34 comments on “Epic music: what makes it epic?

  1. Your recipe is so good! It is a wonder to hear and see this through your Eyes. The first period is so poetic before the heart beat… I would love it even longer . The beauty of it all is fantastic. Thanks for making ‘epic ‘easier.

  2. It is not the music I would really notice( apart for the first movement), but with your steps and explainations, it is more attractive, it is matching the pictures, fitting exactly what is to be centered . Compared to Sibelius ‘s Luonnotar it is rather ‘light’ . Would you call this ‘epic’ too?

    • Off to rehearsal just now but will enjoy this when I get back. Thank you!
      Back now. Oh, my. What a work to digest. I am completely new to this and need to give it some attention. I am comparing the two versions on YouTube and, on first playing, I find the gorgeous film in the first rather distracting so I cannot listen properly so I will try without the images.
      Will be back with thoughts tomorrow. Au revoir.

  3. I love this analysis, Eyes!
    How easily we are manipulated! Play us the tinkly piano and we’re in a rom-com in an instant.

    Here’s my two cents: ‘epic’ music must be tonal. Dissonance will deflate pomposity and chest-swelling.

    Voice component must be choral. The more numerous chorus sounds, the more ‘epic’.

    So obviously, I don’t hear Yvette’s sample as epic at all (though it’s good, and intriguing, much more intriguing than the ‘epic’ one up there, and makes you think, while the ‘epic’ one just inflates you like a balloon, against your will).

    Some of Bjork’s music could probably be seen as epic, although I like Bjork, and Vespertine album is the least epic of her creations.

  4. This is going to boil down to our individual interpretations of the word epic, isn’t it?
    I may be wrong but I think the young folks out there use ( or overuse ) the word in different contexts from the original meaning. This can be seen on some of their comments on the YT channels and the fan pages.
    You people who are good with words ( that’s all of you, not me! ) can we arrive at common ground on the word’s meaning before we examine musical examples?
    Yvette – I’m still exploring the Sibelius ….

    http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2007/Mar07/Luonnotar.htm
    DtO. Which Bjork is best to explore for a novice?

      • Try as I might I just don’t “get” this and find the vocal irritating. Perhaps if I were more accustomed to this genre I would feel differently about this particular track.
        Any thoughts anyone else?

    • I was driving to work one day when this came through my radio… I loved it! (it is a remake from an american singer who died not long ago… can’t recall her name, this version is … epic!!!)http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x274cu_bjork-it-s-oh-so-quiet_music

  5. love the analysis (too!) :-) . i think beethoven 9th 4th mov has all the criteria met too, hair rising thick string section, soaring tune building up slowly from bass to violin, “wave crashing” sound, immediate withdraw to silence, heart-thumping “ta ta, ta ta, ta ta” before chorus + everything else lauching in for “finale” (this is like fantastic homework session Eyes :-) )

  6. @ Yvette. I have read and understood the background to the Sibelius but I am still struggling. The complexity of the work inhibits immediate connection ( but perhaps that is me ) Do you know this piece well and does it therefore “grow on you” ?
    It is interesting that both the Sibelius and the Bjork have grandiose landscape illustrations for the video component.

  7. It all happened because some years ago I stayed in Helsinki for a while. I had to get introduced to their ancient legends because each time I visited a gallery or a Museum I was confronted to their Myths just like we are here with Greek Mythology. So I bought a book of Kalevala
    and read the tales. When I visited Ainola, I undestood how much Sibelius (and his friend the painter Akseli Gallén-Kallela) wanted to illustrate these ancient myths as a matter of founding Finish identity. I am fascinated by this creation of the world in true Nordic style . Kalevala is a huge book, strange and full of poetry and violence ( I read it in English as Finland seems to be a bilingual country, Finish being such a difficult language). This passage is like a poem to me. In fact the images are in the epic style, the music is not. it is like an ancient tune. Thank you for this very interesting topic ‘epic music’! (my opinion is coming late but I was lost in Bel Canto as I wrote to Smorgy, to excuse myself)

  8. Now I am going to read your link and learn more about it in details. Your site is so good. By the way I love this Joga song, Bjork is epic in herslf!

    • I’m with you, Yvette — Bjork is epic and brilliant. I hear her latest multi-media release Biophilia is a sort of a musicological attempt to give everybody the basics of musical education and opportunity to compose, in addition to being an album of songs.

      I somehow missed her a cappella album Medulla, must catch up with that too.

  9. i spent my whole week searching for that epic music,which i first heard with the trailer of frozen planet. the best piece of music heard in my whole life. A MUST LISTEN FOR EVERYONE

  10. Sst next to a couple of young Polish guys, first time at symphony (Mahler 2) at Royal Festival Hall a while back, as we reached the finale they were wound like steel springs and at the climactic moment they both leapt up punching the air like football fans whose team had just scored the winning goal. Was fantastic.

  11. Hi Eyesometric, thanks much for your views in this type of music. Still honing my compositions and equipment to sound epic.. Sound samples or banks also plays much role in this type of music. Listen to this composition mine if you don’t mind. I struggled to make it epic, but because my sound samples banks and equipment are limited it will really suffer much.. For example I don’t have those gigantic low sounding percussion sound like that of heart of courage.

    It would really help me if you could give some thoughts and points for improvement in this composition of mine.. Thank you very much

    https://vimeo.com/78705972

  12. Oh dear … you are so kind … I re-read the article you posted on Sibelius which is always like a good incent to listen to his music, I listened to Hebrides at the Proms long time ago for the first time.and then for the second time at a concert in Helsinki in 2005. It is a captivating adventure, this music.

  13. You really saved my day :D I’m doing an essay on epic music and this really gave me the words needed for it. :) so thaks a lot! <3

    • Glad to be of help Ingrid but I hope you also put forward your own ideas on this topic. The nature of EPIC is notoriously subjective so perhaps you need to think around it a little more and find further examples? Good luck with that!

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