Read your last post (I'm jealous) and was greatly interested when I came across, "I actually wrote about the relationship between the young generation and videogame music/classical music for my dissertation last year...." Is this available for public viewing? I would be greatly interested in reading it. :)
Hello! Ah thanks so much for reading my post and taking an interest in my dissertation, much appreciated! Unfortunately I haven’t published this anywhere, I’m a bit afraid to return to something I wrote so long ago haha. It’s possible that I’ll make it available in the future, perhaps over the summer, as I’d love to share it with video-game music fans such as yourself. Actually I was just reading through the Dragon Quest posts on your blog, I enjoyed reading them, and in fact I wrote a little about Koichi Sugiyama and the Dragon Quest live symphonies in the dissertation! Anyway, I’ll let you know the moment I decide to publish it :) Thanks again for reading, I hope you’re able to see a Final Symphony concert eventually :)
This is my first post in quite a while, a month in fact! The reason being I’ve been very busy lately with a music project, a project that I’m proud to say is my first ever professional music composition job :D Unfortunately I can’t say what the project is just yet, but all will be revealed soon. I’m very excited about it!
This means that I haven’t had any time to compose any personal music. So in the meantime, I’d like to share an old track that I composed over four years ago. I thought people may be interested in what I composed in the past.
Boat Adventure (old demo) by Adam Haynes
I composed this piece specifically for my university interview back in 2008, for which we had to showcase some of our music work. I decided that I’d compose four new tunes for this interview, and this was the first. I used an old orchestral package called Edirol, which has a very computer game-like sound. It’s cute, and I kinda miss the simplistic nature of its tones.
I had a cut-scene in mind for this piece - a small child on a small sail-boat, sailing the ocean waves. The scenery of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was a huge inspiration for this; the sea, the bright colours, the character designs. I really wanted to capture that feeling of youth and adventure with this piece.
The ending is supposed to reflect the end of the child’s adventure, as he/she is arriving back at the shore at dusk, perhaps feeling a little tired after a long day playing at sea. I imagined this end-scene silhouetted against an orange and purple sky.
Listening back on it now I can point out some things I’d definitely change, and I have every intention of re-composing this.
Hope you enjoy a little of my composing history! :) I will soon upload the other three tracks I composed for my university interview.
And finally: the final part of my Space Opera for Piano. This blog post has been a bit delayed due to work but I’m glad to be posting it, especially for those that enjoyed the previous parts.
This part of the score was composed for the grand finale of the original film. As before, I don’t want to describe the plot. However, I will say that the second half of this piece was actually for the end-credit sequence, and upon writing it I discovered that I love writing credit music! It allowed me to bring together all the themes and motifs used throughout the whole score and present them in a neat package, with a final resolution.
Actually, I wanted to create a feeling of an uncomfortable resolution - one that almost doesn’t resolve. I wanted the viewer to feel a bit lost with the ending, but also at peace with this sense of being lost. Ugh..I can’t describe it without sounding pretentious haha! Well I’d love to know what it makes *you* feel! :) Maybe you can describe it better than I can.
I intended to make the last quarter of the score possess slightly different character than the previous quarters. I wanted to break that sci-fi tone and make it sound more ‘human’ and raw, at least before the credits roll. I then break this familiar, human feel with the sudden stabbing of threatening chords (@~1:05). There’s a very good reason for this in the film ;) The credits then roll at around the 1:32 mark.
Anyway, I hope the final part of my score successfully wraps up this sci-fi adventure, and leaves you feeling like you’ve encountered something from a distant universe.
Thank you again for all those that listened to all parts and/or left comments - I’m incredibly grateful :)
Route 29 - Pokémon Gold & Silver - Arrangement by Adam Haynes
Here is the second of my Pokémon Gold & Silver arrangement series!
