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๐ŸŽปย I Wrote MORE Game Music for Live Orchestra ๐ŸŽน composition Feb 06, 2024

2024 is off to a pretty amazing start.

I had the incredible privilege of co-composing three tracks with Hannah Zhang for NetEase’s “Fantasy Westward Journey”, performed by Budapest Scoring and the Bulgarian Sofia Choir and mixed/mastered by William Matthew Chen.

This track is the second phase of a boss battle called “Mind Monkey”, depicting a powerful, mystic...

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๐Ÿค” Are Loops in Game Music a BAD Thing? ๐ŸŽน composition Jan 02, 2024

A few weeks back, I discussed my work on Dragonheir: Silent Gods, and the risk of game music falling into modular, loop-heavy music.

A composer and reader reached out to ask me to clarify if modular music is ALWAYS a bad thing, noting that loops are pretty much unavoidable in the implementation of most games.

Here’s what I think.

Loops aren’t bad in themselves…

… but...

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๐Ÿคฏ John Powell Doesnโ€™t Hear Notes ๐ŸŽน composition Dec 05, 2023

When I was in college, I was taught that the best composers hear their music BEFORE they write it.

The formal term for this skill is audiation—the ability to hear or comprehend music when sound isn’t—or never was—present.

(If you’ve never tried this before, give it a shot. Sit in front of your DAW or instrument, and don’t play a note until you hear it in your...

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Throwback Tuesday: God of War - Ragnarok ๐ŸŽน composition Nov 07, 2023

Next Thursday marks the 1-year anniversary of one of the coolest games I’ve ever watched.

God of War: Ragnarok had it all—a phenomenal story, lush gameplay and graphics, and an incredible soundtrack by the one and only Bear McCreary.

I dissected Bear’s character themes in this video (which amazingly caught Bear’s eyes leading to a cool chat with him!)

With composers...

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๐ŸŽปย How to Learn Orchestration in a DAW ๐ŸŽน composition Oct 17, 2023

A few weeks back, my buddy Mattia Chiappa released an important video for composers writing in DAWs.

I often get asked by students for recommendations on orchestration books or scores to study. While I did read lots of music books, in truth, that’s not where I improved.

My improvements happened mostly by tons of active listening to music I loved, isolating sections that caught my ear, and...

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๐ŸŽป Is Orchestral Practical or Creative? ๐ŸŽน composition Aug 29, 2023

My parents recently got a chance to hear a piece from a live recording session I had with a full orchestra.

After listening, my Mom asked me about how orchestration works as a part of the puzzle of making music.

Some composers see orchestration as this broad color palette filled with endless possibilities. But often if you speak with a seasoned orchestrator, they’ll...

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๐ŸŽถ Composing Memorable Melodies ๐ŸŽน composition Aug 21, 2023

The Building Blocks of Great Melodies

To write a melody that your audience will remember, you need to know the 3 basic ingredients of many great melodies.

The “Whistle Factor”

If you can't sing/whistle it, it probably won't be catchy. Powerful melodies tend to stick within a singable range of an octave and a fifth.

Small, Strong Motifs

Catchy melodies start small, using either...

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๐Ÿ˜ฌ Escape Composer's Block ๐ŸŽน composition Aug 21, 2023

 If you want to compose for a living, you'll have to learn how to push through creative blocks.

Here's 6 tactics for when you're feeling stuck, and how to get back to creating quickly:

Establish a Routine

Don't wait to feel "inspired". Try working at the same time each day to help discipline your mind to be creative on command. Our brains rewire to accommodate recurring routines, so you'll...

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๐ŸŽน The Ultimate Composition Practice Routine ๐ŸŽน composition Aug 21, 2023

Mastery of composition (or any art) comes from 1000+ hours of quality practice. Implement these four strategies into your practice routine, and over time you'll see incredible results:

Step 1: Imitate

Early on in your studies, steal remorselessly.

Illustrators often go to museums to sketch famous artwork that moves them. Transcription and imitation allows you to put on a composer's gloves--to...

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๐ŸŽป From Piano to Strings in 10 Minutes ๐ŸŽน composition Aug 15, 2023

In case you missed it, here's a video from last week on a crazy simple trick I learned from studying John Powell's How to Train Your Dragon 2 score.

If you want to see the full behind-the-scenes on how I composed, arranged, and mocked up the finished piece, be sure to join my Patreon! Details below

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