Video Music Analysis

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The music of video games has changed greatly in the past decades. The sound has gradually evolved from chiptunes to symphonies performed by full orchestras, and many of the tracks are composed by world famous artists. Yet, in spite of its ever growing popularity, it is still hardly considered a serious and respectable genre of music that could hold its own in the world of today's music industry. The United States' annual music awards show, The Grammy awards, has only recognized video game soundtracks two times in its history; most recently in the year 2012 when the compelling soundtrack for the ps3 game Journey by Austin Wintory was nominated in the Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media category. It was a huge step for the lovers of the genre;…show more content…
Unlike movies, a game is almost completely interactive and the progression is in the hands of the player, which brings its own set of challenges to the composing process. In his interview for RPG.fan Inon Zur explains that composing for a video game is a much more flexible process than for movies or TV. For him it is also crucial to play the game himself before composing to get the right feeling. Even though composing for a video game is a rather flexible process, it certainly is not a simple one. For instance one battle scene can contain multiple different tracks which trigger as the player advances to a certain point and it is vital to plan the looping and transitions to be as smooth as possible. Nick Krewens article “Scoring for Video Games” (2007) offers good insight on the differences between interactive composing and the more “traditional” style as well. Stuart Chatwood, a Canadian composer who has made it to the video game music field, addresses several points in the article alongside his collegue Derek Brin. According to Chatwood the goal is to complement the on-screen action and convey a specific emotion. “At times the music is in the foreground, but more often than not, it contributes to setting the pace and drama of the scene”, he states. Brin also says it is a necessity for a composer to be aware of the various “trigger points” the player…show more content…
The popularity of the genre has been steadily growing, forming into a highly lucrative and competitive business for both composers and artists. It is also clear that video games are a gateway to introducing the younger generations to classical music and there are several talented composers around the world who receive mainstream recognition for their video game scores. While some stigma against video games still remain, and will most likely remain for quite some time, the attitudes have begun to change in the recent years. The Grammy awards finally giving video game music its own category is definitely a sign of the attitudes changing for the better. Surely in the future as more and more people start acknowledging video games as a way of conveying stories and emotions just like movies do, the prejudice towards the music will finally disappear—and perhaps then the genre will gain the widespread recognition it truly
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