Chapter 5, Part 2: Fanon 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!
(Continued from Chapter 5, Part 1: Canon Pony Music)
Back in the seventies and eighties, fan groups of series like the Lord of the Rings and Star Trek would write songs about their favorite characters. They would tell tales of valor in song form, similar to folk songs. However, because these were fan songs and not true folk lore, they were called ‘filk’. These were the original fan songs, and although My Little Pony has fan songs of its own, the term filk is rarely used nowadays.
I just wanted to show how old I was by telling that story.
Just as Brony musicians make fan tributes to Daniel Ingram’s vocal tracks, they also made new, original music about the My Little Pony world. Some music is theme songs for each character – both vocal and instrumental. Pony songs are written about experiences ponies go through, their feelings and their dreams. They can be synthesized or played on instruments of choice – and songs have been done with everything from a drum track to live bagpiping.
Songs have also been created that tell stories. There are songs based on the show, such as a song that was set in the episode ‘Sisterhooves Social’, in which Applejack spoke to Rarity about how being a sister should be. The song, ‘With a Sister’, by MandoPony, was written about this scene, and it was so well thought through that it would have fit right into the episode.
Fan songs are also based on speculation about events, feelings and experiences that their favorite characters might have done, but that the show didn’t cover. My favourite fan song is ‘Luna (Nightmare Mode)’ by Eurobeat Brony and T. Stebbins. In this ballad, Odyssey sings as Princess Luna about how she was so lonely, being exiled on the moon, that she eventually had to succumb to the anger and jealousy that turned her into Night Mare Moon.
“Days turned into years
and into centuries
Patience had to fade
Don’t you see that there is
vengeance in my eyes?
“Luna won’t you cry for me
I’m as lonely as I’ve ever been
I am forced back into the start
Is there any way to fix a broken heart?”
There is a lot of talent in the fandom, and hearing completely fan-made songs like this make me very proud to be a brony.
To add even more music into the collective of pony music, other Bronies then took this song and made covers of ‘Luna’. This is only one example of the way that the fans build on each other’s work: improving it, putting their own spin on Pony music, making fansongs of fansongs from a simple idea that one fan had while watching the show. For example, ‘Beyond her Garden’, originally by Wooden Toaster, has over 40 remixes.
Although many of the Bronies that create fan music are individuals who do their recording on a computer or in their own personal studio, there are also groups of Bronies that meet up and are an actual Brony Band. Though these groups are far from being as popular as the Harry Potter ‘Wizard Rock’ bands became, they are increasing in popularity as they appear at Brony gatherings such as BroNY Con, which is held in New York City four times annually. These groups have musical genres that range from classic filk guitar, voice to rave to death metal and everything in between. One popular brony band is NeighSlayer, a metal band that formed June 2011. The band’s guitarist, Dethonator, was one of the first Bronies that posted metal renditions of original MLP:FIM songs on YouTube. Their group also includes a vocalist, banjo player, drummer, and an all-purpose member who uses the mandolin, keyboards, and programs to boot.
With so much emerging talent from groups like this, expect for the popularity of live Brony music to grow. In addition, many of these artists will begin releasing full EP albums this year as their repertoire grows. The My Little Pony bands are fledgling, and whether or not they will become as popular as Wizard Rock or whether live performances will become the main stage for these musical acts remains to be seen.
In one example of fan effort overlap, a group of enterprising video game bronies took the show’s music, fan music, covers, remixes etc., and plugged the songs into music video games such as Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), Stepmania, Osu! and Rock Band. These ‘hacks’ can be anything from just the music to also including graphics and sound effects to the game. There are many more games that the video game bronies made, but they will not be discussed until Chapter 8.
