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SwordBreaker

"Is that live?"

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In some cases, it's really hard to differentiate between live instruments and synth samples in certain game soundtracks. I may have gotten better in training my ears through the years (try saying that three times fast) but there are times when I ask myself, "is that live?"

It gets particularly confusing when a composer uses a mix of live instruments and high-quality synths. Motoi Sakuraba's recent soundtracks come to mind. Some tracks in Baten Kaitos and Eternal Sonata can easily pass as being fully orchestrated when in reality it's not.

I've also recently been stumped by a certain track in Mario Galaxy. Honeyhive Galaxy...I listen to it a lot in the game and I'm convinced that the guitars and the rest of the instruments are live. What do you guys think?

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I'm looking for further info, but I'm almost certain it is a completely orchestral OST.

Yep, I was right. From IGN's review:

"Meanwhile, the music, much of which is fully orchestrated, is absolutely superb -- some of the best in any Nintendo game to date (though we're sure Super Smash Bros. Brawl will ultimately take top honors)."

It's on page 4 of the review if you don't believe me. :P

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Live yes, but not every track was orchestrated. However, I'm pretty sure that Honeyhive itself was orchestrated. I'll play it again today to make sure, though perhaps I could be fooled...

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Yeah it's pretty easy to tell when some of the tracks aren't orchestrated in Mario Galaxy.

And I'd hardly look at IGN as a credible source when it comes to game music. :roll:

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Japanese soundtracks are generally very easy to tell if they're sampled or not. Final Fantasy XII was a dead giveaway. It's like they apply their sugar-coated J-Pop production standards to it.

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You like that damn eyeroll, don't you? I don't think IGN is a credible source for game music, but when the review is written by a guy with connections to top nintendo execs, I figure he's probably fairly close to correct.

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You like that damn eyeroll, don't you? I don't think IGN is a credible source for game music, but when the review is written by a guy with connections to top nintendo execs, I figure he's probably fairly close to correct.

Those Nintendo execs are mostly American businesspeople, not Japanese designers. If a reviewer has connections to those execs, that doesn't really mean much, unless those execs were involved with the production of the game, which I highly doubt.

Plus your own post misinterprets what you quoted. You said it's "completely" orchestrated, and then you say "Yep" and confirm that statement with "much of which is fully orchestrated."

"Much of which" != "Completely"

In any case, anyone who's actually played the game could tell you that not all of the music in Mario Galaxy is a live orchestra. There are plenty of tracks in the game that are synthesized.

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It's obvious that not all of Mario Galaxy's soundtrack is orchestrated. Be it by ear, or be it by the fact that the composer himself, Mr. Yakota, stated that a few months back. If you listen closely, even the tracks which use live instruments and orchestra are not fully live. Some orchestrated tunes have sci-fi cheesy space sounds in the background, like the Buoy Base Galaxy track.

So anyway...Honeyhive Galaxy, people. Does that sound fully live to you? Like I said, I get the impression that the guitars are live.

Also, while we're discussing this, has any track or game soundtrack in particular confused you on whether it's live or synthesized? There are even a couple of remixes in this site which stumped me. I thought that the electric guitars in zircon's Monstrous Turtles were live, but they aren't. Also, the guitars in BGC's "Adrynaline Kyck" sound live to me, but I'm not so sure.

Just remembered Final Fantasy X. That also has a couple of tracks which stumped me. There's this acoustic guitar tune which plays in towns...based on the intro melody "At Zanerekand". I feel that the guitars are live in that one too...though I'm not so sure...

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the FFX song you're talking about, "The Sight of Spira" is definitely sequenced, albeit quite well.

Aha...thanks.

I guess the only way to definitely know is to listen to more tracks. Don't know if you noticed but guitar sounds are especially confusing in my case, especially when they're high-quality samples or if the sequence is written well.

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IGN thinks that MIDI is outdated and should be completely scrapped in favour of prerecorded stuff. They're not a credible source for VGM.

I don't think Honeyhive Galaxy is live, though. It does remind me of Toejam and Earl, however. :razz:

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sequenced music and live music are really not mutually exclusive, either. for example an artist might record a number of small phrases live, then sequence them together afterwards. this is particularly common in video game music, because the phrases can be re-used to preserve memory. in this case, how would you make the distinction as to whether or not it's live? i suppose it all depends on your definition of what live is, which can be pretty subjective.

plus it's definitely not uncommon to mix together live instrumentation with sequenced stuff.

this post makes a shitload of sense to me right now and i will check back on it tomorrow and see what it thinks or i think about it.

man mozilla's spellcheck is awesome except it doesn't think shitload or spellcheck are words. SHITLOAD IS ONE WORD DAMNIT. i don't care what you say

crap apparently damnit isn't a word either

afk less thinky more drinky

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You like that damn eyeroll, don't you?

Yeah. It's his vorpal sword, if you will. When he uses it, it means he's going to cut off your head and go galumphing off somewhere. wut a fgt amirite

sequenced music and live music are really not mutually exclusive, either. for example an artist might record a number of small phrases live, then sequence them together afterwards. this is particularly common in video game music, because the phrases can be re-used to preserve memory. in this case, how would you make the distinction as to whether or not it's live? i suppose it all depends on your definition of what live is, which can be pretty subjective.

plus it's definitely not uncommon to mix together live instrumentation with sequenced stuff.

this post makes a shitload of sense to me right now and i will check back on it tomorrow and see what it thinks or i think about it.

It makes shitloads of sense to me too, bro (damn it, I can't say that without thinking of tasers now. I hate you, internet). The thing is, if a track has numerous sequenced elements, I'd say it's not live. But if it was fully orchestrated with a sequenced piano (like one of my professors had to do once), calling it gets a little tricky. What if you used sampled bass drums and everything else was recorded live? Could you tell and would anyone REALLY care other than the percussionist who didn't get any $$ for recording it?

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I remember being amazed that SSBM's soundtrack wasn't live. I was also fooled by "Another Arni Village" in Chrono Cross, because of the clever use of fret sounds.

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