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The notes are the words - vgm music theory thread

music theory

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#1 The Zen Archer

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Posted 01 April 2016 - 09:26 AM

Can we have a thread talking about cool musical directions and thematic decisions in game music?

 

http://jasonyu.me/undertale-part-1/

 

I had definitely picked up on some musical motifs in certain Undertale tracks, but this article just blew my mind. I would love to read more stuff like this about other games, too!

 

On the subject of undertale, though, this one was interesting too: http://www.videogame...rtales-amalgam/


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So you like music?

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#2 Jace

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Posted 01 April 2016 - 11:01 AM

I've always been really impressed with how Duck Tales' moon and MM2's epilogue cleverly weave seemingly all 12 notes in the Western scale among subtle key changes to dramatic effect. I could be wrong about this of course, and I can't remember the word for when it does happen. I wish I'd had theory training when I was kid; I don't believe it's really too late to learn but cursory attempts have been frustrating and slow. Anyways. Also sorry to already have brought up Duck Tales moon.
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#3 The Zen Archer

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Posted 01 April 2016 - 11:56 AM

sorry to already have brought up Duck Tales moon.

How dare you.

 

Do both those tracks really hit all 12 notes? That's pretty interesting. It's always fascinating when a composer can mask a movement of the tonic inside a single piece.

 

http://danbruno.net/writing/ocarina/

 

I've always been interested in restrictions that cause ingenuity, like how Kondo had to write 12 seperate melodies for OoT while only using 4 (5 if you count the octave) tones. And to think that each of those melodies is of a separate musical style to boot!


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#4 Robby V

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Posted 01 April 2016 - 12:08 PM

Gonna read up on all of this ASAP! I feel like there have been other good VGM analysis articles I've seen but none are coming to mind.

 

Also, I don't think there should be a stigma towards the 'hits' of VGM. They're still amazing songs regardless of how many times we've heard them. (All this being said I know you were joking with the 'how dare you', just musing)


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#5 M-H

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Posted 01 April 2016 - 12:58 PM

I remember, and this may seem silly, having a "whoooaa" moment when I realized that the Super Mario World themes are cleverly recycled with more and more variation the further into the game you get. 


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#6 dasaten

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Posted 01 April 2016 - 01:36 PM

I don't know much about theory, but I've definitely picked up on motifs in games. Megaman 3's Wily Stages and Boss come to mind. The motif being intros with quick scale progressions. Stage 1 ascending, Stage 2 and Boss descending, and then Stage 3 slowed down and ascending in minor. 


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#7 The Zen Archer

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 09:45 AM

http://jasonyu.me/undertale-part-2/

 

This is seriously destroying my mind right now.

 

"Alphys" and "Here We Are" share a melody.

"Heartbreak" and "ASGORE" share a melody.

"Dogsong" "Enemy Approaching" and "Tem Shop" share a melody.

"Ghost Fight/Dummy" and "Spider Dance" share a melody.

 

Female character themes are in triple time signatures, Males are in 4/4.

 

WHAT. My brain is jelly.


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#8 pingosimon

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 11:23 PM

Counterexamples: Butz town theme from FF5 is in 3. Celes and Terra are in 4.
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#9 Arm Cannon

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 12:33 AM

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#10 SSS key

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 08:10 PM

I like it when people thoroughly break down a game song. There was a nice site up some years ago where a guy somewhat reviewed/ broke down selected songs from each of the six nes megaman games. He called it "music in NES Mega Man games" or something that blatant.

I think there was a gigantic thread on oc remix as well where some guy over analyzed a bunch of video game songs.
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#11 The Zen Archer

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 10:34 PM

https://www.youtube....LoHl5UH8&t=1493

 

@-@ (the whole video is amazing, btw)

 

The use of music in Dark Souls general (or should I say the general absence of it) was really effective in conveying the bleak, uncaring atmosphere of Lordran. Now that I mention it, I think Shadow of the Colossus mught have done the same thing...


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#12 The Zen Archer

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 10:40 PM

I like it when people thoroughly break down a game song. There was a nice site up some years ago where a guy somewhat reviewed/ broke down selected songs from each of the six nes megaman games. He called it "music in NES Mega Man games" or something that blatant.

I think there was a gigantic thread on oc remix as well where some guy over analyzed a bunch of video game songs.

 While looking for that I found this: https://www.youtube....JCbH5T0y3hUJ01A


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#13 The Zen Archer

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 10:50 PM

 

This what you were talking about?


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#14 The Zen Archer

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 07:31 AM


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#15 pingosimon

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 06:22 PM

I have trouble swallowing the idea of "borrowed" chords/modes/notes.  That terminology seems to imply...something that I don't think is relevant...or something.

 

Also, that was a really poor choice on his part to transpose his piano examples, but not the original clips :/

 

 

I think I'm in the minority here, but I've always thought of the song as being in Bb minor, with a kindof constant picardy 3rd on every Bb (if you're in the original key of Bb).


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