The Magic and Application of the Leitmotif in Video Game Osts

What is a Leitmotif? As an example, let's play a little game. You have the easy part, you just have to think about the picture I show you. Let's play! You probably just started to audiate the Mario theme in your head if you had not seen the picture and were not doing it already. Weird, right? There are a couple of reasons for this. Recognizing Types of Leitmotifs Let's take a couple of leitmotifs from one of my favorite games, and one of the most influential games in my life, Xenoblade Chronicles. Ooh, right off the bat it gives me serious chills. I love this game so much, and the compositions, by Yoko Shimomura, Manami Kiyota, and Yasunori Mitsuda are so ingenius. Anyways, we are introduced to a very significant crew of leitmotifs. The second leitmotif is the instrumentation of this song. It is a song based around piano and string orchestra. These instruments begin to take on a role as leitmotifs, representative of emotion in the score of this game. Sound familiar in the first couple of seconds? Yeah, that's right! This leitmotif and its melody represent the main character, Shulk's relationship with his love interest Fiora. The plot of the game (without spoiling it too much) hinges on this relationship, with Fiora getting captured and Shulk going to rescue her. Do not forget about the second leitmotif we would identified, the use of piano and strings. Here, they are continuing to represent the emotion of the scene in the gentle but thoughtful timbres of the piano and the similarly supportive timbres of the string orchestra. That's right! Not every leitmotif is a melodic concept, as you learned with the second leitmotif we heard in the Xenoblade soundtrack. Some leitmotifs could be chord progressions, called Harmonic Motifs. Let's listen to couple of samples of an infamous harmonic motif that is a common denominator among countless video game tracks. These songs exemplify the harmonic motif that is sometimes referred to as 'The Mario Cadence'. If you listen to the chord progression underneath the three songs, you will hear it! This cadence carries a very iconic and driving feel. It seems to retain the energy of the song well. If the track that it concludes is a present, the bVI-bVII-I cadence ties the bow around it very well, well enough to let a track loop, and simultaneously well enough to leave it be. The reason that this cadence sounds so recognizable is simply by its structure (of course). The bVI and bVII chords do not occur within the natural major scale. However, they do appear, technically, in the relative minor scale. For example, in the key of C, without modulating to another key, the 6th and 7th scale degrees of C minor are Ab and Bb, the bVI and bVII degrees that our cadence needs. This cadence is a leitmotif in many classic Koji Kondo compositions, and just many older-era video game songs, for that driving energy that it brings to the end of the songs. Composing with Leitmotifs Perhaps you have a melody you feel that is gorgeous enough to represent a character whose past, present, and future are portrayed in equivalent beauty. Maybe you've discovered a chord progression so heart-wrenching that it would be foolish not to use it for emotional scenes. A certain rhythm you've written out, a time signature, or a specific instrumentation implies something, perhaps, that your game's soundtrack could not live without. Do not forget, it's all up to you. As a composer, the air your sound vibrates is your canvas, and these leitmotifs help you blend, paint, and introduce profound ideas to fill that canvas. Good Inspirations for Leitmotifs For our first example, let's listen to the theme for Aryll, Link's sister who gets kidnapped during the events of the game. In Conclusion, Leitmotifs are an essential part of any game soundtrack, and an incredibly versatile tool to relate with, evoke emotion from, and overall better the experience of the player. Mastery of leitmotif incorporation will create a more accessible soundtrack to listeners,and a more immersive, complete game experience.

Is there one word or phrase that best describes the emotion of happiness when winning?

Exultation = the act of exulting; lively or triumphant joy, as over success or victory (Dictionary.com).Elation = a feeling or state of great joy or pride; exultant gladness; high spirits (Dictionary.com).Triumph = the joy or exultation of victory or success (Merriam-Webster). Festivity = An experience or expression of celebratory feeling, merriment, gaiety (Wictionary)

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