Lost in Translation

I am actually a little disappointed to be posting this with the title “Lost in Translation” when I realize that “A Foreign Language” would have actually fit it perfectly. But alas, that was the name of my last post and of course hindsight is 20/20.

Oh well. Anyways.

I believe I mentioned at the start of the year that I rented a violin in December and was playing around with that and having a lot of fun with it. Well, it actually worked out that a barn friend of mine had a violin from when she was learning as a kid and she generously gifted it to me, which was pretty amazing. It’s a gorgeous instrument and I am very much in love, and after fixing up the strings and buying a new bow (and learning just how painstakingly difficult it is to apply a new brick of rosin to a brand new bow–it took me two days), it really feels like my own.

Actually learning how to play it though?

That’s been an interesting adventure.

I mean, I’ve learned how to make it sound like something resembling music and not a horrible hybrid between nails-on-chalkboard and dying-animal-sound, which is good, and I’ve learned to play a couple short and simple songs that actually sound like the songs they’re supposed to be, which is great, but wow what an instrument.

What an instrument, truly.

It’s quite interesting, because music is something I’ve always loved from a listening standpoint, but is something I never really felt a part of from a creating standpoint. I mean, I did take a mandatory music class in eighth grade so I did have some exposure to music, but learning three notes on the flute in order to play Hot Cross Buns doesn’t exactly equate to understanding and grasping music. And seeing as how I got a B in that class, I clearly wasn’t any kind of musical prodigy.

So jumping into the violin (which is on its own a much more difficult instrument to learn than most) without any real prior musical ability or knowledge has been a little bit disorienting. I mean, I couldn’t read a lick of sheet music a month or so ago, so trying to figure out how the little sticks and circles on the page are supposed to transform into sounds feels like trying to understand ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Lots of confused faces and question marks, let me tell you.

And what the heck is with this whole “an A note could either be an open A or the fourth finger on the D string or the third finger on the E string or the first finger on the G string” nonsense? Why couldn’t we come up with different letters for each? I am so confused????

But I’m slowly piecing it together and am actually making music. Which is. Wow. It’s really wow.

I mean, I’ve sort of got Mary Had a Little Lamb and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star:

Which are two songs that would really only entertain infants (and even then they would want me to be a lot better at violin first) but hey. It’s certainly a start.

And, and! I’ve also got a classical song by Beethoven in my musical repertoire. Yeah that’s right, I learned how to play a snippet of Ode to Joy. I actually only learned it yesterday, so I have a clip from then and a clip from now, which already shows a little bit of improvement (such as actually being able to remember the tune of Ode to Joy).

Warning: this song sounds a little torturous. Sorry not sorry.

Personally, I think it sounds a little more impressive than Twinkle Twinkle. I actually was a little surprised that Ode to Joy was in my learning level. I mean, I guess I never realized it was actually fairly simple in practice? And I guess when you think of Beethoven you don’t really think “beginner”. So it’s kind of cool to me to see that making music isn’t quite as astoundingly, impossibly difficult as I previously thought.

Although, that being said, I’m not finding every song quite so easy to get a grasp on. The song that is my kryptonite? Jingle Bells. Yes. Jingle Bells. I attempted it four times in the following clip and boy oh boy was that fun.

Yeeeah. Not very impressive.

I think perhaps the most fascinating part of this whole experience thus far though has been actually learning the music. I mean, I still don’t really know sheet music, but I learned how to do Auld Lang Syne using tabs and that’s actually a song I’ve memorized. And it’s really interesting to me, because to some degree I’ve got the finger positions numerically memorized (0 3 3 3 1 0 3 0…) but when it comes down to really playing it, I’ve actually got it memorized more by sound than anything else. I know the tune of the song, I know whether the next note will be higher or lower, I’ve learned the finger position associated with the different notes, and so playing Auld Lang Syne feels a little bit like speaking a fluent sentence in a foreign language.

Learning music feels like learning a language.

Because with this song in particular, I no longer have to sit there and think “okay what’s the note that comes next?”, my brain just knows it, and knows how to make it. I’ve got it memorized to the point where it feels intuitive and natural and it’s such an incredible feeling. This is why I wanted to learn an instrument–I wanted the feeling of music being an extension of myself and I wanted to feel the sound pour from my hands the same way the words pour from my mind.

