Recommended Posts

Hello everyone!

 

My name is Nate, and my Dragon Warrior arrangement "To Endor" was posted the other day by the staff (thank you!) and, first off, I wanted to introduce myself.

 

But I also wanted to share with people something I've been working on occasionally in my free time, namely sheet music based on early video game soundtracks.

 

I'm actually a copyist by day, among other things, and I was interested in creating professionally notated sheet music based on the direct source of the music.
 

Although I started off doing it by ear, I decided I wanted to be as faithful as possible and notate the music as it was originally executed by the games. Now that I have NSFtoMIDI working on my Mac (using WineBottler) I can bring the exported MIDI tracks into Logic for clean up (the music is squeezed temporally when it's exported, and it also needs quantizing). Once I've done that, I can re-export them as new MIDI tracks and import those into Sibelius or Finale, where I can then proceed to clean up the notation, add some articulations, time signatures, and basic tempo markings, as well as formatting and neatening.

 

Below is a link to a few examples, including March of the Capricious Princess. Although I've added things like accents and slurs when appropriate, everything is as it was originally output by the system.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1snejmgq813sxvf/AAChy7jV8EmvxMyy7lDGamEMa?dl=0
 

Is this something that would interest people? The idea would be to produce sheet music for tracks that people requested, or even make whole music books for popular (or obscure!) games. I've seen sheet music around, but it is often filled with errors, guesswork, or is difficult to read.

 

Comments? Questions? Hate mail? Lemme know!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It definitely interests me, and actually we (OCR) would potentially be interested in carving out an area of the site to accommodate sheet music.

 

We're ALSO interested in getting sheet music for ReMixes (primarily the solo piano mixes, at least initially), and attaching/presenting it in context with the actual ReMix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I definitely feel like there would be a demand for sheet music, for both the original soundtracks and ReMixes on the site. For one, having the music in front of you is educational. But for anyone looking to do their own ReMixes, it also removes a potential barrier.

 

For more pop-oriented ReMixes, people might actually be more interested in lead sheets and chord charts, rather than full notation of the arrangements. For orchestral ReMixes, seeing a full score would be enlightening, though a lot of work. I have done full scores for orchestral recording sessions, but I had access to the original DAW sessions, and so could do it from MIDI. As for solo piano works, they can theoretically be notated by ear, but it is so much easier to have the MIDI for them as well, as it removes any guesswork (and is less time consuming).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like this idea. I enjoy writing transcriptions of stuff so I could help a bit. I could also share MIDIs of my songs if anybody is interested.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked up sheet music the other day for "To Zanarkand" so I can start learning it on piano. The thing is that there are multiple versions out there (different arrangers) but things like 3/4 and 6/8 time signatures in those arrangements really confuse me. Since I don't know much about theory, it's hard for me to see which one is "right". A source of professionally done sheet music would go a long way to help me figure out how to play things correctly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be willing to contribute to sheet music transcription. I'm a freelance sheet music arranger and engraver, but I would probably be willing to do some for free if they would definitely be associated with the remixes that are posted :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked up sheet music the other day for "To Zanarkand" so I can start learning it on piano. The thing is that there are multiple versions out there (different arrangers) but things like 3/4 and 6/8 time signatures in those arrangements really confuse me. Since I don't know much about theory, it's hard for me to see which one is "right". A source of professionally done sheet music would go a long way to help me figure out how to play things correctly.

If we suppose that you had a 3/4 piece at some quarter-note-based tempo and a 3/8 piece at the same quarter-note-based tempo, the 3/8 piece would feel twice as fast because you're "subdividing" the way you count the beats into 8th-note counts, essentially (therefore playing twice as many notes), under the same tempo.

 

If I were to notate a song and I wanted to decide between 3/4 and 6/8, I would consider which one makes the sheet music look nicer. If you have a bunch of recurring tied 8th notes in spots where the first 8th note is hardly ever carried onto the next measure or hardly ever lands on an upbeat (which could produce syncopation), it's worth considering changing those tied 8th-note pairs to single quarter notes. Then, if you have resultant sheet music with many more quarter notes than 8th notes, I think it would make more sense to change the time signature to 3/4 rather than 6/8. To me, 6/8 implies that you are supposed to count in terms of 8th note divisions, but IMO, there would be less practical reason to if there are not that many 8th notes.

 

Let's say we looked at this example:

10example3.gif

You can see a tied 8th-note pair in the first measure. If you look at the second measure, you may realize that both measures are played the same way. However, the first measure emphasizes the syncopated feel more because it explicitly shows the full length of the note-hold, whereas a quarter note would ask you to recall how long a quarter note is. If you count out the first measure, you get 1 +2 +3+ 4+, but on the second measure, you count it out as 1 +2 +3 + 4+.

