Every composer who creates music to accompany moving image (games, film, etc.) needs to understand how to write a compelling soundtrack. It’s something that can be learned and mastered. However, there are a few tricks to the trade that can help speed up the process and get you results more quickly.
Many of these tips come from my own experience as a video game composer and music producer. I’ve worked on over 100 titles in the industry ranging from mobile games to AAA console titles such as Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Medal of Honor: Airborne. Over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about writing good music for games.
Additionally, I’m also an instructor at Berklee College of Music where I teach a course called Video Game Scoring. This class is designed to give students all of the tools they need to be successful composers in the video game industry when they graduate.
5 Ways To Write A Compelling Soundtrack For Your Video Game, Film, Or Other Project:
In this article we’re going to cover 5 tips for writing a compelling soundtrack for your project (whether it be a game, film or anything else). Let’s get started…
Regardless of the project you’re working on, whether it’s a video game or an indie film, writing music for a soundtrack is an art. Not only do you have to make sure that the music you create fits into the context of the story, but it also has to be compelling enough to inspire the audience (or player) to want to listen.
In this article we’ll share 5 tips that will help you write a compelling soundtrack for your project. Each tip focuses on different aspects of writing music that can help push your music to the next level.
1 – Research And Get Inspired
No matter what type of project you’re working on, it’s always a good idea to immerse yourself in the world of your story. This means watching movies and playing games that have similar themes or settings as your own (if you’re creating a soundtrack for animation, find animated shows and films). The more immersed you are in the world of your story, the more likely you are to write music that blends well with the rest of the experience.
Writing music for games, film, and other media can be a very rewarding and fun experience. I’ve been lucky enough to write soundtracks for several video games, including The Magic Circle, Reverse Crawl, and The Westport Independent. It’s a lot of fun to see your music in a game that thousands of people play every day.
If you’re interested in writing music for video games or any other project, here are five tips to help you on your way.
Tip 1: Know the project inside out
Before you start writing music for any project, make sure you know it inside out. It’s easy to jump into composing without a clear picture of what the game or film needs, but this will likely result in wasted time spent writing music that isn’t right for the project.
Ideally, you’ll have access to an early version of the game or film so that you can try it out and get a good sense of its flow and pacing. If this is not possible, make sure you have access to screenshots, storyboards, concept art, etc. Understanding the overall mood and tone of the project will help guide your decision-making when it comes to orchestrating different sections of music. For example: if it’s an action-packed video
If you are a musician, or want to be one, you will almost certainly at some point be asked to write some music for a project. Whether that is a friend’s film, your video game, or someone’s wedding video, it is always a good idea to go in with as much information as possible about how to make it sound awesome!
If you are not a musician but still want to write music for your game/film/wedding video then this is still a good article for you, even if only to know what questions to ask the composer who you hire.
The first thing we need to be aware of is the length of your piece. It is a good idea to have an idea of how long you want your piece to be before you start writing it. For example, if you want your piece to be thirty seconds long and you want it to fit into three different video game scenarios, then you will know that you will need to write a thirty second piece for each scenario. On the other hand, if you are creating a five minute film and the music needs to run through the five minutes almost uninterrupted, then this will play a large part in how you structure your piece.
The second thing we need to consider is the structure of our piece. Will it have several different sections? Will it build up gradually? Will it change tempo or key? All of these things will play a large part in how we write our piece. The structure of your track can also determine the length and formality of your track. If you are writing a piece for a film trailer or an ad, then perhaps only the first thirty seconds need to be dramatic, but the rest can be more relaxed and ambient. If you are writing a piece for a film soundtrack, then perhaps for every scene change there should be a different section with its own unique feel
Game music composers seem to be in short supply these days. With the increase in popularity of indie game development, and with more mainstream game companies being forced to cut costs, there’s been a significant amount of work becoming available. But it seems that many composers are still wary of taking on jobs to score video games.
As someone who has written music for games (as well as film and TV), I know that composing for games is a skill that can be learned quickly, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. Here are five tips that you can use right now to improve your game score:
1. Consider The Emotional Arc