sphexic

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Everything posted by sphexic

  1. I get it every winter, too. Hoping to rectify that with a move to a nicer climate soon. My best advice is to keep your mind busy. Get obsessed with something that doesn't remind you how dark and gray it is outside. Do some indoor exercises like push-ups. Keep up consistent sleep habits and avoid alcohol. Most of all, allow yourself to have a "blah" day once in a while where you do nothing; that usually helps me recharge after weeks of expending energy to keep my spirits up. If you're in the Northeastern US, the coldest day of the year is only a week or two away and it gets warmer from there, so hang in there!
  2. from Xenogears was the first song I learned to play all the way through on the piano. Before that, it was just picking out game melodies on a tiny Casio keyboard while looping MIDIs on the computer for reference. There was this cool program that would show the notes being played on a graphical keyboard during playback. I forget what it was called, but it was basically my first piano teacher
  3. Thanks for the correction, Wiesty. As you were able to tell, my theory knowledge is mostly classical, so it's good to learn some theory from another genre. The overall point I was trying to make is that the melody line from 11:56 to 12:04 makes it feel like the song could end when they hit the "-ven" in "heaven," but the bass note underneath them at that point prevents a resolution and elongates the phrase. That sense of full closure is delayed until the very last bass note around 12:35. Everything in between feels like a way of "floating down" harmonically to the expected ending chord instead of going out with a huge bang. Of course, this is just how I'm hearing the song, and that doesn't make other interpretations invalid. I agree that if a song sounds pleasing, that's what matters. But I feel that theory should try to explain why it sounds pleasing. I understand that a lot of people dislike theory because it's taught very rigidly and as a "rule-book for writing music." I personally love theory because I see it as a way of describing musical phenomena rather than prescribing rules. I admit I shouldn't have used any kinds of chord symbols without transcribing the music because my ear isn't very precise. Chlysm's phrase "usually takes place at the very end of the song where the lead or vocals has hit it's final note and a chord in a different key is played" is very close to the definition of a deceptive cadence, though, and describes the phenomenon he's referring to really well. Classical music uses different chords, certainly, but the concept of a deceptive cadence is the same: one of flouting an expected ending to a phrase. I was mistaken in saying this Dream Theater song uses a dominant chord, as you've shown. But there seems to be an expectation of resolution that is interrupted by the stuff that happens between 12:04 and 12:35, whether that's just caused by the harmonic implication of the melody or by a combination of factors. That's all I'm trying to get across.
  4. Correct me if I'm wrong anyone, I haven't done theory in a while. It sounds to me like a deceptive cadence. A deceptive cadence is when you expect some kind of closure by moving from the dominant (V) to the root chord (I) of the key, but instead you get a related chord (usually IV or VI because they share 2 notes with I). Structurally, this serves to extend the phrase before coming to a close. You can really hear that in this song. From 11:24, if you listen to the bass, every 4-bar phrase goes to the dominant (V) chord. It sounds like the song is about to end. This is because the bass wants to jump from that chord to the root, the point of rest. But instead, they veer off into a chord farther from the tonal center so they can jam a bit longer and settle onto the root chord (which gives the feeling of ending) instead of landing on it abruptly. If you listen to the singers at 12:04, you can actually hear that their melody goes to the tonic (root note of the key), but the bass doesn't land on the tonic, so it creates this jarring tension of "Whoa, I thought the song was about to end." This is a great thing because the song (especially such a long one) has built up a lot of energy, and releasing it all at once would actually be a huge let-down. So instead, they ease their way back to tonic, giving a more gentle path toward the song's end. Also, if you jump back and forth between the beginning and end of the song a few times while paying attention to the bass, you'll hear that the song eventually does go back to the root chord of the key (and the entire song), giving the sense of closure/resolution we expect from a song. Hope that helps! Let me know if you need me to clarify anything. Writing music theory in words always ends up really cluttered compared to scores and diagrams. Edit: Just wanted to point out that the part in question from 12:04 is not actually a key change because the music doesn't settle in that new key. Because the song almost immediately goes back to the original key within the same musical phrase, it's more of a "key stretch," where chords from a different key are being borrowed for the sake of tone-color.
  5. Thanks for linking my remix! I also have The Setzer Sonata if you're looking for a more straightforward arrangement. +1 for Dhsu. IIRC his mixes are what brought me to this site years ago. Also can't go wrong with Shnabubula.
  6. I got monk. First few hours were pretty great, but it turns out fighting dragons bare-chested leaves you open to attack.
  7. I agree with the sentiment that a lot of modern games pander to the Hollywood style too often, but this doesn't indicate a shift in quality so much as style. Take a look at Masashi Hamauzu's soundtrack for Final Fantasy XIII. He had a real orchestra at his disposal, and his score was appropriate for such a cinematic game. I found a lot of faults with the game itself, but I have no complaints about the soundtrack. Hamauzu managed to make something fresh while still hearkening back to Uematsu's iconic themes. Look at this part of FF13's "The Promise" and compare it to this part in FF4's Prelude. The motivic link is vague, but it's that echo of great themes that makes the soundtrack sound like Final Fantasy while staying fresh at the same time. A more obvious connection would be FF4's Prologue compared to FF13's Opening. The theme in FF13 has a similar contour, and it's a little "faster" due to rhythmic diminution. But instead of just being a rehash, it has its own identity that is more adapted to the sci-fi setting of FF13. Of course, there are so many moments in Uematsu's soundtracks that are just straight-up magical. This was certainly in part due to the limitations of the hardware. Uematsu's strength is said to be his melodies, but I'd argue that it also has to do with the unique voice-leading he finds for the middle voices in his music. Just listen to the strings in this piece. The melody is really simple, hovering on one note and staying within the same scale. But the strings in the middle drive the melody into interesting harmonic areas. I understand many recent games have downright bland soundtracks. For all the technology available, we should be seeing more interesting music in games. But my point in making the comparison between FF4 and FF13 is that some composers are exploring the capabilities of the medium. In the case of FFXIII, there's the mix of electronic, electric, and orchestral instrumentation in most battle themes. There's the melancholy in Will to Fight that is a haunting parallel to FFX's Someday the Dream Will End. There's the fantastic articulation of the solo violin in A Brief Respite. Not to mention the jazzy character theme for Sazh. No matter what technology humans are given to work with, a few of them will find ways to produce amazing art with it. It seems like there are a lot more forgettable soundtracks now than in the past, but that's because we tend to forget about the forgettable soundtracks that were made a couple decades ago.
