Week 1 of a Master’s Degree

There is a heck lot of music going on within these walls! And what diversity!! I have yet to meet a pair of students that do the exact same style and instruments, and I think it will take a while before I do.

In our program we have just started to get to know each other, and today we sat inside this venue at our campus.

Listening to all the music we had brought today, they turned into great discussions on the creative process and what goal everyone has with their studies. Turns out we have a few people interested in making music for games, but so far I’m the only one with having it as my primary reason for attending this institute.

Still, it makes me so excited to find out that we have a lot of different expertise among ourselves and I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to get to know music making from other points of views.

For my part, I’m doing some individual studies with two authors in particular.

The first one being Winifred Phillips and her extraordinary book on composing for video games, I highly recommend anyone interested in this topic to read it. So far, I have only read extracts from it so thought it’s time I dig into it for real right now and use it in parallel with the second book I’m reading.

“How Music Works” by David Byrne is a deep dive into the clock-work itself, so to speak. His hypothesis is that people don’t decide what music is to be popular and remembered throughout history, but it’s an innate consequence of the environment which music is being played within. In its broadest term, the analysis is Darwinian and the result is fascinating. By taking into account that “survival of the fittest” we can come to some insights into why some music seems to just work and why some doesn’t. However, it is not clear to me how that gives us the full picture, and I especially want to put it inside the context of video game music. Really interesting stuff!

Coming up we have a few assignments. One being a co-write of a piece of music until next Monday, and the other being a plan for our individual art project.

I have decided the general approach for my studies and in one sentence it’s called “Music Design for Video Games“.

Next week there will be an update with my plan, it will probably be more precise to better suit this semester. 🙂

PS

My absolute top lad of a friend Nick has just released his first single under his new artist name. He is doing a more honest R&B than ever and I think you should give him a listen 😀 Here’s a link to his release “No Friends” with Nick Albie, which I have had a finger in the game with. 😉

DS

Until Next Time!

// J

Master’s Degree in Game Music

Entrance to the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden

Starting this September, I will begin my studies at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. After a long application process, lasting since December 2019, it was announced to me that I will have a seat among this years students. I’m excited to meet new people, to the extent that it is possible during the current pandemic circumstances, but I know it will happen. People always tend to find solutions to socializing. Especially, I assume, creative people.

From the get go, my interest is to study how music is produced for and used in games. And my intention is to give regular updates on this blog so I can document my research. There are people around the internet looking for this kind of knowledge. So come on in and get it. Feel free to ask me about it through my social channels.

One of the topics I’m going to dive deeper into is “music design”. As composers and sound designers we hear it every now and then, but I have yet to see someone take a clean swing at it.

In general, my interest is mainly emotional impact and musical flow in game environments. As a capable programmer I’m able to compose and arrange the music in such a way that the game and its underlying music have a natural and clear relationship. Instead of, as I often hear it being used, being slapped onto gameplay with the only intention of filling out space, which will only give it an “OK” rating in my book. The music I want to make for games must be “Excellent” and “Next Level”, otherwise I’m not interested.

Finally, I will also take a serious look at the legal and copyright aspect of music for games, since I have been subjected to some egregious comments and attitudes towards music composers and their rights for the earnings and derivative works of projects they are involved with. Seeing how the music, in some cases, lasts longer and permeates the global culture in a way more effective way than the games they are composed for; It is a shame how music as an art is being treated by the developing community.

Next up, I have a meeting at the school on the 25th of August with introductions and other formalities. Let’s go! 🙂