RMMV Help understanding steampunk music!

MrKiwi

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Hello there, its your kiwi birb once again. I'm actually working on a new story for a project, and I decided to use a victorian-steampunk like enviroment.

When it comes to the visual style and design required for this, I can visualize it... But music on the other hand... I completely lack of a "musical" ear, actually I suffer of dysmusia. So... even if I search "steampunk music" or "victorian music" I actually don't understand what I'm listening to, the only thing I recognize its a bit of dark-industrial vibe, but thats it... Nothing specific that helps me recognize a track as "steampunk".

I'm kinda sure there's more to this genre than just that vibe, so, in order to start looking for tracks or requesting them I need to know what I'm looking for, so this is where I ask you for help:

- You can either point some specifics details for this genre (i.e, instruments) to have a notion of what I should be looking for

-Or, and equally appreciated, give examples of soundtracks for this genre (perhaps mainly for videogames, since other media might portray it differently) and hopefully with that I'll be able to get what I'm listening to...

Hope you can help me figure this out... :kaoswt:
 

Finnuval

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and I decided to use a victorian-steampunk like enviroment
You thief! I had that idea first..lol!

Your question is hard to answer as steampunk music is very eclectic by nature. Influence range from gothic, industrial, synth-pop, dark wave, and new wave, but there are also hints of orchestral, ragtime, cabaret, Indian, gypsy, folk, and traditional klezmer.

I tend to think it needs to sound like a factory on Jazz (though I doubt that helps you much lol) xD

Maybe a more musically inclined member can bee more clear
@MushroomCake28 :p
 

MushroomCake28

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Maybe a more musically inclined member can bee more clear
@MushroomCake28 :p
I actually never played a steampunk game, or even watched a steampunk movie lol. I'm quite illiterate on the matter and can't advice about music on something I know nothing about. I'd have a tendency to say jazz like though. It came a bit after romantic and post-romantic era though (like around WW1 I think).

Victorian period is easier though, it's like 1830 or something to 1900. That's right into the romantic/post-romantic (end of Beethoven/Schubert/Schumann, to Rachmaninoff, Mahler, etc.), right before the post-modern (Schoenberg, Stravinski, Prokofiev, etc.). That period is characterized by bigger orchestra, the development of the brass instruments (they could start playing chromatically at the beginning of the romantic era), the addition of secondary wind instrument (english horn, bass clarinet, contrabassoon). The string section got bigger, the parts got harder to play (more virtuoso), and each string section got more independent.

This might sound like gibber jabber, but to make it sound simpler for non-musical folk, the film music movement was inspired on the late romantic era (Mahler, Strauss, Bruckner, etc.). If you want to know how romantic era music sounded like, listen to some orchestral film music you'll get the feeling (approximately).

But the big romantic orchestra part only works for the rich/noble part of victorian era. Think of it as the grandiose part: walking through a beautiful city, beautiful river, elegance, dance, rich mansion, etc. It doesn't work for the factory/worker. And that's where my knowledge comes to an end.
 

Finnuval

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So combine Orchestra with jazz and have some factory sounds in there and you are set xD

@MushroomCake28 how does that sound? :p
 

pasunna

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wait... there are a strict music for stream punk?
I play many games in that style and none of them use same feeling of music...
instead of focus on stream punk
maybe just focus on the current mood like sad/funny etc I think
and let say try bloodborne
there are many good dark Victorian Gothic music in that game
 

MushroomCake28

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So combine Orchestra with jazz and have some factory sounds in there and you are set xD

@MushroomCake28 how does that sound? :p
Hmm, don't know. Jazz fundamentally usually doesn't use big ensemble. The big orchestra playing jazzy themes was appropriated by post modern (like Rhapsody in Blues). Don't know if that would fit a steampunk world.
 

l8rose

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First few tracks on the playlist for The Emporium of Copper and Steel give a really good impression of steampunk in my opinion (Absyinthe, Steam Cavalry, and Haunted Shoppe).

Generally, I tend to think of things that have string instruments or piano with horns (I am utterly terrible at differentiating instruments, sorry) as closer to Steampunk. Music Boxes also tend to feature in a good deal of steampunk music.

While it's not game music, Shatter Me by Lindsey Sterling and Lizzy Hale is good song example. Harp Twins on youtube also have some steampunk-esque music (their cover of Metallica's One comes to mind as a sort of background music in a town or house). Another good resources would be the Fiechters on youtube who do a lot of music world building with a focus towards Fantasy and Steampunk.

