Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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SquareTex Jan 14, 2007 (edited Jan 14, 2007)

To break into the debate a moment, I found the following post over at The Hylia:

"Music: Twilight Princess OST      01/13/07 14:54
By TSA
So I found another solution for the music for those of you who absolutely must have the Twilight Princess soundtrack. Although not every piece is in it, it still has a good majority of the tracks. The files are in a .zip file."

...which leads to THIS:
http://www.archive.org/download/twiligh … ost/tp.zip

Beware...it's a 377-MB monster. smile

Harry Jan 14, 2007 (edited Jan 14, 2007)

OK, from the rip, there are 173 themes. I will only count all the tracks that are over 1 megabyte in size (as they would usually be the pieces which are orchestrated) which totals to 108 tracks. Let's add estimated costs:

Composer salary: $50,000 x 3 (Kondo, Minegishi, Ota) = $150,000
Orchestration and Arrangement (includes length and instruments): $3,000 - $5,000 per piece ($4,000 reasonable rough-cut average) = $432,000

Individual Musicianship Hire (totaling 40 - 50 members; detailing amount of themes to perform, how many rehearsals, and final performance) = $250,000 - $300,000 (for purpose, we'll compromise at $275,000)
Recording studio and mastering sessions (including a minimum of 2 weeks inside the studio, and a large size to fit the instruments and the performers) = $150,000 - $200,000 (for purpose, we'll compromise at $175,000)

Total estimate: $1,032,000

That's $1,032,000 as a rough estimation taking in all factors of production. And further yet, there are still over 65 themes unaccounted for which would still require full orchestration under some of the views here.

If the whole score was orchestrated, I'm telling you now that our new Zelda game wouldn't be available for a few years yet.

Kenology Jan 14, 2007 (edited Jan 14, 2007)

Again, orchestrating an entire Zelda score is just not realistic.

First off, all home console based Zelda games since Majora's Mask have had well over 100 tracks.  That's A LOT of music.  Even if you don't count the fanfares.

Secondly, and even more importantly, Kondo is a huge fan of DYNAMIC scores.  I just don't see this being done with an orchestra.  So bottom line, no matter how much you guys want it, it a'int gonna happen.  I prefer the MIDI and interactive music myself now.  Though, as XLord already pointed out, Zelda is well overdue for a synth upgrade (though TP has  the best synth we've had so far).


EDIT:  Besides, imagine Nintendo ever spending that type of money on an orchestra... or anything for that matter.  No way.

Wanderer Jan 14, 2007 (edited Jan 14, 2007)

That rip helps... but it's amazing that we STILL haven't gotten a decent version of the Field Theme (the best part of the score).

While it's obvious we probably won't be getting fully orchestrated scores anytime soon, even incorporating a solo instrument into the synth does wonders for the music. Hamauzu figured that out years ago.

There's nothing that irritates me more than synth trying to imitate an orchestra. Most of the time, it sounds hopelessly bad (and very mechanical). It's desperately missing the phrasing that only human performers can provide.

(A million dollars for a film score would be nothing but I suppose with video games, it's asking a lot.)

TerraEpon Jan 14, 2007

Wanderer wrote:

I'm sure games with the budget of FFXII could afford to orchestrate their entire score (which would have been about two and a half hours of music) but I guess they didn't want the added expense.

I imagine in cases like FFXII (and in fact Zelda) it's not so much about budget as it is about power. Streaming music takes more memory than synthesizing it, not to mention the amount of disc space. For a game where each 'level' is loaded and it's pretty small this isn't an issue, but a game like FF you're constantly going back and forth, and the graphics are top notch in the first place.

-Joshua

Wanderer Jan 14, 2007

Yeah, that's probably true... and FFXII's music was already downsampled to begin with. I suppose the more powerful the systems get, the less of an issue that will be.

