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Music-lover friends, perhaps you wonder how one goes about composing music for a project such as Wakfu. Don’t worry, we won't get into counterpoints and harmonies, so forget about music theory, let's simplify a bit!In fact, there are several steps to the creative process, with 3 separate parts. Since I work in the "traditional way", the first part is the conception on the piano, then comes the orchestration and finally the mixing. Here's a little example with a one minute excerpt, created for a Wakfusian forest. 1. Piano Why the piano? Because the piano, with the way it's played, has the advantage of "restraining" the ear, of preventing us from having "too many notes" so that the overall composition can be heard. Before diving in, I decide on the movement(s), the measure and the tonality (the general mood of the piece). Next, I take care of the main melodies (the counterpoint). Just like Beethoven, we need a catchy tune, THE melody we'll whistle along. After a bit of jamming (2-3 hours, in truth...) and a good twenty melodies that aren't too pleasing, I keep at least three that can be strung together:Next, we need to harmonize this musical phrase. We choose a mood and a rhythm. I design my chords according to the score of the melody, then I number them (in other words, I encode them so that they're easier to read). Following this is the first draft of the harmony, and then correction of errors. After 2 or 3 hours we get this (without the melody, as all parts must work together, but every part should stand on its own also)I mix the lot and apply some last corrections to the piano version. Sometimes it can take a while before the music sounds good in its entirety! Here's the result:2. Orchestration Orchestration is what sets the general atmosphere, even more than the melody. For example, as soon as one hears pan flutes it sounds peruvian, as soon as one hears shamisen it sounds like a bamboo forest with pandas!!! In this instance, I went for the kalimba, the irish flute, the oboe and the violin, since those four instruments have, I feel, a very woodsy vibe to them.For the accompaniment, I first choose the instruments according to the symbolism in the piece (here, woods and forest). So for this piece, I've chosen amongst others the violin, didgeridoo, harp and some "elven" voices. Next come the corrections to the harmony, with all its constraining rules. This is the hardest part, since the number of those rules is very large. The principle of harmony is that the very nature of a note is three-fold (in one tone, you can hear three). So we end up with a lot of redundant notes, and we must erase some, add others, without losing the color of the sometimes complex overall harmony.When we're done with this, we can say to ourselves: "phew, at last!"To conclude the "pure composition" part, I add the percussion. These must spice up the melody and its harmony without taking too much importance, an all too common mistake.3. Mixing The last step!!! I take each part in *.wav, and I mix the lot. This final task allows me to balance the sound levels of the piece so that we can perceive the essential part on first hearing it, it allows me to avoid feedback, amplify some parts, eliminate others, etc. This is the final result:The last excerpt is, if you will, an evolution from the simple melody to the fully orchestrated and balanced piece. We start simply with the piano, a single melody, then the piano harmony fades into the background, and finally we hear a sort of musical "morphing", from the piano version to the orchestral version. This "musical morphing" will occur another two times in this last excerpt:I hope I’ve given you an idea of how music can be composed, because in actual fact I don’t always compose in this way. There are no absolute rules in musical composition!!!Note to Fibojo: Thanks for your help with the translation.
Hello and let's go!To respond to questions asked by several people, just a little point about the way in which the music is made. Well, we don’t have an orchestra here at Ankama, but rather a heap of computer programs that allow us to get really close to that sound. These programs have recorded every note of every instrument in a classical orchestra according to several parameters.For the violin, for instance, there are a good ten settings to choose from including staccato (.01s, 0.2s, 0.3s), legato, pizzicato, col legno etc… this ensures that we end up with a sound that mirrors real instruments authentically, even though a computer program could never replace them.Secondly, I don’t place any rules on the structure of a piece of music. In actual fact, I do my best to make sure they don’t sound too structured or systematic: the two pieces that have been put online display this quite well I think (although unfortunately, I’m still a long way from being infallible). I simply try to make pleasing music that you don’t hear in every other computer game (by combining orchestral and ethnic instruments, for example).Now, there’ll be no indication as to what music is used where. Don’t ask for combat music, map music or class music… it’s up to you to guess the uses of the pieces we give you!Lastly, we thought we’d involve as many players as possible and give you a third piece which is nothing more than a slightly different version of the second piece. Feel free to go to the forum afterwards and discuss the strong and weak points of both versions!Download the second version of the piece!
It might be late, but the background music to Wakfu has arrived! You can find it next to the first part here:Wakfu.com music page.Can you guess what the theme of the new melody is?For the most dedicated fans out there, our composer, Guigui, will come and talk about his compositions! Soon he might even explain step by step the process of bringing Wakfu’s theme music to life!