 

Does that make sense?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kitty, you highlight two of things I want to address for the community. 

Firstly, you mention that the two versions you found had conflicting info, and that is precisely why I want to work on these books derived directly from the source, so that there are no errors like that. (In the specific case, I would be very surprised if there isn't actually an official piano book for Final Fantasy X; Squeenix tends to be on top of that sort of thing.)

Secondly, you mention that you do not know much about theory. That's okay! There are many sources of music theory information out there, and providing well engraved and accurate sheet music could help people by providing examples of music they're actually enthusiastic about. I love classical music (it's one reason why I went to music school!), but people also need access to modern music, perhaps more so.

EDIT: That being said, I'm sure music theory tutorials geared towards ReMixing could also be provided, if not by me, then by others. Having taught theory, I would be happy to review them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To anyone who would potentially be interested in helping, I'll keep a list!

 

ReMixers who can and are willing to, could certainly provide official charts for their own ReMixes. But in terms of the books I envision, I am very particular when it comes to notation and engraving, and I would want to ensure that, whatever is produced, even if it is "just" sheet music, is held to the same standards as the actual music on the site. If this is something that eventually proves to be popular, I might then perhaps look into seeking help for the grunt work, though I would still want to perform the final formatting and such.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If we suppose that you had a 3/4 piece at some quarter-note-based tempo and a 3/8 piece at the same quarter-note-based tempo, the 3/8 piece would feel twice as fast because you're "subdividing" the way you count the beats into 8th-note counts, essentially (therefore playing twice as many notes), under the same tempo.

 

If I were to notate a song and I wanted to decide between 3/4 and 6/8, I would consider which one makes the sheet music look nicer. If you have a bunch of recurring tied 8th notes in spots where the first 8th note is hardly ever carried onto the next measure or hardly ever lands on an upbeat (which could produce syncopation), it's worth considering changing those tied 8th-note pairs to single quarter notes. Then, if you have resultant sheet music with many more quarter notes than 8th notes, I think it would make more sense to change the time signature to 3/4 rather than 6/8. To me, 6/8 implies that you are supposed to count in terms of 8th note divisions, but IMO, there would be less practical reason to if there are not that many 8th notes.

 

Let's say we looked at this example:

10example3.gif

You can see a tied 8th-note pair in the first measure. If you look at the second measure, you may realize that both measures are played the same way. However, the first measure emphasizes the syncopated feel more because it explicitly shows the full length of the note-hold, whereas a quarter note would ask you to recall how long a quarter note is. If you count out the first measure, you get 1 +2 +3+ 4+, but on the second measure, you count it out as 1 +2 +3 + 4+.

 

Does that make sense?

 

Yes, yes it does. Thank you for the explanation. I selected the 3/4 time signature one because it seemed to make more sense (and also because it did look nicer.) Except now I just realized it was 3/4 and 6/4? So confused. I should actually read my theory textbook that I bought lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a side note, I've contacted ReMixers with mixes tagged solo-piano asking for sheet music & MIDI files - we'll see what comes up!!

 

RadicalDreamers, with regard to standards, do you think you could start drafting something very basic that lays out what we might prefer in terms of standard formatting, etc.? Guidelines, in other words? I'd like the idea of quality control and canonical, perfected, standardized sheet music, but I think we're also going to want to encourage as much contribution as possible without overloading folks with requirements. Nevertheless, having some basic guidelines would be great...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would just want to ensure that they were free of the worst problems, like notational collisions, bad spacing, inconsistent spelling, and difficult readability (and of course, errors). I don't mean that it needs to be Boosey & Hawkes or Henle or anything, but contributors should be familiar with basic engraving standards. Think the Gardner Read book (which is very inexpensive). Submissions could then be reviewed to ensure that it's clean and formatted well.

We would probably want to pick one notation program, though I would personally suggest Sibelius. First, it's less fussy than Finale and others. Second, Sibelius would allow people to share the same House Style so that there was consistency across contributors.

When I get back home in a couple days (out of state visiting family at the moment) I can start drafting something formal. I agree that it shouldn't be complicated though, so I will try and keep it as broad as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Accurate sheet music for video games sounds like it would be a tremendous resource for ReMixers, and I wholeheartedly support this. It might be a good idea to collaborate with VGMusic.com on this effort. The accuracy is a little hit and miss with their MIDIs, but it could be a good place to start. Their webmaster Powerlord is member of the OCR forums and would be a great resource. 