Child of Mana Jan 14, 2007

I seriously doubt that financial considerations came into play when composing the score for tp... if nintendo wanted too, it could have easily plopped down the dough for an orchestrated score for their flagship game.

Why can't people see that it was a creative choice for nintendo to do the music this way?
Of all places on the internet, I cant understand why the 'give us an orchestrated score' mantra is in full force here as well. I loved the soundtrack and think the game would have been ruined by an orchestrated score and voice acting. Since when do the inhabitants of the mythical land of hyrule speak in english? (or some other 'real' language?) Im sorry, i guess im just too old school. Zelda is one of the few RPG series to survive the cinema-scene/voice acting/ orchestrated purge, and I applaud it for this.
I also enjoyed the samples for most... it provided continuity with Ocarina

When will people get it through there heads that VGM is not film music?

Jay Jan 14, 2007

Who says they have to speak english? Why does Midna speak and nobody else? The game doesn't have to have an orchestra to sound better - simply better samples.

Had they used an 8-bit soundtrack to provide continuity with the original would you be happier?

Arcubalis Jan 14, 2007

Orchestrated music isn't exclusive to film scores.  The aim of the music in games and in films are very different, so there's no reason to think that using orchestrated music for games would make them more like film scores.

With that said, I think the soundtrack is good as is, but I think everyone would agree that it would sound better if it was orchestrated.  I think there are a lot of corners that could be cut in the price estimates listed above, but yeah, we're moving towards a time where all game music is either live or electronic, but not synthesized to emulate live music.  That's a good thing.

Harry Jan 14, 2007

Child of Mana wrote:

I seriously doubt that financial considerations came into play when composing the score for tp... if nintendo wanted too, it could have easily plopped down the dough for an orchestrated score for their flagship game.

Of course they could, but let's total the amount of money paid to all other employees working on the game, the amount needed for initial promotion and packaging, the money for additional and crisis situations, and amount of money allocated to other games Nintendo is making (which would have similar paying standards to Twilight Princess). Nintendo would not have that kind of money for orchestration that would please only a niche of people.

Ryu Jan 14, 2007

Also, it isn't as if the music couldn't be orchestrated for concert or cd.

Qui-Gon Joe Jan 15, 2007 (edited Jan 15, 2007)

While I'm honestly in the camp that says Nintendo just needs to upgrade their synth, I sort of feel like playing devil's advocate here...

You say that Nintendo wouldn't want to or be able to afford orchestrating a Zelda score.  But I say that's impossible to prove from the evidence we have!

What do you think.... of THIS!

*presents Super Smash Bros. Melee*

Nintendo could and has done live performance of a significant portion of a major release that had a LOT of music tracks in it.  There is clearly a contradiction here!

(okay, so I just finished Gyakuten Saiban 2 last night... I've honestly been thinking in these kind of patterns in every aspect of my life most of today)

Harry Jan 15, 2007

Qui-Gon Joe wrote:

While I'm honestly in the camp that says Nintendo just needs to upgrade their synth, I sort of feel like playing devil's advocate here...

You say that Nintendo wouldn't want to or be able to afford orchestrating a Zelda score.  But I say that's impossible to prove from the evidence we have!

What do you think.... of THIS!

*presents Super Smash Bros. Melee*

Nintendo could and has done live performance of a significant portion of a major release that had a LOT of music tracks in it.  There is clearly a contradiction here!

(okay, so I just finished Gyakuten Saiban 2 last night... I've honestly been thinking in these kind of patterns in every aspect of my life most of today)

I'm not too familiar with the Melee score (having not played the game), but by judging from the bonus orchestra recording release from the Nintendo subscription, I'd hardly say 15 tracks totals up to the same costs as 108+ themes from Zelda.

Then again, it is a very unlikely choice orchestrating themes from that game. Probably most likely a joint HAL + Nintendo venture.

