Skyrim's music was composed by Jeremy Soule, who also composed the music for both Oblivion and Morrowind. A four-disc soundtrack release was available physically from DirectSong and is digitally available from iTunes. For the first time in the series additional music was created for add-ons for the game, though no official soundtrack of the music from Dawnguard and Dragonborn has been released. The complete soundtrack for Skyrim totals almost 4 hours in length.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Original Game Soundtrack could previously be purchased from DirectSong and is still available on iTunes. The physical release is split over 4 CDs. The fourth disc contains "Skyrim Atmospheres" which consists of various pieces of ambiance, sound effects, and music from the game, notably the
Two extended pieces of music are missing from the original soundtrack release:
mus_dungeon_cave_02. Most of the shorter tracks have also been excluded.
|Disc||Track number||Title||File Name||Length||Form ID||Type|
|01||03||From Past to Present||mus_town_day_02 / mus_explore_day_02||05:06||0002C3CC / 0008FC1A||Town|
|01||06||The City Gates||mus_town_day_01||03:48||0002C3CB||Town|
|01||09||Tooth and Claw||mus_combat_01||01:50||00034186||Combat|
|01||10||Under an Ancient Sun||mus_explore_day_01||03:43||0006D543||Explore|
|01||11||Death or Sovngarde||mus_combat_06||03:02||0001740F||Combat|
|01||15||The Jerall Mountains||mus_explore_day_04||03:21||000E0C83||Explore|
|01||16||Steel on Steel||mus_combat_02||01:45||00034187||Combat|
|02||20||Night without Stars||mus_dread_04||00:43||00089A97||Dread|
|02||23||Unbound||01:34||Not in game|
|02||25||A Winter's Tale||mus_tavern_03||03:21||00017032||Tavern|
|02||26||The Bannered Mare||mus_tavern_02||02:30||000BCF52||Tavern|
|02||27||The Streets of Whiterun||mus_town_day_03||04:06||0002C3CD||Town|
|02||28||One They Fear||mus_combat_boss_02||03:16||00010486A||Combat|
|02||29||The White River||mus_explore_day_05||03:31||00100F2E||Explore|
|02||32||Beneath the Ice||mus_dungeon_ice_01 / mus_dungeon_ice_02||04:16||00052289 / 0010793C||Dungeon|
|03||35||Before the Storm||mus_intro||01:09||unknown||Special|
|03||36||A Chance Meeting||mus_tavern_04||03:11||00017033||Tavern|
|03||37||Out of the Cold||mus_tavern_01||03:04||000622AA||Tavern|
|03||38||Around the Fire||mus_tavern_05||03:11||001071D4||Tavern|
|03||39||Shadows and Echoes||mus_dungeon_cave_03||02:21||00094BE0||Dungeon|
|03||40||Caught off Guard||mus_combat_03||01:12||00034188||Combat|
|03||42||Blood and Steel||mus_combat_04||02:12||00034189||Combat|
|03||43||Towers and Shadows||mus_dungeon_fort_02||02:23||00094BDC||Dungeon|
|03||44||Seven Thousand Steps||mus_discover_highhrothgar||01:08||00017410||other|
|03||46||Watch the Skies||mus_combat_boss_03||02:22||0003418A||Combat|
|03||47||The Gathering Storm||mus_explore_dusk_01||02:55||000D3E41||Explore|
|03||48||Sky Above, Voice Within||mus_explore_dusk_03||03:58||0009DE40||Explore|
|03||49||Death in the Darkness||mus_dungeon_cave_01||02:37||00094BDE||Dungeon|
|03||52||Wind Guide You||mus_explore_day_09||09:05||00010D9F7||Explore|
Dawnguard adds several more unnamed tracks as background music when exploring Castle Volkihar, the Soul Cairn, and the Forgotten Vale. The song
mus_eclipse plays when firing a Bloodcursed Elven Arrow and causing a solar eclipse. None of these tracks have ever been officially released.
