gameplay02.ogg sounds like Morrowind

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Orky
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gameplay02.ogg sounds like Morrowind

Post by Orky » March 28th, 2007, 1:29 am

I only just played my first game of Wesnoth a few days ago, but when I heard gameplay02.ogg, I recognized it from somewhere else, and assuming this is a Free Software project, this is not good news.

I recognize gameplay02.ogg as a tune from Morrowind (Elder Scrolls III). I could be wrong, because I don't have it installed to check (maybe somebody else can verify it?). It's a good tune, and it fits well, but only with the game, not with its nature as a Free Software project.

Also, I could not find out who actually submitted it, but then I didn't really do a thorough search of the site, but I doubt it was somebody with permission from Bethesda Softworks/Ubisoft.

Edit: changed topic title s/is from/sounds like/
Last edited by Orky on March 28th, 2007, 1:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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turin
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Post by turin » March 28th, 2007, 1:34 am

It's not. It's similar (and I know what song from Morrowind you're talking about), but I've actually compared the two (not just based on memory) and they're not the same song.
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Orky
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Post by Orky » March 28th, 2007, 1:37 am

Really? Well, it fooled me, then!

I'll try to remember comparing the two again when (if) I install Morrowind again (I don't know if I will, I don't think it's that interesting, actually).

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Post by turin » March 28th, 2007, 1:39 am

You can also check out the website of the guy who wrote gameplay02.ogg (TimothyP): http://www.timothypinkham.com/.
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Null
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Post by Null » March 28th, 2007, 2:20 am

When I heard that tune, I immediately thought of Morrowind too, but It's definitely not the same, just similar.

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Post by torangan » March 28th, 2007, 10:09 am

Morrowind was early on cited as the goal. Wesnoth is supposed to get music of a similiar quality which you can listen to even while not playing at all. But considering the level of professionality our artists have shown, I'm pretty sure that they'll carefully avoid to infring any copyrights.
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Post by TimothyP » April 18th, 2007, 11:40 pm

Thanks for posting, Orky.

The theme for Gameplay 02 was something I came up with one morning in the shower, which is where I often come up with themes for my pieces. I was working my brain at something fantasy-sounding. I liked how that melody came out so I jotted it down and came back to it later when I was working on Wesnoth music.

I am very familiar with the Morrowind soundtrack, and own it. I very much like Jeremy Soule's compositions. He and I have similar ideas on many levels. I would say he is one of my favorite and certainly most respected composers for games.

What he did for Morrowind is similar to what we are doing for Wesnoth.

If you equate the sound of my music to Jeremy Soule's, I am honored. He is the best out there. And he has the best samples too.

Did I copy? Of course not. As composers, our goal is to come up with something original using our own tastes and imaginations. My desire is always to create something original.

On the other hand, composers often do things that sound similar because we have similar ideas and tastes. I have had chunks of my music compared to many composers. I think we all receive that at some point. I am sometimes asked who my influences are. I really don't know.

I find that Jeremy Soule has some similar ideas to John Williams, and I find that when I listen to John Williams, he has many similar ideas to me. I can't say the same for Hans Zimmer, for instance. I don't think like him. But when I listen to Williams and Soule, something clicks. We think alike in several ways.

I'm sure other composers can express this better than I can. I'm sure writers and artists experience the same thing. There will always be similarities and differences in any creative genre.

Thanks for the observations and feedback.

--Timothy

[EDIT]

I thought about the Morrowind soundtrack, and I think the piece you are referring to is probably "The Road Most Travelled". I took time to listen to Gameplay 02 and compare it with this piece. There are many obvious differences in these two pieces. I'm actually surprised someone would go to the level of saying they are they same piece. That aside, let me list what I see as similarities.

1. Both pieces use the aeolean mode (standard minor scale) for the main melody. Soule's main melody is almost pentatonic except for one use of the 4th scale step.

2. Both pieces use a traditional triple-time dance rhythm.

3. Both pieces use orchestra with some choir sounds

4. Both pieces were composed in a similar style for a similar genre (medieval fantasy)

In form, structure, and harmonic progression, the pieces are quite different.

Gameplay 02 begins and ends with two statements of the theme, always changing. In the middle there is a more chaotic washing section sandwiched by two transitional sections utilizing various orchestra colors.

The form is something like this: AA t B t AA

The Road Most Travelled states the theme twice during the entire piece. It also contains less melodic sections and transitions between the two statements of the main theme. The piece contains more segments than Gameplay 02 and is quite a bit longer on account of the fact.

