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Awesome Music / Hollow Knight

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There are many gorgeous and memorable tracks from Hollow Knight, courtesy of Christopher Larkin.

  • The solemn main theme, "Hollow Knight", serves as one of the two major Leitmotifs that get played throughout the game's soundtrack. It's the first thing that you'll hear when you start the game, and expect to hear variations of this tune a lot somewhere like a Recurring Riff, notably in Boss Remixes such as the following:
    • "Broken Vessel" encapsulates the titular Broken Vessel being similar to the Hollow Knight and the Knight via the similar musical riff, this time broken or distorted. Its own theme is more of a thriller, with plenty of loud accompanying instruments to symbolize the character losing to the infection. "Broken Vessel" also has faster beats than the original leitmotif, which alludes to the character being aggressive in its boss fight.
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    • "Sealed Vessel" is the theme for The Hollow Knight when you meet it inside the Black Egg Temple. It starts out imposing and grand after a prolonged silence, which is perfect for a corrupted final boss. The Dark Reprise of the main leitmotif is heard during the second half of the fight, when it begins Fighting from the Inside. The theme also holds a symbolism when the boss is fighting the infection by stabbing itself, the music shifts to a lonely orchestral dirge to accompany this scene heard at the 2:15 mark (this sad version of the theme is also used during the Path of Pain and Birthplace sequences), followed by the choir getting louder (starting from the 3:28) to represent the climax of the fight, and finally becomes calm and slow again (around 4:38) when the battle ends, just before the screen fades to black and the ending cutscene plays.
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    • "Pure Vessel", the theme for The Hollow Knight in their prime, is a choral arrangement of "Sealed Vessel". The chanting is clearer and more prominent this time, with less of the imposing vibe of the original, symbolizing the literal purity or glory of the Pure Vessel. It is as if this is one of the tracks that you can hear in a church ceremony.
    • "Truth, Beauty and Hatred" is by far the most triumphant rendition, evoking the feeling of knights marching to war with drums, violins and trumpets. Ironically, this is the leitmotif of Grey Prince Zote, the game's Lethal Joke Character of a boss who has delusions of grandeur, thinking that he is a Knight in Shining Armor (which Bretta also believes). The major leitmotif is there, but this song also justifies the overall upbeat nature of itself since Zote thinks so high of himself that his boss theme lacks the persisting sad, gloomy and depressing melody of "The Hollow Knight" theme. The chorus, or the part where the track progresses at its loudest and fastest point, can be heard starting from the 1:21 timestamp of the video.
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    • "False Knight" has a menacing drums-and-violin version of the "Hollow Knight" motif at the start and manages to maintain the loud and fast rhythm of the instruments all throughout the song, in order to correspond to how gigantic the False Knight is with that armor. Then everything fades into a slower tune that plays when you deal the killing blow to the boss.
    • It is also heard in some stage ambience, like the "Fungal Wastes". The version of the Fungal Wastes is quite thematic for turning the leitmotif into something straight out of a cartoon... because the Mushroom Man citizens residing in the wastes serve as some of the comic-relief creatures of the game with their sound effects full of Narm Charm and a comedic factor in them. This background music just fits perfectly.
  • "White Lady" is the second major Leitmotif of the game. It is more relaxing and calmer than the first major leitmotif since it is played slowly on strings, evoking the feeling of sending someone to sleep with a lullaby. It fits well with the backstory of the White Lady herself, since she is the mother of all the vessels, and shows more signs of affection for them than the Pale King did. The rhythm or tune of this motif is also present in other tracks like the usual Boss Remixes. Most of the characters associated with a Recurring Riff of this motif actually hold a connection to the Pale King in one way or another.
    • "White Palace" is a faster version of the "White Lady" with more accompaniment, turning the lullaby-like melody of the latter into a grander piece, sounding like the themes played in stories about royalty.
    • "Dung Defender" happens when you take the "White Lady" motif and turn the happy and upbeat factor Up to Eleven. No, it doesn't sound like the mighty march of knights that "Truth, Beauty and Hatred" gives, but this is more similar to the themes of gallant sailors and pirates, something straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean.
    • "White Defender" is an interesting case of a mix of the Dark Reprise and Triumphant Reprise tropes, because it combines the upbeat and silly "Dung Defender" theme with the melancholic "White Palace" one. Perhaps the inclusion of a choir accompaniment makes it feel "grander". Then it shifts to a sadder and calmer tune around 1:32. It is ultimately a Dark Reprise, however, as it represents the Dung Defender's longing for his fellow knights and a past long gone.
    • "Hornet" mostly uses the violin and other stringed instruments throughout the track, which is a meaningful Fridge Brilliance and a wise choice of instruments, since Hornet is a spider and uses a stringed weapon such as silk to fight. Near the end, one can hear a beautiful violin rendition of the "White Lady" motif on the 2:06 timestamp.
    • "Daughter of Hallownest" is the remixed version of the previous song, heard when fighting Hornet in the Godhome. This time, the faster violins, the added orchestra, and the choir singing to the tune all make it even better. Both tracks are also used extensively in the background music for the trailers of Hollow Knight: Silksong.
  • "Mantis Lords" has probably the fastest beat out of all the tracks in the game, and it's most likely intentional to always keep you focused and in your toes during the entire fight, since the Mantis Lords are that fast for being Fragile Speedsters. You gotta have something to keep you alert, and their boss theme perfectly does just that.
