Composition Challenge! (Result) – Game Suite Zone
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Composition Challenge! (Result) – Game Suite Zone

September 28, 2019


Hi everyone, and welcome to another miscellaneous
episode of Game Suite Zone, where anything goes! This is a follow-up episode to the previous
one, which was a composition challenge! You’ll get your cover episode when I say so. Basically, the challenge was to compose a
video game theme, either to stand on its own or replace an existing theme. It didn’t matter what the theme was. All that mattered is that you tried and created
something. We also gave some tips about composing in
general, as well as used my first composition as an example of what not to do. Of course, I can’t just issue a challenge
and not do it, so today, we’ll be taking a look at my result! First, we’re going to start by listening to
it. If you’d like to listen to our result after
we’ve analyzed this piece, you can skip to this point in the video and come back when
you’re done. Personally, I’m satisfied with the outcome,
but it is definitely, without a doubt, a million times better than the other original music
I’ve posted on the internet. Anyway, with that settled, let’s talk about
my entire process of composing this! Out of the countless musical ideas I’ve come
up with, just about all of them have been achieved by either thinking about a good melody,
or fiddling around with my keyboard until something sounds really good. I’d rather not force myself to come up with
something. When I say “force,” unfortunately, it’s kinda
hard to describe what I mean. I just like to take my time, and I prefer
to have a general, overall idea before I start on the music. Coming up with ideas basically involves messing
around with what you’re already familiar with in your head, while also trying to find something
new. All of this happened with the original that
I have right here! At some point, I came up with this: This probably sounds like absolutely nothing to you, but I can already hear this theme
play back in my head with these notes, and imagine the percussion and stringed instruments
that surround this melody. I don’t need to know each and every thing
I want in the music before I start. I just want an overall progression and sound
stuck in my head, at least for the main part of the music. Anyway, that’s my first idea. It’s a desert theme intended for Sand Hill
from Sonic Adventure, or Arid Sands from Sonic Unleashed. It’s generally pretty fast-paced, but I have
no experience working with desert themes, so I wanted to use whatever knowledge I already
have. When I was thinking of another idea, I soon
came across this pattern of notes that I solidified as the music’s overall rhythm and theme. My task was to basically make this fit into
something bigger. With that being said, most of the time I spent
on this piece actually went towards thinking of what should go where and whether it fits. The process of filling things out was not
as hard as I figured, but making sure transitions and everything else felt natural was the real
challenge. To sum up our progress so far, we know what
we want to craft our music around, and we know that it’s a fan-made boss theme for Ocarina
of Time. That’s good enough already. An important matter that I only started to
consider when I was almost done with the piece was adaptation. I never asked myself essential questions,
such as, “Does this fit the environment,” “Does it fit with the game’s overall music
direction,” and “What’s the difference between the game’s battle themes and this one?” These are very important. When composing for a game, you should aim
to fit the game’s overall feel, style, and whatnot. Everything should compliment each other. In this case, we already have music in the
game, so we should use them as references. Doing this should help you avoid composing
anything irregular. Imagine this was the boss theme: Is the music itself good? Yes! Does it fit Ocarina of Time’s boss setting,
as well as fit in the game’s overall music direction? Arguably not. The overall sound is totally different from
a lot of Ocarina of Time’s music, and it’s incredibly short. Not even the normal battle theme is that short. Eventually, I had to remove an entire section
I spent so much time on, and this was the result of me not considering important questions
like those. That section was totally out of place. Don’t start! Anyway, here’s what the unfinished section
sounded like. It was unfitting for Ocarina of Time for a
few reasons. Boss battles can be finished anywhere from
about thirty seconds to two minutes or so. The average player will probably not get to
the end of the piece with the way it was. Even the finished composition is a bit too
long! I had to artificially extend the length of
the boss battle just to make sure the music looped at least once. Additionally, the sound of the section itself
did not feel fitting. I was trying to emulate the sound of flutes
and pitched percussions used in the Midboss theme, but that didn’t work well on its own. The pace was also halted, and that’s not something
that should be done for a boss theme in Ocarina of Time. An important thing to note about the battle
themes is that their pace usually does not get slower. They either stay the same or are built upon. This is mainly achieved thanks to the percussion
typically remaining the same and never really slowing down. My cut-out idea from the composition didn’t
really follow this pattern that was established. The amount of note patterns this piece has
