Die GErlkonig

by Daniel Donghun Kim

An escape from the inescapable world of music and sound

Original Concept:

While music is the passion of all of us, I sometimes get the feeling of fatigue by all the sound in the bustling city. I wished to express the feeling of wanting to escape from all the sound.

I took some motivation from the Schubert's Elf-King (Erlkonig). The escape from the inescapable. Something that other people could not see. Also, like the Elf-King in the story, which the Father mistakes to be just branches of trees being shaken by the wind, just the shadow, and etc, I wanted the planet at the back plus the dots on the sky to convey the feeling of something that is not too evidently seen by the people who do not share the same pain. I would like to see if I can render an electric version of the song until next time to buld the connection.

Revised Concept:

The concept evolved much more later on. The revised narrative is as follows:

1. The running man is anyone that is trying to escape sound, music, this world.

Despite the fact that I absolutely love music, there are moments when I do not want to listen to anything. However, is the escape from sound/music really possible? Even when we want absolute solitude, an undisturbed peace, we are still surrounded by sound and music. Or sometimes, the sound comes from your inner voice. I wanted to convey the feeling of inescapability through my Audiovisualiser.

Also, this class so far has been my absolute favourite at Stanford, but it still sometimes feels very intense, and I sometimes just want an escape to the surreal, only to later realise that it is something that I cannot escape from, which is the reason that I decided to start with Ge's distorted version that says 'Let me tell you a story about music, computing, and design,' playing at the same time as Kunwoo's melody from My Favourite Things, which marked the start of our journey.

2. The running protagonist is the child (Das Kind) in ErlKonig.

There is a moment at the end of the narrative, where the child screams 'Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt fasst er mich an Erlkönig hat mir ein Leid getan!' This translates as 'Father, father, now he’s seizing me! The Erlking has hurt me!' From that moment, the child does not say anything, and the father is scared, so he does not reply and just takes the horse home, only to find the child dead in his arms. The narrative in the audiovisualiser takes place between those moments. The child, due to fever, is hallucinating and is taken to another world, trying to escape from the sound, which is represented by the musical notes that constitute the spectrum. The character was not set as a child character but a man due to two reasons. One, because the protagonist is me. Two, becasue while in the real world, the father has the child in his arms, but between him and Erlkonig, there is no one to protect him.

3. The fantastical world of GErlKonig is the Second Moon in Murakami Haruki's book 1Q84.

I did not want the fantastical world that the child takes himself to be any world. As the narrative starts with 'My Favourite Things,' I wanted it to be a reference to one of my favourite things. Murakami Haruki is one of my absolute favourite authors of all times on this planet, with all of his novels making rich reference to musical history and great classical, jazz, and pop pieces and songs. The Second Moon in 1Q84 is a mark that divides the real world 1984 and the fantastical world of 1Q84, and also where all the evil comes from, so I thought it was an incredibly apt place for my narrative to be set in.

I had to make a design decision here, as the Second Moon in 1Q84 is green. However, there was an added sense of urgnecy that I could feel when I turned the terrain colour red. I decided that the second moon is red, because of the child's fever. Even though the child is running away.

4. The glowing planet on the right of the Earth is the Second Earth, which is the main source of evil in this world.

The ErlKonig comprises both just the regular Earth and the Second Earth. The second earth is the cyberpunk dystopia that humans are trying to create due to all the problems that we have created. It is a technologically constructed haven from Earth's problems, but as we can see from the ominous appearance, it will not be the solution to our problems and will only add to our aggravation.


Camera 1: Z, Camera 2: X, Camera 3: C.

Camera 1 - Main View: Shows the protagonist trying to run away from sound. The wavelengths control the eyes, drawn with the Earth and the Second Earth.


Camera 2 - Side View: Shows the protagonist from the side to clearly show that the spectrum is made of musical notes.


Camera 3 - Moon View: This shows the regular moon (glowing) and the second moon on which the protagonist is running in vain.



It was just so much fun. It was one of the few things in my life that got me going to sleep at 4am only to wake up 15 minutes later to incorporate some of the ideas that popped up in my head.

Thank you so much Julia, and sorry about the last minute e-mail I sent right before the deadline last week! Thank you Ge, for introducing me to this wonderful world of computer music and Chunity!

Previous Remarks

This has so far been an incredibly difficult project for me, due to my lack of experience with Unity. I tried GameObject matrix as well as the method of creating new array of game object per update, which did not create the history of my spectrum.

But it was, at the end (although it's still ongoing), very fun, trying to learn about different aspects of Unity, including VFX, shader, animation, and etc. I hope to be able to incorporate them into my final submission next Week.

Production Environment: Mac OS


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