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Ronenriku

Electronic vr. Orchestrated

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Alot of the time you see old scifi type songs fully orchestrated onto CDs and stuff. Is this really nessecary? Can't game music be just as good using alectronic noises other than realy instruments?

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Usualy they are (provided I understand your question right). Most of the time its all done with just a keyboard and a computer, synth, software, etc. You can then emulate almost any instrument that way. Fully orchistrated is actualy just starting to really make an appearance, and only on big name expensive titles.

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Orchestrated game music has always been a dream for some game composers, even in the mid 80s when Koichi Sugiyama was composing for Dragon Quest, and began releasing fully orchestrated versions of the score on cd. It’s actually a quite common genre in game music (especially rpgs), but could only be emulated using primitive synth chips. The genre was essentially orchestral, not "electronic".

Lately I think people are beginning to realize that they have the budget and technology for real orchestral recordings, so they go all out on the music, which is great. It’s a business that will turn out much like the film scoring industry. Unfortunately, that means we’ll get whole bunch of games that will be subject to the uninspired and unoriginal rock-orchestration cliché that comes out of Media Ventures.

In response to the original question, the answer is yes, orchestral game music is necessary, and no, game music can’t be just as good using primitive synth chipsets.

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"the answer is yes, orchestral game music is necessary",


No... its not... really. If you are not familiar with the latest synth boards... they do have a very good sound, allowing you to create music nearly as good as most orchis. at a fraction of the price. In addition to that , orchistrated music isnt necessaraly the best solution to a variety of genres. For instance, techno tracks, dance tracks, hip-hop, etc.

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I am very familiar with the latest revolutions in sampling software, and the verdict is that they still don't even come close to the power and beauty of a real orchestra in the hands of a good composer.

And my answer is that orchestral music is very necessary as opposed to no orchestral music whatsoever. Obviously it doesn’t work in all genres of games, but it does work wonders in quite a few.

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It really depends on what kind of mood you are trying to set and also what kind of game you are working on. There are certain situations when an orchestral score might not completely cut it for a certain mood or setting, that's where synthesizers come in. There are a few softsynths I use that come close to an acoustic sound, but there is always a little telltale nuance in the sound that automatically tips you off that it's coming from a synth. There are a variety of sampling software and sample libraries out there which contain samples of actual orchestral instruments in a variety of different articulations, even these have setbacks though. They can still sound fake even though they are sampled from the actual instrument. The trick for realism lies in the sequencing itself. If you sequence an orchestral piece in the exact same way you sequence, lets say, a techno piece, it isn't going to sound like a real orchestra (playing wise). The real power, as was stated, is in the hands of the composer.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I think you misunderstood. I meant noises not sessecarily made to sound like orchestras. Surely you've heard FFVIIs battle theme. Its entirely electronic, and I can't see an orchestra doing any more than butcher it. So, in that way, things like little beeps and stuff, and electric instruments.

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For me, I feel that trying to "replace" electronic sounds with an orchestra is folly...but so is trying to replace orchestral sounds with electronics. I think the holy grail is to balance the two. Orchestras are fantastic at a lot of things...supplement that with the edge that electronic sounds give, and you have a lot of flexibility and power in your hands. To be sure, an orchestra and a good electronic music studio are not easy to get for amateur developers, but in the professional arena, it's gold. FF7's battle theme couldn't be completely supplanted by an orchestra that easily, for example...but replacing some of the voices with real orchestral recordings could sound amazing.

The same thing goes for choral voices and such. Here's an interesting something. Listen to the Halo 1 theme (that's track 26 on the Halo OST). Now, listen to the Halo 2 theme (that's track 1 on the Halo 2 OST). They are essentially the same song, but the second has electronic sound (well, actually just an electric guitar, but you get the idea). The first theme is very good...but the second one is just plain awesome.

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i think games today need more old school techno music. if you look at the original wipeouts their music really contributed to the sci-fi feel.

too many sci-fi games blindly use orchestral today, although orchestral is fundamental in epic games (like final fantasy).

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Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
I think you misunderstood. I meant noises not sessecarily made to sound like orchestras. Surely you've heard FFVIIs battle theme. Its entirely electronic, and I can't see an orchestra doing any more than butcher it. So, in that way, things like little beeps and stuff, and electric instruments.


I see what you mean. The same could be said about the battle music from FF8, which had orchestral versions released on CD that turned out very uninspiring and not really all that superior to the originals. Pieces like One Winged Angel, on the other hand, sound a lot better orchestrated than their electronic counterparts, mostly because the orchestral sound was what the composer originally intended.

On that note, Jeremy Soule's Total Annihilation score is a great example of using both real orchestra and eletronic synthesizers in conjunction.

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