The Music of Urizen

Style summary

The Urizen musical tradition mirrors their tranquil, philosophical approach to life. More in meditation than performance, traditional Urizen musicians gather to improvise fluid, shifting melodies and harmonies around a series of repetitive themes, usually choosing a concept such as 'tranquility', 'hope' or 'grief' around which to base their compositions. They favour picked strings, tuned percussion and light, breathy woodwind, though any instrument can be played as part of the soundscape.

Real world inspiration includes gamelan, minimalists such as Phillip Glass and Ludivico Ianoudi, Vangelis and Mike Oldfield, though with acoustic rather than electric instruments.

A musical tradition

Urizen does not have a popular concert tradition. However, many Stargazers who are also musicians use musical improvisation and composition to structure their ritual magics; one such major tradition is the Silutarian Method, which utilises the connection between musical modes and the realms of magic.

Further examples

Songs

Traditionally, Urizen has not had a significant song tradition of its own, although bards have happily purloined the songs of other nations to sing in bars and around campfires. See Music for songs known throughout the Empire.

Children still sing songs and nursery rhymes, such as the following: Hungry Goat

Merrow Couple.jpg
Artwork by Andrea Cradduck

Very recently, however, there has been a developing vogue for musical settings of Urizen lyric poetry. The pieces are usually repetetive, cyclical and reflective, as befits the Urizen outlook.

Instrumentation

Bells, glockenspiels, Hand pans, hammer dulcimer, soft pipes, long notes from bowed instruments or drone instruments such as singing bowls or wine glasses.

Other performance traditions

Performers in Urizen more commonly recite poetry than sing. There is more information about Urizen art here.

How to adapt your repertoire

  • Take any tune and repeat a phrase over and over, allowing others to improvise around it.

Our sources

Any gamelan, Philip Glass and other minimalists but preferably played on tuned percussion, Michael Nyman, Solaris soundtrack.

Here is a youtube playlist of appropriate or inspiring music for Urizen.