Keeping consistent with the theme of my arrangements I have given Route 29 the Eastern Asia treatment with the sound, with a bit of accordion too. My intention was never to create an authentic Japanese sound, and in fact my arrangement may seem a bit offensive as it has that generic Japanese sound you hear in Western cartoons. Still, like all my music, I composed it purely for fun and for the enjoyment of your ears :)
At first I wasn’t sure about this arrangement, and I spent a long time piecing together scraps of ideas. I almost gave up at one stage because I was so dissatisfied with it. I think I made the right decision to see it through to the end though as I’m very happy with the finished result :)
Perhaps the main Route 29 melody gets a bit lost within the koto and shamisen, but I quite like it that way. For me it was about creating the upbeat and jolly nature that this route’s original music seems to have, whilst also creating the sense of being in foreign lands. As I mentioned in my last arrangement’s blog entry I find the music of Gold & Silver slightly unnerving in that it’s not very homely. Hopefully I’ve captured this in my arrangement, although perhaps it’s a little exaggerated with the Asian theme haha..
I’ve really fallen in love with the accordion and Asian instrument collaboration; they fit perfectly together in my opinion! For me it takes away the Asian sound slightly and gives it a delicate European flavour, which again is good for making the player/listener feel a little far from a familiar homeland. Anyway I’m rambling haha.
Something I always liked about the Pokémon games with a day+night cycle were the slight variations in music during these time changes. The variations are verrry subtle in the original Gold & Silver, but they’re there. I wanted to have a moment in my arrangement that reflected the stillness of the night, which is what you hear with the piano, erhu, and string section.
This was a lot of fun to compose, especially as it came together in the end after a lot of doubt from me. Hope you enjoy this one :)
Here we are then: part three of my Space Opera for Piano. :)
Again, the mood and pace is quite different from that of the first two pieces. There are more dramatic and action-orientated moments here, but I tried to keep the sci-fi feel within the music, as well as the leitmotifs.
When I came to polishing this I noticed that, in the original midi, I had already quantised a lot of it already. And actually, I didn’t like this! I think some of the more up-tempo moments sound a little robotic, but unfortunately I don’t have the skills to rerecord it with a more natural feel. Hopefully it sounds okay though. Any pianists want to attempt to play this? You’re welcome to :)
Oh, and perhaps this should really be tited Space Opera for PianoS! There are moments where the pianist would need three or four hands, or two pianos haha… ;)
Part IV will be polished and uploaded very soon! Thank you for your patience if you’ve taken the time to listen to these as I know they’re very long and possibly a bit tedious. I recieved some lovely comments on part two, so thank you very much, I’m very grateful :)
This is the second part of my Space Opera for piano!
As I said before I don’t want to outline the plot of the original film that I had composed this for, but as you’ll hear there is a slightly different mood to that of the first part. Some of the themes begin their place here so listen out for those :)
If I remember rightly, this section of the entire score took the longest to compose. Establishing the sound/character of the score is where this took place, and from here on the writing process became a bit easier.
This is actually a score I composed for a student film a few years ago, but the film was never planned to be published anywhere. So I’ve taken the score, which was a terrible sounding piano midi, and have rendered it through some more up-to-date software to make it sound a bit grander. I’ve given it a good polish too by tidying up some duff notes, errors, and velocities.
Therefore, what you hear is *not* 100% my performance - it has been heavily edited. Sorry! ;)
The 15-minute silent-film that this piece was originally scored for was called Attack of the Killer Cupcakes, and to be honest my score was probably far too over-the-top and dramatic for what the film was. The film needed something more cartoon-y, but my score ended up a bit pretentious haha… Still, it gave me a chance to explore composing piano to picture, and now I can present it as an original piece of piano music.
I’ve decided not to explain what the film was originally about in detail - only that it is space/alien-related. Each part of the music was specifically tailored for what was happening on screen, but I’d rather not describe the scenes. Instead, you are welcome to interpret the music any way you wish. Envision your own movie with this piece if you like :)
Leitmotifs were very important to me in this entire score, so listen out for them in Part I and future parts :D
The remaining three parts will be uploaded very soon once I’ve given them the magical touch of polish.
This piece is a bit slow so thank you for your patience if you decide to listen to it all. Hope you enjoy it :)
Hello, and welcome to my music composer showreel! :)
This showreel gives you a chance to hear multiple samples of a large amount of my music composition work, and for you to get an idea of what I am like as a music composer.
