Video Game Music Concert Tours

Colbert presents The Legend of Zelda Concert (article by Winifred Phillips, video game composer)This week I thought we’d check in with some of the top orchestral video game music concert tours currently underway.  We’ll take a look at some reviews of 2015 performances from the respective tours, and we’ll also take a look at video from some of the most recent concert performances.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses

Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses marquee (article by game composer Winifred Phillips)Originating as a simple four-minute overture performed at a Nintendo press event in 2011, Symphony of the Goddesses kicked off as a full-fledged concert tour in January 2012 and currently has 33 dates scheduled for 2016 that will take the popular tour all around the world.  The concert’s program lineup focuses exclusively on famous music from the Legend of Zelda games.  In a review of the September 25th 2015 performance at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Rhode Island, Broadway World critic Andria Tieman wrote, “Overall, this was a night of fantastic music, excellent people-watching and a fun, visual performance. This is something that Zelda fans should certainly seek out.” Here’s a video clip from the Oct. 30th 2015 broadcast of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, in which the Symphony of the Goddesses tour performed their Legend of Zelda Medley:

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VR Audio: Past, Present & Future

VR Audio (article by award winning video game music composer Winifred Phillips)In this blog, I thought we might take a quick look at the development of the three dimensional audio technologies that promise to be a vital part of music and sound for a virtual reality video game experience. Starting from its earliest incarnations, we’ll follow 3D audio through the fits and starts that it endured through its tumultuous history.  We’ll trace its development to the current state of affairs, and we’ll even try to imagine what may be coming in the future!  But first, let’s start at the beginning:

3D Audio of the Past

Alan Blumlein (article by award winning video game music composer Winifred Phillips)In the 1930s, English engineer and inventor Alan Blumlein invented a process of audio recording that involved a pair of microphones that were coincident (i.e. placed closely together to capture a sound source).  Blumlein’s intent was to accurately reflect the directional position of the sounds being recorded, thus attaining a result that conveyed spatial relationships in a more faithful way.  In reality, Blumlein had invented what we now call stereo, but the inventor himself referred to his technique as “binaural sound.”  As we know, stereo has been an extremely successful format, but the fully realized concept of “binaural sound” would not come to fruition until much later.

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A Composer’s Guide to Game Music in 2015

A Composer's Guide to Game Music, photo from the article by game music composer Winifred PhillipsHappy Holidays, everyone!  2015 has been a really memorable year for me, and a successful one for my book, A Composer’s Guide to Game Music.  Writing this book not only allowed me to express my excitement about game music, but also opened up my world to a huge community of game music enthusiasts that I’m now proud to call friends.

I’ve been delighted to meet so many people who have read my book – from aspiring composers, to scholars and educators, to game audio pros.  It’s been tremendously gratifying!

I’d like to spend this blog recapping the events of 2015 as they related to my book, and I’ll also be sharing some book-related resources and tutorials that I created in 2015 (in case you missed them).  Happy Holidays, everyone, and thank you so much for your tremendous support this year!

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First Look: Beep Documentary interview with game music composer Winifred Phillips

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The Beep documentary is an awesome upcoming crowdfunded film consisting of interviews with top game composers and sound designers from around the world.  Leading up to the film’s world premiere in Spring 2016, the Beep Documentary team has been releasing webisodes of interview footage with selected composers and sound designers who will be featured in the documentary.  I’m pleased to share that a webisode of my interview has just been posted by the Beep documentary team!

Beep has been described as “the most comprehensive documentary of game music/audio history ever made,” and “a huge and culturally significant undertaking to document the history of video game sound and music through interviews with composers and other game audio professionals from around the globe.”  The Beep documentary is described best on the project’s website: “Relive the moments of your childhood, and hear the stories behind the songs and sounds of your favorite games from the people who created them. Help us to give the composers and sound designers throughout game history a chance to tell their own stories, to share the truly amazing things that they achieved.”

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Total War Battles: Kingdom

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Winifred Phillips won 2 Global Music Award Gold Medals for the music she composed for Total War Battles: Kingdom.

I’m happy to announce that one of my latest projects is Total War Battles: Kingdom, developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega. I was happy to join the music composition team for this fantastic project! Along with my long-time music producer Winnie Waldron, I worked with Creative Assembly’s audio manager Richard Beddow to compose atmospheric medieval-inspired music for this awesome upcoming strategy game.

I’m also very happy to share that my music for Total War Battles: Kingdom has already been recognized with two Gold Medals from the Global Music Awards!  My music producer Winnie Waldron and I received a Gold Medal in the category of Game Music, and I received an additional Gold Medal in the category of Composition/Composer.

I won the two Global Music Awards Gold Medals for “Dark Ages” – a track I composed for Total War Battles: Kingdom.  I was hired by Creative Assembly to join a team of composers who each worked separately to compose their own tracks for the game. Each composer brought unique strengths to the project, and I was proud to work with my award-winning music producer Winnie Waldron to compose my own tracks for this terrific game!

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Two Global Music Award Gold Medals recognizing music composed by Winifred Phillips & produced by Winnie Waldron for the game Total War Battles: Kingdom.

 

Here is a YouTube video containing my award-winning music from Total War Battles: Kingdom:

Total War Battles: Kingdom is the latest game in the popular, multi-million-selling Total War franchise. Now in its 15th year, Total War is one of the most famous and critically-acclaimed series in gaming!  Here’s some info about the Total War franchise:

A drive for historical authenticity and superb gaming quality has helped establish the franchise as one of the most successful games of all time. The Total War franchise has won numerous awards, including two BAFTA Awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and an Ivor Novello Award. The video game franchise was also the basis of two television shows: Decisive Battles on the History Channel, and Time Commanders on the BBC. Alongside the core historical-based games, the Total War series has expanded to include the mobile title, Total War Battles: Kingdom.

