Writing Tunes Lovable By All.
In the era of the Game Boy and NES, game systems only allowed for music with, at maximum, three-track polyphony. That is, only three tones could be played at the same time. On top of that, there was not much choice for the timbre of these tones – the only options for tuned sounds were basic synthesiser waves.
But it was in that era that some of the most memorable tracks of the century emerged – the title themes of Pokémon and Final Fantasy, the overworld themes of Mario and Zelda, even the introductory fanfare of Pac-Man. The three-track limit had forced VGM composers to focus on writing the best melodies they could, while using creative methods to avoid the four-part sweet spot of conventional harmony.
Inspired by this triumph of creative simplicity, my compositions put melodiousness and accessibility at the forefront. Yet, even with accessibility as a focus, my compositions aim to present harmonic and rhythmic intricacies that give them the VGM brand of complexity. While they are varied in style and genre, from string quartets to full electronic works, they have a common purpose – to emulate the creative spirit of the earliest game composers, and to create tuneful music that can be appreciated and loved by both the passive listener and critical scholar alike.
Written for the 34th Asian Composer’s League Young Composers’ Competition.
Premiered at the Vietnam Conservatory of Music on 14th October 2016.
“I am really impressed! Mature writing and very deliberate ‘distortion’ of tonality is the mark of a real composer. I hope you keep composing wherever your career takes you – if you can write this in camp, you can write anywhere!”
~ Edward Tan, violinist and conductor