I mean don’t get me wrong, you can hear plenty of mistakes when I’m playing it (I am so impatient and you can totally tell, ahaha), but it just feels so amazing to play and agh I love it.

I have a hell of a long way to go with violin before it’s quite what I hope for it to be, but I’m just so grateful that I get the chance right now to start to integrate something so amazing and meaningful into my life. The fact that I’m learning this new language, that I’m finding a new way to express myself, a new extension of my soul? It’s inspiring and powerful and breathtaking and I love it.

Y’know. When I’m not struggling with Christmas songs.

-Alex

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Catch Up With Alex: Part 1

Hi everyone! I have so much news to share with you! And gifs! And music! Are you ready for this?!

Now, because I have soooooo much to say (probably too much, but whatever), I’m splitting this into two parts.

First things first: NaNoWrMo

nanoday22

nanoday23 nanoday25 As you can see, I fell massively behind right after my last post. I think my graph is supposed to look like a staircase, but mine kind of looks like a lumpy sidewalk in some spots. My lack of progress had nothing to do with me being stuck at halfway–it was because of school, as usual, and me not being in the right state of mind to even attempt to make up the ground I’d lost. But the last three days I’ve been marathoning to catch up and it has been gloriously fun!

Writing about 4k every day was a novel (haha) and thrilling experience. I normally don’t write a whole lot in a day. If I write 2000 words, I’m over the moon. But I figured that if I broke it into three chunks–2k after breakfast, 1k after dinner, 1k before bed–I was able to balance the words with the homework quite nicely. And it really doesn’t feel like I just wrote 11k words. It’s honestly been so much fun, working on my novel like that.

Now, while I’ve been off building sidewalks, a couple other WordPress WriMos have been rocking their wordcounts! TJ Edwards and Airlia on Loquacité have both claimed victory with shiny purple winner bars! Go and congratulate them for not only reaching 50k+, but also for reaching it early!

airliawontjwon

 

 

 

I’ve got some added incentive for wanting to win NaNoWriMo this year, besides just wanting to win. I started looking around at Scrivener, which I’ve heard many, many good things about, because I know they give a pretty nice discount for NaNoWriMo winners (50% off of the normal $40!). I am really quite in love with it, and I’ve only briefly skimmed the free trial of it. For the first draft of the manuscript I’m currently editing, I printed it out in a paper copy because I knew it would be easier for me to visualize the book as a whole if I had physical pages to work with. But I don’t want to print the whole giant monster again for the second draft, so I think that this might be a good solution. Scrivener had different visual modes, such as corkboard, outline, or regular page view, and lets you put your research right into it, making it easy to reach. I’ll probably still use MS Word for first drafts (I love Word so much <3) but I am so eager to edit on Scrivener. My lovely mom even said she’d get Scrivener for me if I win NaNoWriMo, yay!

A New Discovery

While writing NaNoWriMo and struggling with heaping loads of homework (more on that later), I also discovered a very lovely thing. It’s this really cool website called MyNoise.net.

It’s basically a website that lets you play background noise to help you study. It has different kinds of noise—like continuous white noise vs. more varied impulse noise—depending on your needs or interests. And the options for the different sounds you can listen to are quite impressive. My favourites are the fire (it makes me feel marginally warmer despite it been freezing cold outside) and the cat purr. I tried out the purring last night and just felt better while listening to it. I have a feeling I’ll be using this a lot from now on!

(Haha a side note here, but April and I went downtown, and she got me a café mocha, and this is the first time I’ve had coffee in suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch a long time. It’s making me a little bit weird. This is why I don’t normally drink coffee :P Downtown was fun though. We went in this awesome shop with this awesome jewellery (every five seconds we kept saying “oh, that’s cool!”) and these incredible leather notebook covers (you know how I am about leather <3) It was quite fun indeed.)

Me on coffee.

Music

Normally I don’t like to write with music if it’s quiet enough to write without it, but this year I’ve found that I’m almost incapable of getting into the groove of my story without the aid of some sort of soundtrack. There’s something about the pacing of the narrative that’s just easier to write when I have a literal beat to write to. For the first bit I solely used the How to Train Your Dragon 2 soundtrack.