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My music for Total War Battles: Kingdom was performed by a live ensemble comprised of some of the best and most accomplished musicians performing with historically authentic medieval instruments and techniques. The ensemble includes one of Europe’s top lute players, and members of this ensemble have graced the concert stages of such venues as the Royal Opera House, The Royal Festival Hall, and Kensington Palace, among many others. For Total War Battles: Kingdom, I combined evocative aural designs with a consort of period instruments and medieval modes. I used these techniques to transport listeners into the mysterious world of the Dark Ages. Here are the musicians who performed my music for Total War Battles: Kingdom:

Musicians:

  • Lute: Elizabeth Kenny
  • Recorders, Fife, Flute: Chloe Lochbaum
  • Vielle, Hurdy Gurdy: Sylvia Hallett
  • Hurdy Gurdy: Sue Eaton
  • Mandola: Andy Reynolds
  • Celtic Harp: Heather Wrighton
  • Cello: Richard Harwood
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From left to right: Elizabeth Kenny (Lute), Richard Harwood (Cello), Sylvia Hallett (Hurdy Gurdy), and Heather Wrighton (Harp)

Here’s some more information about the game:

Creative Assembly’s Total War Battles: Kingdom is set during the chaotic turn of the 10th Century, as the world starts to emerge from the Dark Ages. Players will find themselves managing the needs of their own fiefdom and guarding against the machinations of neighboring kingdoms. Deception, spying and outright betrayal against enemies and friends alike will see the devious player rewarded. “We wanted to create a new way of playing Total War Battles. Whether that’s on the move or at work over lunch,” said Renaud Charpentier, Creative Assembly Digital Project Lead. “It shouldn’t matter where you want to play; we want to make it easy to come back again and again to your flourishing Kingdom. Then, we ramp up the complexity and challenge, adding more options to your Machiavellian schemes.”

Founded in 1987, Creative Assembly is one of the UK’s most successful and established game studios. Creator of the multi award-winning Total War strategy series, the studio has received numerous press, industry and consumer accolades, including BAFTAs and the Develop Industry Excellence awards.  Home to over 325 highly talented developers and counting, the studio continues to expand to cover a variety of triple-A console, PC and mobile projects.

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Studio1_GreenWinifred Phillips is an award-winning video game music composer whose most recent project is the triple-A first person shooter Homefront: The Revolution. Her credits include five of the most famous and popular franchises in video gaming: Assassin’s Creed, LittleBigPlanet, Total War, God of War, and The Sims. She is the author of the award-winning bestseller A COMPOSER’S GUIDE TO GAME MUSIC, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press. As a VR game music expert, she writes frequently on the future of music in virtual reality video games. Follow her on Twitter @winphillips.

A Composer’s Guide to Game Music wins the Nonfiction Book Award!

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I’m excited to share some awesome news!  My book, A Composer’s Guide to Game Music, has been selected as a Gold winner of the Nonfiction Book Awards!

The Nonfiction Authors Association presents Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards in its Nonfiction Book Awards competition to honor the best book-length publications in an array of nonfiction genres.  A Composer’s Guide to Game Music was recognized with a Gold award (the top honor presented by the awards competition) in the “Arts, Music, and Photography” category.

Here’s how A Composer’s Guide to Game Music was described by Stephane Chandler, the founder of the Nonfiction Authors Association:

Winifred Phillips presents music composition for a specific genre and audience in an easy-to-understand way, whether for seasoned composers or self-taught music enthusiasts looking to create a beautifully composed work for the video game market. Phillips goes above and beyond, guiding her reader through not only the composition process, but everything else tied to producing music for video games, including but not limited to working with teams and how to understand key audience demographics.

My most sincere appreciation goes out to the judging panel of the Nonfiction Book Awards for this honor!

This is the fourth award presented to A Composer’s Guide to Game Music (The MIT Press).  To date, the book has also won a National Indie Excellence Book Award, a Global Music Award for an exceptional book in the field of music, and an Annual Game Music Award from the popular site Game Music Online in the category of “Best Publication.”

A Composer's Guide to Game Music won a National Indie Excellence Book Award in the genre of Performing Arts (Film, Theater, Dance & Music).

A Composer’s Guide to Game Music won a National Indie Excellence Book Award in the genre of Performing Arts (Film, Theater, Dance & Music).

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The Global Music Awards presented a Gold Medal Award of Excellence as a GMA Book Award to A Composer’s Guide to Game Music, which was judged as exceptional in the field of music.

 

The staff of accomplished music journalists of Game Music Online has presented awards in many categories that acknowledge the diversity and range of the video game music genre.

The staff of accomplished music journalists of Game Music Online presented a “Best Publication” award to A Composer’s Guide to Game Music, acknowledging its “accessible yet deep insight into the process of making game music.”

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Studio1_GreenWinifred Phillips is an award-winning game music composer with more than 11 years of experience in the video game industry.  Her projects include such famous games as Assassin’s Creed Liberation, God of War, the LittleBigPlanet franchise, and many others.  She is the author of the award-winning bestseller A COMPOSER’S GUIDE TO GAME MUSIC, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.  Follow her on Twitter @winphillips.