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AndrewJL

Your approach to creating distinct musical worlds

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Hello everyone. I'm curious to hear from you all what your process is for establishing distinct musical "worlds" within a single soundtrack while still maintaining a coherent overall sound? I've been thinking about this a lot recently since I'm working on the score to a Civilization inspired strategy game that's going to include a lot of different cultures and span a lot of time periods. One way I'm tackling this is by making certain instruments unique to certain cultural categories but I'm also trying to work certain recurring motifs in that connect all of the cultures across time and geographical space.

What are your go-to methods for marking distinct worlds musically? Doesn't have to be strategy related (that's just my experience). I'm curious about other kinds of games too like platformers and RPGs with different level and location music.

Anyway, curious to hear your thoughts on this!

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Using the same instruments is probably the best way to solve this. Even if you are switching between civilizations as you said, using the same string or synth patch (even if it is just in the background) should evoke the same tone as the rest of the soundtrack. Of course, your method of using the same melody across different arrangements is another way.

 

By the way, thanks for posing the question. This board is starting to get a little too "critique my song"-heavy lately.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

-Theme: you should pick a musical theme, which melodically defines your world(at least if it is isometric real-time strategy and not top-down/orbit 3-dimensional)

-Pipeline: Dynamic pipeline music systems make the music turn from one into another song, but it should be overlapped and dynamic.

Here are two examples:

Dirt Rally(music pipelines):
When you start the game(after loading titles) you get a intro music, composed(not poetically-posed by a melody-artist, but I'm referring to the composition of music elements) by car engine sounds and calm electronic music. When you go from the menus to the Rally/RX round start, their is a track which pumps the music by every 10 seconds and it creates an incredibly immersive waiting for the game to start.
The actual race has no music as it is a rally/RX racing simulation. The two tracks from the menu overlap, depending on where is the first track ended and the second track starts correspondingly.
The pipeline system works on pipeline music graphs.

Warcraft 3 Reign Of Chaos(isometric real-time strategy) event-triggered music(no pipelines) :
When you play the game with one of the 4 races, when their is no combat per-race song is selected. There is also one separate more action-intense electrical guitar melody per-any-race selected which is triggered when there's a battle. These two tracks do not overlap.

Edited by Acosix

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On 6/29/2019 at 8:44 PM, Alec Weesner said:

Using the same instruments is probably the best way to solve this. Even if you are switching between civilizations as you said, using the same string or synth patch (even if it is just in the background) should evoke the same tone as the rest of the soundtrack. Of course, your method of using the same melody across different arrangements is another way.

 

By the way, thanks for posing the question. This board is starting to get a little too "critique my song"-heavy lately.

 

 

Thanks for the reply! That's a very neat idea. The score I'm working on is mostly orchestral, so there will be a lot of similarity in instrumentation on that basis. Currently, I'm using ethnic instruments to make some pretty clear distinctions between say the Mediterranean and Mesopotamian civilizations but I'm also experimenting a bit with certain scales and rhythms as well.

Hey, no problem! My goal was to get away from the song critiques actually and see if I could start a conversation about the composing process :)

On 6/29/2019 at 10:00 PM, Acosix said:

-Theme: you should pick a musical theme, which melodically defines your world(at least if it is isometric real-time strategy and not top-down/orbit 3-dimensional)

-Pipeline: Dynamic pipeline music systems make the music turn from one into another song, but it should be overlapped and dynamic.

Here are two examples:

Dirt Rally(music pipelines):
When you start the game(after loading titles) you get a intro music, composed(not poetically-posed by a melody-artist, but I'm referring to the composition of music elements) by car engine sounds and calm electronic music. When you go from the menus to the Rally/RX round start, their is a track which pumps the music by every 10 seconds and it creates an incredibly immersive waiting for the game to start.
The actual race has no music as it is a rally/RX racing simulation. The two tracks from the menu overlap, depending on where is the first track ended and the second track starts correspondingly.
The pipeline system works on pipeline music graphs.

Warcraft 3 Reign Of Chaos(isometric real-time strategy) event-triggered music(no pipelines) :
When you play the game with one of the 4 races, when their is no combat per-race song is selected. There is also one separate more action-intense electrical guitar melody per-any-race selected which is triggered when there's a battle. These two tracks do not overlap.

Hey, thanks for the tips! I really like the idea of the event-triggered music more so than the pipelines. I'm working with a basic model of peace and war music for each era and each geographical region, but I'm also planning to throw in some extra stuff like music for when you build or discover something unique and for defeats/victories.

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I create a sonic fingerprint by: 

- sharing instruments across songs

- sharing production methods/approaches used across songs

- sharing arrangement and instrumentation techniques across songs

- implement the music in such a way where everything feels cohesive 

Pretty concise answer but that's it. :)

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On 7/3/2019 at 4:54 PM, nsmadsen said:

I create a sonic fingerprint by: 

- sharing instruments across songs

- sharing production methods/approaches used across songs

- sharing arrangement and instrumentation techniques across songs

- implement the music in such a way where everything feels cohesive 

Pretty concise answer but that's it. :)

Awesome, that seems covers all the aspects! Thanks for sharing :)

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