The Music of Wintermark

Style summary

Alliterative poetry and heroic saga songs spoken or chanted, scraping fiddles, breathy pipes, and low drones. Themes of winter, seasons, mythical creatures, tales of hardship, dark wit, and of course riddles!

For inspiration for Wintermark look to the music of the old Americas, Scandinavia and Iceland, along with certain British folk with a minor or modal sound.

Commonly known songs

  • Oy lay la loyla - one of several calls used when herding animals or bringing home a hunt

A musical tradition

From Wintermark Military Concerns#Banner-bearers: Steinr Banner-bearers often carry instruments of war, drums, horns and the like to perform music on the battlefield to lift spirits. Kallavesi Banner-bearers prefer to anoint their fellows with scented oils and use ancient tales to remind all of the heroes of the past. Some Suaq Banner-bearers prefer to lead their warriors in song while others learn the chirurgeons art. Most Banner-bearers are skilled warriors, but whatever their art, their purpose is to rouse the courage and fighting spirit of the band, supporting them on the battlefield.

One for the kids

Ho Ho Away We Go, very easy song with optional harmonies.

Funeral Songs

Low Down in the Broom

Further examples


Instrumentation and tunes

  • Kalenda Maya - medieval fiddle tune that sounds great with drones
  • Orcadian/Shetland tunes have the right sort of sound for Wintermark, as does the Swedish fiddle.
  • Pan pipes, ocarinas, or low whistles could be used to great effect here too, using any breathy slow music.

Other performance traditions

  • Riddles!

How to adapt your repertoire

  • Whether singing or playing, get people to join in with a long low drone or untuned drums.
  • When playing from your folk tune repertoire, flatten all your 7ths (turning the major scale into the mixolydian mode). Here is a search for mixolydian mode tunes
  • Sing in a raw style and emphasise the story behind the song.

Our sources

Here is a youtube playlist of appropriate or inspiring music.

Further Reading

Core Brief

Further Reading