A Composer's Guide to Game Music (MIT Press) Hardcover – February 14, 2014
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Already an acclaimed book, Phillips' hands-on insights and advice make this one a keeper.
You won't find a more comprehensive guide... this book is a welcome delight.
A Composer's Guide to Game Music, Phillips's 2014 book, offers a level-headed worker's tour of a fantasy-fueled world... Phillips thoroughly covers why music matters... and she calmly guides the reader through new and old world compositional problems...(Phillips's book) simply aims to be transparent and generous, and to offer a sensible, clear, and methodically minded explanation of how work happens in an illusory world.
(The Los Angeles Review of Books)
About the Author
- Publisher : The MIT Press (February 14, 2014)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0262026643
- ISBN-13 : 978-0262026642
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.56 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,239,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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The only experience I had before reading this book was playing a bit of harmonica as a child, and dabbling with some fruity loops for some hip-hop music back in the day. I have no composition experience or formal education.
With that said, this book was a really great read! It introduced me to some musical concepts such as the leitmotif and idee fixe. The common themes that run through music and projects. The switching up of instruments to maintain the style of music while altering it. Speeding up and slowing down.
She gets into the study one can do while working on a game project to have the fullest immersion possible. Presents studies that have been done on people's taste in music and video games and the association involved. The different elements of sound and music produced in the games and the types of things a producer may request, as well as the interaction between the development team and the composer.
As I said, I have no real composition experience to speak of, just a layman. This book was very great though. I am sure that after I touch up on some music theory and get a bit of experience and dwell deeper into my projects that this is a book I will reference often.
The author throws in philosophical ideas to keep things interesting, but I was disappointed that the musical examples provided were for someone who can barely read music (melodic notation for examples like Row Row Your Boat). I would have benefited from seeing actual chord structures and measure lengths, to see the mechanics rather than having them alluded to with verbage.
Examples are cited from popular video games, but again, if the author had taken the time to include the notation, someone with musical chops would have understood the concepts immediately without having leave the book to go onto YouTube to access game play videos, and try to analyze chords by ear.
A Composer’s Guide to Game Music feels aimed directly at my archetype. It’s a crash course for composers who feel a deep desire to bring their craft to the gaming medium. It concentrates on passion and dogged determination while also explaining aspects as specific as necessary software and elevator pitches. Upon finishing the book, I came away with ideas, confidence, and direction. I feel a fire has been lit and I may actually know where to go from here.
This is a near mandatory read for anyone even considering entering the game music composition field. Start here, folks.
I guess my final verdict is "good, but not for me."
Top reviews from other countries
Listening to Winifred's music lead me to this book and what can I say? It removes all language barriers that a fresh new composer may encounter.
As a composer myself, even after working in the industry, this book should become part of a staple diet for anyone interested in making music for video games, or even sound design for that matter.
Winifred's words are cemented with confidence to the reader as her experience emenates through the chapters. And removed is and pretentiousness that some longer established composers seem to offer.
This book is a bare-bones honest account of her experiences, mistakes and knowledge learned along the way to becoming one of the most respected composers in the video game industry.
Key information like working alongside middleware to aid yourself composing both ambient, situational and interactive audio are more than present and detailed.
The inspiration that she gives as well as the huge amount of interactivity with her readers via social media is something that many an isolated studio composer would hugely benefit from, initiate or experienced.