Bombers' Notebook

Bombers' Notebook

Master Scale List of VGM
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Much game music does not conform to any particular scale 100% for any great length of time. For reasons both practical and artistic, you will find that many of the chords and melodies in the examples listed will not conform perfectly to their associated scales. Even so, each example still carries the overall sound of its associated scale, and should still be well-suited to study.

I’d wager to guess that most game composers think relatively little of scales when they’re actually composing (which is certainly true of myself, at least). A reliance on scales for composition can artificially complicate the process, limiting composers who may feel they can’t introduce notes without being able to assign them to some scale in order to get their bearings.

This doesn’t mean that scales aren’t useful at all, however; their utility makes a general knowledge of scales well worth acquiring. As the jazz players figured out, scales are, in some sense, much like chords — when you compress a scale  from multiple separate notes into a single stream of them, it’s quite clear that each scale has its own particular flavor. This is useful when you’re actually looking to limit your palette of notes in order to simplify the tonal quality of a piece of music you’re writing, perhaps to invoke a stereotypical sound of some kind or simply to make the music simpler; or when you need a quick flurry of linear notes that give off a particular sound.

To make the composer’s study of scales more accessible, I’ve compiled a list of game music and listed a particular scale that each invokes prominently; either throughout or in part. This list is sorted by scale by default, but other tabs (shown on the bottom left) include lists sorted by game and by composer.

This is intended as a reference list, so that you may gain a more thorough understanding of what a particular scale sounds like in practice, or to study how it’s written and incorporated into multiple genres.

music theoryJoshua Taipale