1st Edition

The Theory and Practice of Writing Music for Games

By Steve Horowitz, Scott Looney Copyright 2024
    244 Pages 42 Color & 20 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    244 Pages 42 Color & 20 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    244 Pages 42 Color & 20 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    The nature of game music charges the modern-day composer with understanding a whole host of aesthetic and technical principles unique to the medium. Based on years of working in the field, as well as teaching the subject at colleges and universities, The Theory and Practice of Writing Music for Games is an invaluable resource for those looking for a classroom tested, directed course of study.

    As players and composers, themselves, authors Steve Horowitz and Scott R. Looney share the inspiration and joy of game music with an emphasis on critical thinking and the creative process, exploring the parallels and distinctions to concert music, film, TV, cartoons, and other popular forms.

    Each chapter builds on the next and guides the reader step by step through the essentials. Along with all the theory, a multitude of clearly defined hands-on projects and exercises are included, designed to prepare the reader to go out into the field with a complete understanding of the art and craft of music composition for games and visual media.

    Key Features:
    • Discusses a variety of topics in a simple and easy-to-understand format.
    • Provides a valuable resource for teachers and students, anyone who is looking to build a career in music for games.
    • Breaks down the fundamentals needed to build your career.
    • Includes fun and practical exercises that strengthen your composer chops.

    Visit the Companion Website for additional resources: www.gameaudioinstitute.com/crc-press/

    Chapter 1 The Adaptive Composer

    Chapter 2 Building Blocks

    Chapter 3 The Composer's Toolbox

    Chapter 4 Music as Information

    Chapter 5 Cinematic Transitions

    Chapter 6 Living in Limbo

    Chapter 7 Get In The Game: Applied Musical Concepts

    Chapter 8 Middleware Music Concepts and the Technical Composer

    Chapter 9 Advanced Approaches 

    Chapter 10 Lessons Earned

    Assignment 01 Composer Report

    Assignment 02 Create the Music Section of a GDD (Game Design Document)

    Assignment 03 (A) Setting Up YourWork Space

    Assignment 03 (B) Welcome to the Screen Shot Challenge

    Assignment 04 Notation Exploration

    Assignment 05 Classic to Modernity, the Art of Translation

    Assignment 06 Composing For Cinematics

    Assignment 07 Defining Form

    Assignment 08 Welcome to the Limbo Challenge

    Assignment 09 Gameplay Music Analysis

    Assignment 10 Breakout!

    Assignment 11 The Music Maze

    Assignment 12 Mood Board

    Assignment 13 Day and Night

    Assignment 14 Create a Technical Design Document (TDD) 

    Assignment 15 Create a Website and Artist Statement


    Steve Horowitz is a creator of odd but highly accessible sounds and a diverse and prolific musician. Perhaps best known as a composer and producer for his original soundtrack to the Academy Award-nominated film “Super Size Me.”, Steve is also a noted expert in the field of sound for games. As audio director at Nickelodeon Digital, he has literally worked on hundreds of well known titles, projects that have garnered multiple Kid Screen, Webby, and Broadcast Design awards. Horowitz also received a Grammy Award in recognition of his engineering work on the multi-artist release, “True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe [Sugar Hill].” Best Bluegrass Album” (1996). The artist behind thirty one albums of mind bending original music, Steve currently resides in San Francisco.

    Scott Looney is a passionate artist, soundsmith, educator, and curriculum developer who has been helping students understand the basic concepts and practices behind the creation of content for interactive media and games for over fifteen years. He pioneered interactive online audio courses for the Academy Of Art University, and has also taught at Ex’pression College, Cogswell College, Pyramind Training, UC SantaCruz, City College SF, SF State University and Oregon State University. He has created compelling sounds for audiences, game developers and ad agencies alike across a broad spectrum of genres and styles, from contemporary music to experimental noise. In addition to his work in game audio and education, he is currently researching procedural and generative sound applications in games, and mastering the art of code.