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The Power of the Sung Word


March 20, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 2
 

As a means of rooting the main character into the early-Christian world of Assassin's Creed, Jesper Kyd decided to select from multiple sources for his choral text making use of not only Gregorian chant, but also Muslim prayers.

Perhaps the most famous use of non-Latin text in game scoring, both God of War I and II employed bold choral arrangements in Greek in order to cement Kratos in the world of ancient Mediterranean mythology.

The Internet is a fantastic resource for quickly tracking down thousands of public domain texts in hundreds of languages. ChoralNet.org is a site where composers can find a wide array of choral texts in Hungarian, Hebrew, Swedish, Spanish, and Italian to name a few.

The oddly-named Robokopp (www.musicanet.org/robokopp) is an online resource of thousands of traditional folk songs from German drinking songs to French sea shanties and Welsh hymns.

The Internet is also an excellent resource for finding professional translators in every language imaginable, an invaluable resource for composers when writing their own lyrics or deciding to set text or poetry in a non-native tongue.

Off-World Alternatives

Whether it's the Pussycat Dolls performing in Simlish, the ancient Mando'a of Star Wars: Republic Commando, or the vocalizations of K.K. Slider in Animal Crossing, games have a rich history of utilizing vocal music in constructed languages as well.

A constructed language is any language that has been artificially built, such as Klingon, Tolkien's Elven languages, or Esperanto.

If your game is set in a completely alien world with completely alien inhabitants, a little extra time and care can result in a captivating new choral language unique to your new world.

Diehard fans will devour the content and it will help to sell the realism of a fabricated world.

When constructing your own language, if it will be used in music, remember that the most important aspect is its ability to be sung, so practice singing the words out-loud in order to test their ease of pronunciation.

Additionally, whatever spelling you may concoct for the official look of the written words, it's best to write the language into the vocal score in easily-understood phonetic spellings, as anything else will simply waste time on the scoring stage.

For more information than you could possibly ever want about creating your own language, you can find noted conlanger Mark Rosenfelder's language construction kit online at www.zompist.com/kit.html.

Even the world of synthesized choirs is expanding beyond Latin. When the next version of EastWest/Quantum Leap's popular Symphonic Choir library ships later this year, the preconstructed WordBuilder tool will contain new ready-made phrases in English, Italian, Russian, German, and even Elven.


Article Start Previous Page 2 of 2

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