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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperTutorialsGame Music Tutorials
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Robotacon
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« on: August 20, 2007, 07:18:47 am »

I'm following the dogmatic road of creating a game all by myself.
In reality that means I'm programming the game engine, drawing the graphics adding music and sfx and building levels.

While there are loads of tutorials for programing and graphics there are almost none on making music. One that I've found is DrPetters tutorial on musagi but that's about it.

Pandora has got a couple of great casts about music theory that helps some.

In short, does anyone know of any online resources for making music (for games)?

EDIT:
www.youngcomposers.com
« Last Edit: October 06, 2008, 03:35:37 pm by Derek » Logged
Derek
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2007, 07:33:02 am »

Yeah, let's get it AWN.  If you aurally inclined peoples get some resources going, I'll organize them into a nice thread and no one will ever say they can't figure out how to make music for games again! Grin
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Mr. Yes
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2007, 07:35:14 am »

That's an awesome idea! I usually struggle with music for games, so that would be a great help for me and many other people. I hope this happens.
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2007, 07:50:20 am »

Which aspect of creating music, I wonder?

Seems like there are a few sub-categories.

Tools - stuff you use to make sounds
(instruments, computer software, pots and pans...)

Structure - common ideas that some people reuse as a guideline for writing; theory
(scales, chords, compositional patterns, etc)

Creativity - the magical sauce in your soul, the stuff that can't be taught

Thing is with music, the tools can be almost anything, its probably better if the tools are selected by the creativity.
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Robotacon
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2007, 10:10:54 am »

Structure is the most interesting I think.

That's the problem. Everything on-line is about the tools and very little about composing.

I remember watching a program on TV where the guy that scored "Escape from Butchers Bay" talked about different aspects of game music. Like how the game had calm exploration music, tense anticipation and action music.
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2007, 03:45:28 pm »

Gamesutra has some pretty interesting articles that are definitely worth checking out.
http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/article_display.php?category=1
http://www.bugmenot.com/view/www.gamasutra.com

Also, http://www.milkytracker.net/?DOWNLOAD has some good tutorials for composing music using milkytracker, including several video tutorials.

I think your best best bet is to bone up on some tonal music theory.  Buy some theory books and learn them well.  We used this book in my college tonal theory classes:
http://www.amazon.com/Harmony-Voice-Leading-Edward-Aldwell/dp/0155062425.  Its pretty good and very in depth.  However, it does expect some knowledge already.  Its also a textbook, so it costs an assload of money.

After you have a decent understanding of harmony and all that jazz, analyze examples of the type of music that you wish to compose.  Transcription and analysis takes a bit of work, but it is, in my experience, one of the best ways to understand the relationship between the written aspect and the aural aspect of music.  Plus, it gives you an arsenal of phrases, chord progressions, etc. to steal
borrow

take inspiration from.  The most important aspect of composition is being able to take the ideas in your head and put them down on paper/software., so transcribe yer ass off.

I would also recommend learning to write out music by hand.  This frees you from being too dependent on software.  This book http://www.amazon.com/Norton-Manual-Notation-George-Heussenstamm/dp/0393955265 is an excellent reference for all your notation needs.

This is what works for me and may not be right for you.  The best advice I can give is to find a method you feel comfortable with and stick with it.
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2007, 04:34:23 pm »

Here's a good one I found.

http://www.musictheory.net/

It has flash based slideshows about music theory.  And it has a neat little interactive flash app for learning to hear the difference between chords.  Plus, you can download the beast to your hard drive "just in case".  Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2007, 07:06:24 am »

I found a these...

Creating Game Music and Sound

McVaffe's Video Game Music Remix Tutorial

I don't know if they are quite what your looking for...

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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2007, 10:21:56 am »

Yeah, let's get it AWN.  If you aurally inclined peoples get some resources going, I'll organize them into a nice thread and no one will ever say they can't figure out how to make music for games again! Grin

How about some original tutorials written for the almighty tigsource?  I can definitely kick in some stuff, and I'm pretty sure some other forum goers wouldn't mind sharing their knowledge.
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2007, 12:07:56 am »

The simplest answer is:

Because making music is a whole new art.

I'm a trance composer myself (www.hypernewie.com/songlist.php), and making music isn't like learning photoshop where you can follow a tutorial which takes you through some filters and voila there. You can't really "tutorial" music, but you can listen to songs of the style you wanna make, take a sequencing program like FL Studio or something, and take dives at it. Or you can just hack some notes together, works too. Music theory helps, but only helps.

So I'd just start getting some sort of sequencing program and have a go!

Of course, if you don't know how a program works you can find tutorials for that. I'd be surprised of you could find any tutorials on how to make music.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 12:09:40 am by HyperNewbie » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2007, 12:30:02 am »

Listen and play around with composing. Basic music theory is good, more advanced stuff is even better. But really listen to music. Think about how it's structured, how emotion is conveyed, etc. For me, tunes just come into my head. But they're influenced by what I'm listening to.
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Derek
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2007, 12:54:04 am »

Yeah, let's get it AWN.  If you aurally inclined peoples get some resources going, I'll organize them into a nice thread and no one will ever say they can't figure out how to make music for games again! Grin

How about some original tutorials written for the almighty tigsource?  I can definitely kick in some stuff, and I'm pretty sure some other forum goers wouldn't mind sharing their knowledge.

Start it up, portabello!  You write it, I'll make sure it gets seen.
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Robotacon
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2007, 02:43:41 am »

You can't really "tutorial" music.

What you CAN do is explain how you usually create music and why you do certain choices. I guess the thing is that few people likes to reduce their knowledge into a "simple tutorial", since there is so much more to it.