Child of Mana Jan 15, 2007

I agree that in some instances the music falls flat when it tries to imitate orchestra.. eg boss battles. Since they were going for the orchestral sound, they might have upgraded the synth.
But upgrading just for the sake of 'orchestratizing it' is ridiculous. Synth orchestras can and often do sound better than real orchestras.

However, Kondo and co. spent a great deal of time crafting a unique sound pallette for hyrule, and I am not averse to their incorporating the synth instruments from past games into new scores. Continuity does not have to be achieved only thematically. By and large, the synth has been upgraded, but reusing some of the trademark samples is a boon, IMO.

I also agree that live instruments would have been a better option than orchestra. people always seem to forget this option. I loved the crystal chronicles soundtrack... not orchestral, but completely awesome, played on historical instruments with amazing results.

And yes, I would prefer a well-scored 8 bit score over the by and large orchestral crap that passes for game music these days, hands down. Given the choice between an average orchestral score for TP (which from previous accounts, eg hyrule syphony, would be lacking) and an 8 bit score, I would prefer the 8 bit version. No joke. Upgraded synth does not always equal better results. Case in point- ff3 ds vs famicom...

Chris.Tilton Jan 16, 2007

Harry wrote:

OK, from the rip, there are 173 themes. I will only count all the tracks that are over 1 megabyte in size (as they would usually be the pieces which are orchestrated) which totals to 108 tracks. Let's add estimated costs:

You are absolutely 100% WRONG. Let's go through this shall we.

Composer salary: $50,000 x 3 (Kondo, Minegishi, Ota) = $150,000

These people work for Nintendo. They are on salary.

Orchestration and Arrangement (includes length and instruments): $3,000 - $5,000 per piece ($4,000 reasonable rough-cut average) = $432,000

Uh no. First off it depends on if the piece is for a full orchestra, or just a few instruments (like the piece in Castle Town). Since most of the music in Zelda is NOT for full orchestra, the cost would be significantly different from the absolutely ridiculous figures you are proposing. The average range per piece would be $400 - $1500.

Individual Musicianship Hire (totaling 40 - 50 members; detailing amount of themes to perform, how many rehearsals, and final performance) = $250,000 - $300,000 (for purpose, we'll compromise at $275,000)

Once again, your estimate is totally ridiculous. The pieces could range from a couple players to 50 or maybe 65 if you wanted a bigger sound. There are no rehearsals, they go into the studio, sight read, and record. You'd probably need 3 - 4 days. We're talking $100,000 to $200,000 including the studio.

Recording studio and mastering sessions (including a minimum of 2 weeks inside the studio, and a large size to fit the instruments and the performers) = $150,000 - $200,000 (for purpose, we'll compromise at $175,000)

Christ, where are you pulling these from? Mixing studios cost about $1000 a day. And once again you'll need 3 - 4 days.

Total estimate: $1,032,000

This is probably the most absurd thing I've read on this forum. We're talking $350,000 MAX. Probably much cheaper.


If the whole score was orchestrated, I'm telling you now that our new Zelda game wouldn't be available for a few years yet.

Good thing you aren't in charge of production! Sheesh. And it's not by the number of themes. It's by the number of minutes of music with a certain number of musicians. And, as I said before, a majority of the music will not be using the full orchestra. As I'm sure you noticed, Zelda has a lot of "folk" like tunes which are only 5 to 8 players. That's chump change to record. That $350,000 figure is a very generous over-estimate on my part.

SquareTex Jan 16, 2007

...and if anyone here ought to know about recording and contracting musicians... smile

Carl Jan 16, 2007 (edited Jan 16, 2007)

A small nugget for consideration, is that Studio and Musician costs will vary slightly in each Country, if the recording is taking place in Europe, vs Japan, vs USA, vs Australia...

A fairly minor factor in large budget projects though.

Jared Jan 16, 2007

SquareTex wrote:

To break into the debate a moment, I found the following post over at The Hylia:

"Music: Twilight Princess OST      01/13/07 14:54
By TSA
So I found another solution for the music for those of you who absolutely must have the Twilight Princess soundtrack. Although not every piece is in it, it still has a good majority of the tracks. The files are in a .zip file."