is comparable to the likes of “Over Shiver Mountain” and “Destiny’s Force.” You’re not going to believe it, but this probably
didn’t even take half as long. However, there is a lot to it, so let’s go
over the significant parts of the music. The opening starts with horns and a piano. The trumpet takes the highest notes, and the
piccolo trumpet and trombone have lower notes of the same timing and length, which build
upon what we started with. This is something called harmony, where you
arrange instruments to play notes that sound great together. Once you’ve heard it a couple of times, you
kinda get the idea, so you’re probably familiar with this concept — even if you don’t think
you are! The piano and horns are essentially the stars
of the piece, so they’re especially present throughout the main section. The idea we started with got some note additions
to fill out the sound. To achieve this, we just experimented with
notes until we found the ones that sounded okay. They made a big difference! The main piano also acts as a reference. The tuba and timpani have similar notes to
thicken the sound. As for the lead, trombones back up the trumpet
and give us more sound to fill out space. I decided to keep the melody simple — nothing
big enough to progress throughout the entire piece. I also added a flute the second time it’s
played to keep it fresh. Stop Geri! No Splatoon jokes! We have better standards of humor! Why else do you think Team Marie won? I also aimed to give horns somewhat bright
sounds through equalization. I wanted some kind of sharp overall sound
in this piece. To further accomplish this, I also chose to
use tambourines with snares! Back in January, I was introduced to the concept
of consistently using tambourines as light percussion when I covered a piece from Mario
Party. Another piece I recently covered used a somewhat
odd pattern for snares. After working with it, I figured making patterns
for the snares did not have to be as strict as I figured, so I went with something that
sounded like it’d be fine. For some reason, using the same notes for
percussion isn’t something I’m used to, but it’s totally fine. Varying their lengths and velocities is the
important part. Even if one of these percussion instruments
decides to have a little break, the other still keeps the pace going. Strings lead the second part to give the music
a break from horns. Using sustained chords gives it more of a
presence as opposed to just using one note. The piccolo trumpet is also used for the highest
notes to give everything a different sound. The trombone was used for lower notes at some
point, too. Never forget what layering instruments can
do for you! Don’t go in lightly; you want that triple-layered
package of diabetes. I ended up using a flute, xylophone, marimba,
and strings together to mimic what Ocarina of Time did with its Midboss theme. They aren’t playing by themselves this time,
so I’d argue they worked out a lot better than previously. I had them play repetitive notes during the
second section to keep things from dying down. There’s a big difference here as well! They also form our transitioning glissando,
which is an ongoing note slide moving upwards or downwards. While the tambourine still goes on, I switched
the snares for a different percussion. It’s a sample I downloaded long ago, so I’m
not sure where I got it from, but it’s called GTown Church Stomps. I use them as short strikes with a general
emphasis on the strikes that follow. I still use quick alternations to avoid it
transitioning to a slow pace. Unfortunately, the ocarina became more out-of-place
the farther the piece evolved. Now why does this sound familiar? I experimented by putting it in different
spots before deciding to delete it altogether, and ended up finding the perfect spot at the
end by accident. I’d argue that it works nicely, especially
when it’s only used once and saved for the end. How dare you! Not everything good I do is an accident! Y-Yeah. I lied. There is no self-reflection segment. Improving yourself is losing yourself. But yeah, that’s a rundown of the most important
things! If you happen to have any questions that went
unanswered, feel free to ask! Anyway, I have comments of my own about the
result. I took the advice from the previous video
pretty seriously, which was, “If it sounds good, it’s fine.” I decided to experiment and see how far I
can go with moving by half-steps, which translates to the note right next to the previous one. I don’t understand how it doesn’t sound bad,
but it works, so I used it quite often. The transitions are also better than the other
ones I came up with previously. The volume’s probably a little too high during
most of the music; it’s audible, and that’s good, but it’s pretty close to 0dB for the
majority of the music. Maybe look for a balance and more resting
periods for volume next time. Regarding the length of the music, I should
consider that more seriously next time. Wow! That was longer than I thought it’d be. But yeah, there’s not much else to add. It was an interesting process, but it certainly
won’t be the last time we do a challenge like that, so be sure to stick around on the torture
channel! Oh, and never forget: it’s important to think
about what the overall setting you’re composing for is, as well as what you’re actually trying
to accomplish. Do that, and everything should be fine from
there! Thanks for watching! Geri and I will see you next time with the
next season’s first cover episode! I hope you like electric guitars, rock organs,
and fast guitar solos!!! ‘Cause we’re doing an 8bit theme next.

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