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An Analysis of Super Mario Odyssey's Music

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Hey all,

Hopefully this is the right place for this sort of topic. I recently uploaded my first video essay on the subject of video game music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO78Jchtd6I

Its the first video in a two-part analysis of the cultural background, history, and music theory behind many of Mario Odyssey's songs! I feel that Odyssey did some very interesting things in terms of style and genre, and this video is meant to be a thorough exploration of just that.

I'd be interested in hearing some of your feedback, critique, constructive criticism, etc. - as well as your own thoughts/analysis on Super Mario Odyssey's eclectic and culturally-driven soundtrack!

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I'll take a look at this tonight -- thanks for posting here!  We don't get a lot of traffic to this subforum, but I do watch it.  :)

 

Alright, I have one main thought as I'm watching:  I think that the frame for your analysis could be more consistently expanded to include not merely historic references, but how other media portrays those cultures/periods.  Compare the the Cascade Kingdom's music to the Jurassic Park overture, for instance -- that's much more relevant than ancient bone flutes (which, as you correctly note, we know little about in terms of compositional practice).  Similarly, the Lake music has more to do with the topic of "water levels" than it does any one culture.

You also get right that the Ruins area reference Morricone as much as it does traditional Latin music.  Make sure you apply that type of connection for each area, especially when something clearly doesn't fit your model.

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On 9/1/2018 at 9:30 AM, BardicKnowledge said:

I'll take a look at this tonight -- thanks for posting here!  We don't get a lot of traffic to this subforum, but I do watch it.  :)

 

Alright, I have one main thought as I'm watching:  I think that the frame for your analysis could be more consistently expanded to include not merely historic references, but how other media portrays those cultures/periods.  Compare the the Cascade Kingdom's music to the Jurassic Park overture, for instance -- that's much more relevant than ancient bone flutes (which, as you correctly note, we know little about in terms of compositional practice).  Similarly, the Lake music has more to do with the topic of "water levels" than it does any one culture.

You also get right that the Ruins area reference Morricone as much as it does traditional Latin music.  Make sure you apply that type of connection for each area, especially when something clearly doesn't fit your model.

That's an excellent point. I tried to touch on that element a little bit with the Cap Kingdom being more of a general spooky song rather than a specific reference to Victorian London, the Cascade Kingdom having a sprawling orchestral overture rather than an accurate reflection of prehistoric music, and the Lake Kingdom being a relaxing water level theme following in the footsteps of Dire Dire Docks. But I agree that I didn't explore those ideas thoroughly enough... which resulted in those three segments being particularly short.

I'm glad you brought up the Jurassic Park connection, which is honestly something I have been kicking myself about ever since I finalized the video! Shortly after uploading I realized how that would have been a great connection to mention and would add more 'meat' to the Cascade Kingdom section of the video. Definitely wish I had brought it up now...

Thanks for the critique, its much appreciated, especially for my first attempt at a video essay. I'm hoping the second part, as well as some of my future video ideas, will improve on this one.

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