However, it does vary where the main focus of Steampunk is. The more factory the setting is, the more you'll hear a heavier beat and sound effects thrown in. The more sky based (like airships), the more uplifting and orchestral it becomes (with a larger focus on the horns). It's really hard to pinpoint a single type of music to be Steampunk.
 

MrKiwi

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Jeez, went to get lunch and didn't excpect many answers yet, these forums really work fast :)

@Finnuval Uh... coincidence..? (SEEMS I MUST LEAVE THE PLANET WITHOUT TRACE...) But, yeah, I noticed that was hard to find a patern over what's considered "steampunk music"

@MushroomCake28 Thanks for the huge advice on the victorian part, those references really are helpful for the matter. Also... music history seems huge ._.

@pasunna I really don't know much about steampunk besides the visual aspect, so perhaps there's not a musical genre for it, just curious to know how it should sound. Also, yeah, guess it will be easier to focus on using an apropiate to the mood track rather to find an acuarate to the genre track.

@l8rose Thank you for the examples, so far it really seems that there's not a defined genre for what the steampunk tracks are. Seems they adapt to the particular inplacement rather than the main genre.
P.S: I love lindsey's work :kaopride:
 

l8rose

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P.S: I love lindsey's work :kaopride:
Little off topic but yes, me too. =D Shatter Me is in my playlist for writing and popped up as I was reading this thread. lol
 

MushroomCake28

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@Finnuval Uh... coincidence..? (SEEMS I MUST LEAVE THE PLANET WITHOUT TRACE...) But, yeah, I noticed that was hard to find a patern over what's considered "steampunk music"
Everytime @Finnuval joins the conversation becomes long and spammy. Beware, he can also drag other people that shall not be named (to not spam the coversation) like TheStrang** for example. :p Just joking, we love you, Finnuval :p.

Also... music history seems huge ._.
It is indeed. It's also linked with art history and literature history. For your particular game, you have to go scene by scene. Even if it's the same genre, a scene with a royal palace won't have the same music as a factory with workers.
 

Finnuval

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Everytime @Finnuval joins the conversation becomes long and spammy. Beware, he can also drag other people that shall not be named (to not spam the coversation) like TheStrang** for example. :p Just joking, we love you, Finnuval :p.
I'll remember this... :p


Also... music history seems hug
As @MushroomCake28 already said, history is huge. All history. We have been around for a while so it kinda goes without saying lol

Scène by scène is thee way to go keeping in mind that the more aristocratical and romantisized the scene is the more Orchestral the music gets and the more industrial /gritty the scène gets the more industrial and gritty the music tends to get.

And now ill shut up @MushroomCake28 :p
 

gstv87

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TLDR response:
I don't believe there's such a thing as "steampunk music".
I do know of the steampunk style, and what it boils down to, is a divergence from the timeline at the Victorian era towards steam power rather than combustion power.
so, anything beyond gasoline engines is forfeited, and instead everything relies on steam, highly complex mechanics, and direct action by hydraulics or pneumatics.

from there, you can imagine that any electrical instruments would be a no-go.
and, at the time, the most complex instrument you could build with such technology was the church organ.
that, on top of the classical orchestra of strings, brass, wood winds, cymbals and whatnot.

parallel to that, I'd risk saying such an orchestra would probably take up instruments from earlier times as an embellishment resource, just as we currently use violins, brass or piano to embellish other works.
so, imagine a piece of steampunk music featuring lutes, harps or other medieval-era instruments.
for us, is *ancient*, for them, it'd be *retro*

and, just as a curiosity, check out this technique.


strings, and pneumatics.
that's something a church organ doesn't usually do.

and, a drum machine
 

ave36

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What do I understand as steampunk music? It is composed of two elements. Element 1 is period music from circa 1880-1910. Genres such as ragtime and klezmer, orchestral pseudo-classical music and opera-style singing. Element 2 is rock, industrial and noise, it adds a touch of modernity to period music and turns it into steampunk. Add machine-like drum beats and a whistling noise track to a period piece, and voila, it's now steampunk music.

If you want specific examples relevant to JRPGs, you can listen to the Final Fantasy VI soundtrack. It's all there: ragtime pianos and opera vocals (or what passes for such on a SNES midi sampler), drum beats imitating machinery and marching soldiers.
 

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