Northwest Symphonies Spotlight Video Game Music

Link is the main character from The Legend of Zelda video games, which will be celebrated by a performance from the Seattle Symphony. Credit PhoTones_TAKUMA / Flickr

In the next couple of weeks, Northwest symphonies are reaching out to the gamers. The Port Angeles and Seattle Symphonies will both be showcasing video game music in upcoming concerts and while lush orchestral music is now present in many game soundtracks, it’s taken quite a while to get there.

Early video game music was simple, dominated by strong melodies leaving little room for much else. With hardware limitations and memory at a premium, there was hardly room for harmonies or much of bass line. It was this simplicity that made these melodies the perfect springboard for musical expansion. These simple melodies were infectious and the perfect thing to grow a loyal and nostalgic following. Now, with the ability to feature a full orchestral score, composers are able to write game soundtracks like never before. In 2011, The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Special Orchestra Soundtrack was released, letting fans hear the music they had grown to love, now containing the sort of magic only an orchestra can provide. The Seattle Symphony is celebrating the 25th anniversary of this well-loved game series with a live performance accompanying a video presentation. The Seattle Symphony is sure to capture the adventure and character of Zelda in their upcoming concert September 12 in Benaroya Hall. On September 27 and 28th, the Port Angeles Symphony will be showcasing the music from newer games and welcoming Stan LePard, orchestrator and composer on series such as Halo and Age of Empires. Music from series such as Halo have been praised for their soundtracks and show the diversity video game music can provide, such as combining Gregorian chant and strings into a powerful electric guitar line.

As limited as video game music may have been, it has blossomed and it is a testament to how strong a simple melody can be. The Port Angeles Symphony and Seattle Symphony both invite you to hear game music live and to hear how far it has come.