If you like what you hear, and would like me to compose something for your project - whether it’s a film, video game, media project - then please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can discuss something :)
This is my first ever attempt at chiptune music. I’m not really sure how “authentic” this would be to the chiptune community, as I used VSTi rather than a tracker. Maybe that’s cheating or not authentic, but trackers take a lot of learning and I am far more comfortable composing with virtual instruments ;)
To be honest, I have no idea what I’m doing with chiptune sounds so it’s nothing to take seriously. For instance, my percussion is just the “noise” sound hitting different tones (which can hardly be differentiated anyway). Also, I just had to use my initiative when it came to appplying the different waves to melody, harmony, and rhythmic chords - I have no idea how it’s supposed to be done. Anyway, it was a lot of fun to compose and I think it turned out okay. It’s definitely got a chiptune vibe, and it’s completely deprived of actual chiptune knowlegde haha, which makes it personal to me :)
I’d very much like to research further into chiptune music, and learn how to properly compose it. I’ve tried using MilkyTracker before but it was just too overwhelming for me, and a very slow process. What I am more interested in is the “theory” of chiptune composition.
Anyway, this piece is just for fun and not to take seriously. I will definitely be composing some more in this style. Hope you enjoy it :)
Every day this week, at 4-5pm PST (midnight for UK), my music will be played on the radio stream. Some of the music selected includes my Pokémon and Final Fantasy arrangements, my original piano and classical music, and my own original videogame-inspired compositions.
So please tune in if you enjoy the sounds of video game music or classical music, and please share with your friends if they enjoy it too. Thank you very much for reading!
As it’s the festive season I decided to compose music that would suit a festive/snow-themed level for a video game. I originally intended to create one looping piece, much like the other pieces in my Sounds for Video Games series, but I found that composing festive music was very fun and I couldn’t decide on a specific tune. So, instead, I have made a little selection of tunes collected into one track.
I actually listened to a lot of snow-themed level music before composing this; tracks such as Grant Kirkhope’s Freezeezy Peak from Banjo-Kazooie and Koji Kondo’s Snow Mountain from Super Mario 64 inspired me somewhat, especially with the instrumentation. I have tried to make my piece as original as possible but there are definitely notable homages to these tracks ;)
As you may notice, there is only one main melody. It was a lot of fun to arrange it into different themes, and I’ve tried to depict the various moods of christmas with each arrangement.
The piano at the end is a live recording of myself playing, which is why it sounds a little shaky with bad velocity. I left this unedited because I wanted to give my own very personal touch to the piece.
My only criticism is the fact that I used a French-horn instead of a tuba. The horn sounds just a bit too sluggish and slow for the fast pacing of the tune. Nonetheless, I think I’ve gotten away with it.
I hope you enjoy this piece and let it give you a bit of festive warmth :)
I wish you all a warm and lovely christmas season ★
This is a rhythmic and melodic piece that I have composed to accompany a jungle-themed level of an imaginary video game. It took just under four days to complete, with a lot of work focused on the rhythms and layers of sound. Percussion isn’t my strong point and so it may sound a bit messy, but it was a lot of fun for me to experiment with.
I began with the rhythmic melody on the gyil, a West African mallet instrument that sounds like a xylophone. I love the soft, organic sound it produces so I used this throughout the piece. I haven’t studied the gyil and so I haven’t actually written for a gyil, just used its sound. Anyway, after constructing the body of the piece with the gyil sound I just built the rest of the music around it.
I added some hard bass to really give the piece some groove, and I added the whistle as it reminded me of an old-school video game sound. I can’t pinpoint why, it just does! The choir shouts were really fun to add into the mix, and I found that they gave the piece a lot of its character.
I wrote most of the percussion after composing the body of the piece, and used several percussive instruments. As mentioned before, I don’t have a lot of knowledge in percussion theory and so a lot of it is just from the heart. This means it could sound a bit messy in places, but overall I’m pleased with the outcome.
