We've just started playing* this piece in an orchestra and it's amazing. Shostakovitch withdrew it before it was ever performed because it would have been perceived by the Stalinists as being anti-regime and it wasn't performed for another 25 years. It could be used primarily for battles/combats/to indicate great suffering and anguish, or any other common roleplaying scene. Especially the fast fugal section in the 1st movement.
*When I say "playing" I mean "trying unsuccessfully to play" on my part anyway.
WARNING: Do not attempt to listen to this piece of music if you are of a nervous disposition. Do not attempt to listen to it if you don't like modern music. Do not attempt to listen to it if you have delicate ear-drums. Go to Comment
Mahler definitely! And I've been listening to Dvorak's Vodnik (Water Goblin) which is also very good for fantasy music. Also try Stravinsky's Chant du Rossignol, based on one of Hans Christian Andersen's stories about a nightingale. It's very weird, but atmospheric. Go to Comment
I wholeheartedly agree! Despite the fact that I actually started this thread I often don't use music during games, because it can be too much of a distraction. I like the idea of designating a player to run the music, because it takes the stress away from us DMs! Go to Comment
My especial recommendations are the Rach' Symphonic Dances, Prokofiev Symphony 3 and Stravinsky's Firebird.
Dvorak: Legends: (No. 3) Elvish dance.***
Dvorak: Symphony 7: (1st mvmt) Dramatic introduction to adventure.****
Dvorak: Symphony 9 From the New World: This is so good it can be used for anything.*****
Khachaturian: Spartacus:(Suite No 2: Entrance of the Merchants) This is just Khachaturian being Khachaturian.*
(Suite No 2: Dance of the Pirates) Exactly what it says it is.****
(Suite No 3: Dance of a Greek Slave) Fast, furious combat music.**
Liszt: Totentanz: Anything demonic and death-related.*** ##
Mahler: Symphony 1: (1st mvmt) For all Star-Trek roleplayers: TNG must have ripped off the first minute of this symphony.*
Mahler: Symphony 5: (1st mvmt) Funeral march doesn't begin to sum it up. Mahler's music is so varied and contrasting that if you're looking for a particular atmospheric effect it'll be in one of his symphonies.***
Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave): Vast sea-cave filled with crashing waves, the home of the giant Fingal.*****
Mussorgsky: Night on a Bare Mountain: The best known musical portrayal of a Witches' Sabbath aside from Berlioz's Symphony Fantastique.
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition: (Bydlo) Slave camp or march of orcish warriors,****
(Catacombae, Con mortuis in lingua mortua) Candlelit, silent dungeon,***
(The Hut on Fowl's Legs) The appearance of any large monster.*****
(The Great Gate at Kiev) Heroic ending to an adventure.*****
Orff: Carmina Burana: Anything satanic (it's actually an ominous-sounding choral setting of some rude latin poems).****
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto 5: (2nd mvmt) March of the ungainly gnolls.*** ##
(3rd mvmt) Anything manic.*** ##
(5th mvmt) Revenge of the leprechaun legions.****
Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet: (Dance of the Knights) The best known part of the piece. Suitable for combat scenes. ***** ##
(Tybalt meets Mercutio & they fight) Any combat scene.***
Other extracts could be used for any purpose (it's a very wide-ranging piece).
Prokofiev: Symphony 3: (1st mvmt) The Abyss - you'll see what I mean. Just when you thought this was the man who wrote Peter & the Wolf, you find out he wrote this.***
(2nd mvmt) Mourning a dead PC.****
(3rd mvmt) Chase/combat music.****
(4th mvmt) The Abyss, generally evil combat music (even more so than the beginning of the 1st movement).***** ## ##
Rachmaninoff: Isle of the Dead: Atmospheric forest or sea at night.*****
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances: (1st) Conjures up images of rangers riding through dark forests away from the clouds of blackness.*****
(2) Weird evil woodfolk dancing in the dells and waterfalls,****
(3) Generally eldritch and Dungeon and Dragonsy.****
Rachmaninoff: Caprice Bohemien: Ominous fantasy on folk themes. Good backing for a poverty-stricken peasant-village or for adding weight to a prophesy or explication of a scenario. Dramatic introduction to an adventure.****
I don't usually like background music myself. I either end up listening to music or I turning it off. But as far as the genre goes
The Matrix the soundtrack is good
Johnny Mnemonic the soundtrack is good too
Anything from Ramstein
And on a softer side
Enya is good for anything Go to Comment
Most of the music from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack would fit any fantasy campaign because, well, that's what it is. I would also recommend some of the tracks from Labyrinth, and some of the Harry Potter soundtrack (maybe). Go to Comment
Just found something. It's a cd called Sojourn, and it's REALLY GOOD instrumental music, created with RPGs specifically in mind. I found it at a local gaming store, but you can order it from www.sojourncd.com. It's great. Go to Comment
Midnight Syndicate. Just about all of it's instrumental, and each different album has a theme (Gates of Delirium, Vampyre, Born of the Night, etc. Hell, they even have the official D&D soundtrack).
I have a cd called Devil's Dance, which is classical pieces for violin. Most of them are downright creepy, but since I tend to run horror...
Uncountable tracks from various anime and video games, half of which I've never even seen or played.
Some of Emerald Rose is good, particularly "The Castle of Eringaro" (I actually have no clue what that last word is. Something Gaelic, and I can't manage to get the phonetics out of it). Still, good, if you keep it low enough.
E Nomine, when I feel the need to run a religious scene. Go to Comment
I like most of the music from the Castlevania: Symphony of the night for PS1. If you have the game, ono of the fan sites has a utility to grab the music from it and some other PS1 games. Crystal Teardrops is absolutly a great track for dungeon crawling, since thats where it's used in Castlevaina. Go to Comment
You should try to listen to
"The Benedictine Monks Of Santo Domingo De Silos : The Mystery Of Santo Domingo de Silos"
It's some the real medieval-sounding monk song, might be a little to much in the long run, but I really like it, though.
Yes, the LOTR soundtracks are very good also, but there's also "The Tolkien Ensemble" who are some danes (yes, of all people) who has made music for all the poems and songs in LOTR. It's really good.
And then, of course, there's Era, that's also really good. Go to Comment
Though I wouldn't really buy the game just for the soundtrack, a cd of amazingly good music for roleplaying comes with the computer game Icewind Dale. The Morrowind soundtrack is good, too. Go to Comment
Believe it or not, the Diablo 2 soundtrack is a good source of general background music. Last few games I've played have had most of the playlist running in the background to great effect. IIRC, you can download them from the Blizzard website, too. Go to Comment
For those who dip into occasionaly technological settings... What music do you favor? Personally, I've found a few nonlyrical songs by Kansas that work - and surprisingly, quite a few anime songs work rather well. I'm still trying to track down the music that plays in Bubblegum Crisis 2032 when Largo uses his little black box to bring down satstrikes everywhere... It's truly a grand moment of background music for the moment when a truly technological monstrosity is unleashed... Go to Comment
In truth, I'll admit that a fair chunk of my background music, when played, originates in video game RPGs. Specifically, I own every Final Fantasy soundtrack from 3 through 10, as well as both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. All of them together provide a wonderful selection of music... Go to Comment