...which leads to THIS:
http://www.archive.org/download/twiligh … ost/tp.zip

Beware...it's a 377-MB monster. smile

Does anyone know where I can get this? This link is down.

Msia Jan 16, 2007

Chris.Tilton wrote:
Harry wrote:

OK, from the rip, there are 173 themes. I will only count all the tracks that are over 1 megabyte in size (as they would usually be the pieces which are orchestrated) which totals to 108 tracks. Let's add estimated costs:

You are absolutely 100% WRONG. Let's go through this shall we.

Composer salary: $50,000 x 3 (Kondo, Minegishi, Ota) = $150,000

These people work for Nintendo. They are on salary.

Orchestration and Arrangement (includes length and instruments): $3,000 - $5,000 per piece ($4,000 reasonable rough-cut average) = $432,000

Uh no. First off it depends on if the piece is for a full orchestra, or just a few instruments (like the piece in Castle Town). Since most of the music in Zelda is NOT for full orchestra, the cost would be significantly different from the absolutely ridiculous figures you are proposing. The average range per piece would be $400 - $1500.

Individual Musicianship Hire (totaling 40 - 50 members; detailing amount of themes to perform, how many rehearsals, and final performance) = $250,000 - $300,000 (for purpose, we'll compromise at $275,000)

Once again, your estimate is totally ridiculous. The pieces could range from a couple players to 50 or maybe 65 if you wanted a bigger sound. There are no rehearsals, they go into the studio, sight read, and record. You'd probably need 3 - 4 days. We're talking $100,000 to $200,000 including the studio.

Recording studio and mastering sessions (including a minimum of 2 weeks inside the studio, and a large size to fit the instruments and the performers) = $150,000 - $200,000 (for purpose, we'll compromise at $175,000)

Christ, where are you pulling these from? Mixing studios cost about $1000 a day. And once again you'll need 3 - 4 days.

Total estimate: $1,032,000

This is probably the most absurd thing I've read on this forum. We're talking $350,000 MAX. Probably much cheaper.


If the whole score was orchestrated, I'm telling you now that our new Zelda game wouldn't be available for a few years yet.

Good thing you aren't in charge of production! Sheesh. And it's not by the number of themes. It's by the number of minutes of music with a certain number of musicians. And, as I said before, a majority of the music will not be using the full orchestra. As I'm sure you noticed, Zelda has a lot of "folk" like tunes which are only 5 to 8 players. That's chump change to record. That $350,000 figure is a very generous over-estimate on my part.

Automatically amazing, I said wow.

Harry Jan 16, 2007 (edited Jan 16, 2007)

Just for some clarification, you are a composer, I work in the recording industry. Recording charges do vary from the country to country. I know for fact that recording costs are much cheaper here in Australia than in Japan, but I have no idea what they are in America.

Carl said it absolutely right, production costs vary (sometimes significantly) from each individual country.

Chris.Tilton wrote:
Harry wrote:

OK, from the rip, there are 173 themes. I will only count all the tracks that are over 1 megabyte in size (as they would usually be the pieces which are orchestrated) which totals to 108 tracks. Let's add estimated costs:

You are absolutely 100% WRONG. Let's go through this shall we.

My eyes can count 173 themes, thank you. wink

Composer salary: $50,000 x 3 (Kondo, Minegishi, Ota) = $150,000

These people work for Nintendo. They are on salary.

Of course, that's why I included them in the cost. The video game music salary (for Japanese freelancers anyway) can cost $1,000 per composition (up to $2,000 including arrangement, preliminary mixing, etc), but composers working in a company would much likely receive per-year wages.

