The Role of Music in Gaming
Tue, 13 Mar 2018

It is video game music month on Clef Notes and I would love to hear any fun anecdotes from game enthusiasts out there! Last week, we touched on arcade games as well as early consoles. Today, I would like to expand our NES discussion to include the Super NES that came on the market in Japan in 1990 and the U.S. in 1991.

With the development of the new and improved NES in the early 90s came the use of a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) system in which programmers had the option to use different instrument sounds within a game. The Super NES also contained eight stereo channels (16 channels total) which was certainly a jump from its predecessor.

With the Super NES came the use of music in various roles within gaming. While games continued to contain soundtracks that served to accompany onscreen action, several also incorporated music into the game’s plot. One example of this is Final Fantasy VI during which an actual opera takes place. This opera was composed by Nobuo Uematsu for the game. Uematsu also uses leitmotifs throughout the game (a constantly recurring musical theme that usually represents an object or character). In the video clip here you can see the opera scene from the original Super NES version of Final Fantasy VI. Notice that at this point in time, technology did not allow for the usage of a human voice so we still experience chip tune music accompanying on-screen lyrics.

Join me next time as we take a look at making music in video games, specifically The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time!


More from Clef Notes:

A New Album from Simone Dinnerstein
Mon, 09 Jul 2018

Music for the 4th!
Wed, 04 Jul 2018

Leonard Bernstein: A Celebrated Teacher
Mon, 25 Jun 2018

Music Cincinnati: Linton Chamber Music Series
Mon, 18 Jun 2018

Charles Gounod Turns 200!
Mon, 11 Jun 2018

Virtual Tour: WGUC Music Library
Mon, 04 Jun 2018

Sibelius' Kullervo
Tue, 29 May 2018

Bernstein's Mass
Thu, 17 May 2018

Leonard Bernstein: The Beginning
Mon, 14 May 2018

What is music?
Tue, 08 May 2018

May the Fourth Be With You
Fri, 04 May 2018

What is a Clef Note?
Mon, 23 Apr 2018

An Interview with Jesus Lopez Cobos
Mon, 16 Apr 2018

Paddle to the Sea from Third Coast Percussion
Mon, 09 Apr 2018

Music for Rocking a Baby to Sleep
Mon, 02 Apr 2018

What do you think?
Thu, 29 Mar 2018

Video Game Music Research
Tue, 27 Mar 2018

Music in Modern Gaming
Thu, 22 Mar 2018

Rhythm Games
Tue, 20 Mar 2018

Making Music in a Game
Thu, 15 Mar 2018