Like how a jungle is a crowded labyrinth, with layers of trees and growth, I wanted to create lots of layers in my piece to really immerse the listener into the jungle. I’ve never properly attempted to layer a piece of music before, with things discoverable on multiple listens, so hopefully it’s not a bad first attempt! :)
Hope you enjoy my rhythmic sounds of the jungle :)
This is a theme/leitmotif that I composed for a villain in an imaginary video game. I imagined that the villain is not necessarily the “main” villain, but he/she is someone you meet early on in the game, someone who tries to trick you into their little ploy, and failing. I imagine this villain has two dopey sidekicks too, and that you take them out in the first third of the game. This villain is merely a pest, but may have a connection with his superior, the ‘main’ villain, and therefore his death will have implications on the protagonist’s journey.
I set myself a challenge with this piece; to compose it within one day. I started from scratch at 8am and had it finished by 7pm. I was very pleased with myself as writing in short spaces of time is not my strong-point, and it was good practise for me. I shall be doing this again!
I perhaps went overboard with the saxophone in the second half and I strayed away from the theme melody. I feel that I could have kept it a lot simpler. Perhaps I’ll redo this piece with some adjustments.
I’d like to attempt to write another villain piece, but something grander and more epic to suit the ‘main’ villain of a game, so something like Kefka’s theme in Final Fantasy VI.
Intended as video game music, I composed this piece of background music to set the scene of a lively little town, with a small population of good, close people. It’s a town that never sleeps and never frowns, always full of happy, busy little people that warmly welcome every traveller that passes through.
In this town, good entertainment and good food is always on offer to everyone, with a bustling night-life that could delight even the gloomiest of travellers.
Please enjoy your stay at this lively little town :)
Last Friday (Absent Original Soundtrack) by Adam Haynes
Here is a track from the score to Absent, a soon-to-be released adventure game, which I am composing, arranging, and orchestrating for.
Although the developer has already composed some tracks for the game in midi format (of which I am orchestrating and arranging) I am composing a handful of original tracks too, and this is one of them, named ‘Last Friday’. I’m sharing this as a teaser for the upcoming game and soundtrack, which is aiming for a release by the end of the year.
Just in case of spoilers, I can’t go into detail about the track. However, I hope I’ve captured the essence of the atmosphere during this moment of the game, and also captured your ears :) If you’d like to read a bit more about my music for the game and see a trailer, please go here.
If you’d like to hear more of my own personal music, you are welcome to visit my Soundcloud page.
With the first iGame Music Bundle coming to a close, we thought it would be a great time to share some more wonderful soundtracks with you. Highlighted below are a few of the best soundtracks available for free (or PWYW with a minimum of $0).
This is a piece of music that I wrote for a short cartoon animation entitled The Bird Girl, and this is the final version of my score, which went through many drafts and changes over six months. It’s the first professional music-to-picture collaboration I’ve ever worked on and I learned many new things during this new experience, including an understanding of how a composer works as a client to somebody else.
Story and scenes
The story begins with a small bird crash-landing into a boy’s garden as he is sweeping the fallen autumn leaves. The bird emerges from the pile of swept leaves but has magically transformed into a small girl in the process. She and the boy are both bewildered.
The girl, believing she is still a bird, runs away from the boy down the road, desperately trying to take flight with her newly-formed human arms. The boy is in pursuit.
As the runaway girl comes to a stop, she seems to have given up hope of flying, until she spots a flock of birds overhead. With all of her determination she climbs up onto the ledge of a railway bridge with the intention of taking flight. The boy tries to stop her and the girl ends up losing her balance, and plummets into the passing train underneath. The boy is shocked.
A flurry of leaves majestically sweeps over to the boy from the train tracks. A small bird with a girl’s face emerges from within these leaves and the boy watches as the girl completes her transformation into a bird. She then flies off into the distance, joining the flock of birds.
Through discussion and collaboration with the animators we decided we wanted to encapsulate all the emotions of the girl within the music, using a simple ensemble of instruments. I decided very early on to make use of the marimba, to create an awkward and quirky sound, and to focus on the woodwind section to emphasise the wind, the leaves, and the “bird girl” herself - all prominent themes and ‘props’ of the animation.
