As Shirefest approaches, and after my conversations with Bealeden posted elsewhere, I began considering why we invest all this time in Middle-earth music. After all, it takes many hours to transcribe tunes and tweak them with various programs until they sound just right. We come together for events like Muddy Foot Day, Bread and Jam Sessions, Elevenses, Weatherstock, Winterfest, Shirefest, OAKS, and countless other gatherings. Sometimes we just play solo under a street lamp a-swirl with moths, the roof of a stable, or while waiting for the rest of the raid group to arrive. We write new lore-friendly lyrics for familiar songs, and some folks are even talented enough to compose original music and release albums. So I asked a few fellow music-lovers to say something about the power of music in Middle-earth. I hope they won't mind me sharing!
Last edited by Bibliocat on Tue May 01, 2018 7:31 pm; edited 3 times in total
I sing all the time, literally and figuratively, in fact I was known through out the Formation as the Singing Chief. I am an actor by training and have performed in theatres in a few places before I joined the navy. I did dinner theatre and musicals for the most part as well as some theatre of the funny/absurd. I only play Tin Whistle and a wee bit of guitar. I get a lot of satisfaction from acting and at some point, when I feel like dedicating myself to a play I will once again do so.
I also led some of the best men and women to be found anywhere (my opinion) for the past 37 years, 34 of those years in leadership positions, as a proud member of the Royal Canadian Navy.
I find the camaraderie, fellowship and friendship generated in LOTRO to be both profound and rewarding. In my experience within the game I have been both a raider/instance runner and most recently a musician. My experience has been very much that the raid group are fly by the seat of your pants mercenaries with no loyalty to friends or kin, or I should say loyalty in the moment and friendship until you are no longer a usable commodity at which point you become redundant. Not so in the music scene. I find the link to what Middle Earth is real within the community (for the most part) and this has lead me into a much more pronounced enjoyment of Arda as a whole in the context of LOTRO.
Writing or transcribing music into ABC and then writing lyrics based on the lore that I love so well from Tolkien's writings puts me in a place that I cannot begin to get to in the real world. I know because I have written plays on the Hobbit and the Lord of The Rings and Tom Bombadil, and you just cannot get there from here (meaning in RL). But you can in LOTRO, you are immersed in it and many of those that I deal with on a day to day basis feel the same.
I have come to love in friendship many of my fellow kinmates and others within Arda, bonds that are every bit as real as a face to face sit down.
THAT is why I put so much time and energy into music in Arda, its an outlet for artistic desire, its a way to connect, even if by electronic means, and its away to be within a world that I wish I could be in real life! My connections in game are world wide and that is no small matter.
I play guitar, bass, some keyboard, a little recorder, and sing. I've done the garage band thing. I do karaoke here and there and have sung in choirs (when I was very young). None of those performances have given me the amount of joy I have experienced playing in Lotro. None of those have given me the sheer number of audience members cheering me on, the number of other players willing to listen and dance while I am playing. I've never played my guitar and had someone I've never met come up to me out of the blue and ask "how do you play that? can you show me?" I've never pounded my bass and have had someone from the EU call me and ask me to come and play with them. And that kind of experience must even be more compelling to those who don't actually play an instrument in the real world. Adding to that, during the Spring Solo contest my computer dumped me in the middle of my performance, and watching the cheering and drumming and flouting and jumping that everyone was doing while I was anxiously awaiting Lotro to reboot was cutting-onion-level tear inspiring. In the real world, if I had some kind of mechanical glitch with my equipment during a performance, and had to fiddle with the fuses of my amp or quickly change a string while on stage, I'd most likely get some "boo"s, and maybe a few walk-outs.
Conversely, I've never had someone send me a tell after watching me take out a few orcs and ask me, "how do I kill orcs like you do?"
Playing the game, in general, consists of utilizing a few tactics involving: targeting, which button to press in a certain order based on timed cooldowns, and having the right stats on equipment to numerically out do the stats of the mob you are fighting. 5>4=win. Simple math and a little timing. Playing music involves so much more than that. I am more impressed with Agii being able to play the entire album of The Wall by Pink Floyd than I will ever be of some player saying they soloed a t2 raid. The amount of time and effort put into arranging and rearranging songs via Anvil and Maestro to get them to sound as close to a studio recording as possible using the limited sounds produced by Lotro's music system is staggering. And I am even more impressed by people who don't play in real life but yet have done so much with the music here to make it sound good. You don't have to be a musician to understand and love music.
