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Musical Worldbuilding

Much of my music is centered around the idea of "musical worldbuilding." In its essence, this is the craft of rendering a fictive world through music.

In this video essay, Ethan explores the idea of musical worldbuilding. Using his album, "Aurora," as a case study, he discusses using orchestration and music theory to render a fantasy world.

Ethan's worldbuilding efforts are centered around two primary IPs: "World of Rulia," a fantasy worldbuilding project, and its science-fiction counterpoint, "Lumedar."

World of Rulia


"World of Rulia" is a world created for the purpose of telling a wide and diverse array of stories - stories which are told largely through music.

A Map of the "World of Rulia."

This world is built around original characters and settings, taking influences from Greek and Chinese mythology, as well as from the fantasy worlds of children's cartoons and movies. Below are some of of Ethan's recent "World of Rulia" projects.

"Aurora," Op. 7


Album Art By FlowerYouToday

"Aurora," Op. 7 tells the story of a pegasus filly named Aurora, and the adventures she has exploring her world. She accompanies her diplomat parents on their various missions to far-off lands. This album of symphonic music combines instruments from European and Chinese musical cultures to encapsulate the optimistic spirit of exploration as seen through the eyes of a child.

"The Rulian Traveler," Op. 8

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Album Art By FlowerYouToday

"The Rulian Traveler," Op. 8 explores what kinds of folk music people in the "World of Rulia" might create and perform. To do this, Ethan uses highly unusual combinations of instruments, and takes inspiration from elements of folk and pop music.

"Mare Nostrum," Op. 10

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Album Art By FlowerYouToday

"Mare Nostrum," Op. 10 continues the story of "Aurora" and her adventures. This time, Aurora and her diplomat parents venture into the oceanic territories of Mare Nostrum. Here, they encounter the lively Hippocampi, the seclusive Hippogriffs, and the mystical Qilins. This album of orchestra music combines instruments from European, Chinese, and West African musical traditions to create a flavorful and fantastic musical experience.

"The Chronicles of an Odyssey," Op. 11

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Album Art By K-Eilonwy

In "The Chronicles of an Odyssey," the character“Aurora” returns. Now, we follow Aurora and her diplomat parents as they go on diplomatic missions to the far reaches of Terra Incognita. Combining cinematic orchestra music with elements of Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern music, this album depicts the spirit of exploration and provides an idealist vision of the world.

"World of Rulia" and "Lumedar" are ongoing, continuously evolving projects. "Lumedar" will make its debut with the release of a short suite, "Andromeda," in the spring of 2022. Two additional suites, "Aurelia" and "Songs of the Unicorns," will also be released during the spring 2022, continuing to develop the "World of Rulia." To stay up to date on these and future projects, please consider following Ethan on his YouTube channel or Bandcamp.

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