Total War Shogun II (2011)

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Audio Director | Composer | Post-Production | Sound Design

10 years after the first Shogun Total War was released, The Creative Assembly developed Shogun 2. Catching up with the team brought back great memories of working on the first ever Total War.

I got back into the β€œZen” frame of mind I was in while composing the original. This time we had a bigger budget, so I put aside the sampler, and used live musicians to give the music a more natural feel and sound. I recorded TaikOz at Studios 301 in Sydney.

Link to Official Soundtrack available on iTunes.

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33 Comments

  • Victor Xia February 16, 2024

    Just letting you know that your music is an enormous part of why I fell in love with history, growing up with Total War games. The Total War game series is great on its own, but your music elevate it in my memory. The immersion into those time periods just wouldn’t be there without such outstanding and memorable accompaniment.

    My personal favorites include your work on the Shogun 2 and Fall of the Samurai soundtracks. Your melodies are just so memorable.

    The series just isn’t the same without you.

  • Renyun November 23, 2023

    Hi Jeff love your works, I was listening to Fall of the Samurai OST on Youtube when I saw this comment saying there was another older version of The Sun Bird that was removed from the game and seemingly vanished from the internet. I was curious and looked up and found a Steam discussion asking for the same thing. Is this true? Is there a version of the track that was removed from the game?

  • Mr. Sandeman October 17, 2022

    Always loved this soundtrack, one thing though did you also do fall of the samurai, in which case where can I find it?

  • Adam August 3, 2020

    Hey Jeff, I’m a huge fan of your work.
    I just wondered who played the Shakuhachi parts on Shogun 2, they are truly inspiring.

    • jeffvandyck@me.com December 7, 2020

      They were played by a couple of musicians, one was Shigeru Nakajima and the other was Kevin Man.

      Kevin also played some of the Taiko parts.

      Cheers,
      Jeff

  • edward July 12, 2019

    Just found your site thru this youtube vid “beautiful blade” thanks for great soundtracks!

  • Jamie Wadsworth June 4, 2016

    I’m not going to buy any Total War games that don’t have you composing the music for it. You really bring the battlefields to life. I was first introduced to your music when I was 13 playing Emperor, but I didn’t know it was your work until after shogun 2. Been a fan for 13 years! Thank you for your creations and hard work. Hopefully CA will pay you good money to compose for the next Total War and the players can have good music again.

  • nonicerguy August 2, 2015

    Jeff, I was wondering about the track “Metamorphosis”, used I think for for base game’s campaign map in spring. The koto shares space with an instrument that sounds like a Caribbean steel drum. Is that, by any chance, a Swiss hang drum, and is it by any chance played by David Kuckhermann? I heard him open for Dead Can Dance a couple of years ago, and I was struck by the very similar sound.

    On the other hand, I know that the famous taiko group Kodo has used old-school steel drums in at least one of their compositions. Was that an inspiration?

    • Jeff van Dyck August 4, 2015

      It is indeed a hang drum…but I played it on my keyboard. Despite being a Swiss invention, to my ear it has a hint of Asian sound to it and I felt that it fit in the context of the music. I found the sound of the hang drum inspiring and it more or less caused the song to appear πŸ™‚

  • The Dark Weapon July 29, 2015

    Jeff I beg of you, what is that BEAUTIFUL flute track that you have play at the end of a defeated battle?! I can’t find it anywhere, did you not compose it, or not list it?! Where is it?!

  • Chim February 22, 2014

    Hey Jeff,

    I just bought fall of the Samurai and the OST is amazing. I love how you mixed western and eastern music together and it just seems to blend so well. Whereas, in Shogun II it’s mostly Japanese which was also great. My buddy, who is Japanese, says the music is sounds so authentic.

    They really should have placed you in Rome II. The current soundtrack they have is quite bland and forgettable.

    Tracks like Destiny, For the Daimyo, Sunbird, Soldier’s Chant make the gameplay so much more memorable.

    Was it also you that made the campaign music for Rome, Medieval II and Shogun? If so, I really enjoyed listening to it and would sometime let the music run through before ending a turn.

    Anyways, thanks for the ear candy!

  • Jeff van Dyck February 22, 2014

    I have a few sources of inspiration. One is the game itself, then my boss (who ever has hired me gets the ultimate final say), then it’s the gamers, you guys who send me messages, I try to put myself in your shoes and think what would be cool to listen to while playing the game. I play the games I work on, and try to get into the mood of a player who’s playing the game (I’m a player too!). I make choices like, lets not put music here as that would be annoying to the player, or here there should be music to reward the player for accomplishing something. I find all of this inspiring.

  • Yisup Byun January 23, 2014

    I love your whole songs. So I always listen your songs. And I have a question. What is the source of inspiration?

  • Snakiest January 5, 2014

    Really like this music. When I play Shogun, my wife, Japanese, can’t believe the game and soundtrack were made not by Japanese devs. She admits Shogun does more justice to Japan and its history than most of the games released here for the local market. And she enjoys the music on her phone, too. Thanks a lot!

  • Joe Harris October 24, 2013

    Hallo Jeff,

    Absolutely brilliant music. I appreciate your style immensely. I was just wondering, what flutes are you using on the track Autumn Leaves?

