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The Importance of Themes: Creating Musical Signatures for Your Games

Winifred Phillips (Composer, Generations Productions LLC)

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core+Summits Pass, Core Pass, Audio Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Audio

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

By employing themes that serve symbolic purposes, a composer can infuse a game with a strong sense of character and originality. This talk will examine the potential of thematic music to evoke gameplay memories, helping a game to stand out as special and unique. Research has shown that music heard during activities is remembered vividly and associated with the tasks it accompanied. Coupling this with the innately memorable nature of themes allows a game composer the opportunity to create an indelible musical signature for any game. This talk will examine composition techniques that extend the life and utility of themes. Variation, development, figures, fragmentation, and motifs will be explored. The talk will include examples of themes in boss combat, general action, exploration, puzzle, menus, cutscenes, and stingers. Finally, the challenges of dynamic music construction will be considered, including workarounds to enable effective themes within interactive systems.

Takeaway

Using examples from several games, Phillips will discuss specific composition techniques designed to enhance the utility of thematic content. Attendees will learn how themes may be incorporated into specific game music asset types. Also included in the discussion: composition adjustments required by interactive music constructs.

Intended Audience

This session will present inspirational ideas for composers seeking to create distinctive musical signatures for their game projects. Discussion of thematic use within different types of game music assets may be helpful for audio developers engaged in preparing music design documents. The talk will be approachable for all levels.