And this came from our favorite curmudgeon, WeeTodd:
It's not so much about how beautiful the music is but just how well someone can make their music sound within all the limitations of a text based notation system that relies on sound samples of actual instruments. To me it's like a jigsaw puzzle. I like the challenge of having a limited amount of parts that I can use, a limiting number of notes I can play at any one time...It's flawed and will never sound like real music. The challenge is in getting a song to sound as close to real music as one can. We all know it's a flawed system but we're all in on the joke. I'm a puzzle solver more than I'm a musician... I've finally come to terms with being one of the better "musicians" working in this medium, having been told this on numerous occasions, but I'm just better than some at solving the puzzles. I see the music events as almost more social in nature than musical. I know the social aspects of these events are therapeutic to some of our older or disabled folks and may be the only social interaction they may have. The ability to dance and joke around with other people is truly the best part of these concerts. I take that very seriously so I'm going to deliver the best accompaniment I can.
I wanted to touch on the subject of being a musician and what it means to me personally. For me, music is an outlet unlike any other. When I stumbled upon LOTRO 7 years ago (best advert ever!) I had no idea what to expect. It didn't take long for me to realize that music was a big part of the game; both for Roleplayers and casual gamers alike. The music community has always been wonderful. It brings players together and has the unique ability to transform an otherwise ghost town sort of location into a thriving place full of players having a fun time. Some folks dance. Others cheer. Many of us enjoy putting together songs and playing for the enjoyment of others. The best thing I can say is that the music community of Crickhollow, Landroval and other servers is what keeps a veteran player like me coming back time after time. I absolutely love it!
I must admit I couldn't fully enjoy music in game, soundboard of my own laptop is worst to play any kind of music..sometimes all the notes sounded out of tune, that is all my own fault, being unable to afford buying better PC and sound devices!
but I want to echo what master Weetodd told on the musing of the music in lotro.. it is not of beauty of the sound for me but people who enjoy making music, puzzling complexity of making in-game music... I tried to make in-game music and found it complicated and too many effort needed just to input notes, and convert it to midi and then abc, selecting appropriate instrument for each part, and give the music life with articulation, volumes and other details.. I concluded I couldn't go further with music making, composing band pieces... I am somewhat an instrument player by trade in real world, i have to deal with music no less, no matter if i like to play it or not, and am not feeling happy by making effort to compose/arrange music myself..
thus, I enjoy listening and appreciating artistry of arrangement and words made by people I am fond of, and above all, I love spending time with friends in Arda, the world which is made of music and harmony in its creation, and where music remains sheer joy.
I've played LOTRO for the better part of eight years, and had - from time to time, very rarely - heard someone play something that sounded SO good.
And then I made the decision to stop being a solitary and join this fantastic kin.
Since then, I've gained a huge appreciation for the fact that we CAN do our own music, not just rely on the in-game stuff supplied by the devs. I've attended a couple of events where the time has literally flown while I listen to this group and that. And in the process of learning how to do music myself - both to play it (figuring out the plugins was fun) and to learn the basics of ABC coding, I've gained a HUGE admiration for all of those who have figured out how to do multi-part pieces.
I do music in real life - I learned to read notes before I learned my ABCs in kindergarten. In real life, I can play, in descending degrees of proficiency, a number of instruments starting with piano, violin, flute, Japanese taiko drums, guitar, recorder. I have arranged music for a small choir, played for religious services, accompanied others, and played for personal enjoyment. Music is a HUGE part of my Real Life - discovering that it can be a similarly large part of my in-game life now is an absolute thrill.
Thank you again to all who have been so kind and friendly and let my hunter find a warm and cozy home in Second Breakfast. I have a hunch that my enjoyment of the game is in the process of increasing at least ten-fold.
"Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively." - Dalai Lama