Dragonborn adds several tracks for exploring Solstheim and Aprocrypha. Most of the music for exploring Solstheim has been taken directly from Morrowind's soundtrack. The new music has never been officially released.
|Over the Next Hill||mus_explore_dlc2solstheim_01||03:05||Explore|
|The Road Most Travelled||mus_explore_dlc2solstheim_03||03:15||Explore|
|Blessing of Vivec||mus_explore_dlc2solstheim_04||03:16||Explore|
|Shed Your Travails||mus_explore_dlc2solstheim_06||03:11||Explore|
Development and reception
Skyrim's soundtrack was nominated by the British Academy of Film & Television Arts for Best Score in the Game Music Category, but was beaten by L.A. Noire. It was also nominated by Game Audio Network Guild for Music of the Year and Best Original Soundtrack Album, but again lost. The main theme, Dragonborn, won the Game Audio Network Guild's Best Original Vocal (Choral) award.
- "Dragonborn" is the latest version of what Todd Howard has called the "Elder Scrolls Theme". It first appeared as "Call of Magic" (aka "Nerevar Rising") in Morrowind and then as "Reign of the Septims" in Oblivion. The latest version is the first to include lyrics, sung by a men's choir in the dragon tongue. The original version and a translation appear in-game in the book Songs of Skyrim.
- The track "The Jerall Mountains" originally appeared in Morrowind as "Rise to Reality" ("Silt Sunrise" in the Special Edition soundtrack) and in Oblivion as "Through the Valleys".
- The piece "Wind Guide You" is a remake of "Minstrel's Lament", which also appeared in Oblivion.
- "Unbroken Road" shares a motif with "Reign of the Septims," first recognizable at 0:26 in "Reign of the Septims" and 0:58 of "Unbroken Road."
Jeremy Soule's commentary
Composer Jeremy Soule has shared his inspirations and background information about some of the tracks on the soundtrack. Due to the length of his commentary, his remarks on each track have been hidden with collapsible show/hide tags.
- From Past to Present
- Ancient Stones:
- The White River:
- Standing Stones:
- Sky Above, Voice Within:
- Wind Guide You:
- Skyrim Atmospheres:
Extracting in-game music
In previous games the music was available as MP3 files in the main game directory, but for Skyrim the files have been included in
Skyrim - Sounds.bsa, and encoded with a ".xwm" extension. Once extracted from the BSA, they can be played using MPC-HC (no playback issues) or the VideoLAN media player, which is also able to convert them to other formats, such as MP3.
The music can be converted to wav via xWMAEncode.exe found in the Microsoft DirectX Software Developer's Kit. The SDK is about 500MB compressed and requires installation, but the basic .exe is a standalone encoder/decoder, thus best found and used without the kit.
The Main Theme can be found in the "special" directory.
Special Edition Format differences
The music format differs between the different platform versions of Skyrim Special Edition.
PC and Xbox One use Microsoft xWMA format (.xwm) at 48kbps to store music. PS4 uses Sony Atrac format (.at9) at 144kbps to store music, and is considered to be much higher quality due to the higher bitrate.
- The trailers for Dawnguard and Dragonborn each have a unique theme which is not present in the game itself or available as individual releases.
- The song "Unbound" is on the official soundtrack yet does not appear anywhere in the game nor is present within the game's files. It was possibly originally intended to be played during the quest Unbound when Alduin attacks Helgen.
- The song "The Jerall Mountains" is included in the game's files but is not actually assigned any music playlists and therefore does not play in the game.
- The song "Nerevar Rising Reprise" was composed and recorded for Skyrim , but ultimately released only on the Morrowind Special Edition Soundtrack.
- The compression algorithms used by the game can cause parts of the soundtrack to drop out or be over-emphasized. For instance, the percussion section is far more audible in the in-game version of "Tooth and Claw" than in the soundtrack version. Compare the in-game version of "Tooth and Claw" to the soundtrack version.
- Jeremy Soule, Facebook, May 3, 2015
- Jeremy Soule, Facebook, April 5, 2014
- Jeremy Soule, Facebook, April 14, 2015
- Jeremy Soule, Facebook, October 4, 2012
- Jeremy Soule, Facebook, February 11, 2016
- Jeremy Soule, Facebook, September 23, 2012
- Jeremy Soule, Facebook, April 12, 2015
- Jeremy Soule, Facebook, August 27, 2012
- Jeremy Soule, Facebook, August 12, 2013.
- Jeremy Soule, Facebook, March 26, 2013.
- Jeremy Soule, Facebook, October 5, 2014.