What do Fantasy, Suspense & Gaming have in common?

The Baroque Period.

The Baroque period: a time in history when organs and harpsichords ruled the musical day. To be completely honest, this is not my go-to period of music when turning on a playlist. So when I came across ABC’s ‘The Game Show’ podcast on the period’s influence in gaming music, it stopped me in my tracks. Baroque music influencing video game scores? I wanted to know exactly how the late 17th century was impacting our present reality. The hour-long podcast hooked me, for the entire hour! Rare, I know but I was intrigued. I mean really, how was the harpsichord going to sound good in gaming music?!

Here’s what I learned.

When it comes to concepts like fantasy, suspense/horror, a character theme, even the creation of regal creatures, the Baroque period has something to offer. The tone color of the instruments at the forefront of Baroque music helps us step into an imaginary world or a horror scene. Known for its contrast of loud and soft, solo, and ensemble parts, its structure helps a composer infuse drama into a scene. In the early days of gaming technology, there were a limited number of voices the technology could support. Baroque music’s call & response and interlocking of parts (likened to solving a jigsaw puzzle in the podcast) gave composers a creative and practical way to get around this limitation. Gaming technology has come a long way, the limitation, is ancient history, yet baroque music has cemented itself as a gaming composition mainstay.

If you want to hear how Baroque music meets gaming music and you have a solid 45 minutes (driving, exercising, etc.) have a listen to ABC’s 'The Game Show' episode “Baroque inspiration in Video Game Scores” https://www.abc.net.au/classic/programs/game-show/baroque-inspiration-in-video-game-scores/12609916

Well, there you have it. If it ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it. I’m leaving you with this incredibly witty ‘dad joke’ as the call looking for your response.

Is the Baroque period influencing your world? Tell me about it.