Castlevania: Basic Texture
This week's theme was Castlevania. I really get a kick out of arranging music from this game, it's very easy for me to just crank one out in about fifteen minutes because each song follows a very clear formula. You can hear very easily that composer Kinuyo Yamashita must have had only four channels of sound to work with, because the song is constructed in distinct lines, which make up the "texture:" You've got your bass line, which tends to hang out in the mid-bass clef register, occasionally dipping lower to the bottom of the clef; then there's your melody line, in the mid/top treble; then the middle line goes one of three ways, either harmonizing the melody, acting as a countermelody, or doubling the bassline. The last channel is of course the percussion track. Almost every single composition from the game is divided up in this way, but the formula never gets old! My favorite line to listen to is the mid-line, because it fluctuates so easily between all of the different functions; one second is harmonizing the melody, and then suddenly it's breaking off into a countermelody, etc. Take a listen and follow along with the score to see what I mean!
Enjoy the new Castlevania arrangements for Nothing to Lose, Stalker, Vampire Killer and Walking on the Edge! More are on the way!
Last week, I had a hankering to get some new arrangements done, and I was surfing Youtube ideas for new tunes to arrange; after listening to music from more widely known titles (Castlevania, Mario Kart, etc) I randomly thought of the games I had played when I was a kid, the really old stuff for DOS computers. My dad had a whole CD of free or shareware games, and my siblings and I played them endlessly. I Youtubed one of them, which I barely remembered was called "Bio Menace." It was like stepping back into my childhood, hearing and remembering the catchy tunes from fifteen years ago! I spent a good afternoon on Youtube, looking up other games, and discovered two things: 1) My dad's CD was almost entirely made up of Apogee games, and 2) THE SAME GUY wrote the music for almost ALL of the games I had played! Bio Menace, Word Rescue, Duke Nukem, Commander Keen, Doom, Wolfenstein, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure...the list goes on and on. Bobby Prince was his name, and man was he a talent. His compositional voice varies so much from game to game, it truly amazed me to find out that he had scored all of these games! I hope I meet him someday; his music is truly the voice of my childhood.
Enjoy the new arrangements for Duke Nukem II, Word Rescue and Bio Menace! More are on the way!
Video game music was what got me composing as a kid, and I learned the basics of composition from transcribing my favorite VGM pieces. These are my thoughts and discoveries about various game compositions as I transcribe and study them. Feel free to comment with your own thoughts/ideas as well!