Orchestration and Arrangement (includes length and instruments): $3,000 - $5,000 per piece ($4,000 reasonable rough-cut average) = $432,000

Uh no. First off it depends on if the piece is for a full orchestra, or just a few instruments (like the piece in Castle Town). Since most of the music in Zelda is NOT for full orchestra, the cost would be significantly different from the absolutely ridiculous figures you are proposing. The average range per piece would be $400 - $1500.

As stated countless times before, I have not heard the full music to Twilight Princess, so I can't give reasonably accurate response. I'm only judging by complete estimation and experience, with the impression that many tracks will use orchestra. But if they are only for a few instruments, your cost would be closer. A 3 minute piece with 3 instruments will cost roughly $1000 - $1500. A 3 minute piece with a full orchestra will cost roughly $3,000 - $4,000 (and even then, you and I especially would know that the more renowned an orchestrator, the more money they'll charge. And by using someone as highly esteemed as Michiru Oshima as the arranger and orchestrator for that single live piece, Nintendo is looking at $3,000 as a bare minimum here.

Individual Musicianship Hire (totaling 40 - 50 members; detailing amount of themes to perform, how many rehearsals, and final performance) = $250,000 - $300,000 (for purpose, we'll compromise at $275,000)

Once again, your estimate is totally ridiculous. The pieces could range from a couple players to 50 or maybe 65 if you wanted a bigger sound. There are no rehearsals, they go into the studio, sight read, and record. You'd probably need 3 - 4 days. We're talking $100,000 to $200,000 including the studio.

This depends what they get in the deal, and how many individual musicians are hired. But on the most occasions, they will just sight-read. You'd certainly need more than 3-4 days to record over 108 (potentially nearly 200) tracks. You're probably looking at recording about 15 - 20 themes per day (though, even with a large orchestra, you'd be lucky to get that much done in one day. Also, depending on the composers, a track could be recorded up to 3 or more times before considering moving on to the next piece, which takes an awful long time; maybe even 30 - 45 minutes per piece). This was also taking in the assumption that many themes were orchestral.

Recording studio and mastering sessions (including a minimum of 2 weeks inside the studio, and a large size to fit the instruments and the performers) = $150,000 - $200,000 (for purpose, we'll compromise at $175,000)

Christ, where are you pulling these from? Mixing studios cost about $1000 a day. And once again you'll need 3 - 4 days.

I know for fact that some of the best (and biggest) recording studios in Australia (and in the world) can cost nearly $8,000 - $10,000 a day (12 + hours), including mixing and mastering sessions (use of pro-tools and the like) in the studio. Multiply that by the potential amount of days that Nintendo would use it (probably about 8 - 12 for recording -- every track accounted for -- and 2 days for mastering, post-recording mixing), and that's how I got it. Again, since I haven't heard the music to Zelda or know what kind of studios Nintendo uses, I can only give an estimation of my experience. Keep in mind that there aren't as many studios that can take a full orchestra (a complete scoring stage is required. And by full, I mean 70 performers +) compared to reasonably small space that can only take a few performers (by few, 10 - 15 performers or less). Nintendo will NEED one of these studios, and they are certainly more expensive than you think. Also, again, be aware, we are talking about 108 + themes.

Total estimate: $1,032,000

This is probably the most absurd thing I've read on this forum. We're talking $350,000 MAX. Probably much cheaper.

Well, this is from my total figuring.

If the whole score was orchestrated, I'm telling you now that our new Zelda game wouldn't be available for a few years yet.

And it's not by the number of themes. It's by the number of minutes of music with a certain number of musicians. And, as I said before, a majority of the music will not be using the full orchestra. As I'm sure you noticed, Zelda has a lot of "folk" like tunes which are only 5 to 8 players. That's chump change to record. That $350,000 figure is a very generous over-estimate on my part.

Again, that all depends solely on the musicians. If the majority of themes only need a few performers to pull off, well then fine, the cost will probably be significantly reduced, but it's not bogus pricing on my part.

