Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Winter Synth - Introduction and Definition

Winter Synth is music that is inspired by, and reflects the elemental forces of nature. Having fought your way out from the oppressive confines of the dungeon, you are free to wander the open landscape, and meditate upon its wild beauty. From the ice-blasted wildernesses, through the ancient forests, to the epic grandeur of the mist-wreathed mountains.

I have coined the term "Winter Synth" to help classify this area of music, and to differentiate it from other related areas of music with which it often gets confused (see below). I had originally intended to call it "Nature Synth"; unfortunately however, this can be abbreviated to "NS", which is also a common abbreviation for National Socialism, and I wanted to avoid any such confusion. Alternate names that I considered were "Landscape Synth", "Ice Synth" and  "Forest Synth", but I think "Winter Synth" has the best flow, even if it is a little restrictive in theme.


So how to define "Winter Synth"? Well, similarly to "Dungeon Synth", it is distinct from the more general term "Dark Ambient". Let's establish these genres:

"Dark Ambient" is often used as an umbrella term for all of these styles, however in its purest form it focusses on subtle textures and soundscapes, creating a less musical approach by utilising low rumbles, drones, clankings, creakings, whispers etc.

"Dungeon Synth" tends to be less texture-based, with the focus being on retro-sounding synths creating epic medieval/fantasy-inspired music, frequently utilising brash synthesized orchestration. The music usually has an oppressive and closed-in feel, as of a castle or dungeon (hence the name), or of vast armies marching to war. There is often an inherent naive or amateurish quality that adds to the "retro" charm.

"Winter Synth" tends to have a more open expansive feel, with the hypnotic quality of an open landscape. By its nature it is slightly more minimalistic than Dungeon Synth, and as such there is theoretically a greater overlap into the realms of dark ambient and drone. The most common themes are snow, ice, forests and mountains.


  1. What about Drone Dungeon Synth subgenre created by instinc and nietzkov