I miss Jeremy Soule
Bleh, had to cut the post in two due to length. Please, Anet, can’t you consider allowing us to post longer posts? Finns like me can’t write in a concise manner, so it’d be much appreciated. >_>;
I’m glad I’m not the only one with that problem! It’s not limited to Finns, I assure you.
The track you’re thinking of is called “The Asteroid Field”. Must’ve been awesome to play it; it’s one of Williams’s finest with a very catchy theme and nice orchestration.
It was an amazing opportunity. I did a magnet school kind of a thing for music when I was in high school, and so here were a bunch of high school kids, some fresh out of middle school (although our pops concert was the last one of the year, so at least they’d had some time to get acclimatized with some Rossini overtures! dat Rossini crescendo) with “The Asteroid Field” and the Overture from Bernard Herrmann’s North by Northwest soundtrack sitting on their music stands… (Obviously the BBC Philharmonic plays it better— but we were at nearly at that tempo and holding our own!) We also played “Across the Stars” from the movies-that-do-not-exist-but-their-soundtracks-totally-do. (My left pinkie finger may never forgive me for this part, with all those fiddly 16th notes down on the C string…) I’m pretty sure that was the year after we played John Adams’ " Short Ride in a Fast Machine," which, for a bunch of high school students to manage at tempo, required us to be basically listening to it constantly for a good few months. (There was a lot of really funny-looking walking and erratic headbanging going on during that time.)
Now I’m stuck in this awkward place where I’m not quite at the level a professional musician (had a concentration in music composition rather than performance, and I’m just not quite in love with the viola enough to survive being a symphony violist) but I’m way too spoiled for community orchestra! (Totally worth it though.)
Also, a minor correction if I may as a fan of John Williams’s music. The Original Trilogy does have music in some of the lightsaber clashes, the most famous piece being when Luke attacks Vader in Return of the Jedi (the old name for the track used to be Final Duel before the complete soundtrack came out). The use of that choral theme during the climactic duel serves a narrative function, adding an almost Wagnerian layer of tragedy and destiny as father and son clash in battle which can have no winner. In here Lucas was wise to use Williams’s talents to punctuate this point, and the music (along with cinematography, acting etc.) is what makes that scene one of the best in the entire Star Wars franchise, IMHO.
Ah, I had in fact forgotten that. What a way to use silence, too— some of the fights silent, which makes the burst into tragic, dramatic music for the final, climactic one so much more intense!
I suppose the moral of the story is that there are moments when music that is too dramatic detracts from the moment (or even music at all); and there are moments when you’re so emotionally involved that it would feel wrong not to have any music. Remembering the scene now, I really can’t think of it without the music. It would feel wrong, or at least less, somehow; whereas the first lightsaber fight is definitely more without music.
…And also that I have a problem with walls of text.
(edited by Twyll Blackleaf.9641)
I don’t find the music of GW2 to be very good or memorable, especially the annoying tune at character select screen, so it has been off pretty much from the start.
My favorite game composer is Bill Brown who did the awesome Lineage II soundtrack.
I’ve enjoyed a lot of Soule’s older works (GW1, Morrowind), but… more recent stuff by him just seems to be retreading old ground. His Elder Scrolls work mostly consists of reworking and/or rearranging his Morrowind tracks, and most of the GW2 soundtrack was rearrangements of themes from GW1. I think it speaks volumes that despite having a 4 disc soundtrack of its own, the majority of the music that actually plays in game is from GW1.
I’m also glad that other composers are getting time in the spotlight. Maclaine et al may be taking time to find their feet, but their work has gotten noticeably better. About the only complaint I have is the string sections of Battle on the Breachmaker, which seem to be extremely similar in parts to the SAB 2-3 theme. I know there was speculation at one stage that Scarlet had some link to SAB, and maybe this is it, but… it still threw me. Like, a lot.
An Officer and a Gentlewoman
I agree that the work Soule did for GW2 wasn’t really great, especially compared to past works of his. I noticed that none of it really set off any good vibes with me; the only time the music caught and pulled me in was when the game would play tracks from GW1… but that might be nostalgia speaking. I started playing that game when I was 14… I’m 21 now. O_o
Oh, and @ the person who said that they need to "hire better woodwind players "that’s not how sampling works. Sampling is where you take clips of instruments doing different things like starting and stopping and then you map them out to different MIDI messages so that you can MIDI sequence them, but get the timbre of an actual instrument. Most games cannot afford to hire an orchestra.
I also like how this discussion is attracting the musicians of the fan base.
I’ve been thinking about what people have been posting, and I have changed my stance a little bit I think. I think it may be a good thing that Soule is gone, for a few reasons. First of all, because it lets new blood take the scene, which is always good. Secondly because Soule treats his audience poorly, and therefore does not deserve their respect or support. Thirdly because Soule has been stagnating in style for a while now, and his new tracks have not lived up to his older scores.
That said, I still miss the consistent quality of Soule’s music. Sure, most of his new music for GW2 didn’t live up to the past works of his, with a few exceptions. But I was never put off by it; I only became apathetic to it. But with some of the new tracks, I am put off by them either for their lack of orchestration and development or by the timbre of the instruments.
While the soundtrack may be enough to please most people, I think that it’s the responsibility of game composers – especially ones in such a great position to compose music to bring a world like Tyria to life – to compose music that both appeals to a general audience and to trained musicians, like some of the people who have been commenting.
Because right now, when I try to argue for music in games, I tend to hit this wall where I lack a body of quality works to refer to. If the composers don’t care about the intellectual qualities and artistic value of their music, then this entire topic won’t matter to them. But if they do, then it is their responsibility to create more artful music, and then find an audio aesthetic to match in quality.
Maybe I am being to picky about this, and maybe it seems a bit mean. But criticism is part of putting artwork in public, and I believe that soundtracks in games should be held to a higher standard.
You know who lack variety? John Williams
“A man chooses; a slave obeys.” | “Want HardMode? Play Ranger!”
For me, the one flawless element of the Living World has been the audio. I’m a big Soule fan, and I used to think that nobody could replace him either, but I’ve honestly never looked back. I’m always excited to hear what the Anet audio team will come up with next – they have some very talented composers in their midst.
Suggestion: Gendered Armour Design Maxims
I wholeheartedly agree with you.
The music should uplift the game’s immersion, not detract from it. I hope they will invest in better samples for Leif and Maclaine to use. The Wintersday and Halloween music from GW, for example, may have been specifically composed for the festivals, but they upheld the immersion and were beautifully arranged; however, the Wintersday and Halloween music for GW2 gives the festivals almost a goofy atmosphere.
EDIT: That being said, they’ve composed a bit more since these festival themes, and I think they’re improving.
(edited by Shew.6827)