1st Edition

The Game Music Toolbox Composition Techniques and Production Tools from 20 Iconic Game Soundtracks

By Marios Aristopoulos Copyright 2023
    212 Pages 49 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    212 Pages 49 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    The Game Music Toolbox provides readers with the tools, models, and techniques to create and expand a compositional toolbox, through a collection of 20 iconic case studies taken from different eras of game music. Discover many of the composition and production techniques behind popular music themes from games such as Cyberpunk 2077, Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda, Street Fighter II, Diablo, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, and many others.

    The Game Music Toolbox features:

    • Exclusive interviews from industry experts
    • Transcriptions and harmonic analyses
    • 101 music theory introductions for beginners
    • Career development ideas and strategies
    • Copyright and business fundamentals
    • An introduction to audio implementation for composers
    • Practical takeaway tasks to equip readers with techniques for their own game music

    The Game Music Toolbox is crucial reading for game music composers and audio professionals of all backgrounds, as well as undergraduates looking to forge a career in the video game industry.

    1. SPACE INVADERS (1978) - Mickey Mousing, Programmable Sound Generators, and the Birth of Interactive Game Music  2. BALLBLAZER (1985) - Algorithmic Guitar Solos to Infinity!  3. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA (1986) – Music Sequences, Musical SFX, and the SNES sound  4. AMEGAS (1987) - The Birth of the Tracker Sequencer  5. THE SECRET OF THE MONKEY ISLAND (1990) – The Secrets of Pirate Reggae!  6. STREET FIGHTER II (1991) –Melodic Tension in Guile’s, Ken’s and Blanka’s themes  7. MORTAL KOMBAT (1992) – From the Arcades to the Dance Floor, Formulaic Writing Makes a Classic Hit  8. DIABLO (1996): Chromatic chords and non-functional harmony in Tristram Village  9. ASSASSIN’S CREED - Music as a Time Travelling Device in Four Historical Games of the Franchise  10. JOURNEY (2012) – a Masterclass in Monothematic Scoring  11. THE LAST OF US (2013) – WHEN LESS IS MORE – SPACE & SILENCE AS STORYTELLING DEVICES  12. ALIEN ISOLATION (2014) – In Space None Can Hear You Scream! - Controlling Tension with a Vertical Layers System  13. MARIO KART 8 (2014) – Music as an Information Device  14. APOTHEON (2016) – Recombinant Cells - A Generative Technique for Producing Musical Variation  15. NO MAN’S SKY (2016) – A Conversation With the Audio Director Paul Weir  16. DOOM (2016) – The Doom Instrument – Using FX chains creatively  17. CALL OF DUTY WW2 (2017) – A Conversation with the Composer Wilbert Roget, II  18. SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER (2018) – Music as Meditation, Lost Instruments, and 3D Mixing  19. CONTROL (2019) - A Conversation with Composer Petri Alanko  20. CYBERPUNK 2077 (2021) – Diegetic Music in Night City, Riff-based Composition, and the Sound of Sci-Fi


    Marios Aristopoulos is a composer and sound designer for new media based in London. He is the Game Audio Lead at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has authored the game audio programmes for many universities in the UK and the USA. Selected composition credits include Apotheon – an award-winning PS4 & Steam video game, Rebel Rebel – a painting exhibition for The Curve gallery in the Barbican, Aenigma – a 3D stereoscopic animation, and Beasts of London – an interactive exhibition for the Museum of London.