The form is something like this: i A t B i A t e

I am using i for intro section, e for ending section, and t for transitional section.

I admit the swelling sections with choral voices are similar. We both use harp for parts of the piece, and the style is quite similar.

The reality of music, especially in the same field (film, games, etc), is that you will hear similarities.

I listen to music and hear chunks from different composers that sound the same. Music has been around long enough that people are going to come up with the same ideas on things. We will use things we like from other composers, and we will discard things we don't like.

In the end, our music is always something from our own brain. Images of a journey we take in our own head that we desire to share with others in the form of musical notes and colors. Hopefully listeners can listen to each composer for what they are. It is easy to make connections between composers, but fruitless to claim one is stealing from another.

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Post by West » April 20th, 2007, 10:24 pm

Funny you should mention Jeremy Soule.

I didn't discover him until fairly recently... or rather, I was fond of his music long before I knew his name. It wasn't until I bought Guild Wars some months ago and got the soundtrack cd bundled with the game that I learned who he was and that I actually had enjoyed a lot of his music in the past. Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, Dungeon Siege I & II and of course Morrowind all had great music. I just never knew it was the same guy.

Soule is extremely talented though. His music is incredible, and the amount of work that goes into it is astounding. I can listen to it and be inspired and discouraged at the same time... like, "hey, I want to do something like that!" and the next moment, "bah, I could never do something like that!" :)

There's one thing that bothers me with his music though. I don't know if anyone has noticed this, but he tends to use an insane amount of reverb on his orchestral stuff (particularly on the GW soundtrack), to the point where everything sounds kind of flat and tinny. It's odd that such an extremely gifted composer can't seem to choose a reverb that's more natural-sounding. But then again, maybe he doesn't have the final say. Could very well be the game developers' decision.

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Post by TimothyP » April 20th, 2007, 11:50 pm

Hmm. The reverb doesn't seem to bother me. I once read a comment from him about the amount of reverb he uses. I'm not absolutely sure, but I think it adds realism to a non-real orchestra, in his opinion.

Jeremy Soule, in terms of studio and samples, uses all samples that he and his brother created themselves. I think they recorded the instruments by themselves to create their own top-notch library. He doesn't use any common (publicly available) samples.

My couple complaints with his recent music are that he is letting his partners do some of the composing, and it shows. Dungeon Siege II was a bit disappointing with the extreme emphasis on percussion and the compositional ideas that were clearly from the other two composers, and therefore were not as tasty.

The more work he gets, the less depth each soundtrack has, I think. His best recent work, IMO, is the soundtrack for Oblivion. This was a good return to the qualities of Morrowind.

--Timothy

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Post by West » April 21st, 2007, 12:00 am

TimothyP wrote:Hmm. The reverb doesn't seem to bother me. I once read a comment from him about the amount of reverb he uses. I'm not absolutely sure, but I think it adds realism to a non-real orchestra, in his opinion.
What an odd notion. I mean... the reverb (in GW at least) is so huge that to me it makes everything sound *less* realistic. Where's the orchestra supposed to be playing anyway, the Notre Dame? A space shuttle hangar? But then again, who am I to question his judgment ;)
TimothyP wrote:best recent work, IMO, is the soundtrack for Oblivion. This was a good return to the qualities of Morrowind.
Indeed. In fact, I listened to the Oblivion soundtrack earlier today and it has some awesome stuff. TBH the music is ten times more impressive and enjoyable than the game itself.

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Post by borisblue » May 7th, 2007, 7:11 am

Hey Timothy,
Do you have sheet music or something similar for gameplay02.ogg?

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Post by TimothyP » May 8th, 2007, 10:39 pm

Heh. That's a good question. The answer is, no. Sometimes I notate, sometimes I don't. The main melody was written down in my notes for a while (having jotted it quickly after it came to me). I ended up using it for Gameplay 02. I didn't notate the rest. This is one of the downsides of the convenience of sequencing - we don't have to write it all down.

But, as a goal for improvement, I have been notating the entire thing for Gameplay 04 as I've been working.

--Timothy

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Post by turin » May 8th, 2007, 10:51 pm

TimothyP wrote:Heh. That's a good question. The answer is, no. Sometimes I notate, sometimes I don't. The main melody was written down in my notes for a while (having jotted it quickly after it came to me). I ended up using it for Gameplay 02. I didn't notate the rest. This is one of the downsides of the convenience of sequencing - we don't have to write it all down.
That's unfortunate. I suppose it would be too much work to go back now and try to create such a score... though perhaps someone else with more time will try reverse-engineering a score from the ogg file.
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