Chris, please keep in mind that neither of us have worked at or with Nintendo, and we cannot by any means give a number which can be confirmed. So before you accuse me of being untrue or absurd (I have every right to accuse you of the same, but I'm not that hot headed), don't let that fact escape you. All we can do is judge from experience. wink

Chris.Tilton Jan 16, 2007

Harry wrote:

Just for some clarification, you are a composer, I work in the recording industry. Recording charges do vary from the country to country. I know for fact that recording costs are much cheaper here in Australia than in Japan, but I have no idea what they are in America.

Well, we can use L.A. rates. If they are not most expensive rates in the world, they are close.

Of course, that's why I included them in the cost.

You can't include them in the cost because they would be paid no matter if the score was recorded with an orchestra or entirely synth.

A 3 minute piece with 3 instruments will cost roughly $1000 - $1500.

First off, it depends on how many bars are in the piece, not the number of minutes it takes up. A 3 min piece at a fairly brisk tempo is about 100 bars. For 3 players, the standard orchestration rate is $22/page (a page is 4 bars). That would come out to $550.

A 3 minute piece with a full orchestra will cost roughly $3,000 - $4,000 (and even then, you and I especially would know that the more renowned an orchestrator, the more money they'll charge. And by using someone as highly esteemed as Michiru Oshima as the arranger and orchestrator for that single live piece, Nintendo is looking at $3,000 as a bare minimum here.

The same piece for a full orchestra would cost about $45/page. That's $1025. A more esteemed orchestrator, which is not necessary could cost $80/page, still not even coming close to your 3K-4K range.

You'd certainly need more than 3-4 days to record over 108 (potentially nearly 200) tracks.

You can say "tracks" all you want, but what really matters is MINUTES. For example, I've recorded 40 minutes of music with a 70 piece orchestra in two 3/hr sessions in one day. Four days could get 160 minutes of music, and that is a TON. I doubt there is that much unrepeated music in Zelda, having played through it myself.


You're probably looking at recording about 15 - 20 themes per day (though, even with a large orchestra, you'd be lucky to get that much done in one day. Also, depending on the composers, a track could be recorded up to 3 or more times before considering moving on to the next piece, which takes an awful long time; maybe even 30 - 45 minutes per piece). This was also taking in the assumption that many themes were orchestral.

I still don't know what you mean by "themes." Do you mean pieces? Again we have to measure in minutes here.

I know for fact that some of the best (and biggest) recording studios in Australia (and in the world) can cost nearly $8,000 - $10,000 a day (12 + hours), including mixing and mastering sessions (use of pro-tools and the like) in the studio.

Well that seems hardly worth it or necessary. Sony, one of the best sounding recording studios in the world, is $6000 a day. We're going to be mixing a score in full 5.1 surround sound on a brand new Protools icon tomorrow at a place for $1500 a day. This is more than adequate for mixing ANY score.

Multiply that by the potential amount of days that Nintendo would use it (probably about 8 - 12 for recording -- every track accounted for -- and 2 days for mastering, post-recording mixing), and that's how I got it.

Based on my 5 1/2 years experience in writing, recording and mixing live orchestra music, you are severely overestimating the amount of time you need. Especially for the music for Zelda, all of which I have heard.


Again, that all depends solely on the musicians. If the majority of themes only need a few performers to pull off, well then fine, the cost will probably be significantly reduced, but it's not bogus pricing on my part.

It's bogus pricing when it's clear that most of the music in Zelda:TP does not need a full orchestra.

So before you accuse me of being untrue or absurd (I have every right to accuse you of the same, but I'm not that hot headed), don't let that fact escape you. All we can do is judge from experience. wink

As before, I'm basing my numbers off experience as I stated above. I'm utterly perplexed at where you got some of your numbers from. Those types of exaggerations are not furthering the game industry.

Harry Jan 16, 2007 (edited Jan 16, 2007)

You know what, forget I said anything. Clearly, nothing I have mentioned is clicking with you.

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