Top 10 Relaxing Soundtracks

We’re all familiar with soundtracks, whether for films, TV series, or video games. There are classics, such as John Williams’s Star Wars theme, Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean score, and Jeremy Soule’s Dragonborn from Skyrim: Elder Scrolls. These are all epic and upbeat and perfect for getting things done to and just listening to with no context. Lately, however, I’ve been rather enjoying quieter, calmer soundtracks; it’s good to have some peaceful music in your playlists for when you don’t want to tense up to high-strung battle scores or chase scene soundtracks or “Invincible” by Two Steps from Hell. And no one can complain about your stressful tastes in music when you play these tracks. Another upside? You get to still listen to music from your favorite fandoms. Let’s get to it.

1. “Watashi No Uso,” from Your Lie in April

There are so many good tracks from this beautiful, emotional anime. A lot of them are classical piano pieces, as the storyline highlights the main character’s life as a pianist, “Winter Wind” being a favorite of mine (it starts peaceful, but don’t let that fool you). The entire anime is centered on music itself, which is one of the main reasons why I love it so much. I prefer the piano OST version of “Watashi No Uso,” which the link sends you over to on Spotify. The orchestral bits in the original piece add dynamic range, but the piano version is quieter and more calming.

2. “From Past to Present” from Skyrim: Elder Scrolls

This game has so many amazing tracks. “From Past to Present” is just one of the calming ones. Others are “The Bannered Mare,” “Far Horizons,” “The Streets of Whiterun” and “Ancient Stones” (my favorite as it features the hammered dulcimer). “Sovngarde” is also amazing, so do give it a listen if you haven’t yet. And keep an eye on your epicmeter as it may break.

3. “Medieval Waters” from In Bruges

I have never seen this movie, but I heard “Medieval Waters” on Spotify several years ago and it’s still one of my favorites and the first song on my writing playlist. It’s fairly short, featuring a cello (or a similar stringed instrument), a flute, and a piano. The melody is heard throughout the album for the movie soundtrack, and it’s probably the most relaxing movie soundtrack album I’ve heard. Apparently the movie takes place in a medieval town setting, which is all I need to want to see it, and this song captures the essence of that. It’s pretty and short and sweet.

4. “Subwoofer Lullaby” from Minecraft

I started playing Minecraft a month ago and it is the most therapeutic game I’ve ever played. The music is a big part of it. Now I’ll listen to the Minecraft soundtrack just because it’s simple and easy and calming. “Subwoofer Lullaby” is a favorite, and so is “Sweden” and “Minecraft,” all done by the artist C418, who is actually Daniel Rosenfeld, a German mucisian, producer, and sound engineer who composed the soundtrack for Minecraft.

5. “Dawn” from Pride & Prejudice

This whole album soundtrack is just really pleasant to listen to. “Dawn” is a popular track as most people, upon hearing it, immediately associate it with the movie––or mistakenly assume it’s a classical piece, as it sounds just like one. I’m not a huge fan of the Pride and Prejudice movies, but I do appreciate the writing and humor in the book. It’s a classic and it is a truth universally acknowledged, that any man in possession of a good amount of books, must also possess Pride and Prejudice.

6. “Nemo Egg (Main Title)” from Nemo

This song is short and sweet and one that can be easily sightread if you enjoy playing tracks on the piano. This piece is also a great sample of Thomas Newman’s style of film compositions. Newman tends to be heavy on the strings and piano and most of his scores are relaxing and less dominant than, say, other popular film score composers such as Hans Zimmer, John Williams, John Powell or Steve Jablonsky, to name a few.

7. “Nascence” from Journey

This beautiful song comes from the beautiful game, Journey. I’ve never played it before, but I’ve seen gameplay and trailers as it was used as an example of well-done design and game mechanics in class last semester. I haven’t listened to the entire album for the game soundtrack, but I would assume all of them have the same essence as “Nascence.”

8. “The Vagabond” from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I’ve never played The Witcher video games and I certainly don’t intend to, but oh man, these game soundtracks have some of the most beautiful medieval/fantasy-esque music and they do take up the majority of my writing playlist. Other tracks I highly recommend from this game are “A Nearly Peaceful Place,” “A Story you Won’t Believe,” “Geralt of Rivia,” “The Slopes of the Blessure,” “Peaceful Moments,” and “Tavern at the End of the World.” The composers vary, but the style and genre of the Witcher game soundtracks are all the same.

9. “Harry in Winter” from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

All of the Harry Potter movies have amazing soundtracks. Personally, I’m not a fan of Alexandre Desplat’s contribution with the two Deathly Hallows movies, but Nicholas Hooper, John Williams, and Patrick Doyle have made the Harry Potter movies as memorable as they are now because of their score compositions. Patrick Doyle’s score for The Goblet of Fire is amazing, and other great tracks from this movie include waltzes (“Potter Waltz,” and “Neville’s Waltz,”), “Hogwarts Hymn,” “Hogwarts March,” and “The Quidditch World Cup,” thus contributing to the worldbuilding with themes and leitmotifs.

10. “The Vikings Have Their Tea” from How to Train Your Dragon

Honestly saving the best for last here. How to Train Your Dragon is one of my all-time favorite movies, and the soundtrack is one of the reasons why that is the case. I can’t remember exact moments in the movie when this track plays, and it’s at the very end of the album which makes me think it was a composition that didn’t necessarily get put in the movie unless the melody had been used in the movie itself. This very sweet, calming track features the violin, flute, and bagpipes. Some favorites from the soundtrack album are, but not limited to, “This is Berk,” “Test Drive,” “New Tail,” and “Coming Back Around.”

