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Topic III: Free Discussion
01.26.06

Jordan: This last topic is a bit of an open one. You're free to discuss music in just about any way, including other genres if you wish.

Oddigy: Ok, an interesting topic here would be - how does your taste in game music differ or not differ from your taste in popular music? :)

Joshua: Katamari! The most addicting soundtracks ever!

Matthew: Best Piece of Classical Music - Barber's Adagio for Strings, there I said it

Jordan: Hrm, my taste in game music is pretty similar to my regular music *

Matthew: agrees

Jordan: and oftentimes, I listen to game music AS regular music

Janelle: J: Exactly.

Joshua: I'm a fan of Piano music, as well as orchestral things, such as Vivaldi

Joshua: J: Yep, me too.

Andrew: Well, for the last few years I've been really into electronic music- stuff like Crystal Method, Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, artists like that. It's more grounded in rhythm and production than melody and harmony.. so my tastes in game music are pretty different. *

Jordan: has many a DDR OST playing, and I own the OST to both Katamari games

Oddigy: Mine varies a bunch... my favorite game composer is Motoi Sakuraba, but I really don't like stuff by other composers that's close to his style - jazz organ stuff, for example.

Oddigy: Oh, on the contrary, DDR music actually got me interested in the whole Eurobeat genre. *

Joshua: currently swaps between Katamari and Rammstein

Joshua: heh

Janelle: Popular music has been a mush of everything lately, and none of it interests me the way game soundtracks do.

Janelle: But I find that game soundtracks have prompted me to pay more attention to movie soundtracks nowadays.

Janelle: The Terminal had an awesome theme to it.

Oddigy: DDR music also started my interest in trance. It's nice to listen to the Trance station on XM radio and hear "Take Me Away" or some other song I might have played in DDR. I've always been partial to more electronic-sounding music.

Matthew: I think game music gives me a greater appreciation of classical music, and vice versa. Listening to a Mozart score, and then to Uematsu's Dancing Mad and I think about how Game Music is really the most expressive form of classical music around besides Wind Ensemble music and chamber atonal pieces.

Elliot: Tip: Yeah, as games become more like interactive movies, the line dividing the two types of scores is being blurred more and more.

Joshua: barieuph: I agree. I wish more people understood that game music has just as much of a place as all other music. It's still music, but people think that since it's revolved around games, that it has some sort of negative/nerdy connotation to it. What's the difference between that and movie soundtracks?

Oddigy: The only thing about a movie score... is that the music in it only has to fill about 2 hours. The music in a game would have to fill 40 hours or more in most cases. As a result, game composers should be held in much higher esteem.

Andrew: I wouldn't make that comparison at all, it's completely different

Elliot: I agree with zircon

Janelle: Actually, in concert band I find myself listening to pieces we play and wondering how they would fit into an RPG. I heard a song played by our Junior band today that would make a great overworld theme.

Elliot: It's two different types of composition and in games, themes are recycled all the time... in movies once one song is used, you won't hear it again unless it's been changed in one way or another

Matthew: Tip: True, Richard Saucedo, a drum corps arranger, and wind ensemble composer, writes charts that would fit well in RPGs. So if I were to arrange a theme for my band, would the audience know?

Joshua: Well, both of them are designed to fit the scenes in which they are played, both of them are used to create and atmosphere with which to advance a story, the only difference is the music budget and the interactivity of the audience.

Joshua: Star Wars used the same themes many times.

Oddigy: Reprisals are a positive element of any score, I think.

Oddigy: Another thing to point out is that in a movie soundtrack, tracks hardly ever loop. ;)

Janelle: Yes, but that's a minor point. ^^

Matthew: But in movie soundtracks you have a lot more white noise, where the orchestra is just playing chords to fill time

Janelle: When orchestras get going on the movie soundtracks, oh how they play...

Matthew: Games are nearly all melodic music.

Oddigy: True. In quieter scenes where there's lots of dialogue, it's very easy to forget there's any background music.

Oddigy: In movies, I mean.

Andrew: barieuph; not anymore :)

Joshua: barieuph: so are many of the 'epic' movies we watch

Oddigy: I have a friend on another network who is a big fan of Peter Gabriel and Genesis... and he's always asserting that he's finding little snippets of game music themes in their work. :) I still think a good soundtrack is one that has memorable themes that aren't easily forgotten.

