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A Composer's Guide to Game Music (MIT Press) Paperback – August 11, 2017
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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Winifred Phillips's passion and understanding of this medium comes to life on the page and is a direct result of her vast experience and accomplishment in composing for video games. This is not just compulsory bedside reading for budding games composers, but a fine achievement in itself. Bravo!(Harry Gregson-Williams, Composer of Shrek, Narnia, Kingdom of Heaven, and the Metal Gear Solid series)
An important, deep, and rare exploration of video game music by one of the medium's smartest and most talented voices. You may not know the name Winifred Phillips but if you play games, you absolutely know -- and love -- her creations!(David Jaffe, Director of God of War and the Twisted Metal series)
When I began writing for games over 20 years ago, I wish there had been a book like this to guide me through the process, art, and business of scoring for games. Winifred Phillips's book is an excellent combination of practical techniques along with the human touch of a game composer's real-life experiences.(Michael Sweet, Artistic Director, Video Game Scoring, Berklee College of Music)
This book accurately illustrates the video game composer's task, which is to create music that perfectly complements an existing artistic vision. While the video game industry has its unique set of processes, for the aspiring composer, musicianship is the key to success. In the same manner, Winifred Phillips has excelled in this genre thanks to her musical talent.(Didier Lord, Head of Music, Ubisoft)
Although the text on the inside of the book's dust jacket explains that A Composer's Guide To Game Music offers 'indispensable guidance for musicians and composers', Phillips' book deserves a wider audience. Even with no formal music training and no real interest in video gaming, I found that there is much to enjoy. The content is well-balanced so that those who have an interest in composing music for video games and people who have a more general interest in the use of music in games, film and television can learn a lot from this book.(Reel Music)
A Composer's Guide To Game Music is partly educational and partly inspirational...a great introduction to this specialist art.(Sound on Sound)
An excellent guide for a musician or composer…this is a very insightful and engaging book and a very solid read especially for aspiring composers looking to break into the industry.(NY Film Music Examiner)
The core of the book is a set of chapters that delve into the actual craft of writing game music in a way that few, if any, other books have ever done… tremendously valuable to composers.(Tracksounds)
A Composers Guide to Game Music is hands down a must have for everyone interested in game music.(The Audio Spotlight)
Between the real life experiences and the step-by-step walkthroughs of how certain things work, this is essential material for budding musicians looking for their first big break -- or perhaps veterans looking for fresh inspiration.(Push Square)
About the Author
Winifred Phillips is an award-winning composer who has composed the music for such video games as Assassin's Creed Liberation, The Da Vinci Code, God of War, Shrek the Third, Spore Hero, the LittleBigPlanet franchise, and many others.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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I guess my final verdict is "good, but not for me."
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.
This book is applicable to any composer, though it is absolutely catered to the game composer. Several scientific studies and papers are discussed in order to educate and inform, but NEVER to dictate creative choices, which the author goes out of her way a number of times to point out. As a nerd, I really appreciated the in depth discussions of how modern science can contribute to the process but I never once felt like she was suggesting that this should trump the creative instinct of the writer; a perspective that I think would serve modern musicians well. I’ve worked with musicians in the past that really have a problem with utilizing this informed approach (it’s all feeeling maaann), which I don’t think I’ll ever understand, as there are countless examples of beautiful art that came out of this technique.
A number of concepts introduced are totally fascinating: Aleatoric music, Shepard Tones, The Idee Fixe. These topics provided endless inspiration and I’ll be rereading them again in the future as often as necessary. The author utilizes the visualization technique (discussed extensively in the book ‘Flow’, which you should read right now) to demonstrate the concept of the ‘linear loop’; by imagining a scenic forest that one walks through on a pleasant day and never realizes is just a loop that repeats endlessly as new stimuli is cleverly introduced.
The book offers a great deal more that what I’ve mentioned and I’m certain that anyone interested in working as a game composer would do well to read it; it will be within arms reach in my studio for a very long time.