video game music

Video game music: Turning passives into players

Video game soundtracks are encouraging a new generation to play not just games, but also music.


Civil (Explore) Piano Sheet
by BMacZero » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:34 pm
Just got this game over Christmas, and I’m trying really hard not to play it 24/7! The game and UI designs are really excellent.
And of course, the music is also amazing. I was listening to the soundtrack and the track Civil (Explore) caught my attention, so I started trying to transcribe it for piano. Thought I’d share here for any other interested pianists. This is about the second half (1:38 on). Enjoy!


Now I’m pretty suspicious that the first phrase (16 bars) is wrong, so I’d love some input on that. I’m pretty confident with the rest of it, though.
And let me know or remove this if this violates any rights to the music.
(Thread from’s forum)


“It would be nice if he would play a little classical music.”
“What do you mean?”  I ask the mother of my new piano student.
“Maybe some Mozart or Beethoven?”
“Ben Prunty IS your son’s Mozart!  And furthermore, he’s part of the new classical music!”

"Legend of Zelda: Symphony of Goddesses" comes to Portland's Keller Auditorium Sunday. Photo: Andrew Craig.

“Legend of Zelda: Symphony of Goddesses” comes to Portland’s Keller Auditorium Sunday. Photo: Andrew Craig.

My student is a Beaverton fifth grader who’s a recent convert to the video game Faster Than Light (FTL) and to the music of the game’s composer, Ben Prunty. While his mother was pleading with me to inject a little classical music (as traditionally and too narrowly defined) into his assignments, he was quietly telling me during lessons what was going on in these newsgroup communities which are in effect rebuilding classical music. These boards typically involve young people who are so passionate about the music that accompanies the video games they play that they’re doing anything they can to find out how to play that music themselves. It’s a huge phenomenon that has huge implications for the future of classical music. When I asked my student why I’ve never heard about this or why these scores have been so inaccessible, he said, “Because no one listens to ten year olds.”

My first assignment to this student was to find a copy of the music “Civil (Explore)” from FTL. He brought back the printed copy downloaded from the FTL forum above. His mom, seeing his enthusiasm for the music, has since come around to the value of this new classical music.

One of my other students, Nicholas Casali, a Legend of Zelda freak, has a much more understanding mom who bought him an entire book of Zelda tunes published by the market savvier Alfred Publishers. He’s methodically working his way through the entire book with its tricky rhythms and quirky harmonies.

Nicholas is only one of the hordes of Zelda fans, young and old (the game has been selling millions of copies for almost 30 years) who’ll be packing Portland’s Keller Auditorium (one of the biggest performing arts venues in town) this Sunday for the latest touring extravaganza, Symphony of The Goddesses. In March 2013 Nicholas attended the Oregon Symphony’s sold-out tribute to Zelda and composer Koji Kondo in the hallowed halls of the orchestra’s home, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Two years later in March 2015 he was back to hear rePlay: Symphony of Heroes, returning yet again in September 2015 to hear the OSO fete Pokemon, both to packed houses. He or other multi-generational attendees might not be going back to hear Beethoven, but with three trips to concert halls in one year, at least we’re getting a different and substantially younger audience to venture into places considered intimidating, possibly helping to overcome at least that barrier to exploring Beethoven. To underscore the “classical” connection, this performance features a four movement symphony arranged from the music written for various editions of the game, performed by a 90-piece orchestra and chorus made up of local musicians.

Last year, ArtsWatch covered how popular and seriously classical video game music has become — the soundtrack of our time.  It might be a bridge into other types of classical music or it might stand alone in its own classification with its own huge audience and fan base much like earlier classifications:  Baroque, Classical, Romantic… Hollywood film scores, Videogame soundtracks. More important than the possible seeding of new listeners for old music is the nurturing of new generations who want to play — not just listen to — classical music of our time and before.

What happened? Where did it all go right?


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