Category Archives: Battle Bards

Tunes of Magic VI: Jester Tunes


Art by Anry

Those who are following the Battle Bards podcast will have heard me mentioning my love for “jester tunes” several times now – a term I use to describe an intriguing subset of melodic tracks within the more spooky, playful and magical box of videogame music. While it’s almost impossible to verbalize this theme accurately, and listening to a few tracks is clearly the best way to go, I’ll make an attempt anyway at describing jester tunes and why I am so fascinated by them in particular.

Depending on whether one studies the character of the jester from a more historical or fictional viewpoint, portrayals will range from what the Royal Shakespeare Company (see also on Wikipedia) calls the “natural fool” (abuse of physically or mentally disabled men for public sport) to the “licensed” fool who was invited by nobles and kept at royal courts where he was granted free speech by decree. I say “kept” because royal fools were basically property and while they served the function of a political and social critic, sometimes acting as the people’s voice, they lived in constant danger of giving too much offense and being physically abused. To romanticize the status of jesters in either contexts would be wrong and there are those who question whether they ever indeed held positions of much importance.

The fictional, much merrier jester we know best from stories on the other hand, is a creature of many colors: a sharp-tongued trickster, a singer and teller of tales, an acrobat and performer flamboyantly clad in the brightly colored uniform of his trade – the motley. An enigmatic, almost uncanny air surrounds jesters in many a tale, where one can never be quite sure of a character so shrill and free, so unpredictable and hence mysterious. Not surprisingly some developers (see Kefka for an example in videogames), authors and movie directors have expanded on this image and turned the fool (or clown, or joker) into the stuff of nightmares: a many-faced, fearsome and demonized character. Nothing is quite as spooky as a killer with a smiling face and make-up.

I love the duality and ambivalence of jester figures that stop being a real person and much rather become creatures of legend and myth. A daredevil persona with the potential to serve both very selfish or altruistic goals, to speak scandalous truth delivered with an innocent face, unmasking evil or acting as its messenger. Fools personify chaos which is why they remain forever unmeasurable and scary. That said, I like my jesters to remain on the more harmless, non-killer side of things!

Jester tunes convey all that foolish complexity: a playfulness and frivolity combined with spooky undertones, a characteristic use of disharmonious elements adding special flavor and chaos to the music. In short: I’m having a ton of fun with these tracks, I can never quite get enough of them! I hope you enjoy!

Art by Crazywulf


“The Jester enters the stage, in gold and purple motley, swinging a scepter…”

  1. Chrono Trigger – Kingdom Trial
  2. FF6 – Kefka’s Theme (remastered)
  3. FF7 – It’s difficult to stand on both feet, isn’t it?
  4. FFXI Online – Sometime, Somewhere
  5. Guild Wars 2 – Halloween
  6. Fable 2 – Old Town


Battle Bards – Episodes #2 & #3: FFXI and Spooky&Magical

It’s been six busy weeks since the Battle Bards debut in April, so if you’ve missed episode #2 on Final Fantasy XI Online or have yet to listen to our brand new episode #3 on all things “Spooky and Magical”, be sure to head over to the BB’s main page for the full shows!

In this latest episode we’re back to thematic picks and to my very personal delight, I got to challenge the other bards with what’s always been my favorite sub-genre: ethereal and magical tunes, somewhere between the playful and the spooky. Danny Elfman’s score for Edward Scissorhands was one of the reasons why I started collecting movie themes many years ago and when it comes to game soundtrack too, I am always on the lookout for the especially melodic and haunting pieces. This genre of music is hard to put into words as we soon find out in this third episode, musing on the wide spectrum of picks and the general difficulty to verbalize music.

Thanks for tuning in, tweeting us or sending us your feedback via mail ( or on iTunes sometime! While I’m not allowed to reveal a thing, I can say that we have some hot shows ahead in June and July with surprises you definitely don’t want to miss – so keep your eyes open for episode #4, folks!


Picture of the Day

Thanks to the wonderful Tesh, my mug collection (yeah I have one) got two shiny Battle Bards mugs added to it today. Naturally, I had to take a quick picture with the family. Sometimes you plan everything out carefully and then the cat is being awesome, so here’s the result:


A happy weekend to all of you, with hopefully less rain than over here!

Battle Bards Podcast Episode #1 – Going live!

In July 2011 I started my ongoing soundtrack seriEpicLuteTall200x300es to have an outlet for my love of fantastic videogame tunes and also, to reach out to other gamers of similar inclination in the blogosphere (and few and far they are in between – or so it always seemed). If the world of RPGs and MMOs is a niche, collecting MMO soundtrack is probably a sub-niche.

Imagine my enthusiasm then when I heard about a fully dedicated MMO music podcast by Syp from Biobreak (and Massively)! When offered to co-host this show together with two more venerable MMO bloggers and soundtrack geeks, how could I possibly say no?
Even better: the podcast comes with the name Battle Bards! How awesome is that?

I’m so very excited about this project and proud to finally present its first episode which is dedicated to MMO main themes! At the same time, I am happy to be able to reveal the wonderful Battle Bards banner which was graciously created by our very talented and close blogging neighbour Tesh (who also regularly shares soundtrack goodies on his blog). Thanks again, Tesh!

The podcast will air on a fortnightly basis and we absolutely encourage everyone, not just declared OST lovers but hopefully soon-to-be-converts, to tune in and leave us your feedback (I am working on that mic!)! Each show will feature up to 8 different tunes from various MMOs (of which audio snippets are always included) and while we’re definitely geeking out together, we are including some interesting background information on the chosen tracks and composers. I have to admit, I’m in this for my own selfish reasons – it’s such a big opportunity to discover new pearls and learn new things!

Without further ado, all you need to know about the Battle Bards podcast below.

Introducing the Battle Bards team!


I would like to thank Syp, our very experienced podcast mod, for organizing this wonderful opportunity and also putting our first show together! Speaking of which – you can find our current and all future episodes on the Battle Bards homepage or on iTunes. To jump directly into “Episode #1: Main Themes”, use the embedded player below or direct download via this link. Happy listening!