How to you give music a certain "vibe"?

Shinguccci

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I've been working on a semi-ost for my game, plus I've had a hard time fitting the music to the mood it's supposed to give off, all while keeping each track sounding diverse. I'm aware this is a more general topic and there's no real answer but I'd greatly appreciate help.
 

Eli_musicae

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One thing that helps me greatly is thinking about the three T's Timbre, Tempo, Time
Timbre (the qualities of a sound)
. for an instance, the sound of a glockenspiel has a very brittle timbre, meaning that on its own, it has a nice beautiful and calm feel. Put it together with a bassoon or an organ playing in the lower register though, and the juxtaposition creates a creepy vibe.

Tempo (How fast you play)
something played fast is generally more stressing and busy than something played slowly.
Playing a song slower, and with fewer instruments, is a good way of making a night theme.

Time (What metre you are using)
4/4 and 3/4 feel normal to most of us. 3/4 is especially good for royal sounding music and water levels in my opionion
unusual meters like 7/8 or 11/8+13/8 is great for boss music

I'll give you an example. In one of my projects, I made a leitmotif for vibraphone, guitar, percussion, string section, brass section, choir, and electric bass.

For the main area, The song is in 4/4, and the guitar has the melody, and the background is held by percussion, choir, and bass. During the B part, the brass comes in, giving it some extra "umpf"
everything else is resting

In the forest area, the bass actually plays the melody, with the guitar strumming lightly, both showing what chord we're in, and giving some rhythmical information that we'd normally get from the drums. This leads to a very minimalist and empty sound, which works well with the forest vibe. To give it some more body, the vibraphone plays a counter melody in the upper register in the B section, a small part of the choir sings a single note, to make it less boring for the ears.


In the underwater area, the time changes to 3/4 and the vibraphone takes the melody, only making slight changes to work with the time change. The percussion is still there, but much more quiet and mellow, yet is only thing keeping us grounded and making the 3/4 time noticeable. The bass only plays on the first beat of each bar, and the strings swell in and out.

By giving each instrument a "mission"and thinking about what implications that timbre would bring to the song, you can change the song freely.

Did this help at all?
 
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KroodyGames

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I think the tempo of the song dictates alot of the "vibes". Messing with the tempo can really change the feel of a song. Also, I think the choice of instruments you use are just as important to the mood a song sets as the actual composition. For example you might use a piano with a lower tempo to set a sad/somber mood, whereas you might use an electric guitar with a faster tempo to set a hyper/action mood. Also, drums and drum sequencing, or lack thereof, can also effect the mood. Remember that not every song needs drums, but drums aren't your enemy. Hope this helped.
 

TimmyFlathers

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Using background atmospheric synth music really helps.
 

EpicFILE

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The quickest way to create certain vibe is to find out some musical reference,
then try to learn the music pattern.

I learned that if I want to make some mystical feeling,
I can put some sounds of rolling harp in my music (I learn it from Chrono Trigger forest theme).

If I want to make battle music, I only need short intro and start the "meat" of the song right away
(learned from Final Fantasy).

3/4 or 6/8 time signature is good for village music because it's bouncy and playful.

Basically listen to a lot of music (specifically video games music),
you'll learn a lot. :D
 

Tai_MT

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With my limited understanding of music and how it's performed (please keep in mind I am not an expert), you're looking at a few things.

1. Complexity of the music (many instruments, which notes played, etcetera).
2. Speed of the music (slow or fast, or anywhere in between).
3. Inherent Feel of Instruments (each instrument naturally conveys a specific range of emotions).

So, you then need to decide "what is this going to convey?".

For example:

If I want a sad song, I'll slow the speed (tempo) to probably about 1/2 or 1/4 beats a second. Depending on what kind of sadness I'm portraying (funeral dirges are generally much slower than most other general sadness).

If I want that sad song to portray an easy to understand emotion like say... a death in the family, I'll use very few instruments and simplify the sheet music. Nothing crazy or complex. I'd probably stick with the general "scales" that everyone learns (Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do) and not step too far out of that.

Then, to provide the specific "feel" of the sad song, I would typically use strings of some kind. Violins. Cellos. Piano. You might be able to get away with wind instruments (flute, trumpet, maybe trombone) alongside them or in place of string instruments, but in general you'd want string instruments for it. If you want a more "serious" sadness, you could use "percussion" alongside instead. Drums. Bells. Tambourine. Maybe a Bass Guitar if you're REALLY good at composing music.

By and large, this is how you get the "feel" of music. I just sort of intuit these things when I play music (I have a weird natural talent for playing music, though I can't read sheet music and don't think of myself as very good. I can listen to music and generally pick out the correct way to play any particular note on an instrument I've never played with a decent degree of accuracy) so I'm not sure how to describe the process to someone who has to go about it mechanically.

What you could do is probably listen to a bunch of sad music and note the 3 things I talk about (you can do the same thing with any music that makes you feel a mood). Which instruments are being used to create the mood? What's the tempo (how many notes are played each second as I understand it. Standard tempo is tapping your foot 1 time for every second that goes by. Doubletime is tapping your foot twice for each second. Half Speed is tapping once per every two seconds)? How complex does the music sound (many notes overtop of each other, mixing together, many instruments playing all sorts of notes or a few instruments playing alongside each other for emphasis)?

You can sort of quickly pick out the "basics" of music from this sort of study and then use it to your advantage once you know how it works.
 

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