September 26, 2022

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Game Music: Play me a song from the game

With the BBC’s ‘Gaming Prom’ programme, computer game music has finally established itself in concert halls. What distinguishes it from movie music? How do you compose them? And why does she have the most loyal fans?

What is this? Can you even call it music? Members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra make strange noises from their noble instruments at London’s Royal Albert Hall: whistling, bubbling, soft burping and farting. Only gradually do some clumsy, choppy melodies emerge from the slightly irritating, almost miserable tone of voice. Visitors laugh or smile happily, perhaps feeling reminded of something.

Ten minutes later the ghost was over. From the second piece onwards, violins blare, fanfare erupts, and drums threatening. Hollywood movie music at its best? No, it is basically no different from what it was at the beginning: the background sound of those games that billions of people play on their computers, consoles and smartphones, arranged for the concert hall as a variety or suite. The evening’s program is a foray into their history: from the rugged, purely electronic beginnings in an eight-bit tight corset to the orchestral extravaganza of today’s role-playing games, which take participants with immersive sound to alternate universes for hours or even days. It is performed in a full house, only to a smaller audience than usual, as part of the BBC Proms, the world’s largest and most popular classical concert series.

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