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PR man brags: ‘I got Classic FM to love videogame music’

Don’t ask how this article came into my inbox. Just read what it tells us about the nebulous state of ‘classical’ definitions.

Sample: “One of the interesting things I found when I started this was just how accepting the people at Classic FM were of the music,” says Robins. “To them the revelation was, ‘Oh, we thought game music was all beeps and bloops, but actually this stuff is great. If Mozart or Beethoven were alive today then who’s to say this isn’t the stuff they’d be composing. It absolutely sits alongside movie and traditional classical music.’”


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  1. You should probably listen to some of it first, Norman, before going all ‘definitions & pigeon holes’ on us, eg try some of Angele Dubeau’s CD of game music on the Discographie page of her site: (there are samples if you don’t want to get the whole thing)

  2. Game music is a fantastic way to introduce classical music to a new audience. Not because game music is as excellent as Beethoven or Sibelius, but because it starts a conversation well worth having (just like film scores). I interview game composers in a podcast for Classical Minnesota Public Radio, and I’ve had amazing conversations with countless listeners interested in learning more about classical music in general. It’s a huge goal in my life. I talk about neo-classicism and baroque music in the latest episode, because why not?

    • Joep Bronkhorst says:

      If I remember rightly, one of the intermittently chart-topping Gregorian Chant CDs owed its success to the game Halo, which used something similar. And no one was too fussed when Spem in alium hit the top, after it got Anastasia’s juices flowing. Composers from Vaughan Williams to Philip Glass have written movie scores and the games industry’s even bigger, so this chap’s bang on the money

  3. Well there are some terrific composers in games for example Jeremy Soule … but musical style aside, there are some excellent opportunities for non-linearity and interactivity in composing for games that are just not there in any other place for music (film, TV, concert hall…) – and a game doesn’t just have to be blowing stuff up. There are some very beautiful artsy games out there being made by independent makers. Check out Eufloria for example or Machinarium (the composer of which is some guy called Dvorak, no not that Dvorak but another one!) – it has no dialogue or explosions etc but is a very charming and fun puzzle game (I know, I’ve played it!)

  4. I need examples of what he’s talking about—otherwise I don’t know what I’m discussing.

  5. We’ve had a couple of “VideoGames Live” concerts, and a concert of music from the game “Zelda,” and I was surprised that I really enjoyed the music. There are some phenomenally talented composers out there,writing some lovely melodies, and beautifully orchestrated at that. Basically, those are film scores.

    I bet if you put some of these on classical radio stations, you’d have listeners calling in or logging on, trying to find out, what WAS that piece you just played?”

    (Well, I am assuming that the typical classical music listener has never played Zelda et al–maybe that’s not quite a fair assumption!)

  6. Stephen Carpenter says:

    THis is all very interesting but at the bottom, the purpose of the music is to enhance and support something external to itself. Have I missed something? While the “sound” and “concept” may be “classical”, it seems this is a side effect. It also seems that if the music can stand on its own merits (like in a concert venue as opposed to a game environment. something might be at work. Very interesting, and much better than say, choristers and orchestra playing their hearts out with the last pages of Beethoven’s last symphony while bombs, car chased and mayhem run amok on the “big screen.” which is what I’ve been treated to incessantly on the small screen in the run up to Mr. Willis’s latest exercise.

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