I loved the first movie’s soundtrack, but I think I might love the second one more. Well, no, not exactly. There are more individual songs on the first score that I like, whereas I like the overall sound of the second one better. I love that it has the same sound as the original, but yet introduces a whole new underlying theme to suit the purposes of the second movie. You really can feel the spirit of the characters and the story in the music and I absolutely adore it. I can’t get enough.

I think this is my favourite song from the whole score.

Agh, but listening to it just gives me all the feels!

Haha, I am so very excited to watch the second movie again! I may possibly be receiving it for my birthday?!?!?? Which is only 8-ish days away! But I am crazy excited to watch it, and to show it to my mom, because she never watched it when it was still in theatres. This movie is just too much for me to handle sometimes, honestly, and I love it to bits and pieces <3

But besides the HTTYD2 soundtrack, I was searching for other songs that would inspire me for this novel. Last year, I used tons of songs to inspire the emotion of the story I was writing (as PP1MT wrote about here), and while I wasn’t so concerned with having a whole playlist this time around, I still kind of wanted some sort of anthem for the book. It was when I stopped looking that I found what I was after: the song Nothing Left to Say/Rocks by Imagine Dragons.

I very much love Imagine Dragons and their CD Night Visions. On this CD, the final track is called Nothing Left to Say/Rocks, and is a combination of Nothing Left to Say (which is a six and a half minute song) with this little “hidden track” (only 2 minutes long) called Rocks at the end. They’re a very interesting pairing, as NLTS is moodier, more subdued, and Rocks is much more upbeat and nonsensical. And they totally mesh with the vibe of my novel.

Parts of Witch’s Blood (my NaNo project) are very upbeat. The narrator herself is in general a more carefree, cut-loose kind of girl, and she has a lot of fun when she first gets the inn. But when things go bad, it takes a much darker turn. There are casualties, and high tensions, and bad tempers, and the ideas of “falling down”, and “drowning in the waters of my soul” (lyrics from NLTS) are extremely appropriate. It’s rough times. So the combination of the songs really reflects (and reminds me) how the novel has two faces. Where there is despair, there is hope. Where there is happiness, there is grief. So I’ve decided that if any song is to be this book’s anthem, it’s this one.

I will talk more in my next post about non-NaNo things, so if you’re in the mood to read some random babble and ranting and complaints about chemistry, that’s where it’s at!

How has your month been thus far?

May you be surrounded by good music and soothing sounds.

-Alex

The Stirling Sound

If you’ve never heard of Lindsey Stirling before, you’re certainly in for a treat.

This spunky girl is a musician like no other. She’s a dancing violinist, meaning she literally dances while she plays the violin. And we’re not talking classical music here, no–her violin chords are mixed with dubstep, electronic beats, and sometimes vocals or other instruments to give it a uniquely contemporary flair.

You might recognize her from America’s Got Talent. Back in 2010, she made it to quarter finals but was told by Piers Morgan that her music sounded like rats being strangled, and that was her last performance on the show. In the cover booklet for her first, self-titled CD, she wrote, “Piers Morgan (bless his heart). When I was on America’s Got Talent, Piers’ comment humiliated me and made me wonder if I’d ever have the nerve to step on another stage. My self-confidence was briefly shattered, but my desire to prove him wrong gave me the motivation to believe in myself again. Overcoming that experience made me stronger than ever.”

Boy, was she right. She came back stronger than ever and proved that there was indeed a place for a dancing, hip-hop violinist in the world. Her latest album, Shatter Me, hit #1 on iTunes and she’s toured all over the world. From a music standpoint, she’s got lots of talent and has done something very impressive with said talent.

Her success even prompted a response from Piers Morgan (kudos to him!).

piersmorgan

I first came across her music maybe a year ago, when I found her Zelda Medley cover on YouTube. I loved the sound of it (I’ve always loved violins and appreciate me some good LoZ tunes) but remember thinking at the time, The dancing’s a little much though, isn’t it? But then I started sniffing around some of her other stuff, namely her cover of the Skyrim theme, and then of a Lord of the Rings medley, and began to adore the beauty and passion of what she was doing.