 

I'm equally, if not more, interested in sheet music for ReMixes. Transcribing my arrangements has been something I keep intending to do, but I just never seem to get the time. I do get requests occasionally though and I always feel bad that I have nothing except MIDIs to offer. So I'd love to see an official OCR compilation happen, and although I don't have the time to contribute on the labor side, I'd definitely pitch in some funds to compensate people for their time and, if financially and legally feasible, back a Kickstarter for a physical book. :D

 

Anyway, here's the thread for the OCR Sheet Music project: http://ocremix.org/community/topic/3373-site-help-ocr-sheet-musictabsmidis/ There are a lot of broken links I need to fix, but hopefully it's a decent starting point. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyway, here's the thread for the OCR Sheet Music project: http://ocremix.org/community/topic/3373-site-help-ocr-sheet-musictabsmidis/ There are a lot of broken links I need to fix, but hopefully it's a decent starting point.

I've tidied up the first post. Anything with dead links is now at the bottom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Accurate sheet music for video games sounds like it would be a tremendous resource for ReMixers, and I wholeheartedly support this. It might be a good idea to collaborate with VGMusic.com on this effort. The accuracy is a little hit and miss with their MIDIs, but it could be a good place to start. Their webmaster Powerlord is member of the OCR forums and would be a great resource. 

 

It's a good idea, but as you say, the accuracy of the MIDIs there is often suspect. That's why for the score books that I envision I would want to use software like NSFtoMIDI and SPCtoMIDI in order to circumvent that problem, by going straight to the source. (Does anyone know of similar programs for Genesis/Megadrive and/or Gameboy?)

If the OCRemix sheet music project is being revived, I can focus on my original idea, which was to work on these score books for early games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the OCRemix sheet music project is being revived, I can focus on my original idea, which was to work on these score books for early games.

That wasn't a project to create sheet music, it was a project to gather already available links to sheet music for OC ReMixes in one place. Definitely keep doing what you're planning to do for ReMixes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wanted to chime in to say that I have also worked as a professional copyist (though certainly not full-time -- that's fun!) to support my academic work, and would be happy to help. DM and/or e-mail me anytime.  Full disclosure: I'm a Finale person, haha.  I think that both programs are equally capable -- it's just a matter of which one you learned first.  

 

In any case, if you need help doing work with fancy formatting, I'm good at it -- down to getting the beautiful cross-staff strokes in Debussy manuscripts to render in formal printed notation, though I don't think most VGM work will require anything quite so complex.  Hit me up anytime!  And while I'm posting, anyone who can read through this thread and feel confident in responding should swing by the new History and Study of Game Music forum.   :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for the radio silence, things have been busy since I got back from my trip!

 

Rather than try and come up with a fully realized style guide on my own, for now I want to propose some general ideas and get people's feedback so we can try and codify something together.

 

For ReMixes, we would want to determine what kind of sheet music would best serve the track. While it's absolutely possible to generate a full score for what is otherwise a pop tune (in the broadest sense) a lead sheet (usually just melody and chords) would be preferable, whereas it would be somewhat lacking for a full orchestral track where the interplay of instruments is key. In between are the solo piano arrangements, but in some ways these can be among the most difficult to execute in terms of useable sheet music, as properly notating multiple voices and the left/right hand relationships can be tricky for a beginner, with even a simple tune presenting difficulties at times. Also needing consideration are the many Remixes that are either Big Band or Jazz in nature where knowledge of chart writing would be helpful in properly capturing the music in notation.

Regardless of the form the sheet music takes for any individual ReMix, certain elements would need to be included in all of them:

  1. Title of the ReMix
  2. Title of the original piece
  3. Title of the originating game
  4. Composer of the original music
  5. Name of the ReMixer (ideally their real name, or at least their handle, eg: "Arr. by Nathanael Tronerud", "Arr. by djpretzel")
  6. Either the URL to the original track, or the track ID no. on the site
  7. URL to www.ocremix.org
  8. Name of lyricist, if any, either an original lyricist from the game, or someone else, if different from the ReMixer

Once we establish these things, then we can work out the nitty gritty of the notation itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a quick question. if I were to, for example, write an orchestral arrangement of some kind of song and send it to ocr. Would it then be preferred to include the sheet music in the submission post, or should I send it somewhere else? Or is this question asked too early and isn't there any kind of standard for it, yet?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's just occurred to me that it may actually do for me to write a basic engraving tutorial. Then, when a style guide for sheet music is established, it can point to the tutorial for specific notation questions. To be clear, this would not be a tutorial for a specific software program (though those could be written too, I suppose), but a general purpose guide for standard notation practices.

 

EDIT: Such a notation tutorial would I think necessitate some aptitude with theory. A separate, basic theory tutorial could also be made, but one thing at a time!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.