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Jesse Dager

2 songs for a new RPG (Feedback is appreciated)

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I have been working on writing the soundtrack to a new RPG that I am producing. Currently, I have the main "theme" of the game playing in key moments. My question is, does this work?

 

Here's the main title theme:

https://soundcloud.com/sethhope/on-the-horizon-extended

 

Here's the credits/last cutscene soundtrack:

https://soundcloud.com/sethhope/dawn-of-civilization

 

EDIT: To clarify, when I said the main "theme" I did just mean the phrase of music that is heard in both songs. Not sure if that was clear. :P

Edited by sethhope

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Firstly, these are just my opinions, but I'd rather open this up for discussion than leave it in the dust.

 

Composers often already have a distinct style no matter what kind of music they create.  When I hear a rock and roll track with synth and sfx my mind goes to Frank Klepacki. His style is so distinct that I can tell, listening to new tracks, that it's his work and he puts that C&C vibe to it. 

 

The first thing that comes to mind is, say a movie's title is "Dark Awakening" and one of the characters says "And she woke from the coma and had a Dark Awakening" with a long drawn out pause with close up, just to remind you what you're watching.  It's always tacky and painful.   The same can happen with music themes.   So if you reuse parts from a theme it should be fairly subtle and they better be very strong parts that people are itching to hear again.  

 

In my opinion, On the Horizon doesn't hold up enough to use this technique.  The song repeats a lot using phrases that aren't strong on their own. 

 

Dawn of Civilization is much better, much more subtler about how it repeats.  It also builds up nicely.  Nice work on that track.  

Edited by Keith G

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What kind of RPG is this? Realistic graphics or sprites? For a main theme, On the Horizon feels like it kind of wanders around a bit musically. After hearing this once, I'm not sure I could hum the theme a few days later. Contrast your piece with main themes of big name video games or films. The opening track hammers the main theme into your head over and over. It's very solid and has a clear, concise message. 

 

Just for an example: Harry Potter main theme

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCNHVMIYqiA

 

Listen to how many times it returns to the main theme, in different sections of the orchestra. Each time it's restated, the listener's ear has another opportunity to latch on to it. Now Williams does leave the main theme for some related, expositional material but he returns to it, somewhat, later on.

 

So, for your main theme, I would revisit your melody and then explore ways to restate it multiple times so it sticks more. In fact... to be honest, after having typed this message, my ear has already lost your main theme. There are many other things we can discuss about production and the actual samples used but focusing first on the notes and the music structure is best. 

 

One of the best bits of advice I've read about scoring was to create a great main melody then restate it, restate it, restate it. 

 

I hope that helps! 

 

Nate

Edited by nsmadsen

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Thanks for the feedback! I do agree that Dawn of Civilization is the stronger track of the two.

In response to Madsen, the game is a 2D top-down RPG with pokemon-style sprites (pokemon or final fantasy depending on which artist creates them).

I will work on re-writing a new, better title theme using the "theme" phrase from On the Horizon.

 

Thanks again for the feedback!

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You should consider extending the phrase of your theme.  At first listen both tracks make repeated use of one-measure rhythmic phrases.  Expanding it to a two-measure phrase (or more) could give it more of a "thematic" feel and allow more room for variations.

 

The linked example of the Harry Potter theme is about as perfect as anyone could offer.  Count out the beats of that theme and you'll see what I'm trying to express.

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