I then took a chance listening to her original stuff, and by the time Shatter Me came out, I was hooked. Then, when I found out she was including Canada in her tour, I knew I had to go.

When I walked through the venue door, I was just a girl inspired by some awesome violin music. When I walked out, I was a girl inspired by the story of an incredible hero.

The concert was incredible. The anticipation was nearly unbearable as I thought of the inspiring songs I was about to hear, and when the first violin chord cut through the air, the waterworks began. Just seconds into the concert and there were already tears rolling down my cheeks.

There is something about the violin that just speaks to me. The tenor, the sound, the emotion–it’s the instrument of my soul and I certainly felt it that night. There were certain songs I just couldn’t bear without crying. They had such an impact on me, reverberating straight through, that I felt my own emotions–my gladness, desire, sorrow, and hope–rising and falling with the voice of the violin.

I’m pretty sure Lindsey’s violin was equipped with my heartstrings, because that’s certainly what it felt like.

But as I said–it wasn’t the music that ultimately inspired me, it was the story.

She definitely told a story that was personal, heartbreaking, and uplifting, all at once. One part I loved was when she showed home videos of herself as a little girl, getting told by her dad, “Next time you touch that, you lose your fingers”. It was a piece of her heart that she shared and it reflected her own ability to love who she is and where she came from.

Then there was Take Flight (listen to it while you read the paragraphs below).

I have no words that can accurately describe how much this song means to me. I actually hadn’t heard it before the concert (I didn’t buy her albums till after), but hearing it live for the first time was just amazing. The song itself, of course, is wonderful, but the story is what got me most.

The original inspiration for the song was from a young fan of Lindsey’s, still in elementary school, who had been bullied so badly, he tried to commit suicide. Heartbroken that someone could feel so hopeless, she was compelled to write Take Flight to try to express that, though the road can at times be dark and we can’t even see the light at the end of it, there are people around us–friends, family, even a god–who are there to help. On her tour, she happened to meet a young boy named Hunter who had been diagnosed with cancer and one month left to live. Her show would be the last he ever saw, but he was full of optimism, hoping to leave his last marks of positivity in the lives around him with what time he had left.

At that point, I was truly sobbing. That story isn’t just the elementary boy’s story, or Hunter’s story, or Lindsey’s story–it’s my story too. I endured despair when my best friend moved away, when I thought I’d never write a good story ever again, when I’d had a bad day that was just a little too much to handle. I’ve fought to find hope, to keep myself fighting, to take flight and soar. This story is everyone’s story.

And that wasn’t even the last story. The last story (and the last song before the encore) was the message behind Shatter Me.

Shatter Me is all about breaking free from the expectations of others. Letting your inner spirit out to shine for the world, even if it isn’t what the world thinks it wants. It’s about being tired of lying to yourself, tired of just going through the motions, tired of your glass prison. Even if you shatter, you won’t be destroyed. You’ll just give your inner light that vital chance to escape. After all, our greatest strength can come from our moments of greatest weakness.

This is another story that touches me deeply. It’s hard to be who I am sometimes, to be a girl who believes in magic, who believes inanimate objects have a spirit, who believes in a beauty that not many others may see. But it’s hard too to be a dancing violinist, isn’t it?, and look at how well Lindsey’s done. When it comes down to it, we all have those unique, burning spirits inside us that we keep secret because we fear what the world would do with them. If only we can find the courage to shatter and be free.

My Lindsey loot <3

My Lindsey loot <3

Lindsey Stirling is truly my hero. She is the first non-fictional hero of mine whom I don’t know personally, because I feel like I do know her personally just from the stories she’s told. She is an enormous inspiration to me, in the music she plays and the life she lives, and I hope that I may one day find my courage and take flight the same way she has.

So that was what completed my weekend of tears, and as you can see, it was a good weekend indeed. I am so happy to have such great heroes, the fictional Hiccup and the true Lindsey Stirling, who inspire me to such lengths that I feel the desire to embrace my soul and live my life fully. And I sincerely hope that you have found the same in your lives.

I will leave you will one last piece of Lindsey inspiration. I hope it speaks to you as it did to me :) And I 100% recommend you go look up more of Lindsey’s work. She’s an incredible human being.

lindseyfacebookpost

Do you have a hero who inspires you to find yourself?