    • "Sisters of Battle" takes the previous song Up to Eleven by being louder, and having a beautiful choir much like how the other remixes nail it (i.e. "Dung Defender" to "White Defender", "Hornet" to "Daughter of Hallownest"). Although the original version is already fast, the choir accompaniment still manages to sync in with the even louder and more aggressive sounds produced by the violins.
  • "Dirtmouth" is one of the common cases of the Recurring Riff trope in the game, a lonely piano instrumental that plays over the initially-lonely town. The ambience is just that fitting for a Knight wanting to simply rest on a bench. Its motif is also used in at least three tracks of the game.
    • "Greenpath" opens up with a nice plucking of strings, then the Dirtmouth motif gets repeatedly played at a faster ratio, alluding to the livelier, yet still-relaxing atmosphere that the Greenpath has. Then the beats get faster around the 2:08 mark, climaxing at 2:26.
    • "Decisive Battle" is a pulse-pounding version of this motif, with a heavy emphasis on fast drum beats, enough to keep you awake during the tense fight scenes against most bosses where this is played.
  • "City of Tears" is memorable for having a relaxing One-Woman Wail persisting throughout all the other male choir and instrumentals. The constant tune of the lyre and violins near the end also sets up a dramatic ambience without being too gloomy (which fits the mood when you are introduced to the cutscene showing the monument to the Hollow Knight). The last few seconds also have the sounds of rain, very fitting since the City of Tears is always under constant rain for being built below the Blue Lake.
    • "Soul Sanctum" is a very haunting Ominous Pipe Organ remix of the "City of Tears" theme. It's loud enough to keep you tense when travelling throughout the sanctum, and the ambience can be imposing as well. Then at the 2:15 timestamp, you'll hear what would perfectly fit as an introduction to an action-packed movie, while the "City of Tears" motif gets a male choir version. Near the end, all of the instruments get louder and faster until they all simultaneously halt along with the choir.
    • "Soul Master" is another remix of the two tracks above, but take the part where the choir sings in the "Soul Sanctum" theme, loop it from there and maintain the pulse-pounding instrumentals all throughout, and you'll get this version.
  • "Reflections", the theme played in the stag stations and tram ways, can be just as relaxing as the "Dirtmouth" theme, but this track also includes a persistent noise in the background to evoke the feeling of being safe while in a state of constant travel. There's also a slightly modified version of this that plays in the Queen's Gardens - having a more distorted noise and a filter to perfectly evoke that place having a gramophone hanging out of nowhere.
  • The theme for the "Queen's Gardens" manages to be both relaxing and epic, especially the "Action" variant when the percussion and bass are added during the challenge rooms and the Traitor Lord boss battle.
  • "Accordion Brumm" is the tune that Brumm plays inside the Grimm Troupe's tent, giving it a French-sounding interpretation of a Creepy Circus Music. "Accordion Nymm" is a variation of Brumm's accordion music, but instead of sounding like creepy circus music, it is closer to a livelier carnival theme. It also symbolises how Nymm is hinted to be an amnesiac Brumm, who forgot the times he spent on that creepy and sinister troupe. At this point, Nymm just wanted to liven up the moody town of Dirtmouth.
  • "Grimm" is quite fitting for the local insect Dracula being a Shout-Out to the Castlevania franchise, because his musical theme is reminiscent of the haunting church/orchestral style of Michiru Yamane in the Castlevania games. "Grimm" is mostly played with an Ominous Pipe Organ accompanied with unintelligible chanting. Then when he whips out his Bullet Hell attack, the orchestra adds a battery and an electric bass. In fact, many fans compare "Grimm" to "Nothing to Lose", Dracula's Phase 1 theme from Castlevania, but mixed with "Dance of Illusions" from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night... because it sounds suspiciously like the two. "Nightmare King" is a symphonic metal remix of "Grimm". You can hear the blend of the choir, drums and other instruments as early as 37 seconds into the track.
  • The theme for the "Hive Knight" is yet another one of those triumphant drum-marching tracks with upbeat trumpets. Then at 1:54, the trumpets and drums cycle and alternate before the drums end the song.
  • "Gods & Glory" from the Godmaster update has a dramatic feel to it, getting you pumped up as you take on the game's bosses one after another. It starts right out with a loud choir that persists throughout the song, then the fast drum beats come in after 52 seconds and blend with the choir until the end. There is also another shift at the 1:46 timestamp that sounds just as good as the first half. "Haunted Foes" for the harder bosses in the Godhome constantly plays out calm and slow, but you can hear the distinct drum beats in the background. Everything does get gradually louder near the end, but still maintain the melancholic feeling.
  • "Dream Battle" starts right off the bat as a fast-paced, heart-pounding work, fitting for an action scene like the "Soul Master" theme does... but you'll get to appreciate the drum beats and their accompanying violins better here during the second half of the song. It also fits as the theme of the Warrior Dreams, since they are fast bosses.
  • "Resting Grounds" is yet another relaxing piano piece similar to "Dirtmouth", but there is also a violin and a faint choir added in the background. Thematically, it is the ambience for the In-Universe cemetery of the game.
  • "Kingdom's Edge", although having several instruments being simultaneously played from the start, is one of the rare lonely soundtracks in the game as you can hear the sounds of a flute. Then everything seems to shift into a very gloomy state near the end.
  • "Radiance". Ah, the background theme of the True Final Boss; it has constant changes for the entirety of the song, from the pitch of the choir, to the choice of instruments used, but still makes nice transitions. Then in the final 10 seconds, the instruments gradually become louder, before ending in one final note.


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