Have you started to think about the music for your game but are struggling to choose what the right kind of music would be for it? If so, maybe this article can help. Choosing the right music for a game or for any project for that matter, can be quite tricky. There’s no right or wrong way of doing it and there isn’t just one ‘right’ kind of music that you could select and go with anyway.
Music is something that everyone has an opinion on and each and every one of us will have our own preferences. However, choosing the right music for your game is a hugely important task since if you want your game to be successful and for it’s soundtrack to land well with your audience, you will need to pick something that feels like it fit well to the majority of people playing and interacting with you and your game.
So, let’s take a look at some of the key things to consider when thinking about what music to choose for a game:
1. The Style of Music
Depending on what style of game you are creating, you will most likely want the music to reflect and complement this style.
Do you want:
Orchestral / Epic / Cinematic scores?
Piano or Guitar or Strings?
Rock or Pop feel?
Electronic / Digital vibe?
Chiptune / 8 bit music?
Perhaps have a listen and exploration of my game music soundtracks to get a sense of what's possible.
2. Knowing Your Audience
What is the vision for your game and who is your target market? What kind of music would be best for them? You will want your music to help ensure that your users are engaged with your game, that they can relate to it and that they find it fun to return to again and again. When trying to choose and select the right kind of music for your game, you’ll need to think carefully about what kind of music will help you to achieve this?
3. The Feel & Mood of the Game
Music can be an incredible tool for helping to create a certain atmosphere and mood. Well chosen music can evoke certain feelings which will help to enhance the gaming experience.
What mood and feelings are you hoping people will experience whilst playing your game? Excitement / adventure / mystery?
If you want to learn more about how to use music effectively and in different ways across your game, take a look at 5 Ways to Use Music in Your Game.
4. Pace & Tempo
In classical music, there are many different words that aim to describe the tempo of a piece. This is because composers and musicians know that it is so important to get the tempo right in order to play it well and for those listening to it, to get the very best experience from it.
When choosing the music for your game – think about whether it should be fast, medium-paced or slow. Perhaps there are different parts in your game when the tempo may need to change. Take a look at some other games and see what might work best for you.
5. Original Music or Not
Do you want original music for your game or not? This is a big question to ask.
There are many production music libraries around that offer a wide range of music that can be used for a variety of projects – from film, TV, games and adverts. The great thing about these is that they are affordable, there is often a decent selection and you can listen to the music before you buy it. You aren’t tied to any one composer and you can explore a range of tracks. (See my article on: Pros and Cons of Using Royalty Free Music and did you know that I offer royalty free tracks on my site too? Check Ninichi’s royalty free music now.)
Having said that, there are many advantages to working with a composer to create original music specifically for your game. (See 5 Reasons to Hire a Composer for Your Game).
It means that you can be a part of the creation process and that the music composed fits your game perfectly. Your game will end up with it’s own music – which could become a signature style for you, your game and your brand. Working with a composer also helps to ensure that the musical style across your game is consistent.
Explore a few of my other articles to explore this further:
6. What will the music be used for and with?
Do you need background music to be played during an introduction the game, during a storytelling scene or with a voiceover? If so, you will need a different kind of track than if you needed music for gameplay.
Make sure that you don’t have too much going on as that can make things look and sound messy and muddy to your listener. However, in games such as role-playing games, try to find music that help to bring the scenarios, surroundings and story to life.
About the author: Ninichi is a game music composer and music enthusiast. She is the in-house composer for games company Quinton Studios and enjoys creating music for games, film, media and other commercial uses.