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#1) 

Music in gaming

Post Number:#1  Postby The Keeper » 31 May 2009, 10:39

When I was younger (before 1992) and would game I had a real problem with music when I was gaming. I considered it to be an interference on your focus of the game. Given that one of my DM's was partial to playing Top 40 tunes during a game I think I had some justification for this.

Later on I had a subscription to Dragon magazine and was at the beginning of my first campaign with my original group. One of the articles in one of the first issues I got dealt with music in the gaming environment. For once, I actually payed attention and kept an open mind about it. The article suggested theming (my term).

So, I thought I'd give it a shot. I went out and bought a bunch of movie soundtracks and catalogued those tracks and the tracks of the CD's I already had into three seperate categories that I created.

Combat, Suspense, and Narrative were the categories. Of course some tracks crossed over, but the idea was to have a selection of them ready for whatever was currently happening. At the time all I had was 2 CD players (this was 1992-93) and so the players generally got tipped off to what was coming by the fact that I was changing discs.

In any case it seemed (to me) to be a great addition. At one point I even had sound effects for a dungeon crawl added in. This had a particularly chilling moment at one point when the players had no idea what was coming and both eerie music and a frightening sound effect kicked in shortly after some of my narrative.

This took on a life of it's own as the music for whatever reason tended to be soaring or inspiring or moving, or whatever emotion was occuring, at the right moment in the game.

Over time this constant occurance moved music into a must as part of the way I game. Of course things are now much easier as I can use playlists in iTunes that have been set up beforehand and seamlessly switch as I go along. With the prolifieration of multiple computers in households now sound effects can also be played simultaneously from a different computer, or even the same one if you set it up that way.

So my point in this post is that if you've ever considered using music in your gaming sessions, you might want to try it out.

My suggestions: I've found that music without lyrics is the best. Actual words tend to have people focused on the song and not on the situation. The music is supposed to accent things, not distract from the experience. If you do think that a particular track with lyrics in it should be used try to use tracks that have singing in either a different language or that are intended to supplement the piece and not be the main focus of it.

For example. The various Chant albums are tracks that I use at a low volume during narratives, particularly in places where religious activities may be occuring. The vocals are in latin (which I and many other gamers don't understand) and contribute to the whole of the experience. They don't distract from it. Similarly, Carmina Burana, a famous opera has many stirring combat and suspense tracks – all in the Italian language which no one gets – unless you speak Italian.

Anyone want to add to this?

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#2) 

Re: Music in gaming

Post Number:#2  Postby The Keeper » 04 Jul 2010, 16:16

I recently purchased an iPod Nano which I synced with iTunes on my Mac. This has placed my three playlists on my Nano. So, now I am using the Nano to play my tracks during gaming. This has made it much easier to control switching and has allowed me to use my main Mac for sound effects and my spare Mac for my Skype connections.

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