It doen't need to be a tutorial, information comes in all kinds of shapes and colors.

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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2007, 03:07:14 am »

What you CAN do is explain how you usually create music and why you do certain choices.

k, I'll try

lots of people use different things when getting the inspiration, the start of my songs are usually generally in my head, then I either whack the piano a few times to help notate it, or just go straight to the sequencing. That usually leads me to a chord or chord progression, from which I develop other stuff.

Usually, the nice thing to game music is, your game already has the atmosphere you want the song to have, so you may want your menu to be epic but still soft, and in my head flies nice, slow melodic strings with a flute, and you try random stuff from there that sounds nice lol

thats my 2 cents but ppl do differ alot on these things...a big lot.
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2007, 10:24:13 am »

I'm interested the most in the process that some of the more talented musicians at TIGsource take to reach their final song.  I can look at a good song in say modplug tracker and try to disect it and understand it... but then when I try to make a song from scratch I'm just completely confused and I just end up going around in circles and end up with junk.

I think I have a major problem with taking music I can think of in my head, and transferring that into actual music...

So yeah, I've been wanting a big "THIS IS HOW YOU DO MUSIC" sort of thing for a long time, but I can never find something that really helps me out-- so hopefully this will be the place to start learning soon! ;P
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Chris Whitman
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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2007, 10:48:37 am »

The simplest answer is:

Because making music is a whole new art.

One that can be taught and learned like anything else. I don't think they'd be passing out degrees on it if it was some mystical spiritual ability that some people are born with and some are not. I'd recommend looking for textbooks: things with exercises, as you often learn best by doing for this sort of thing. You're not going to read a tutorial which will automagically make you a musician, but that doesn't mean you can't learn to be one.

Keep in mind that most people here are probably looking to make more classically inspired music, not repetitive dance music.
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« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2007, 11:16:51 am »

I'd say the best place to start if you've never written music before, is learn how to play some instrument. (either teach yourself, or take lessons) In terms of game music, its helpful to be able to just improvise for an hour or so on whatever instrument you have in order to get a rough idea of the kind of sound you want.

Also, if you take lessons, you'll be exposed to a healthy range of music, and get to learn it inside out.

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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2007, 03:26:38 pm »

The good news: music is learn-able, like anything else in this universe. As long as you want (and that "want" needs extra wanting power) to learn, you'll learn.

I had this "mystic art" take on drawing (and art in general) some years ago. I was thinking that you either get born with it, or you're doomed to never be able to draw an apple. Fortunatelly for me, i was on the positive side on art because i was sketching since i was pre-year-old and while most people stop around 2-3 i continued even after i finished high school. However my sketches were crude, crap and all that inspiring stuff. So i went to an art school, which after three months i dropped out because it was too intense for me :-P. Before dropping out, though, i saw everything that i had to see in order to change my mind: everything is about methods. You *think* you know something, only because you expect it to be common knowledge, but you don't apply in your drawing unless you actually be told that you have to do it. One example for me was people's legs. You know, most of my legs were single "entities". They weren't straight lines, but they didn't had the physical feel. That is, until the tutor there told me that, you know, people's legs are made of two main bones. No shit! Yes shit, sir, because after that single moment, my leg drawings were much more physical. And not only that, but i got the "hint" to check "underneath" when i'm trying to draw something (so i got resources on human anatomy and such). All i needed was just to be told (or read it from somewhere, as it came later when i was trying to learn to draw in my own pace) about something i know it is there, but i don't realise i don't apply.


Some months (or was a year+?) ago i found a wiki which explained everything about composition. Everything! In simple words with schemas, notes, theory, sound, images and sometime animations. I read a few articles. One of the articles was talking about how, when you make some sounds, you must make sure that the frequencies of your music match the frequencies of what was sounded before. What was wrong and what was right (with sound examples). It explained what kind of frequencies and frequency "bands" can go together so the brain will like it. After that, when i hear a song i like, it's common for me to "separate" the sounds and check how frequencies are used and sometimes i see that when i like a part of a song, that happens not only because the frequencies used there were matching together in a good harmony, but that just a few seconds before (just before entering the "good part"), frequencies were mixed in a "bad" way so you will feel much better the contrast when entering in the good part.

All that, just by reading a few lines of text in a wiki from people who were actually know what they were talking about and wanted to teach people.

Unfortunatelly now the bad news: the wiki dissapeared. When i entered, my first thoughts (like in most interesting pages :-) was to make an offline copy. However i thought that, ok, it will be around. It's so interesting that it HAS to be around. Yeah, right. The server is down for months now. Even when i visited, a few pages were brutalized by wiki vandals (actually people trying to sell drugs and stuff). The site was called "Composer Planet" (http://composerplanet.com/). If anyone knows if the data are still anywhere, it would be a really valuable resource.
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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2007, 11:40:24 pm »

That's really cool Bad Sector.
The good news is that the Way Back Machine can bring back the memories of that wiki. It was at the end, as you say, vandalized but you can check it out the way it looked in jan 2006 for instance and it looks fine: composerplanet.com 2006-01-04

Unfortunatelly now the bad news: the wiki dissapeared. When i entered, my first thoughts (like in most interesting pages :-) was to make an offline copy. However i thought that, ok, it will be around. It's so interesting that it HAS to be around. Yeah, right. The server is down for months now. Even when i visited, a few pages were brutalized by wiki vandals (actually people trying to sell drugs and stuff). The site was called "Composer Planet" (http://composerplanet.com/). If anyone knows if the data are still anywhere, it would be a really valuable resource.
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« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2007, 12:30:37 am »

Wow, thanks :-). From this site i found a contact for the webmaster of the site and i contacted him about reviving the site. I hope he'll reply :-).
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