May your soul be full of music, hope, and courage.

-Alex

What Day is it Again?

Back in November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month–NaNoWriMo–and I finally finished my NaNo novel in March and decided it would be really fun to do Camp NaNoWriMo in April.

Except that I forgot I signed up until March 30th. Oops.

Of course, once April came around, I was already committed to doing it–except that I kept finding reasons why I was too busy to write anything for it. So here I am, more than halfway through the month, with only 1000 words of my 10 000 word goal. I planned to do 10 thousand-word short stories in a semi-connected series, and I’ve only got one so far.

I also decided it would be fun to write a poem a day, since April is National Poetry Month. I have one poem.

So yeah, I’m behind, but now that I’ve committed, I really am going to follow through. I can do this, woo! And I’ll share my stuff here on Valourbörn, my little adventures. This is what I’ve got so far…

***

Uplift

The muscles along my back, between my shoulders, as well as the muscles along my chest, ached and stretched with a beautiful ache, a wondrous stretch, and I filled my lungs deeply with air. The wind, a tangible body lifting me up, swept under my wings and pushed me forwards. I tipped my shoulders, angled my course, and banked steeply towards a nearby mountain peak. The chilly breeze hit my face like a splash of cold water and I laughed—

“Branding, head out of the clouds!” the phys. ed. teacher snapped, and I groaned, picking up the pace as I jogged around the track. This was torture, this mundane running. Who wanted to use legs when you could use wings instead? As I ran along the dark rubber track, fighting against the wind that howled across the football field and straight into my mouth and nose—choking me out in the process, ugh—I wished desperately that I could trade my heavy, dragging flesh for the paper-light bones of a bird.

Those twelve minutes were the longest twelve minutes of my life, but finally the evaluation was over and I was allowed to stop running. I doubled over, hands on my knees and fighting for breath in lungs that were bitterly sore. The wind pushed against me as if taunting me, reminding me that I could be flying instead. I limped back to where the gym class was gathering to report my pathetic score, meanwhile lifting my arms into the wind’s embrace as if hoping I would sprout feathers and take off. If only .

I dutifully gave my score to the teacher—“That’s it? Just five laps?”—and trudged inside to get changed. The other guys were exchanging their impressive numbers, laughing, shoving, being typical teenage guys, but I lagged behind. I ran my fingers along the wall of lockers. The metal was cold, as crisp as fresh white snow, like the snow that ran under my fingers as I dove close to the mountain. I soared just above it, my fingertips digging into the snow, and then flapped my wings hard to gain altitude.

I flapped until my chest was too tight to flap anymore, and then angled downwards, towards a distant green valley stretching beneath me. I ascended slowly at first, feeling weightless, drifting on the undulating currents of air that so fondly supported me, but gradually gained speed till I was diving streamlined to the ground. My eyes watered, my face chilled, but I was moving so fast with such power splitting around me, like I was an arrow just shot from the bow—

I went into the change room, pulled off my sweaty gym clothes, put on my uniform, loitered in the hallway in wait of the bell, then made my way to the atrium stairs en route to my locker.

I loved the atrium stairs. They wrapped around the very heart of the school, winding up all three storeys and completely open on one side. I liked to walk up them close to the railing, so I could peer over and see all the empty air below me. Being up high made me giddy, full of eager energy, but it made me long even more for my dream wings.

I went all the way to the third floor, walked down the hallway, put my chemistry textbook in my locker, and went back towards the stairs. When I reached the top of them, I saw a woman leaning against the railing who hadn’t been there before. She was half leaning out, peering towards the ground as if looking for someone, except that no one was down there. School had ended with the bell and the atrium had emptied pretty quickly. Faster than usual, actually.

She turned when I went to pass her, stopping me with a hand on my arm. “Have you flown from here?” she asked, with such suddenness and certainty that I faltered.

“Excuse me?” I stuttered, stunned, and her eyes searched my face.

“You’ve got wings, haven’t you?” she asked, persistent. “You’ve dreamt of flying before, haven’t you?” I nodded numbly, bewildered by what was happening and wondering if this woman was just an illusion, and she grinned broadly.

