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On The Music Of Video Games

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:41 pm
by NCF
I've noticed that the content pages on the main site have some information about video games but the forums have very little! I aim to use this thread for the comparison of video game themes to other (older) music in order examine musical inspiration, what unites a genre, listeners' thematic associations, etc.

First up, let's look at the influence of classical music in its broader sense, Renaissance to Present. Please share your thoughts on any similarities you may perceive between the two members in each pair of pieces that I liszt.

Baroque: Super Smash Bros. Brawl introduced me to "Power-Hungry Fool", a character leitmotif (as the name suggests) from another Nintendo game, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. I find it to be an excellent imitation of JS Bach, though not any one piece in particular. Compare:

Power-Hungry Fool - History Behind Super Smash Bros. Brawl Music
Bach - Harpsichord Concerto No.1 in D Minor BWV 1052 - 1/3 (example for comparison)

Classical Classical: Kakariko VIllage first appeared in the game The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The location's theme tune sounds to me like the second movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No.1 if it had been written (or at least covered) by Ennio Morricone. It's been remixed for use in several Zelda games since, but I'll link (no pun intended) the version from the most recent game, Twilight Princess (more on the wide and wonderful world of Hylian music later):

The Legend of Zelda: Kakariko Village Theme Song HD
Mozart - Piano concerto no 21 - 2nd movement

Contemporary Classical: Finally, I've noticed that the "Target Smash" theme, also from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, shares strong similarities with "The Sabre Dance", a lively movement from Aram Khachaturian's ballet Gayane (Гаянэ) based on Armenian folk music. Compare:

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Music Extended - Target Smash!!
Sabre Dance - Aram Khachaturian

Check back in the coming weeks for articles on Public Domain Classical, tropes and associations, and world music/ethnic instruments -- all of which as they are used for video game scores.

Re: On The Music Of Video Games

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:50 pm
by NCF
New week, new post. Remember that piece by Bach which I compared to the Fire Emblem tune at the start of this thread? It's the first movement from his Keyboard Concerto No. 1. This piece also happens to be used by one of the most cherished math/critical thinking games of my youth. I've linked to the moment at which it is heard in the following video, which is essentially a nine minute speed run of the whole game.

Treasure Mountain! Gameplay

Naturally it is convenient for the creators of educational video games without a benefit of a huge budget to use music that has fallen into public domain. Incidentally, the eight-bit sound is able to emulate the simple hums of a harpsichord rather nicely. In the video above you can also hear parts of Beethoven's 12 contredanses as well as a familiar tune named Solfeggietto by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (C.P.E. Bach) which you will hear towards the end of that video as well as at the very beginning (and which is also a harpsichord/clavichord standard).

It's sequel, Treasure Mathstorm!, graduated to having some original music written for it (which I find to be good and catchy), but retained a few Bach classics. If you are interested, you can find a play-through by the same Youtube member here:

Treasure MathStorm! Gameplay

Re: On The Music Of Video Games

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:07 pm
by husk1184
Nobuo Uematsu's One Winged Angel from the video game Final Fantasy VII is what got me hooked on classical music. It deserves some attention.

One Winged Angel preformed by Eminence Symphony

Re: On The Music Of Video Games

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:57 am
by NCF
Did it really? I've never played the games, but I'm a bit familiar with this piece as it has been mentioned here in the the past. Thanks for sharing, mate.