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 Music From Other Sources

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Should pieces from other sources be used in Thrive's music?
Yes
75%
 75% [ 9 ]
No
25%
 25% [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 12
 

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Oliveriver
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PostSubject: Music From Other Sources   Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:36 pm

Although the current effort in terms of music is to work on themes for the microbe stage, lately I've been lacking the necessary inspiration to actually compose anything useful (call it composer's block), but I have decided to maintain my musical activity by addressing a subject which has, so far, been something of a sticking point that we've been working with. This is, of course, the use of music not created by our own composers.

For those who haven't yet read, here is the passage I wrote a while ago on the actual source of many of Doggit's themes (having been removed from the Soundtrack Completion thread so as not to sway discussion):

Spoiler:
 

Since the original composers of many of the microbe themes will be likely hard to find, it's unknown whether their work was actually in the public domain or whether it was copyrighted. However, some other themes collected so far are free for use (the Robot Revolt Theme, for example) - you can tell whether there is a designated source by the presence of a credit in the description. Provided all these sources can be properly verified, there's no reason we can't use them ourselves, but in a way this could be contradicting some of the ideals of Thrive. As an open-source, community driven project with composers arguably capable of creating music similar to that of professionals, does it really make sense to include anything that's not actually our own work? The feeling of pretty much any piece of music can be recreated with the right know-how, and composing it yourself with the game in mind gives the added bonus of being able to tailor anything to how it would work in-game. Some of music I'll link later are in general great for use in Thrive, but every now and then the progression reaches a point where a certain phrase or passage may be too loud or attention-seeking for background music.

As a counter to these ideas, it might be a good idea to actually consider where Thrive could be heading if everything goes to plan. A free, indie developed, open-source game that can take on the might of Spore and prove EA wrong? Surely a project like that could eventually have the necessary stature to ask for and receive pieces of music they haven't themselves composed? Take Civ - while it does include a lot of specially compose music, occasionally you'll hear something you'll recognise from somewhere else (Mahler's Adagietto from his Symphony No.5, Dvorak's New World Symphony, etc.). These pieces have the added advantage of being something many will know previously, even if it's just in the back of their mind. They also have a far better sound quality than Thrive's music will be if it continues with only composition software (if we ever reach a stage where we have enough acclaim to ask for it, I want a real orchestra to play with  :D ). And, even if we can recreate the feel of other music types, it's no use trying to create the sound of something so precisely that you end up effectively copying it. If you're trying so hard to copy something, why not just get the real thing? Below are a few pieces of music I've found which, at least in part (there is no way we are including the entire Leningrad Symphony), would fit incredibly well within Thrive's soundtrack, mostly as generic background pieces in organism or society stages:

Spoiler:
 

While I don't really mind one way or the other, I do doubt my own ability to compose music like this. Even if Thrive becomes more popular and more skilled composers join, pieces by others will be far more ubiquitous to the average player. Either way, this isn't likely to be so much of a problem until later stages, but it's still worth having it in mind for the time being. I've added a poll above to gauge everyone's general thoughts, and further responses with opinions will obviously help.

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Last edited by Oliveriver on Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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NickTheNick
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PostSubject: Re: Music From Other Sources   Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:15 am

In my opinion, we should scrap themes that we have no confirmed license to use to keep Thrive's music unique, as well avoid any complex and damaging legal disputes. Even for music that we receive the right to use, I don't believe we should, again for the sake of Thrive's originality.

Using the Civilization example, the use of real world music was to add to the atmosphere of the civilization you were playing as. I think it makes sense that if you are playing as a Western civilization like England, France, or Germany, you will hear classical or baroque music play in the background, because this was real music composed in that part of the world. However, with Thrive, there will be very alien and dynamic countries that will exist, and so the music should very specifcally be composed to not sound too much like music from any Earth specific culture, but to still maintain a general mood (like a calm theme for peacetime, a more intense theme for war, etc.). Basically themes in Thrive will usually need to be specific to the game and themes we borrow from others won't usually fit well, as you said.

What's more, music plays a large part in influencing the player during the game, and often players will associate a lot of what they remember about a game to the music as well as the visuals, so it would be important that Thrive's music be unique. Imagine if Star Wars had used a copied theme for its famous opening sequence.

However, that aside, we can't deny that copied music can offer better quality, because many of these guys have access to far more resources and manpower than we have access to (currently), or are just generally better composers, so I think its fine to use a minimal degree of copied music until we are able to produce better and more various music ourselves.

