Video game tunes inspire student orchestra
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 22:02
“It just adds to the general feeling of being in the game,” Freshman Brian Henry says.
Henry says he frequently listens to video game music even when he is busy doing other things. He says the music in video games is a really important aspect of the experience, since it seems to change the atmosphere and mood.
A self-proclaimed avid gamer, Henry says he enjoys a wide range of video games and usually notices the strings more than nay other instruments.
8-Bit Orchestra, an orchestral group, performs the video game music that sets scenes and evokes feeling to an otherwise silent world, such as the iconic tunes accompanying Mario in his rescue of Peach or Skyrim’s Nordic cadences roaring in the background.
Sophomore Tyler Modesto, the current president of 8-Bit Orchestra, says he started the group on a whim. He says the orchestra began though a Facebook group that he created with some of his friends last semester.
“We only expected around 20 people to join, but soon there were over 50 people interested in the group,” Modesto says.
Songs from video games like “Mario Bros.” have been used by the university’s marching band, Modesto says. 8-Bit Orchestra plays songs from games ranging from older SEGA games like “Sonic” to newer PlayStation3 games like “Final Fantasy XIII,” he says.
James Anderson, director of Orchestral Activities, says as technology advances, the cinematic scenes in video games become more theatrical in nature.
“To keep up, the music that accompanies a game’s impressive visuals must be equally as impressive,” Anderson says. “The lines between orchestral music and that of video games are becoming more blurred.”
However, Anderson says he thinks there may not always be similar themes between video game music and classical orchestral music. He says themes vary according to what the song is trying to convey.
Classical music can create a sense of feeling for the listener, Anderson says. Songs from video games are also created to convey a sense of emotion for the gamer, which connects orchestral music and video gaming, he says.
Professional symphonic orchestras like the Video Game Orchestra are selling out concerts featuring scores of music from the video games, he says. According to Anderson, playing concerts of video game music is becoming much more popular in the orchestra community.
As a fan of the music, Anderson, says he has played the Elder Scrolls, one version of Skyrim’s predecessors.
Modesto says he enjoys playing “Sonic” and the “Metal Gear Solid” series on his PlayStation 3 himself. Within the 8-Bit Orchestra, Modesto plays the clarinet.
“Our orchestra is comprised of a strings section, woodwinds, wind, brass and percussion instruments,” Modesto says. “Professional video game orchestras may also include a rock band but many songs do not need one depending on the game.”
8-Bit Orchestra plans on having a concert in April, but the date is tentative due to a scheduling conflict with another concert. The group is set to have at least one concert per semester comprised of gamer melodies from popular titles, Modesto says.
He says the orchestra is still learning the songs for their concert this spring. The set includes songs from “Sonic,” “Tiny Wings” and “Final Fantasy XIII.” He says the group is hoping to portray upbeat, arcade-style songs, as well as heart-pounding, intense battle music.
“That’s obviously not the list of all of the songs,” Modesto says. “We want to keep some of the songs a secret for the concert.”