A Study of Video Game Music in Various Genres

Author: Noah Crist
Major: Music
Approved: Spring 2021
Status: In progress

In the video game industry, each game is distinct in genre, gameplay, music, and style. The music aspect, however, can ‘make or break’ the game when it comes to its success. If a first-person shooter has the calm, playful sounds of a colorful mobile game, it can completely ruin the player’s experience. Therefore, it is important to research and experiment with ways to make a game’s music enhance the player’s experience, rather than sully it. 

The purpose of this project is to study how to effectively write music for video games of various genres, answering the research question “what makes video game music unique, and how does it vary between genres?”. I will be using 15 short clips of video games of different genres, including but not limited to first-person shooters, dungeon crawlers, open world exploration games, and mobile games. For each clip, I will write completely new music and sound effects in my own style. I will first write the music in a program called Musescore, which is a form of digital sheet music, effectively laying the groundwork for each piece. After a piece is written, I will rewrite the music and add effects using a midi sequencing program called Fl Studio. This is where I will spend most of my time, as I will be researching what sounds and effects reflect each genre best, as well as how to most effectively use the effects to achieve the desired sound.