University of Canterbury embraces music for gaming
Music for gaming has grown up and found its place in the world of music composition. Unlike music composed for film or theatre, music for gaming presents unique challenges, says University of Canterbury (UC) Music Lecturer Hamish Oliver.
Composer, arranger, performer and UC lecturer Hamish Oliver at the piano – Photo credit: Claire Cowan
His presentation sits within an eclectic music programme of contemporary ensembles of singer/songwriter students, solos, sonatas, the staff-led cLoud Collective and even a Balinese Gamelan orchestra, showcasing the impressive range of performance music in this fast-growing music school.
Gaming in New Zealand was worth some $200m in 2019 and has doubled in the last two years. The fastest growing tech area, it could be a billion dollar industry by 2025, Oliver says. “It’s both a creative industry and a tech industry. It’s more like film than it is like writing software for web, but it has both elements.”
For music composers and sound designers, gaming is a potential new source of income and inspiration, especially as composition can be much more than handing over a piece of music to be simply adapted to a game.
“You can go further and that’s what I’m interested in. The interactive approach is where the game is going along and the music evolves to suit what has happened. The action makes a change in the music. Perhaps it increases the tempo or takes out the drums for a while, then brings them back in with electric guitar because there is a battle going on.