What are some favorite relaxing movie/video game soundtracks of yours? Let me know in the comments below! If you can’t already tell, I do love a good music discussion.

Michael’s Movie Mentions: Exploring Tension-Building in “The Bourne Ultimatum”

“The Bourne Ultimatum” is a perfect film for analyzing and applying to writing, because it has many traits that are unique to this film series, one of the reasons it is widely known and well regarded as an action film. The director, Paul Greengrass, skillfully uses camera cuts and omniscient narrator voice to build tension throughout the movie. We will be primarily exploring the opening sequence to show just how these cinematic tools are used. I will also be applying this to writing as well, suggesting how writers can use these techniques in their writing to build tension.

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Michael’s Movie Mentions: Storytelling Similarities in Movies and Writing

Did you know that, in many ways, the art of making movies (visual storytelling) is often similar to the art of writing? How the director and director of photography choose to portray a story by way of camera is, believe it or not, comparable to some extent with writing books. And that is what I will be doing in this post: showing the similarities in the psychology of camera storytelling (movies) and storytelling by way of written word (your favorite book, for example). This similarity may stem from the fact that Storytelling is a universal art, developed over the millennia of mankind. Movies and the written word are merely different categories of storytelling, so it makes sense that there would be many similarities between the two. I will show you just a few of them in this post.

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Thoughts on the Anime “Your Name”

yournameYesterday, Hannah Heath and I went to see the anime Your Name. It was released in Japan in 2016 and it went over so well, they wisely decided to release it in the United States also. It got a whopping 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That, and the fact that it was about a body swap (a concept I’d always dreamed of experiencing or writing about) ultimately helped me in deciding to go. The trailer looked pretty too, so overall, I was pretty stoked. It should be a fairly good movie, right?

Wrong. Oh, I was so wrong.

It was AMAZING.

 

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The Emotionally Agonizing Life of a Bookworm, Fangirl, and Writer

Okay, so I know the title of this post is sort of weird. But if you are an avid reader, serious writer, or big fan to any extent, you may find such a post appetizing. After all, us readers, writers, and geeks tend to enjoy harrowing stories that follow characters who are thrown into very tough hardships. But why would we call this emotionally harrowing? I’ve got some answers to that question below, as well as reasons for why it’s important and worth struggling with those deep emotions over stories that never happened.

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The Book and Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Star Wars isn’t the only major fandom that decided to release a set of films for the second generation. J. K. Rowling has published several Hogwarts textbooks for the entertainment of muggles (Fantastic Beasts, Tales of Beedle the Bard, and Quidditch Through the Ages). She also wrote a script for yet another magical Harry Potter world movie: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

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Movie Review: Megamind

I love cliche-breakers. When someone decides to write a book or make a movie that’s unique and different, I get excited. Why? Because sometimes stories repeat each other. The ending, the beginning, the plot, the chosen one, the love triangle? Oh yeah, we’ve seen this before. What about the hero vs. the villain, from beginning to end? Yup. What about a villain winning over the hero? We call that a tragedy: old stuff. What about a hero destroying the villain and saving the day? Too often.

What about a villain who constantly needs a hero to fight and so he creates one, who becomes corrupt, and so the villain needs to save the city and in turn becomes the hero? Nope, never thought of it … ooh, we’ve got one over here!

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10 Ways to Get Writing Inspiration

We writers. We all get those days when we begin to wonder if our mind has left us. Devoid of ideas and suffering from lack of motivation, we sit around, staring at a blank piece of paper or an empty Word document. We search for our characters, hoping they haven’t ditched us yet. We begin to wonder if we’ve myth-busted Writer’s Block.

And then BOOM, something hits us and we begin fumbling madly with our pencil, shrieking with excitement, starting a typing craze. This symptom is commonly known as “inspiration,” and it arrives from various different sources, all of which have proven successful for many writers to keep on writing, to keep doing what they must get done.

Here is a list I have put together of ten different types of inspiration that I know have helped me. Depending on my mood or situation, some work better than others, but most of the time, I welcome anything to get my mind spinning again.

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Music Inspiration for Writing Epic Scenes: Film Scores and Other Orchestral Artists

The film score is a very important part of movies today. This is partly because of their ability to convey certain emotions in different scenes. If it’s an action scene, you’re going to hear a lot of suspenseful, high strung music. If it’s a romance scene, the music is going to be sweet and most likely relaxing. Music alone can make you want to cry, laugh, dance, wonder, be horrified, sit on the edge of our seats, or (like me) wave your arms around and call it “conducting.” With no music, particular movie scenes would come across as less meaningful; something is missing.

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The Book and Movie Review: The Martian

When you hear the category “sci-fi,” Star Wars/Trek, Doctor Who, Twilight Zone, Interstellar, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and other such movies or books may come to mind. The thing that’s common with almost all of these is that they may be sci-fi, but they also fall into the “fantasy” category. These stories never happened and could never happen according to our current time and knowledge of science and the universe, which makes them very unrealistic, thus fantasy. Which is one of the reasons why The Martian is cool. It’s unique because it fits into the “sci-fi” category but doesn’t fall in with “fantasy.” It’s totally fiction, incredibly scientific (like only-geeks-get-it scientific), BUT! It’s totally realistic. This is no fantasy … This is it. This is what I’m talking about. This is sci-fi. 

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