I loosely assigned different instruments to the characters: the woodwind was prominent in moments with the birds and the leaves, the marimba for the girl, and the double-bass for the boy, particularly his footsteps. His character didn’t provide much narrative and only seemed to be walking and running everywhere, so this seemed appropriate. However, these instrument assignments were not strict.
I studied the music of Joe Hisaishi, the composer for many of the Studio Ghibli films. I listened closely to his music as I had never composed something so intricate with the picture, and wanted to understand the techniques of doing so. My first draft of the score was actually more of a narrative, rather than being ‘interactive’ with the movements of the picture. The animators wanted the latter, so big changes needed to be made half-way through the project. I listened closely to the soundtrack of Ponyo and tried to borrow some of Hisaishi’s techniques. This resulted in my score having many moments of playful disharmonies and whimsical movements, which I believe suited the animation well.
I carefully mimicked the actions that appeared throughout the animation; the bird hitting the chimney, the girl kicking the boy in the face, her jumping up onto the fence, falling off the bridge. The whole piece is carefully intertwined with the animation itself, something I spent a lot of time perfecting.
The ending credits is just a simple piece that contains some of the themes I used throughout the score.
I was composing the score at the same time as the animation was in production, and so many cuts and changes had to be made to the music. I feel that the end result is a bit of a patchwork of ideas and still doesn’t flow too well due to the scene changes over the six months and a lack of time towards the end. However, I believe I captured the feeling of wonder and intrigue that both the characters and the audience will feel, and that the animators were looking for, using Hisaishi’s techniques of crescendo, timpani, dissonance, and a general playfulness throughout. Some of the timing is a little awkward in places but this is due to last-minute scene changes. With a score so detailed and intricate, it was difficult to keep everything in line when even a second of the film was removed.
My first draft (the more narrative piece) is very different to the final score, with more character themes and simpler melodies. I will write about this piece another time :)
I’ve requested permission to share the finished animation but I’m still waiting for a reply, so I can’t share it at the moment, but you can hear my score via the player above.
~ Screenshots used without permission. All credit for the artwork goes to Daniel Hamman and his team.
This is the final piece of music I wrote for my composition degree, and - quite fittingly - it’s a piece of music for our graduation ceremony. The only problem is that I didn’t finish the orchestration in time, so it will not be played >.< However, the piano reduction is a nice piece to share with others and to have on my showreel :)
When initially writing this piece I didn’t want to draw any influences from ‘traditional’ ceremonial music, as I wanted it to be reflective of my self and my own musical ability. When it was suggested by the tutor that the composers of my group attempt to write a piece of music for the graduation ceremony, I had this stuck in my head for the remainder of the lecture:
From Final Fantasy VII (and paid homage to in IX) this piece of music is always playing in my head, and I am always whistling the melodies. It just sounds so triumphant and proud, with much character, and without sounding sentimental or overly epic. In my opinion, the moments in the minor key emphasise the pride of the celebrated figure, and so I included many minor moments in my piece.
Like Uematsu’s ceremonial piece I wanted my graduation piece to be memorable and prominent, with a strong melody to invoke the victorious emotions of the graduation day. Haha..very pretentious, but to raise the hairs of the audience I think this music needed to be pretentious, and to be strong and bold. I believe I have achieved this in the composition, but perhaps not in the production or performance. A fully orchestrated version (which I aim to complete one day!) would definitely appear more grande.
As with the majority of my compositions I wrote my ceremonial piece on the piano first. For personal reasons it’s important that my music be easily playable on the piano, and so I almost always begin with a piano arrangement and expand from there.
For the Romantic Classical module of my course last year I studied Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words and fell in love with his work. Op.67 No.3 has always sounded victorious and proud to me and so I took inspiration from this piece, and the rest of his “songs”, for my piano arrangement. I aimed to compose my piece of ceremonial music as a ‘song without words’.
I find that the sound of ‘triumph’ comes from the arpeggiated scales, and so I used this technique for the main melody of my piece, and at various other moments. Again, like Uematsu’s piece, Mendelssohn’s moments of the minor key are what paint “Huntsman’s Song” with such thunderous celebration, which is exactly the mood I wanted to create.
