Inspirations: The Good and the Bad

For the projects in this course, I took to heart the advice given in lecture: that we listen to music we like.  I am a fan of video game music so that’s what I’ve listened to, but there’s a lot of diversity in video game music; my choices of inspiration had observable effects on my approaches to composing, and on my results.

Back during Project 1, I was nervous about composing and wanted to listen to basically everything I think is good music.  I eventually settled on the soundtrack for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze because 1) I like the series’ composers and their music, and 2) I hadn’t heard it yet.  This was a mistake; I should have focused on an earlier entry if anything because I’m more familiar with them and they do a good job sounding good with limited sound quality (which is important to be able to do, especially when you’re playing around with MIDI for the first time).  More importantly, a lot of these songs are fairly melody-based, which I have found to be not my forte.

For Project 2 I was a little more careful.  The style I focused on was the one used here: Sanctuary Fortress (Metroid Prime 2) .  I found that focusing on making good sounds and then adding more good sounds at a constant but leisurely pace is an effective and really easy way to make a song, even without a melody in mind.  This was definitely a big help.

Another thing I keyed in on is that Virtue’s Last Reward has a really good soundtrack.  It all sounds like things any of us can make with the provided software alone if we really know what we’re doing.  It’s also pretty unconventional while still being easy listening.  The takeaway is that we can do really cool stuff if we can imagine it, and that it’s okay to make a song that sounds not like what one would expect.  This isn’t even one of my favorite songs from it but it’s still great; I’m also most likely sampling it for my performance for reasons that will be covered in a future blog post: 

As for what I’ve been listening to lately and how it’s affected me, the short answer is “Mass Effect 2 OST; good dynamic music, poorly interpreted by me.”  The long answer will be in an upcoming blog post, along with my observations on dynamic music in general, a cautionary tale, and what I started doing earlier today to get back on track for the performance.

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