Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

First official post on the forums!  And of course, video games would be the subject.

I'm quite pleased that, nowadays, video game music is kind of seen as its own genre. After all, there are things you can't really do, and things you have to do to have a successful sound track to a game.

Things like making sure that it loops seamlessly, or at least agreeably, so strong, intense ending are often to avoid, even if we feel like the tune needs a closing. Then comes the part where you have to create something that will not get annoying after a few loops. After all, no one knows how long a specific theme will be playing. That is, unless it's a cinematic.

Also interesting: How even though multiple games now offer fully orchestrated scores, there are also many who go back to the roots and opt for 8bit or chiptune sound, and a more retro approach to the subject.

To end it on a question: Have any of you ever attempted writing something with video games in mind?

[I do hope I'm posting this to the right place!]

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Hi Sao,

Some years ago I was working at a college on the website. It was quite popular at the time to create "virtual tours" of the campus, so I did one. One of things I created for the tour was some walking around music, that is, music that played in the background while you took the tour. Most of the music was 30 second compositions which looped. I allowed the viewer to switch at any time between 4 different pieces. Here's one of them - https://youtu.be/EjkPu91pYK0

-Gav

Somehow, this brings back memories! I remember, back in the late 90's, there was a virtual museum tour that was used, in the school I went to, to teach art history, and the music used was pretty similar in style!

I think using a single instrument makes it even harder to make an interesting loop, mostly with something as short as 30 seconds, but in my opinion, you've succeeded.

Did you proceed the same way  for this as you usually do for "regular" compositions, or was the thought process pretty much the same?

Gav Brown said:

Hi Sao,

Some years ago I was working at a college on the website. It was quite popular at the time to create "virtual tours" of the campus, so I did one. One of things I created for the tour was some walking around music, that is, music that played in the background while you took the tour. Most of the music was 30 second compositions which looped. I allowed the viewer to switch at any time between 4 different pieces. Here's one of them - https://youtu.be/EjkPu91pYK0

-Gav

Hi Sao,

Glad you enjoyed. I think it's a different thought process, because the purpose is different. Unlike a straight-ahead composition, in this case, the music needs to be subordinate to the visuals - it's essentially an ad I was running, after all, and the purpose was to promote the college. The looping and short nature of the music also has implications - rather than looking for high highs or low lows, one is instead looking for more of a single tone that varies in a much narrower range. Also, I think music of this type tends to be more whimsical and child-like, not sure I can explain why I think so, just a feeling I have about it. Lastly, I don't think the video game genre is exactly the same as what I did, it also varies in purpose, and is of necessity, needing different goals. I am a huge fan of video game music, although I have not played video games for years - so my video game music is all from earlier games - Super Mario, e.g.

Gav

Sao Daigneault said:

Somehow, this brings back memories! I remember, back in the late 90's, there was a virtual museum tour that was used, in the school I went to, to teach art history, and the music used was pretty similar in style!

I think using a single instrument makes it even harder to make an interesting loop, mostly with something as short as 30 seconds, but in my opinion, you've succeeded.

Did you proceed the same way  for this as you usually do for "regular" compositions, or was the thought process pretty much the same?

Gav Brown said:

Hi Sao,

Some years ago I was working at a college on the website. It was quite popular at the time to create "virtual tours" of the campus, so I did one. One of things I created for the tour was some walking around music, that is, music that played in the background while you took the tour. Most of the music was 30 second compositions which looped. I allowed the viewer to switch at any time between 4 different pieces. Here's one of them - https://youtu.be/EjkPu91pYK0

-Gav

I think the "whimsical and child-like" tone mostly comes from the purpose  of such music. It's usually meant to entertain and keep focused on a task, while not being the main focus itself.

It's pretty interesting that you'd use a smaller range for such composition! I never really thought about it, but with it mentioned, it is true that this would make loops more... loop-y, if that makes sense!

I myself don't play video games all that much nowadays (Work keeps me really busy!), but I'll often find myself listening to soundtrack of games I haven't even played as "support music" as I work. There's such a wide range of emotions!

Gav Brown said:

Hi Sao,

Glad you enjoyed. I think it's a different thought process, because the purpose is different. Unlike a straight-ahead composition, in this case, the music needs to be subordinate to the visuals - it's essentially an ad I was running, after all, and the purpose was to promote the college. The looping and short nature of the music also has implications - rather than looking for high highs or low lows, one is instead looking for more of a single tone that varies in a much narrower range. Also, I think music of this type tends to be more whimsical and child-like, not sure I can explain why I think so, just a feeling I have about it. Lastly, I don't think the video game genre is exactly the same as what I did, it also varies in purpose, and is of necessity, needing different goals. I am a huge fan of video game music, although I have not played video games for years - so my video game music is all from earlier games - Super Mario, e.g.

Gav


I think modern videogame music does explore a wider range than I have mentioned, because computers have gotten so powerful that videogames are more dramatic and the music therefore follows that lead. It is an interesting genre of music which is underappreciated IMO. I suspect that over time it will acquire a higher reputation and will be taken more seriously

Sao Daigneault said:

I think the "whimsical and child-like" tone mostly comes from the purpose  of such music. It's usually meant to entertain and keep focused on a task, while not being the main focus itself.

It's pretty interesting that you'd use a smaller range for such composition! I never really thought about it, but with it mentioned, it is true that this would make loops more... loop-y, if that makes sense!

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