  8. Backed! I really hope you reach your goal. It's clear you've worked hard to reach this stage of development, and there need to be more games with generative music out there.
  9. Well I did end up finishing a game! Simple as it is, I'm happy with it. It's a start. Here's to more progress in 2014, for me and everyone here at OCR
  10. My 2013 resolutions were forgotten within two months, so maybe making these public will help me stick to them! 1. Learn to make good pixel art, leading into... 2. Finally make a video game or two, most likely with Flash 3. Get a better-paying and more fulfilling job 4. Re-connect with old friends and make new ones too
  11. Wow, congrats on doing the keyboard parts in one take. You must know the chords inside and out. I liked how liberal the arrangement was, as it kept throwing out new ideas and kept me listening. The production is solid, and I think the electric keyboard was well situated underneath the piano without falling too far beneath the texture. Though the marimba was substituting for bass, I felt it could have had a solo or two, especially in the sparser parts of the mix! Nonetheless, excellent job and I'm sad this wasn't released sooner.
  12. I don't mind if you host mine. The revision for the album was completely different.
  13. Heck yes! I'll try my best to break it I used to play with RPG Maker all the time. It'd be fun to play again.
  14. Actually, I'd really like to see this made. That final boss battle would go down in history.
  15. http://youtu.be/CLLVwGgzFSs?t=12m39s This thing scared the crap out of me as a kid. I still get a panicky feeling watching this video.
  16. Thanks so much! If someone wants to lock this thread now, by all means.
  17. Hey guys, I've been on a 90s kick and I have this song stuck in my head. I can't for the life of me remember what it was called. I tried plugging the melody into one of those melody search sites, but their databases are lacking. Here's the melody. It was so ubiquitous back in the day that this should be a piece of cake for some of you out there. Thanks!
  18. Definitely hearing the anamanaguchi comparison. And it's fantastic. I'll be downloading this one for sure instead of just streaming it, which I haven't done in a while. I so want to hear more of these!
  19. Wow, I had heard some of Ryuichi Sakamoto's instrumental stuff, but never looked into YMO. They are funky! I love the way Ms. Yano dances at the keyboard. I'll have to try that sometime
  20. Filled out! I'd like to see the results of your work
  21. Just bumping this thread to write up a review of the build I got from prophetik a few weeks ago. This thing is amazing. The guy knows his stuff. I'd been using a Sony VAIO throughout college, and it just didn't cut it for serious creative work. With the extra processing power and the solid state drive, boot-up time is about 20 seconds. And I have yet to run into any kind of lag or artifacts while running my DAW. This helped immensely when I was working on my track for the upcoming FFVI album. The quality of my work has improved thanks to the new hardware, and to me, that's a more important indicator of quality than the computer's specs. Aside from the computer itself, prophetik provided great service. I'm not well-versed in hardware, but he was able to figure out what I needed and more importantly, what I didn't need. This helped keep the cost down while ensuring the computer would perform well where I needed it to. I just got Starcraft II and it runs perfectly on the low-end graphics card he chose for me. If you're not comfortable building your own PC, definitely contact prophetik. The fact that he provides consultation free of charge puts him above tech stores and other companies.
  22. I agree with DJP about advertisers being in it for the money. IGN has a dominantly male viewership, and they're trying to sell that to advertisers for all it's worth. Selling your strong points makes financial sense. As for why IGN's demographic is mostly male, that's up for debate. The only game site I regularly read is Gamasutra, so I can't say. That site is more about game design, and the readers seem better informed. In fact, there have been some articles cropping up in the last few days about women's roles in video games. After skimming through some IGN articles, though, I can say the comments sections are generally hostile. That said, I'm interested to know whether that's something promoted by the site's design and layout, or whether it's a reflection of the "mainstream gamers" who read IGN.
  23. I see what you mean about the bass sounding off. I'll see what I can do about making it sound more like the real thing. Isn't that Aivi Tran piece cool? I found her last night through halc's soundcloud. That must be why it showed up for you. I'm glad you used the word resonance. It helped me to notice that overall my mix is spatially flat. Thanks for the kind words and the good advice!
  24. I was just thinking about this the other day. When I was about five, I went up to a window to smell the fresh summer air. I still do that once in a while, and something about the combination of smells of fresh air and window screens brings me back to Super Mario RPG. Also the smell from certain types of books remind me of this player's guide I had for Super Mario World.
  25. This is nice. Love that bass. I'd say keep the hat in the intro, but make it more dry. The piano's already so wet in that part of the mix. The drums mesh well once the texture gets thicker, but I feel like it needed to be a bit snappier at the beginning. Also the organ from 0'55" could come out a little bit more. Might just be my headphones, but at that part it's hard to hear which instrument is taking front stage. I like the piano sounds you used. What plugin/library are you using?