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Hi Everyone, I just registered to this board and thought i would say hello. I am interested in trying to learn how to compose, mostly for video games but perhaps for other mediums as well. I mostly play traditional irish music on guitar and wooden flute. For guitar i enjoy arranging traditional tunes for solo guitar, and also play rhythm backup at pub sessions, as well as melody on wooden flute. I have always been interested in composition, and wished i had studied it in college, but i went for computers instead. Pays the bills i guess. I picked up Reason as well as a midi keyboard, and am working on learning the software. I also need to get a book on composition and start learning some of the techniques. I am pretty creative, and dont have a problem coming up with initial melodies, but its the development and keeping the piece interesting that is a challenge. If anyone can recommend any books on music composition or composing for video games please let me know. No matter what software i end up using i need to become proficient with the composing techniques so i can develop interesting pieces. thanks anton

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Hi and welcome to Gamedev :)

When I do any composition on the computer, I usually use Guitar Pro... I haven't got much theory training, so I find it useful to be able to compose on guitar and translate to a different instrument using MIDI.

As for books, can't really recommend any, all I can suggest is matching certain scales and modes to the mood you wish to convey. Makes for much simpler music composition when you can pick and choose based on emotion. This guide is invaluable.

I'd be interested to discuss music more, I've played guitar for a number of years but have little composition-on-PC experience.

- m³

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Hello and welcome!!!

There are two books I always recommend to someone starting out in this industry. They are:

The Complete Guide to Game Audio by Aaron Marks


The Fatman on Game Audio: by the Fatman (George Sanger)

Both of these books are easy to read and offer up a great deal of information. I find Marks' book more informative and helpful, and Fatman's book more entertaining. Both of these individuals have done great things in this business.

Books on composition:

I'd get a college first year theory book. Usually these come with a workbook that has assignments to supplement the reading. Go all of the way through that and make sure you understand everything. Once you've done this- move up to the second year level. Do the same thing. I'd also get this book: The Art of Orchestration. This book will teach you about each of the instrument families and different technique used in orchestrating. Orchestration is EXTREMELY important to your pieces.

After you've done all this- you'll be good to go on the musical theory-orchestration-composition front.

Then all you'd have to do is learn all you can about producing professional quality audio! :) Remember...baby steps!!

I hope that helps-

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Thanks so much for the information guys, and the warm welcome. I have really enjoyed finding this board and reading on the various topics.


Thanks alot for the book reccomendations. I had planned on getting some books soon, but its good to have specific title reccomendations. I have a basic knowledge of theory, but i definitely need more. Something with a workbook is what i need, so i can get hands on application. i will check out that orchestration book as well, its something i have almost no knowledge of.


Thanks alot for your reply. I had stumbled upon your website at work yesterday, and really enjoyed the music. When i got home i couldnt recall your name, so i couldnt find your site. Listening to your samples now, its great. Except where noted, is that all synthesized or is it performed live?

I would be interested in hearing what you all use software wise. Right now i just have a usb keyboard midi controller and Reason. For the learning stage i am at, is that ok to start with? Or do you reccomend Cakewalk and some free VST instruments? Reason seems largly geared towards techno/beats, etc but i think alot of the orchestral and instrument samples sound pretty good. I have fun just picking a nice sound instrument and coming up with simple melodies and harmonies on the keyboard.

I think overall my biggest challenge will be transferring the ideas in my head onto to paper. Stuff doesnt come to me when i am sitting in front of my computer, it happens when i am walking around at work, on the bus, etc. If i can develope a good enough ear to be able to notate these small ideas, or perhaps i can just hum them into my mp3 player. though i would feel kind of wierd doing that in public :)


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