Created By: TheJCop on May 3, 2013 Last Edited By: TheJCop on May 11, 2013

Epic Musical Build

Musical version of an Epic Tracking Shot

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Seen It a Million Times

You listen to a song. It starts quietly, with maybe just piano/guitar and vocals. Then, drums come in, and the song picks up the pace a little. The vocalist becomes more impassioned as everything becomes louder and louder. More instruments enter your ears, as it builds to an epic climax. At this point, everyone is playing as hard as they can, like the universe depends on them performing the fuck out of this one song.

Then, it coms to a close.

You just witnessed an Epic Musical Build. Most songs have a build, to give more tension and to avoid the song just being boring. These songs take it Up to Eleven.

A supertrope of Bolero Effect (or at the very least, a second cousin). In a sense, the aural version of an Epic Tracking Shot (as it says in the Laconic description). Can result in some Awesome Music.

Examples:

  • Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven is an obvious one.
  • Many of Laura Marling's songs have this build, such as "The Beast," which grows into a monster of a song from just her at a guitar, and "Sophia," which gradually turns into country rock.
  • The National has their fair share of EM Bs. The most obvious example is "Afraid of Everyone," which starts with just ominous backing vocals and ends with the lead singer yelling at the top of his lungs amidst horns, strings, and drums.
  • Late Night by Foals has a really cool build up, starting with just electric piano, and ending with the whole band playing intensely.
  • Mumford & Sons has got a lot of shit for having every single one of their songs follow the same formula, starting small and building up to an epic climax. Examples include "The Cave," "Lover Of The Light," and "Below My Feet."
    • Their song "Hopeless Wanderer" subverts this, by going straight to the "louder" part after the first verse.
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • May 3, 2013
    StarSword
    [[folder:Soundtracks]] [[/folder]]
  • May 3, 2013
    Lawman592
    Obvious example: "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin.
  • May 3, 2013
    NESBoy
    Another obvious one: "Requiem For a Tower", an arrangement of "Requiem For a Dream" for the promotion for The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers. The original song had no buildup -- it's subtle throughout.
  • May 3, 2013
    TheJCop
    Yeah. Forgot about "Starway." Also, [* Mumford & Sons has gotten a lot of flack for having EVERY SINGLE ONE of their songs have an epic musical build.
  • May 3, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    • "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits starts with a light synth and guest artist Sting plaintively singing "I want my MTV"... the synth builds a little and the drums kick in, this intro building for a few minutes until the main guitar riff and the beginning of the main part of the song.
    • "Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Part 1)" by Pink Floyd has a long soft guitar and synth buildup of a few minutes that climaxes with some solid rocking, then slows again with the first words sung rather softly, but the song crescendoes again with the chorus.
      • The soft percussion intro to "Time" might also deserve a mention, although the song overall isn't a "hard" song really.

    [Not sure if these are "Up To Eleven", but they're kind of cool.]
  • May 3, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Epic Instrumental Opener overlaps with a lot of these, if they don't have vocals.
  • May 6, 2013
    TheJCop
    Perhaps, but in this trope, the WHOLE song is building up. In a sense, this is almost EIO inverted.
  • May 7, 2013
    Quag15
    "Where The Streets Have No Name" by U2.

    EDIT: Context: It starts with a keyboard/synth melody during almost a minute. The post-punk-ish clipped guitar then starts and things start rising up in intensity. The drums then start pounding (along with the main riff), leading to the moment where Bono starts singing. The rise to the chorus follows suit.
  • May 7, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Zero Context Example. I know the song you're talking about but others probably don't.
  • May 7, 2013
    MetaFour
    This sounds a lot like Bolero Effect.
  • May 8, 2013
    TheJCop
    Wasn't aware of that trope. I think it's different enough that they can co-exist, but they certainly are very similar... huh.
  • May 8, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    • "Come Sail Away" by Styx starts with a light piano tune and De Young's vocals, with the guitars and drums building as the song progresses.
  • May 8, 2013
    StarSword
    ^^Doesn't surprise me; it's got a really bad case of Trope Namer Syndrome. In any case, I'd call this a Missing Supertrope to Bolero Effect: It's the same but less specific (BE minus the continuous rhythmic beat).
  • May 8, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Would "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane be Bolero Effect, or more broadly under this? It starts with a soft but kind of martial-sounding drum rhythm, which stays the same but with the other instruments, and Grace Slick's progressively louder droning, building throughout the song.

    Just trying to get a feel for what Bolero Effect is and how it relates to this, as I'm not familiar with most of the examples over there, including the Trope Namer.
  • May 9, 2013
    StarSword
    ^I'm honestly not sure; music tropes aren't my forte.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=a1wyou5sfcdn2zzyh09pgk40