Video game music is a genre that has often been overlooked, both by academia and the general populace. Since its debut in the 1980s game scores were barely classified as music because of their typically simple, electronic nature. However, thanks to massive improvements in technology and an ever-increasing gaming industry over the past few decades, game scores have never been more in the spotlight. Having orchestras record massive cinematic soundtracks for various games is becoming more and more commonplace, and the most popular scores can even be heard live in concert halls around the world.
This paper looks at what elements define the game music genre and how sound designers create for it. In order to illustrate this in an easy to follow, creative way, I chose a short scene from two games (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Journey) and composed two new soundtracks for each. These musical “variations” each embody a different set of emotions that can drastically change the interpretation of each scene, yet most of the structural content found in the original score remains unaltered. The reasons why this is possible, as well as what musical factors game designers hold onto the most when composing for the game music genre, will all be explained within this scholarly research statement.
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Doll, Sydney, "Memorable yet Unsung: The Significance of Video Game Music" (2019). Honors Theses. 676.