingly, what I ended up with kind of stole the show, so I decided
to wrap it up with a repeat of the intro and leave it at that -- sometimes, 
less is more.

7. [Explore] Light from the Shadows
   Jan 2008

Making a return to the big orchestra, the theme for "Light" started as a
counter-melody to the ascending tune from the Oblivion intro screen.  I've 
been meaning to try something with that but it took a while before I came 
across a good enough match, especially since I kept straying into the Force 
theme from Star Wars just by adding a couple of notes to the original.

I ended up with two versions of the theme, and couldn't decide which was 
better, so I used the first as a bolder rendition paired with the original
motif, then a more flowery arrangement.  The fairly long cello section in
between was supposed to be a development of the theme, though I only 
managed 3 notes before it improvised itself into a melody with an unclear
time signature that still somehow holds together.

The mood of some parts seems a bit on the dark and mysterious side,
but I wanted to see how far I could push it to add contrast.  Of course,
I had to let the sunlight peek through at the end so it wouldn't be too

Sequencing this piece together took longer than before -- there were many
parts, patches, expressive string phrases to articulate, subtle timing,
and dynamics.  Also I have a bad habit of wanting to perfect every note,
which I really must stop doing for my own sanity :)

Overall, I think this piece is more natural sounding than my previous ones
and keeps my goal of a different tone each time.  Hope you add it to your

8. [Battle] Turn of the Tide
   Sept 2008

I finally got the much awaited EWQLSO software upgrade, and another battle
tune is just what I needed to get started with it.  Unfortunately I had to
do battle with the quirks in it first, but I think I've got the hang of it
now, and the sounds are much more realistic.

I just happened to rewatch Lord of the Rings, which reminded me that my
favorite piece of music from the trilogy has to be "Lighting of the Beacons".
In contrast to the mostly subdued arrangements, this really blew me away when
I watched it in the cinema and just keeps getting better.  The soaring violin
counterpoint played as double notes is particuarly distinctive, and I wanted
to try that out that device.

So, with that stuck in my head after listening to it a dozen times, I set out 
to create something similar that doesn't sound too far from Oblivion's battle
music, while keeping it enjoyable as a standalone piece.  The main march is
fairly close to the original in shape so that I could easily add the violins
later and get the same effect.  The middle section is a quieter variation to 
lead up to the highlight because adding another melody seemed distracting.

Wrapping it up posed a problem -- there was so much fire and momentum going, it
seemed to fall of a cliff if I suddenly stopped it, or be doused with a bucket
of water if I faded it down.  All was saved when I found that you can stop a
runaway French horn theme by blasting it with a loud reply from the trombones 
and trumpets, which leads to a satisfying ending.

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