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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Composing for Chinese Instruments

Ian Chen  (Composer, Independent)

Date: Thursday, July 22

Time: 3:40pm - 4:10pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass, Audio Pass

Topic: Audio

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I would like to deliver a virtual presentation only

With the increasing number of games made in China and for the Chinese market, it is becoming more and more essential for composers to learn the ins and outs of writing for Chinese traditional instruments. Using his score for Blue Callisto game Fantastic Creatures, composer Ian Chen offers a quick walkthrough on writing for traditional Chinese instruments, and how they may be applied in a Western symphonic setting. The session will cover everything from the introduction of instrumental family groups, to orchestration techniques, to the tools used in the recording and production of Chinese traditional instruments.


It is the hope that this talk will introduce Chinese instruments and traditional music to composers who are interested in adding new colors to their sound pallet. Attendees will learn useful tips and insights that will hopefully aid them on their next soundtrack projects involving Chinese instruments.

Intended Audience

This talk is geared towards composers of all levels, and may be of interest to audio directors and music supervisors. No prerequisite knowledge is needed, though some discussions will benefit from basic knowledge on music theory, Western orchestration, and/or Western musical notation.