The High NotesThis week on The High Notes, I’m highlighting one of my favorite composers: Jeremy Soule. If you’ve played any of the Elder Scrolls or Guild Wars games, you’ve heard (and probably enjoyed) his work. You might also know his music from Neverwinter Nights or Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Whether you’re listening to a game’s main theme or some background music that plays while you explore, Soule’s songs always leave a lasting impression, and he has a rather large following. Recently, over 4,000 of his fans supported his Kickstarter campaign to create his first symphony, titled “The Northerner”. The final funding total was $121,227, while the requested amount was only $10,000. That’s not as insane as some of the numbers we’ve seen show up on Kickstarter, but it’s still pretty impressive. The symphony isn’t due out until September, though, so for now, let’s take a look at some of Soule’s incredible video game music.

“The City Gates” (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
I knew when I started this article that I was going to include a song from Skyrim, but it was difficult to settle on just one because nearly every track in that game is a masterpiece. I finally decided on “The City Gates”, which is one of several themes you hear when you’re exploring. It’s peaceful, but there’s a majestic quality to it that really suits the breathtaking landscapes and cities you encounter in Skyrim. Every time I hear it, I want to boot up the game and go adventuring again.

“Fear Not This Night (feat. Asja)” (Guild Wars 2)
This song is associated with the Sylvari, a race of beautiful plant people who awaken fully-grown under a giant tree in Guild Wars 2. An instrumental version of “Fear Not This Night” plays in some areas of the Sylvari home area, but the vocals in this track are so gorgeous that I had to share this one instead. The lyrics are full of hope and optimism, just like the Sylvari themselves. The song starts quietly and builds up energy steadily all the way to the end, like it’s trying to encourage you and infuse you with the power to embark on an epic journey.

“Hogwarts Neutral” (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)
I’ll bet you didn’t expect to find this one mixed in with the RPG tracks! At least, I was surprised to find that Soule was behind the score for this particular game from my childhood. His music in the Harry Potter games is as deeply associated in my mind with the series as the music from the films, and it’s also equally easy on the ears. This track plays whenever you’re running around Hogwarts doing wizardly things, and for me, its cheerful melody conjures up memories of moving staircases, creaky castle doors, and secret caches of Bertie Bott’s beans.

I’ll end our list here for this week, though this is only a tiny sample of the amazing melodies Jeremy Soule has composed. If this is somehow your first time hearing his music, then hopefully this brief spotlight has you interested in checking out some games he scored. If you already know and love Soule’s work, jump into the comments and tell us about your favorite tracks!

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