And so begins the updates for my project.
After thinking long and hard, I have decided entire project to be based around utilizing gaming aspects in music education. I decided to create 3 sound tracks and mixes to showcase Ableton Live and Soundtrap. I will also explain the implications of my project idea in a high school classroom setting, backed with some theory and resources.
Since this is based around music education, I will be creating this project from a (high school) student perspective but expressing some classroom implementations from a teacher perspective along the composition process.
Our first step is to find a source of inspiration to work with – A more fun part of the project, due to the fact that we are able to think through all of the different gaming experiences. For myself personally, I chose to use Minecraft as the material to base my music around.
It’s quite embarrassing to say but I haven’t spent too many hours on Minecraft, and the time that I have played the game is without background music (BGM), so I won’t be influenced at all. However, I did listen to one of the BGMs (Sweden – C418) in Minecraft before, but I have no idea what backdrop it belonged to. (Upon further research, it was one of the three soundtracks played when you are in the Overworld.)
So, after deciding to use Minecraft as my material, I hopped into Minecraft, created a completely new world and took a screenshot. This was the screenshot.
Now we can start using this simple screenshot as the source material to create something. My interpretation of this picture is a wide, open but peaceful and bright world. So I wanted to make something that is light in texture, and fresh sounding.
I hopped into Ableton Live, and used the sound sources in the core package to demonstrate. I chosen not to use any external ones just because I wanted it to be as default as possible. Now, my first step is to make a simple beat. This was my result.
The beat was incredibly simple but bright and light, exactly what I wanted, so for the next part, I moved on to creating the melody.
As a teacher, the melody of the piece can be easily integrated into a lesson on Majors and Minors, as well as chord progressions and other various fundamentals.
For the project, I wanted a melody that is simple and repetitive, So for the next part, I added my melodic line, as well as polishing up the baseline to make the music more interesting. Here is the end result.
The baseline line is simple, designed to be easily repeated. The melodic line is a quite and high pitched organ – making the song sound childish and quirky. The entire song is upbeat and happy to allow players to be more engaged in the game.
When you consider the genre of the game, which is suppose to be digging around, exploring and building houses, the music fits quite well into the theme of sandbox gaming because of its thin texture and happy sounding melodic line.
I have also left a little bit at the end with just the baseline to allow a smoother loop back to the beginning.
Part 2 of the my project is to experiment a similar idea but instead using Soundtrap as the music software.
Following Part 1, we start by getting the source material to inspire our composition, this time I have decided to still use Minecraft but with the ‘Nether’ as backdrop. Again, I have never listened to the background music of this biome so I will not be biased or influenced. Here is the picture:
As we can see from the picture, Nether is a lot more ‘hellish’ looking than the Overworld. We have a lava stream flowing downwards, lots of fire spots everywhere to indicate a hot and humid temperature as well as a very, very open and empty biome. My idea is to a slow, minor sounding progression with more focus in the lower register. Here is the result
I tried to create a feeling of large and empty through the ‘Windy’ and ‘Deep’ mixes in my tracks. This was create through an edit of the frequency, reverb and resonance. The deep and slow moving melodic line create a nice melody to be following along. Lastly, I added just simple kicks in the baseline to give the piece a bit of a push and impact.
Part 3 of my project is based on on a similar structure, however this time I will be cropping and mixing pre-existing tracks to formulate my composition. The source will still be Minecraft, however with a rainy day feeling this time.
This was a lot harder to compose as I am using mostly pre-existing soundtracks to remix rather than compose from scratch. Furthermore, this had also challenged me to gather my brain cells and think of all the tracks I have listened to and figure out which ones fit best. The overall process was very similar to solving a puzzle! It was like trying to fit all of the pieces together on the board.
The general idea of the composition was to create a nostalgic feeling under the rainy weather, as well as including a rain sound as a baseline. I did have an idea to make the rain come a little later, just so I can recreate the story of a sudden rain. The bird chirping that I cropped was also a great fit to start the rain.
So after experimenting and reflecting. The first two ideas were great and easily executable. The third idea of creating a remix did not work as well as I expected. I figure the task would be much easier as “Use this source material to create a piece” for remixing rather than “creating a piece from scratch”. The piece does not repeat well to fit as a background music, but it does fit well into the rain and the source material.
Therefore, one of the alternatives could be to change the goal of the task from creating a background music using the source material, into create
background music using the source material