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Member Since 22 Feb 2006
Offline Last Active Aug 29 2015 05:35 PM

#5208919 Why not chord tones?

Posted by nsmadsen on 05 February 2015 - 01:09 PM

In my quest to learn composing simple game music I thought I should study some old Mario songs because the simplicity of never having more than 3 notes at the same time


When looking at old chip tune music, you really should consider any technological limitations at that time. The NES could stream four channels and one was used for both music and SFX (which is why some of the music would drop out if you were getting a lot of coins at one time). So that really left three channels of steady music streaming. The composers at this time knew all of the limitations and wrote music to accomodate those limits.

#5208918 Resources for music theory and composition?

Posted by nsmadsen on 05 February 2015 - 01:05 PM

Go to a used college book store and see if you can get a freshman level music theory text book, preferably with a workbook that isn't filled out yet. Read through things and do all of the assignments. Also get together with another group of musicians as soon as you can on trumpet. I've found the more you play music, the easier it is to apply and learn more about the theory behind things.


Have fun!

#5208494 Good AU for Peruvian/Bolivian Bamboo Flutes

Posted by nsmadsen on 03 February 2015 - 05:27 PM

Not sure if this will match exactly what you're after, but Embertone has some really nice ethnic flutes. Check them out. The jubal is especially nice. But if you're looking for "bamboo" flute as in, a Shakuhachi then Silk, if you don't already have it, is pretty good.

#5207491 Education vs Industry Experience

Posted by nsmadsen on 29 January 2015 - 01:03 PM

That's a hard one because you want to show you can finish what you start - as the others have pointed out - but a degree doesn't translate as directly as having the skills and know-how to get a job done. Many of the guys I worked with at least had an associates degree. And, frankly, most of that is learned in the trenches on a job. I get frustrated with some of the educational systems when it comes to game dev or tech because so often what the schools are using and teaching is outdated. Not all of them of course - but some.


If I were in your shoes, I'd finish that degree ASAP while doing as much as you can in game dev outside of school.

#5207171 New article up

Posted by nsmadsen on 28 January 2015 - 08:20 AM

I will add that this is one of the great things about GD.net. Lots of people share their work while it's being produced for feedback and help. Keep it up!

#5207060 New article up

Posted by nsmadsen on 27 January 2015 - 09:58 PM

Here's a new article I recently wrote:




Hope you like it!

#5207059 Job Applications - How often should you follow-up?

Posted by nsmadsen on 27 January 2015 - 09:51 PM

Wait at least one full week or so (7 days). Audio guys, especially in-house ones, get swamped. You don't wanna pester the guy but you do want to seem interested! Best of luck!

#5205574 Composers - Do you ever need other skills?

Posted by nsmadsen on 20 January 2015 - 11:24 AM

Happy to help!


So how would that work usually, would you be hired mainly as a composer, and then the other tasks would just get "pushed" over to you, or would the developer/you clearly state all the different tasks you'd be performing from the start?


The later, as much as possible. I try to get set my tasks in a defined and clear manner. In some cases, I've opted to take on additional tasks at an additional cost.


Would you say that basic coding and middleware skills are beneficial in order to get hired for a project?


You certainly don't have to be a programmer. I'm not! But the more you know about other areas of game development, the easier you can discuss ideas and approaches with various parts of the team. That's always a benefit. I understand enough to be able to chat with artists and programmers and see how my approaches can align with theirs.

#5205548 Composers - Do you ever need other skills?

Posted by nsmadsen on 20 January 2015 - 08:15 AM

All of the time!


I do a lot of sound design work. When possible, I've done implementation of the game audio - be it within a middleware program like Fmod or something else like XML, actionscript or a json file. I also help direct and produce voice over actors. At times, I do the voice over work myself as well. I also have to read, sometimes write and always negotiate the contracts. I'm also heavily involved with maintaining my website as well as all other PR materials I use for branding. For smaller projects, I've also helped with game design, level design, etc. And almost always, I help out with some element(s) of QA because I enjoy testing the game.