“Perfect,” she said, sounding pleased. “So will you fly from here, then? For me? I’ve got to get home, and I need a pair of wings to get me there.” She climbed over the railing and stood balanced on the ledge. Gesturing me to follow, she said, “Just jump off and fly, and I’ll follow behind. Okay?”

It sounded crazy. I dreamt that I had wings. Some days, I could practically feel their weight on my back, the tickle of their feathers against the backs of my arms. But they weren’t real.

Although, if that were true, then couldn’t one say that a woman asking me to fly with my imaginary wings wouldn’t be real either?

It was a gamble. I would either fly with the wings that felt so genuine, or I would splat on the ground three storeys down.

I climbed over the railing.

The woman smiled at me. “We’re about to go on the adventure of your lifetime,” she said eagerly, and my heart thumped a little harder in my chest. Adventure.

Still holding the railing behind me, I eyed up the drop to the ground floor. I wondered if I really would die, falling from this high up. No, I would fly. I would. I inhaled deeply, feeling a heavy presence between my shoulders, like a pair of wings. I stretched them out to either side, flexing the muscles across my chest. There was a breeze in the atrium, which was strange, but it toyed with my feathers, promising to catch me. I couldn’t see the wings on my back but I knew they were there.

I’d known all along that they were real. I’d just needed someone else to tell me so.

“Ready?” I asked, a slight waver in my voice. The woman nodded. Holding my breath, I leapt off the edge, stretched my wings out, and caught the wind.

***

And my unnamed poem:

If I could pump music in your veins

With the ink I use beyond the page,

I would fill your blood with colour,

I would make myself your brother.

So this is my latest adventure. Wish me luck and feel free to tell me what you think!

Are you embarking on any April adventures?

May all your spontaneous and poorly planned endeavours be successful.

-Alex

Exploring the cognitive effects of Music.

The wonderful PP1MT was inspired by my use of music to tap into an emotional current whilst writing my NaNo novel. It was my first time, using music to fuel my words, and it was an incredibly rewarding experience. While words can stir your mind, music can quiver through your heart and soul, carrying you away on an adventure found only through notes and tunes. Go read his post–he makes fantastic points :)

The PewPew Diaries.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Alex of Valourborn, whose works have intrigued ever since I chanced upon it while waddling in the cascading blogroll of the WordPress Reader in the early days of my little adventure. During November of 2013, she took part in the annual novel-writing project Nanowrimo, and ever since then I have bugged her constantly for her to release her novel. And then, it finally came – attached to the email was a .docx document with a dozen pictures.

alex's email

It’s a good day :)

She also told me how she drew inspiration from music, and that these song tracks have indeed shaped her story. When applicable, the respective tracks and a portion of the lyrics were highlighted in blue and placed prior to each chapter; like a prelude to the main story.

About a good three quarter past the book, I…

View original post 520 more words

Spooky Songs for the Halloween Season

UPDATED! Sooo… I just found out today that the official version of this post which was actually published on my blog was missing three songs that I had originally added to the post. I am so ticked off. I put all that work into it and yet it doesn’t even publish the full version! Agh! My mom says it’s probably a villain messing with me. I agree with her. Stupid villains. This is what I get for dedicating a whole month to them? Anyways, sorry about all this. I hope you enjoy the three missing songs.

***

There are lots of shows and movies that I traditionally watch every Halloween season, but there are also many songs that I love to listen to once October rolls around. Though Halloween-themed music isn’t a plentiful as Christmas music (which seems to mostly take the same few songs and make dozens of different versions of it), there are still a few great songs that get you into the spirit of Halloween.

The Monster Mash:

Who doesn’t love dancing with a bunch of monsters at this time of year? The Monster Mash by Bobby “Boris” Pickett is a classic Halloween song and you gotta listen to it at least once before October’s up.

UPDATE! Witch Doctor:

If you need some advice on love, the witch doctor’s the man you wanna see. This song is just a lot of fun and pretty catchy too, and was created by the man behind the Chipmunks, whose stage name was David Seville.

UPDATE! The Purple People Eater:

Another oldie, but a goodie. I always had the most interesting mental images listening to this song as a kid… It’s probably good that I never saw this picture when I was little. Anyways, this song by Sheb Wooley is a lot of fun this time of year.

