Fate of Io
Thoughts on Music
2005/07/26 12:10:27 PDT by Aetrus [0/15]
Awards: 2 from Dev

I've been listening to several versions of the above file, Sam Barber's Adagio for Strings, and I've been thinking of just how utterly emotional that peice is, and also how simple it is compositionally. I thought that could apply to composing game music here. For me the heart of a peice is the melody, and I know from personal experience how hard it can be to find that one true melody that just opens up your ideas and all that. Well sometimes its the simplicity of sound that makes it so compelling.

I've heard most if not all of the music submitted here over the years, and I liked most of it. Mad props to Dev, Stix, Xeno, Nix, and everyone else. Still, I always felt like the tracks were too rigid tempo wise. It sounded like it came out of sequencer. (big surprise...it did.) Well this peice demonstrates how a slightly meandering tempo can really open up the emotion within a work. It's all in how you aproach the next note, and where its going from there. It sounds more human, and gives a greater sense of urgency, or emotion to linger over a note a bit. This one does that alot, and that is why it is used in mourning and what not. (been used in several presidential funerals)

Strangely enough it took a while to find a midi I was satisfied with. This one is ok, but if I were the 'conductor' I would have drawn out a few passages and did more to capture the dynamics. That's the other thing an emotional track needs. Most of the tracks I've heard were at a set volume level. Nothing wrong with that we're not finalizing a mix here, but varying the volume level in conjuction with an emotional build works wonders. That's one reason I love orchestral music is because of the huge dynamic range. You don't hear that in pop music because its all compressed to death on the radio, and in the assanine attempt to make everything louder.

Also don't be afraid to bend key signatures and such if it sounds good. It's not uncommon to see a lot of scores written with sharps and flats all over the place that don't follow with the natural key signature. (hey I've seen double sharps, and double flats written. It looks really funky)

But of course having fun is key. (haha! Get it Key!??!?!) Anyway....

PS The Trance mix of Adagio for Strings KICKS ASS! My favourite William Orbit mix, and my favorite mix of this song in general.

Added at 2005/07/26 12:10:53 PDT

NOTE: The midi came from a free download site.

2005/07/26 13:20:27 PDT by Dev [manager]
[Dev's avatar]

A few points not for the submission itself (which obviously isn't yours :P), but for the useful advice to contributors. Not all our musicians have a level of mastery with their tools such that they're really ready for these more advanced techniques, but it's definitely a good thing to keep in mind when we go back to revise and edit. Thanks for sharing, Aetrus.

I have a piece over on my personal site that attempted similar things (meandering tempo, dynamic ranges, etc.), and it's actually quite similar to this adagio. Feel free to check it out if you want. Unfortunately, I don't have the MIDI for it there, but I encourage those who use MIDI to dig into others' work and see how some of these things are accomplished.

2005/07/26 16:09:36 PDT by Aetrus [0/15]

Excellent peice Dev. That is exactly the kind of music I was thinking of when I wrote this post. I think that would be an excellent theme for this project in fact. That peice has what I love about Adagio for Strings: simple melody, great dynamics, and great use of harmony. I would like to see a midi of that if you have one. I'd like to look at the sequencing. You do some stuff in there that I've been trying to figure out myself. :p

As to my first post. I think in composition it is best, or more important, to compose a basic melody and add the dynamics, and such from there. Its more important to have an idea then to spend hours fiddling with the volume and such and leave frustrated. I tend to do that when looking for sounds for my work. I'll spend all afternoon trying to get my synthesizer to make the sound I want, and then get mad, and lose the idea I had in the first place. :D

Also, I don't think there is any one special way to go about composing. If you like to build a melody first and work from there, great. If you build the intro first and move linearly, great. etc...

2005/07/26 21:21:09 PDT by Temporal [manager]
[Temporal's avatar]

(note: I haven't really read most of this thread since it's over my head.)

I just want to comment that I thought this piece was perfect in Homeworld (level 3).

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