#5204925 Sending and receiving contracts

Posted by nsmadsen on 17 January 2015 - 09:30 AM

Scanning and emailing is about 99% of what I do as well.

#5204555 Price for sound design

Posted by nsmadsen on 15 January 2015 - 03:25 PM

I've seen rates vary from as low as $5 per SFX to as high as $50-75 per SFX. It's really a balancing act between:


- what his given budget is

- what he's WILLING to spend on sounds

- what you're willing to accept as pay for doing the work.


If I were in your shoes, I'd do a middle of the road figure then see what his response is like. Stress that you're willing to negoitate the cost!





#5204114 How do you learn to compose different genres?

Posted by nsmadsen on 13 January 2015 - 07:55 PM

But the main point is; simply by listening to different genres you can pick up some of the some of the basic differences.


I think we can all agree to this but our main point (in respone to you) was that to replicate a new style well, especially a complex style, solely listening may not teach you enough. But learning how to play some songs in that style or studying the actual sheet music of that song can show so much more. Many of the things you noted were surface level things - which while important - may not really show a new composer how to construct a new piece of music in that style faithfully.

#5203619 How do you learn to compose different genres?

Posted by nsmadsen on 11 January 2015 - 10:52 PM

Personally for me; I just listen. If you listen to jazz you'll know that it has a different drumming style than say rock. Also, you'll notice that the types of instruments between genres are different. In jazz you'll hear Saxophones, Trumpets, Pianos and the like. But in rock you'll mostly hear guitars and unlike in jazz; the guitars in rock are usually heavily distorted.  You'll rarely hear Saxophones and Trumpets in rock.


So do you understand what I'm saying? To learn to compose different genres; simply listen to them and study them.


Hmmm, I actually disagree with you. Simply listening to really complex music isn't good enough. Some actual study of the notes/patterns/harmonies used is going to help you dig deeper. For example, can you listen to a Charlie Bird solo and know exactly what he's doing, on a musical theory level, by just listening if you truly are new to jazz? It's doubtful. Sure you can pick up some things but getting a transcription of his solo and really analyzing it on a deeper level will yield deeper understanding. Of course if you're studying a new style that isn't that complex then, yes, listening alone could probably get you most of the way there.


You'll rarely hear Saxophones and Trumpets in rock.


blink.png I guess we're listening to different rock playlists. Sure, there are plenty of rock tunes out there with no brass but it's very easy to find many rock tunes that do have a sax and brass section.


Another example - you can understand and recognize the basic call and response of a fugue but without analyzing the music itself, can you really understand all of the various ways a statement can be made? Especially when you get into retrogrades or inversions which may (or may not) be harder to pick up by only listening. Forgive me, but the observations you're pointing out by only listening are at the surface level. Of course listening is important but learning to play in that genre and studying actual pieces from that genre will help so much more. At least, in my opinion.

#5203132 I don't understand beats in music

Posted by nsmadsen on 09 January 2015 - 12:40 PM

The time signature is just a framework to be decorated in creative ways in order to emphasize a certain feel.


And some composers intentionally write rhythms/phrases "over the measure line" to blur or create a fusion of multiple time signatures, either for an entire song or just chunks of it.

#5202487 I don't understand beats in music

Posted by nsmadsen on 06 January 2015 - 10:27 PM

please tell me, the first video sounds better (more beautiful) than the second one, is that because the first video is played by a real musician that takes the beat/rhythm into account when playing the notes while the second video is a computer program that simply plays the notes as-is?


The first video sounds better because:


1) it's a real person playing...

2) ... on a real instrument instead of a virtual one...

3)... and it's piece is composed/arranged by Mozart, generally considered one of the greatest composers of all time.


Whereas the second one is a student's work. Not knocking it but most of us cannot hold a candle to Mozart.