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05 June 2009

Cue of the Week: “Sands of Arabia”

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There is a long Hollywood tradition of attempting to shoehorn ethnic folk music in orchestral format. Actually, it predates Hollywood; 18th and 19th century symphonic composers were fond of tossing a triangle into an otherwise perfectly Western-sounding movement and dubbing it “Turkish”.

I’m not one to turn down a chance to engage in a little cultural imperialism myself. This cue from Empire Earth 2 opens with a solo from a Armenian wind instrument called a duduk (film composers love it for its sinuous sound, and often use it as a shorthand for “attention audience: we’re now in Damascus”). The music then transitions to a more traditionally symphonic crescendo, meant to evoke the vastness of the desert and civilizations long past. Now if only I had remembered to add a triangle…


(Click on the play button to stream, or the cue title to download.)

Sands of Arabia
 

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