Sunday, November 21, 2010

Videogame Music

        I’ll start the blog off by reminding everyone that I am in high school and that I am in the symphonic orchestra for it. This is my director’s last year here, and he’s decided to end it with a twist. Recently he went to some music program, and discovered a little thing called Videogames Live. He decided that he liked what he heard and that it was good music and so now the orchestra is going to perform videogames live on stage tomorrow, and when I first heard  what we were doing the nerd side of me had a spasm. It’s been interesting practicing, the parts for videogame music is actually not as simple as I thought it would be. I have more respect for composers and the people who play the music for the game because I realize that it's not that easy anymore. The best part is that most of the music is from older games such as Kingdom Hearts or Advent Rising (which I didn’t like) so it let me reminisce on games that I used to play.

                                Oh Nerds
        The thing I like most about videogame music that sets it apart from most other music is that the music is always setting the tone, no matter how simplistic it is. In Halo, you’re fighting a grand space epic and thus the music in it is sweeping, full of action and build up, and when you’re playing the game it really immerses you in what you’re doing. In Civilization you’re playing different empires throughout different ages, and so the music is very varied and shows that you are the lord, king, president, whatever you choose to be over the game. Mass Effect, which is one of my favorite games, went for a somewhat Star Trek style, clean and futuristic, so the soundtrack has lots of synth and electronic, while the sequel Mass Effect 2 went for a more grand style, with lots of orchestration and big symphonies for the music. In the documentary for Gears of War 2 the composer stated that in some songs he wanted there to be frenzy, chaos, so he had the players do ridiculous things with their instruments. Videogame music is so very well done, even in trailers, and I love the way most games give a grand scale or intense music feel to the atmosphere.

         Not in the game itself, but still an epic trailer
           Conceived by Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, Videogames Live was created to perform videogame music to the public. They were attempting to raise awareness on the fact that videogame music was good and how culturally significant videogames are. In this regard it has been successful, as my director though that videogame music was lots of electronic and “bad” music but this has converted him into liking the music. During concerts they have the music live with special light effects as well as videos playing in the background. Sometimes the music will be very retro, featuring music from games like Tetris or Asteroids, and it's a joy for nerds like us to hear it.

                        Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall
            For our orchestra we are playing the Halo theme, the one with the chanting/humming, Coronation and Baba Yetu from Civilization IV, Bounty Hunter Theme from Advent Rising, and Kingdom Hearts theme from Kingdom Hearts. These are all great songs, my favorites being Baba Yetu, the Halo theme, and the Kingdom Hearts one and the Bounty Hunter theme is somewhat lame while the Coronation is just boring to play. Baba Yetu is very relaxing and a nice thing to listen to, while the Halo theme is very grand and sweeping. The Kingdom Hearts theme is a very fantasy style song, very soaring and full of adventure. We have had multiple people work on this project outside of orchestra, such as the tech crew for the special light effects (which are pretty damn well done) as well as the video people (not sure what class/club they’re in) who did a good job putting the video for music together. Only complaint that I have with their videos is that most of the time it didn’t show what was fun about the games, such as in Civilization they only showed buildings not the leaders or gameplay, or in Halo they used mostly Reach where the song did not even show up in. This is mostly coming from my point of view, which I have to admit might be a little skewed because I hold most of these games very dearly to me and I’ve actually played them which I’m not sure the video crew has. Along with videogames live we’ll be playing a wide variety of music, from American Patrol (a medley of patriotic songs such as Yankee Doodle), Egmont Overture, Merry Wives, and La Traviata. Overall the music is pretty good, and the videogame music made it very fun for me to play this semester. If you go to my school hope I see you there.

                                          I love this song

Glak Out

                          Great Song, Lots of Fantasy Vibe

                      A Classic Song (But no guitar for us sadly)
          (Really simple song, but also really fun to play)
And to end this video portion I'm going to post a bunch of links, because if I embedded all the videos it would be too much. Also I couldn't find Merry Wives because apparently it's in a musical or something so I couldn't find a good recording of it. La Traviata Egmont Overture, the ending is the most fun *Sigh, Advent Rising............ Not bad, but not fun either, although it could be because we have noone singing in the background

1 comment:

  1. Also a little insider scoop the way we made the video match our playing at least we prerecorded it, handed it to the video people, they made the video around the recording, and then we play according to the video's recording.