UPDATE! Thriller:

This song by Michael Jackson became wildly popular when it was released, even winning a Guinness World Record in 2006 for the most successful music video. It’s a spooky song perfect for Halloween and great for setting a party mood.

Ghostbusters:

Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters! This ghost-themed song by Ray Parker Jr. is pure fun and a funky 80s beat. One of these days, I gotta watch the movies.

One Good Scare Out to do ya Some Good:

From the Phineas and Ferb episode by the same name, this song is full of great humour and a catchy rhythm. To think that the purpose of the entire song was to cure Isabella’s hiccups…

These are just some of my favourites, but there are lots more great tunes to listen to this time of year if you’re looking for something ghoulish to set a mood.

What songs do you know that fit the Halloween theme?

May you find much music this time of year to add to your Halloween festivities.

-Alex

***

Have any Halloween or villain related posts you’d like to share? Send me a link in the comments or at valourborn@gmail.com. I’d love to check it out!

Musik Macht Uns Stark!

Music makes you strong!

Music makes you strong!

I got this sticker on a math test once, and was told that it means: “Music makes you strong.” At the time, I just thought it was cool, and so I kept it. But when I started getting more interested in the soundtracks of the games and movies that I love, and actually started collecting some of them, I began to realize just how strong music can make you.

When I listen to some of the songs on my playlists, I can feel the spirit of adventure swirling around me. If I close my eyes, I am transported to a vast battlefield, to the top of a mountain, or at the edge of a castle balustrade. I can feel the wind at my back or on my face, I can feel the armour weighing on my shoulders, I can feel the sword against my palm or resting on my hip. If I let myself get swept away by the powerful music, then I can let myself believe that I’m a hero.

And so, without further ado, here are my top five favourite songs of empowerment (with links!):

  • Coming Back AroundHow To Train Your Dragon Soundtrack: This was a difficult choice, because I’m so inspired by many of the songs in the soundtrack, but of all of them, this is the most empowering. Starting with soft, happier tones to reflect the happy ending to the movie, it then picks up with powerful, enveloping brushstrokes of music that overwhelm me with a feeling of pure strength. This song says to me, “We’ve finished one battle, but yet we’ve just begun.”
  • The Saga of the NornGuild Wars 2 Soundtrack: For me, this song represents everything that is Guild Wars 2. It starts with war horns, rallying the world’s heroes to fight, and then sends you to every corner of the world, introducing you to its saviours and champions, and then bringing them all together with rich and heavy notes of pure inspiration. This song says to me, “Together we shall rise, and together we shall fight.”
  • Tower of EternityAion Soundtrack: I didn’t play Aion for very long, but I always loved its main theme. This  song travels between a loud and striking call-to-arms, the complex and slower notes of a grand quest, and the soft and sweet sounds of friendship and sacrifice–all perfect ingredients to make a hero. This song says to me, “This is the life of a hero: standing tall, fighting long, and loving kind.”
  • Gerudo ValleyThe Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Soundtrack: I love this song for its energy. In the beginning, it rises smoothly into a steadier pace, which itself changes many times throughout the course of the song. Like Tower of Eternity, this song represents heroism in many forms, but it always maintains that single underlying pace that reminds me that heroes must have a constant and enduring heart. This song says to me, “A hero fights all challenges without ever losing faith.”
  • Song of the Lonely MountainThe Hobbit Soundtrack: This song takes a bit of time to build up to the actual strength-inspiring part, and even then remains more slowly paced than my other choices, but it is inspiring in a different way than the others. This song is much deeper and more grounded, carrying the message of retribution and revenge, but I can’t help but feel a spark kindle in me at the sounds of those anvils ringing. This song says to me, “We shall fight to the end to reap our just reward, and in this task we shall not falter.”

These are just a few selected from songs that I own and frequently listen to, but I have  a feeling that I could create a much larger list with all of the amazing and empowering songs that are around me.

The great thing about music is that it’s a universal language, so even someone who isn’t the slightest bit musically inclined (such as myself) can understand what it is saying and be transported to the kingdom it describes. Music is a powerful thing, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that “music” and “magic” are very similar words.

Do you have any empowering songs that inspire you? What are some things you feel or visualize when listening to your favourite songs?

May you always dance to the song of your own soul, and may that song never go silent.

-Alex