Writing Full Instrumental Soundtracks

pickledylans

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so.. im pretty decent at writing a couple bars for an instrumental tune, but then i get stuck and dont really know how to proceed. I was wondering if anyone has any advice on extending your sounds to 2-3 minutes especially for game soundtracks? the youtuber i learned how to write music from usually only does a couple bars for his instrumental tutortials so i guess i got in the habit, and all the other advice i can find about writing full songs is for lyrical things which doesnt really apply. ty!
 

HexMozart88

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My songs are usually a minute and a half, but I think I'm relatively qualified. What works for me is come up with a tune (your chorus) then make variations of that tune for verses and further vary it for the bridge. It's very much a matter of practice.
 
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One of the best things you can do is listen to a bunch of music and figure out what the composer is doing to make the melody go forward through a piece. The piano sonatas of Mozart work well for this because of how simple and prominent the melodies are. They're a good listen even if you're writing in modern popular styles. How familiar are you with music theory? You'll find that you can use harmonies to drive melodies forward.

Keep writing! Experiment and see what works. Start small (nothing longer than 8 bars) and work your way up to longer pieces.
 

JosephSeraph

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I think you should look into song form, or how music is divided into functional sections such as verses and choruses, intros and bridges and so on.

BTW not every song needs to be more than a couple bars long.
Take a look at the battle theme from Final Fantasy V


Ignoring the intro, the actual song is actually just a few phrases long and repeats before even getting to the thirty second mark. Oddly enough it never became repetitive to me and I listen to it tirelessly.

It starts with this phrase that is then repeated for a second time in a "question and answer" form. Then does that again with a slightly shorter phrase, then one more long, dramatic phrase, then it's back to the first phrase again. And that goes for the rest of the song.

So it really depends on the function you want the music to have in your game. Video game music naturally has different uses of song form than traditional music.

Identifying the musical phrases and concepts you have in your short composition, then developing them through the different sections of a song, will allow you to have a thematically consistent, evolving and engaging song. If every section is disconnected to the other the song will feel hack'n'eyed more often than not. But yeah, that's what I think it's about
 

MushroomCake28

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Repetitions and variations on existing motifs are the key. Some of the most famous tunes are only a long chain of a very small motif, like Beethoven's 5th symphony (1/8, 1/8, 1/8, 1/2). It's just 4 notes, and they keep being repeated in different ways.

In the end, to improve you just have to listen to a lot of music, understand it, study it, and practice.
 

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