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PostSubject: Re: Music From Other Sources   Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:49 am

According to me there is nothing wrong with using songs from other sources (of course after permission), but I think it should be in proportion to 1 or 2 songs out of 10 songs.

There is not much to say ... some songs are beautiful (like that of Albinoni) and I think we could hardly produce such beautiful songs like these.

The important thing to do is that we have to post on the forum where the text gives us permission to use them .. better if it's a screen.

I know that you can freely use the songs of a dead musician for almost 50 years, but I think the rules change from country to country.

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You are a music composer and you can help us? Three simple rules:
1) Have or create a youtube channel
2) Publish the music on youtube (with a picture that relates to the song)
3) Publish it in the appropriate section of the forum.

Then I and Oliveriver will evaluate the song. :)
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PostSubject: Re: Music From Other Sources   Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:08 am

There should be an option called "If we get permission"(unless 'yes' automatically includes getting permission), because I would vote for that. We just can't afford legal clashes. Although some of the owners of the music may be willing to give us permission, I am sure that some will just outright say "no", or will want us to pay for a license.

On the topic of originality, I really, really disagree with some opinions here. While it may not seem 'original', I personally think that having a lot of high-quality, beautiful music from outside sources is much better than having much lower amounts of such high-quality music from the team itself(this isn't directed against our music team, they made a bunch of very nice soundtracks themselves, but we will be able to get much more high-quality music from outside sources quantity-wise).

Take Space Engine for example. In the most recent version, music got added, and although all of the music is from outside sources, the soundtrack is beautiful in-game.
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PostSubject: Re: Music From Other Sources   Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:12 am

Tarpy wrote:
There should be an option called "If we get permission"(unless 'yes' automatically includes getting permission), because I would vote for that. We just can't afford legal clashes. Although some of the owners of the music may be willing to give us permission, I am sure that some will just outright say "no", or will want us to pay for a license.

On the topic of originality, I really, really disagree with some opinions here. While it may not seem 'original', I personally think that having a lot of high-quality, beautiful music from outside sources is much better than having much lower amounts of such high-quality music from the team itself(this isn't directed against our music team, they made a bunch of very nice soundtracks themselves, but we will be able to get much more high-quality music from outside sources quantity-wise).

Take Space Engine for example. In the most recent version, music got added, and although all of the music is from outside sources, the soundtrack is beautiful in-game.

it is understood that we must get permission.

_________________

My Themes: Here

You are a music composer and you can help us? Three simple rules:
1) Have or create a youtube channel
2) Publish the music on youtube (with a picture that relates to the song)
3) Publish it in the appropriate section of the forum.

Then I and Oliveriver will evaluate the song. :)
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Tarpy
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PostSubject: Re: Music From Other Sources   Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:32 am

Then I am for 'yes'.

EDIT: Wait, I accidentally voted for 'no'. How do I erase my vote?
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PostSubject: Re: Music From Other Sources   Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:38 am

I've edited the poll to allow vote cancelling, so you should be able to change now.

Before I say anything else, I'll make it clear that a) we're only considering music we can get the permission for and b) all music for the microbe stage will be created by our own composers. The reason for the second is that there's no way we'll even be able to get permission for anything substantial without a game to show.

On Nick's point about music influencing the player's experience, all of the music accompanying important events (the main menu, progressing through stages, etc.) will be our own compositions, while other music could be a mix of both, in about the ratio Doggit suggested of around 8:1. That way, the events that stick in the player's mind will be paired with Thrive's own music, but the possible familiarity of other pieces can also be heard at some points.

Copyright for dead musicians is fairly complicated - I think it's somewhere between 50 and 100 years after the composer's death that they enter the public domain, but you can't forget that modern or fairly recent musicians must have done the recording of it and so hold some copyright as well. In my opinion, it's best not to include anything like this until we are given specific permission.

Tarpy wrote:
On the topic of originality, I really, really disagree with some opinions here. While it may not seem 'original', I personally think that having a lot of high-quality, beautiful music from outside sources is much better than having much lower amounts of such high-quality music from the team itself(this isn't directed against our music team, they made a bunch of very nice soundtracks themselves, but we will be able to get much more high-quality music from outside sources quantity-wise).

This is a good point. Finding other sources of soundtracks will be a lot quicker than composing them ourselves, even if the originality of them is compromised.

I'm really on the fence here, which is why I asked what everyone else thought. Although this technically doesn't need to be resolved until after the first stage is done, it's good to consider it as composing for the microbe stage nears a sufficient amount of work.

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