Oddigy: Do we necessarily need memorable themes playing during heavy dialogue though? More and more games have almost fully voice-acted dialogue.

Joshua: No, but I think that Battle themes especially should be memorable.

Matthew: You can lighten the theme in strings in the background, but retain the melodic integrity

Matthew: but your point is valid

Oddigy: barieuph: That's true. FFX is a good example of that.

Joshua: SO3 did that too, I believe

Janelle: Yeah, the music in SO3 was not intrusive during the dialogue heavy scenes.

Elliot: I think that the move from melodic music to unintrusive music has a lot more to do with the addition of voices, more than with the shift to more cinematic RPGs

Matthew: Music in general though, is something I believe is necessary because it doesn't require a dictionary, or a translator, it affects humans all in different ways which is why in videogames it's so poignant.

Elliot: Uematsu has been quoted as saying something similar

Elliot: Music speaks to everyone regardless of geographical, lingual, and cultural barriers.

Oddigy: Right, music is a universal language. :)

Elliot: Math is similar, but not as sexy

Joshua: I know that I definitely turn to music when I need a place to just relax and get away from the world.

Oddigy: or as aesthetically pleasing to everyone in at least some form, hahe.

Joshua: Carlisle: Bite your tongue.

Andrew: I turn to music when I want to hear some phat beats

Oddigy: I turn to music when I need to cheer up in a hurry. The Mother arranged album almost always does it.

Janelle: Music provokes more emotion from me than most events in my daily life, so it's always a plus.

Joshua: Besides, it drowns out all of the useless noise in life, like that of my professor's lectures.

Elliot: You mean evokes? Provokes makes it sound like it's a negative thing ^^;

Joshua: Heh.

Janelle: It does provoke more than evoke, though.

Elliot: I see

Janelle: Sounds strange, yes, but that's the way it is.

Joshua: Showers, music, and sleep. My 3 sanctuaries. :)

Jordan: And on that note, I'm going to have to cut this off for time restraints.

Jordan: Does anyone have any final thoughts?

Elliot: Back to the popular music thing, I think that game music has actually increased my appreciation for popular music.

Joshua: Really? I think that it's decreased mine.

Elliot: Back in the day, all I used to listen to was mostly game music, but since then I've grown greatly to like popular music much more

Oddigy: I hope that game composers don't let technology limit them in being innovative when creating music... that's all. I have a feeling that nothing Uematsu could crank out today would match his SNES soundtracks,

Andrew: Yeah, I would say it's the same for me.. sort of. I really got into game music/arrangements about 3 years ago and my appreciation for music has gone way up. It really opened up my career in music in fact.. and I had no interest in composing/producing before that!

Janelle: Surround sound for the win.

Oddigy: even though he could command a full orchestra.

Matthew: A lot of the reason why I play RPGs is because of the music, it helps bring me to a new place completely. I am completely immersed in a new world. And that's what makes it so magical

Joshua: I think that music definitely separate themselves from other genres with their music.

Joshua: Music is one of the biggest reasons that draws me to a game, and keeps me going, just to see if there are more great tracks around the corner.

Oddigy: My career is currently in music... unfortunately my coworkers are all into the gritty lo-fi emo/indie scene. ;)

Janelle: Music is one of the key elements of immersion, and I really think that as the tools expand, so does the potential to create some excellent scores.

Oddigy: I could enjoy any game Motoi Sakuraba composed for, just because I love his music so much.

Joshua: separates RPGs*

Elliot: oddigy: so are you saying that when composers are more limited with their tools, and music is limited in what we expect from it, they can create better music? Because our expectations are lower?

Elliot: Or else then, why?

Oddigy: Carlisle: I believe that when hardware limitations drive a composer to actually think about the tracks he's laying down, the music will be better. It's an odd thought.

Elliot: Interesting

Matthew: I wouldn't say that Carlisle, but I think what oddigy is getting at, is that composers get caught up in new technology, and then lose the compositional brilliance that simplicity brings

Elliot: I hadn't thought of it that way

Janelle: Not that the scores aren't excellent already, but orchestration and clarity of music improves a lot of the games' atmospheres.

Jordan: Thank you all for joining me today

Jordan: This discussion is now closed

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