Both of these pieces are performed in A major and so I chose to write in this scale too, as I find it a very bright and bold key to play in. Also, as a non-trained piano player, playing this piece over and over has really improved my playing in the A major scale, which is great :)
The performance you hear in this recording is, in fact, a very heavily-edited version of my performance; I cannot play as cleanly as this, and actually I don’t like this recording much because I have quantized it too perfectly - it sounds a little robotic. I’ll continue practising it and re-record it properly soon.
I would really like to finish orchestrating this piano piece as I think it will sound wonderful played by an orchestra. I have already begun this, but it will take a lot of work to complete. Well, my degree is over now so I have plenty of time and no excuse not to do it ;)
Hope you enjoy this piece! If you’re reading this and are interesting in using this piece of music for any ceremonial occasion, please don’t hesitate to contact me and we can discuss it :)
So, I’ve finally completed my three-year ‘Music Composition for Media’ course! Two years of a Foundation degree and one year of a Bachelor of Arts degree, in which I hope to achieve my honours :)
I’ve learned much in these past three years, all of which will be invaluable to me as a composer. Although I believe I still retain my own ‘style’ of composition from prior to the course, I’ve certainly developed a stronger knowledge of composition techniques, music theory, and the history and application of music, all of which are now prominent in my latest compositions. I’ve also gained a knowledge in the business and practical side of music, which is vital for me to becoming a music composer.
Over the past year or two I’ve worked on many ‘personal’ pieces of music, which I’ve published here and on other sites; whilst these personal compositions tie in with some of my college work, they don’t fully reflect the new composition skills that I have acquired in the past three years nor the development of my learning. So, over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be organising the compositions I created for all my assignments and uploading them in their current form, along with a little analysis and reflection of each piece :) I think this will be a good way to step back and have a look at my progression as a student composer and to hear the evidence of my development.
Here is the breakdown of the pieces I’ll be sharing:
Hello! I just wanted to say, thanks for the follow! Your blog looks great; just the kind of thing I'd enjoy following, and I loved your Pokémon arrangements. That, plus your obvious passion for Uematsu, makes me think following your blog will be a wise idea.
Thank you very much for your kind words! Yes, you’re right; Uematsu is a huge inspiration to me and I learned much of my music theory, as well as the ‘feeling’ of music composition, through his music during my adolescence. I didn’t grow up with classical music and so his compositions were what laid the foundation of my musical knowledge, and I know that his influence will be with me for the rest of my days as a composer, whether this is reflected in my work or in my personal compositions.
Thank you for following and for taking the time to listen to my music. I appreciate it very much :)
I know that this won't be a question, but whatever! First, I must say thank you for following me, because if you didn't I wouldn't have discovered you. I listened to some of your compositions and must say that they are amazing! You have an enormous amount of talent and I hope any big video game company understands that and hires you.
Wow, thank you so much! Such a wonderful compliment, you’re very kind. And thank you for listening to my work, I appreciate it greatly :)
Machi no neiro | The Last Story: The Premium Soundtrack | Nobuo Uematsu
“After working in a particular field for many years you develop your own way of doing things without even noticing.
This can be useful if you want to work as efficiently as possible and hit deadlines, but it can also mean your work begins to conform to a certain pattern.
It’s like a condition that has you in its grasp, and it’s difficult to heal - mainly because you, personally, are the cure for this condition. As humans we tend to stick to our habits - continuously choosing the easier path.
As a composer, perhaps I’d fallen into this trap of taking the easy path. I suppose I’d convinced myself it was fine to do so. With The Last Story, I tried to change the way I worked.
It was a challenge, but I also became confident that I was capable of changing. Underpinning all this was Mr. Sakaguchi’s unflinching commitment to this game. I assume that for him, like me, The Last Story represented a fresh challenge. Yes, even at our age, challenges do still come along!”
I’ve talked about this before a few months ago, but it never hurts to do so again.
If anyone struggles with anxiety, I highly recommend constructing a playlist of slow, soothing songs. The songs can’t contain a heavy percussion line. Basically, you should be able to fall asleep to them. Also,…
I love the idea of creating a playlist of the mellow pieces from the entire Final Fantasy series, and I think I’ll be doing this for myself very soon! :D