Stones is a song composed by David Watson, with lyrics added later by his wife Kathleen Jones. The song ties so closely to the Ultima series because Watson is close friends with the series creator, Richard Garriott, and both he and his wife were in-game characters in the series. The song was first heard in Ultima V: Warriors of Virtue (A2) and has been included in most Ultima games since. While Rule, Britannia! is featured in more Ultima games than any other song, Stones is the most popular original song in the series.
- 1 Title
- 2 Composition
- 3 Games
- 3.1 Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny (A2)
- 3.2 Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny (C64)
- 3.3 Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny (AST)
- 3.4 Ultima VI: The False Prophet (DOS)
- 3.5 Ultima VII: The Black Gate (DOS)
- 3.6 Ultima: Runes of Virtue (GB)
- 3.7 Ultima VII, Part Two: Serpent Isle (DOS)
- 3.8 Ultima Online (W32)
- 3.9 Ultima IX: Ascension (W32)
- 3.10 Ultima Online: Lord Blackthorn's Revenge (W32)
- 4 Lyrics
- 5 Sheet Music
- 6 Links
David Watson named the song Stones because he was inspired to compose the song after seeing the stone circles of the Orkneys.
David Watson originally composed Stones without the Ultima series in mind. The song was originally written as an instrumental, but Watson's wife, Kathleen Jones, later penned lyrics for the song. It is currently unknown when the song or the lyrics were first written.
The song is broken up into two main sections. The first contains a series of rapid notes in the melody with breaks involving tuplets. The second section has more rests and usually uses staccato on its notes. The melody of Stones is usually played with a haunting reverberating sound and given only a sparse harmony.
Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny (A2)
Stones made its very first appearance in the Apple II version of Ultima V. Aside from playing when the party camps for the night, the song plays an important role in a quest, and you even have to learn to play the song in the game. The song is taught to you by Lord Kenneth (the in-game persona of Ken Arnold). The song loops in this game.
Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny (C64)
In the Commodore 128 version of the game, Stones functions the same as the Apple II version. It sounds quite similar, and is played in all the same places. The song is rendered on the SID chip, which gives it a nice harpsichord and church-bell sound.
Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny (AST)
Ultima VI: The False Prophet (DOS)
A similar quest to play Stones exists in Ultima VI, this time on the panpipes with help from Gwenno (the in-game persona of Kathleen Jones). The song is also one of the four tunes randomly played after conversations and is also the song played upon camping. Stones loops in this game.
The Roland MT-32 version of the song has the highest fidelity and the closest sound to true instruments. The AdLib version sounds more like a synthesizer, but is still quite nice, almost like a theremin. The Creative Music System version has a high level of reverb from the SAA1099 chips, making the song sound even more haunting. The Tandy 3 Voice has the lowest fidelity, and with its limited voices, can't handle all the harmonics, though the song is still very recognizable.
The song file is named Stones.m.
Ultima VII: The Black Gate (DOS)
Ultima VII makes use of Stones as the theme for the, now dangerous, moongates, and you will hear the tune each time you approach one. You will also hear the song play at the Wisps castle, and at Iolo's house, which is fitting since the song was composed by David Watson, the real-life counterpart of Iolo. Other than Rule, Britannia!, this is the only song that was reused from earlier Ultima games. Due to a code bug, the song doesn't loop in this game, though it was intended to loop.
Dana Glover rearranged the song with a slightly different structure, and minor changes to some notes. The song has three sections, the first dominated by acoustic guitar and flute, played at a fair speed. The second is a slightly slower section with less guitar. The third section is a repeat of the second section, but with more instruments. The full song uses 8 instrumental tracks. The melody is played on two nylon guitars each playing the same notes, one in the left stereo channel, the other in the right. The harmony of the first section is played on a shakuhachi (a Japanese bamboo flute). The harmony of the second section features a bassoon and pizzicato strings. The harmony in the third section keeps the pizzicato strings, but replaces the bassoon with the shakuhachi and adds a very muted string section. Throughout the whole song, except for the solo guitar intro, there is a bass and bass drum keeping beat.
The song is number 22 in the game files.
This version of stones also appears as track 12 on the Origin Soundtrack Series, Vol. 2
Ultima: Runes of Virtue (GB)
Ultima VII, Part Two: Serpent Isle (DOS)
You can hear Stones on the magic music box in the Inn of the Sleeping Bull. If Iolo is in your party he will complain about having to listen to Stones yet again. The song uses the same file as Part 1 of Ultima VII.
Since this song is the same as the Black Gate soundtrack, it also appears as track 12 on the Origin Soundtrack Series, Vol. 2
Ultima Online (W32)
Ultima IX: Ascension (W32)
A wonderfully arranged version of Stones on actual instruments was created by George Oldziey. The song again is part of a quest where the player must play the song on an in-game instrument.
Ultima Online: Lord Blackthorn's Revenge (W32)
This song has lyrics, though no game uses them.
Long ago ran the sun on a folk who had a dream And the heart and the will and the power: They moved earth; they carved stone; moulded hill and channeled stream That we might stand on the wide plains of Wiltshire. Now men asked who they were, how they built and wonder why That they wrought standing stones of such size. What was done 'neath our shade? What was pray'ed 'neath our skies As we stood on the wyrd plains of Wiltshire. Oh what secrets we could tell if you'd listen and be still. Rid the stink and the noise from our skirts. But you haven't got the clue and perhaps you never will. Mute we stand on the cold plains of Wiltshire. Still we loom in the mists as the ages roll away And we say of our folk, "they are here!" That they built us and they died and you'll not be knowing why Save we stand on the bare plains of Wiltshire.
- youtube.com/watch?v=zSZoRm-4mVM - Played on real instruments with lyrics sung by Brad Venable.
- youtube.com/watch?v=Q9SIhEGALpY - Remixed by Descendants of Erdrick, vocals by Amanda Lepre.
- youtube.com/watch?v=PBwUDfjr1yc - Played on acoustic guitar by Jonas Lefvert.
- youtube.com/watch?v=H97aGH4WkPM - Played on piano by JoliePianoWorld.
- youtube.com/watch?v=i_7UArwJ0wI - Played on ocarina by Dhalphir.
- youtube.com/watch?v=xrkc8w3zjjU - Played on piano by AndreasBoe.
- youtube.com/watch?v=k26rXxiRhc8 - Played on keyboard by Widiar.
- youtube.com/watch?v=-_aazhUWj9c - Played on piano by MikeTaylor11.