Chapter 5, Part 1: Canon Pony Music
(Please note that any images used in this post are by the artists listed. They are placeholders and I hope to have art expressly drawn for this book to replace these images. If you are interested in submitting something, please see this post.)
SPOILER WARNING! THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS CONTENT THAT IS IN THE SERIES.
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED, WATCH THE SERIES NOW!
Chapter 5: (CH)
The Sounds of Friendship
Those that have seen more than a couple My Little Pony episodes may have noticed that a large subsection of the show had been left out: the songs!
Yes, like Veggie Tales or the Simpsons, there are many episodes in MLP:FIM that have random songs in them. Beginning with Pinkie Pie’s outburst in the second episode, these songs often reinforce the story of the day and usually have a positive spin. They can be whimsical or theatrical, ranging from a rhyme or short solo song to a grand song with a choir and lines for all the main characters.
The inclusion of songs in the episodes may in part be a throwback by Lauren Faust, as there were many songs in the original G1 My Little Pony series. In fact, the opening theme for MLP: Friendship is Magic shares the same first vocal line of music. In the early days of the G1 shows, protagonist and antagonist alike would randomly burst into song. The stories of the songs could be about any plot point, and I recall villains having many acts of their own. These songs were slightly disturbing, in my opinion, but then again the original My Little Pony series did indeed have a darker feel to it than modern-day series, as was mentioned in Chapter 1.
In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, there have been 23 lyrical songs written thus far, and all were written by Daniel Ingram. Many of these songs are based off of Broadway shows(38). Yet these songs are more than a simple cover of the original Broadway tune. Ingram puts a spin on each song, adding secondary melodies and inserting lyrics in such a way that they take a life of their own and truly add to each episode’s story.
The following chart is a list of songs, along with the episode and a short description of the song. Some songs have multiple titles because originally the songs were not named in the episode, and Daniel Ingram had not posted the official song information to his website. For season two, fewer songs have nicknames because they were named either through Ingram’s website, or through interviews and previews released before each episode. In addition to songs being on www.danielingrammusic.com, the songs are all on YouTube if you are interested in watching/listening them. Just be careful, sometimes remixes have higher ratings and search results than the original songs!
These songs have catchy tunes and star different ponies in each one. Bronies enjoy the songs for their musical qualities, their references to past songs, and the voice actors that sing the lines. Some Bronies go so far as to learn and sing these songs together when they gather. Others learn the notes to the songs and play it on their instrument of choice. Fan websites such as ‘Everypony Sings’ host these fan-made cords, tabs, and sheet music that is created, as well as sharing links to artists that contribute to their site. Of course, these fan-sung and -played songs are posted to YouTube.
With the popularity of podcasts and the availability of smartphones and tablet devices, there are also many different soundboards that have been created. These play sound or voice clips from the show. These are often added into podcasts, as well as being used to amuse and/or bother the friends of bronies who have this app.
Yet other musical Bronies make covers of the show’s songs. Others create remixes using every instrument, software and music style that is out there. For example, DerpyGrooves is an indie rocker who performs with both acoustic and electronic media. He commonly composes works with lyrical content based both on his own imagination and fan works that inspire him. Every type of music can have inspiration from My Little Pony, from Rock to Dubstep, Trance to Drum and Bass, from house to hardstyle, from Moombahton to DeathMetal, Midi to group sing-along. Moreover, all of these expressions of Brony creativity are also posted to YouTube, with links to freely download and share the music.
Why do they do these Brony artists allow free downloads, instead profiting from their hard work? The spirit of Bronies has magic to it, and most Brony musicians fall in line. Their work is part of the collective whole. It is ‘paying it forward’, giving their music to the fandom, while getting websites, forum discussions, art, games and friendship from their fellow Bronies. It may sound a bit silly to have such a nice and sharing fandom, but it’s true. Work is done for the fans by the fans, and everyone that shares helps to make the fandom that much better. And while donations may be accepted, it is rare to have to pay for any fan work.
MLP: FIM’s background music also is created as individual scores for every episode. The score is written by William Kevin Anderson, and adds to the mood of each scene. Bronies appreciate this effort, and have themselves spent the time to separate the show voice track from the background music, resulting in an episode with just the score as the audio. This music displays the show’s fantasy, while being intriguing music to play. These Brony efforts can also be found on YouTube(39).
Coming tomorrow: Chapter 5 Part 2 – the fan-written, fan-produced music scene!
(38) As has been mentioned in some ‘pop culture reference’ sections in the previous two chapters.
(39) YouTube users such as WingbeatPony, infinitydash, and TwilightDash1 have uploaded videos on this content.