From Rap to Reggae, from Eurobeat to classical piano ballads, there is a pony song out there for every genre. Music is so infinitely varied that I cannot hope to describe every genre, concept, and wonderful work that the bronies have produced. More often than not, these songs wouldn’t even be recognizable as ‘Pony Songs’. This section of the Brony fandom just was inspired to share their musical talents with their fellows, and suffice it to say that they have created music about anything and everything this universe, and even Equestria has to offer. I personally tried to keep up with the songs released by so many talented fans. This was nearly manageable in the middle of Season 1, but during the break between seasons there was such an exponential growth in production that it was impossible to find it all. Since then, I have relied on recommendations to find new music, and every day I find more that I like. Currently on my iPod I have 105 songs, which equates to six hours of music. Compared to bronies that are huge Pony music fans, however, I’ve barely got a drop in the bucket.
This Summer 2011 boom in pony music was in part jump-started through an contest called ‘Remix Wars’. The fan based blog Equestria Daily challenged the Brony musicians to create remixes of any and all of their favorite songs, and the fans responded in full. The primary goal of the contest was to provide a venue to practice their mixing skills and create new content and it was a success, with 21 remixes appearing in as many days. In total, four rounds of remix wars have occurred, each spawning an avalanche of new music for bronies to enjoy and glean further inspiration from. The second had 42 songs, the third created 52, and the fourth resulted in 78 new remixes. Such fan efforts are truly laudable.
The podcast called Everfree Radio compiled the top 100 Pony Songs of 2011 by collecting each and every pony song on the Internet in December. They reported finding 4,828 songs in total written by the fandom in 2011. This number sheds some light on just how much content is out there, as it does not include music written before 2011 nor music that is based on the songs from the show (in most cases). Just how much is that? If we use estimative math, by multiplying 4,828 songs at 3 minutes average length, that means that the Brony fandom has generated approximately 10 days of nonstop pony songs in 2011 alone, and the list continues to grow.
I loved the music in MLP: FIM as soon as I heard Giggle at the Ghostly. The fact that Rarity and Twilight couldn’t believe that Pinkie Pie was singing their way through a haunted forest made it that much more fun to listen to. I sang during my grade school years, so I had an ear for music and these songs were just a joy to sing. The words, the tunes, and the voices of the characters were all great. I learned the words, hummed the tunes, and enjoyed the music as every new song was added to the show’s repertoire. The first time I learned that bronies sang Winter Wrap-up at their meetups, I laughed with glee. It was awesome. Boys and pony fans singing songs like this was absolutely not what Daniel Ingram had intended, but it was amazing. These bronies gathered and sang such cute songs made for girl’s voices, not caring because the words in the songs were what mattered. I also join in brony sing-alongs when I meet my local group of fans. These are silly, fun ways to share our interests, and also show our appreciation for these wonderful songs.
Remixed songs take a close second on my iPod. My favorite fan mixes were those by Eurobeat Brony, who makes Japanese pop/techno music which is called Eurobeat. It has a great synthetic sound to it, and a fast beat that is great for dancing to. His remixes of the show songs are all amazing, and the sounds bring back memories of my college years when I was addicted to Initial D, Dance Dance Revolution and Para Para Paradise, all of which showcased Eurobeat music. Not only that, but remixes that emulate groups like Daft Punk are fun to listen to. It gives me a sense of happiness and lifts my spirits.
Riftwing’s Fan Projects: The element of song
At this point I will introduce my own fan experiment annexes, where I will attempt to give you a working example of how these sorts of fan productions work. For my first step, I will attempt to add to the music of the Brony fandom, in the spirit of these songs.
At pony meetups, there are beginning to emerge stage shows, and perhaps talent shows and or masquerades, where people sing each pony’s lines and create a fan and sing the song like a play unfolding. I think this is clever, but I don’t have so much time to commit to such a thing yet. Instead, I think I’ll write a song and sing it a Capella and see if anypony wants to give it music and remix it. I fear the trolls, but even if it is a viral fail video, it should give this book some publicity. Or perhaps I’ll sing a cover of Cutie Mark Crusaders. Who knows… I still have to do this!
Posted on February 11, 2012, in Chapters and tagged Brony, fan music, fandom, filk, FIM, Friendship is Magic, Ingram, MLP, MLP: FIM, music, My Little Pony, Pony. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.