    Cheers,
    Joe

  • heem September 2, 2013

    Why aren’t you in Rome II ? Your compositions have always been beautiful and a perfect part of the series, it just makes the game all that more memorable. Thanks for making these available on Youtube.

    • Jeff van Dyck September 3, 2013

      Thank you for your kind message. I didn’t do Rome II because they didn’t ask me to work on it…except for the announcement trailer.

      • Benjamin April 19, 2020

        Not gonna lie, I thought you were making the RomeIITW music, and it was the main reason I bought it. I felt scammed and was the last game I bought, then I knew you havent been requested by CA to work for them… Im happy of that because they dont deserve you, you are way beyond. Cheers from Chile, I like how you play the piano

  • Tuan May 17, 2013

    Thank you a lot for the beautiful OST again! I have been listening to your composes for 10 years since the very first version of the Shogun: Total War.

    Cheers

  • Flute guy :D May 4, 2013

    Any chance of getting the sheet music for the flute solo at about 1:30 in formation? Also what kind of flute is that? Sounds both old but modern at the same time if that makes any sense πŸ™‚

  • Alex February 27, 2013

    Greetings!

    Wonderfully composed and performed tracks, sends shivers down my spine almost everyime I listen to them.

    I’ve been a bit curious about one of the tracks for a long time now though. The one where you hear a man singing “yo ho ho, yo ho” in the background. Not sure about the name of it, but here’s a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8_UjFFpD_c

    Is it something inspired from Noh theatre? or does this kind of music have a genre of its own?

    Huge fan of japanese culture, therefor the question.

    Love your work,
    Alex

    • Jeff van Dyck February 28, 2013

      The music in general was inspired by the game and Japanese culture. As far as my decision to add these vocals, I find voices humanize the music more (most of the music is actually coming out of a computer). Also, in my experience it seems a lot of listeners focus more on music with vocals than without. If I can find a way of working them into a song (which doesn’t come easy as I’m not a singer), I try to add them wherever I can…but it’s important they suit the mood, or are at least entertaining (like in this case).

  • Ace March 29, 2012

    Is the Fall of the Samurai music going to be released as a soundtrack Jeff? Excellent music once again!

    • Jeff van Dyck March 29, 2012

      Thanks for your comment πŸ™‚

      I’ve been asked this a few times now. I’m not sure, so I’ll check with SEGA and see what their plans are and post back here.

      Cheers,
      Jeff

      • Ace July 5, 2012

        Hey Jeff,
        Any news on whether they’re going to release anything here? Oh, and a big hello from rainy Vancouver! πŸ™‚

  • generalfil March 7, 2012

    Love your music Jeff ! I was just wondering is there any possibility to get the sheet music for the song Taiko Shuffle ? That would be awesome because me and my friends are going to try to play it so a Sheet would very much help us learning it! πŸ˜€

    • Jeff van Dyck March 29, 2012

      Are there specific parts you’re looking for?

      • generalfil March 29, 2012

        No not exactly. Were just wanting the whole song if that is possible πŸ™‚ but if thats not possible we will take whatever help you can give πŸ˜€

      • Michael January 13, 2015

        Hello Jeff! I have the same question as generalfil, about Taiko Shuffle sheet music. It’s so catchy and I tried to figure it out myself as I would like to learn it, but it sleeps away every time πŸ™ I’m particularly interested in melodic part. If sheet music is not possibe, I’d appreciate any hint on it’s actual key or scale, Thank you for your creativity!

        β€” Michael

  • Lorex January 9, 2012

    the videos have been removed from youtube . my vote is if you want to post videos that normally can be removed from youtube considering they remove stuff on like crazy any way use some Russian video share site or some another more free country site

    • Jeff van Dyck January 21, 2012

      Ok, thanks for the heads up. I’ll try to keep more up to date with the links.

  • Jeff van Dyck December 16, 2011

    As requested, here are the lyrics (written by Angela van Dyck)

    Bird of Time

    See the golden sun on your face
    Fallen from your brow all sense of peace
    In your eyes, the fiercest gaze
    Through the morning mist I watch you leave

    Bird of time on the wing
    How far is she to fly?
    Come now love, do not weep
    We all must live and die
    On the road of destiny
    There is shadow and there’s light
    For as the leaves fall from the tree
    so our days will pass us by

    Blowing in the wind, blossoms fall
    Falling on me, heavy is my heart
    In my mind you raise your sword
    Oh we will endure while we’re apart

    Bird of time on the wing
    How far is she to fly?
    Come now love, do not weep
    We all must live and die
    On the road of destiny
    There is shadow and there’s light
    For as the leaves fall from the tree
    so our days will pass us by

    Beneath the blossom tree
    under a watching moon
    I dreamed but woke too soon
    Far away the sounds of war
    but in your arms there is peace
    For here in goodness I believe

    Carry this heart – break it not
    Oh love out of time, oh dream forgot
    Carry now this soul and take your fill
    Oh mind out of time, oh heart so still

    Bird of time on the wing
    How far is she to fly?
    Come now love, do not weep
    We all must live and die
    On the road of destiny
    There is shadow and there’s light
    For as the leaves fall from the tree
    so our days will pass us by

  • caro2411 December 6, 2011

    I love bird of time <3 Amazing work. Keep on !

    would you please upload the lyrics? thank you

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