7 Tricks for Choosing Music for Films and Video Games
Have you ever wondered what type of thoughts come into play when choosing music for films, indie games and animations? Knowing how certain music can evoke emotions can be a game changer when selecting a song and can affect your project positive or negatively. Find out how film and game composers create the best music for games and film.
Indie development in the games industry can be challenging, and it’s important to know how to select the right indie video game music for your game.
If you’re a filmmaker looking for the best music for films, you should consider some of the following genres of music for your next blockbuster hit.
Genres such as rock can help portray a raw and gritty mood or setting. Guitar distortion and strong drums contribute to substantial moments in a film or game.
Rock music usually consists of drums, guitars, bass, and sometimes a vocalist. If you want to take the aggression up a notch, you can dive deeper and head into the genre of heavy metal.
If you’re an indie game developer, you can consider rock music for a heavy boss battle or fast-paced scenes.
Rock music can be further used to portray aggression such as youth rebellion or an uprising/action scene in an indie film.
2. Hip Hop
Hip Hop soundtracks can be used in a variety of ways. They can make something seem edgy and hip. It can help create "the cook kids" effect as well as give the illusion of confidence. This is an effective trick to help establish a character as popular and confident as they walk down a hallway.
Electronic music is a good tool to use for curious scenes or situations. It can also help portray intelligence in a character and make them seem cerebral.
A fast paced electronic soundtrack can help create urgency for a main character that is racing against time. Another possible scenario is if a character must make an educated guess. This is great music for video games that have science fiction themes.
Choosing a Cinematic or Orchestral styled soundtrack will prepare your audience for a grand or victorious situation. Orchestral music is one of the most popular types of music for video games.
Typically orchestral music contains stringed instruments such as violins and cellos, brass instruments such as trumpets and tubas and woodwinds such as flutes clarinets.
When a protagonist ends up defeating the main villain, a grand and triumphant orchestral piece of music with emphasized brass can help do the trick. This type of soundtrack is great for adventure games and role playing games.
While positive situations are grand, sad and emotional situations can be grand as well. Orchestral instruments are extremely effective in burning out human emotion such as sadness and tension with stringed instruments. As a result, this makes orchestral music great filmmaker music.
If you are in need of a calm and soothing theme, try using some ambient sounds and textures. Ambient sounds typically have atmospheric and light elements accompanied by heavy reverb and other processing effects. By having subtle melodies and chord progressions, the viewer can retain important information such as plot progression.
Ambient music is effective in sci-fi themed situations as well as serine moments such as being in a still meadow.
A great example of this type of ambient soundtrack is the Stardew Valley Soundtrack.
Acoustic styled soundtracks tend to evoke empathetic emotions and help the viewer feel connected to the subject.
Typical acoustic soundtracks usually consist of string instruments like guitars (at times cello, violin, etc.), and sometimes feature softer drum tracks, or no drum track at all as well as vocals. Acoustic is a popular genre for singer/songwriters due to its accessibility and ability to do solo performances.
Using this style of music can help the viewer empathize a loss of a character and feel emotionally connected to the situation. It can also be effective in wholesome situations such as the birth of a baby or the delivery of good news.
Using a funk soundtrack is a great way to display an unapologetic situation. It can help create a discordant mood while adding a little bit of humour or brightness. Similar to Hip Hop, it can help establish confidence with a sassy attitude.
Much like rock music, a funk band includes guitars, drums, bass and vocals. Unlike traditional rock music, funk music also incorporates horn instruments, saxophones and synthesizers.
By using these 7 tricks, you are guaranteed to improve the quality of your soundtrack for your indie video game or film. While sometimes breaking the rules can be effective, knowing music emotions can give you the knowledge to make better creative decisions when choosing the best music for films, game development, filmmaking and more.
What creative ways do you see yourself using these genres? Try experimenting and pairing opposites to see what happens, the best part about creating a project is the adventure.