Soundtrack suggestions

HNation

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So the soundtrack in DoC is already massively better than in RFC/BTS, because there is differentiation between the soundtracks of different cultures, but, in my opinion, it could be made even better. When I asked Leoreth about updating the soundtrack he said,
Not opposed but there are so many other things up in the air at the moment that I cannot devote any attention to the soundtrack.
So I made this thread to offer my suggestions and to get feedback from others, and whenever Leoreth is ready, he can look at this. I know that probably won't be for a while, but I needed a break from the project I was working on this week, so I made this thread.

My first suggestion is to keep the ethnically differentiated soundtracks for longer. It doesn't really make sense to be playing European Classical music as China in 1850 AD.

However, it would be nice if the music for non-Western cultures did evolve by era instead of just being stagnant, so I have a proposal for an Industrial/Modern soundtrack for the Middle East.
Everything in this video from 1:37:24 to 2:13:53. Still distinctively Middle Eastern sounding, but also sounds more modern than the current Middle Eastern soundtrack, probably because it does incorporate some orchestral elements (which provides a nice consistency with the European tracks that play during the Industrial Era). Lots of Civ 4 mods (SoI for sure, not sure about others) use assets from Anno 1404, so that should be fine. Leoreth, if you are interested, I can send you all of these tracks as separate mp3s.
For East Asia,
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

I would also recommend adding some more modern styles to the soundtrack for the 20th century, stuff like marching band music, jazz, ragtime, blues, rock. I had to take a bunch of music history and musicology classes to graduate, and from the early 1900s, classical music was increasingly displaced in the public consciousness by other kinds of music. It might also be nice to get some more

I understand that contemporary music with singing is probably not desirable, but there are some instrumental tracks that could work. These 4 all come from Civ 3, and would add a nice nostalgic element to DoC for those of us with fond memories of Civ 3.
Jazz, rock, techno, pop.
This is a nice marching band piece. The most famous ragtime piece played on a 1915 piano. Another nice ragtime piece. Yet another famous ragtime piece on a 1915 piano.
One of the greatest opera arias arranged for electric guitar.

It might also be cool to have more folk music in the game, but I have some other stuff to do before I go to bed, so I will post that later.
 
I have had my music suggestions in the Git Hub for over four years

African, Classical, East Asian, New World (but a smart guy with DIll knowledge added some already)
 
There was also this thread some years ago.

In it, I had compiled a few suggestions for the Global era, starting from the view that (for Western civs) the classical music soundtrack is great and should be expanded only to fill its early 20th century gap, with classical music of that era. I thought (and still think) that adding other genres is a bad idea (though I do like that Civ III modern soundtrack!). Partly because classical music provides a nice default, avoiding disagreements over what genres should be added or not (for instance I think neither marches nor ragtime are appropriate). Partly for aesthetic unity and preserving the original choice by the Firaxis designers to only use historical classical music from the medieval era onwards. And partly because I think the current soundtrack consisting of John Adams composition is great for the Digital / Future era.

I don't really have opinions on the non-Western soundtracks, but expanding them sounds like a good idea. There have been pretty good suggestions over time.
 
I thought (and still think) that adding other genres is a bad idea (though I do like that Civ III modern soundtrack!). Partly because classical music provides a nice default,
That default is already broken by the ethnic soundtracks and the earlier Western music.
avoiding disagreements over what genres should be added or not (for instance I think neither marches nor ragtime are appropriate).
What about marches and ragtime do you think is inappropriate? That's the music that is seen as emblematic of the turn of the 20th century era.
Partly for aesthetic unity and preserving the original choice by the Firaxis designers to only use historical classical music from the medieval era onwards.
But there already isn't aesthetic unity, given that the ethnic music and earlier Western music isn't classical. Rhye and Leoreth have already changed a bunch of things that the Firaxis designers chose to better simulate history and make the game more immersive.
And partly because I think the current soundtrack consisting of John Adams composition is great for the Digital / Future era.
It's not really representative of what mainstream music is like in the modern era. Nobody thinks of John Adams when they think of music that defines the Digital Era.
 
There was also this thread some years ago.

In it, I had compiled a few suggestions for the Global era, starting from the view that (for Western civs) the classical music soundtrack is great and should be expanded only to fill its early 20th century gap, with classical music of that era. I thought (and still think) that adding other genres is a bad idea (though I do like that Civ III modern soundtrack!). Partly because classical music provides a nice default, avoiding disagreements over what genres should be added or not (for instance I think neither marches nor ragtime are appropriate). Partly for aesthetic unity and preserving the original choice by the Firaxis designers to only use historical classical music from the medieval era onwards. And partly because I think the current soundtrack consisting of John Adams composition is great for the Digital / Future era.

I don't really have opinions on the non-Western soundtracks, but expanding them sounds like a good idea. There have been pretty good suggestions over time.
I have never quite understood why music from antiquity was cut out. Especially since Medieval Church music was partially inspired by Pre Christian Roman music.
 
Considering my east Asian suggestions I might have more meditative tracks and leave out my more balmy choices, but basically all were from real and not cinematic east Asian origins .
 
There was also this thread some years ago.

In it, I had compiled a few suggestions for the Global era, starting from the view that (for Western civs) the classical music soundtrack is great and should be expanded only to fill its early 20th century gap, with classical music of that era. I thought (and still think) that adding other genres is a bad idea (though I do like that Civ III modern soundtrack!). Partly because classical music provides a nice default, avoiding disagreements over what genres should be added or not (for instance I think neither marches nor ragtime are appropriate). Partly for aesthetic unity and preserving the original choice by the Firaxis designers to only use historical classical music from the medieval era onwards. And partly because I think the current soundtrack consisting of John Adams composition is great for the Digital / Future era.

I don't really have opinions on the non-Western soundtracks, but expanding them sounds like a good idea. There have been pretty good suggestions over time.
And I do totally agree with your global choices.
I also wanted to ask what you think about the music by Max Ritcher? Do you think it would be appropriate or inappropriate?
 
Also, the Firaxis choice for Ancient music in the original Civ IV game, was African, which is not classical but also not a video game soundtrack either.
To be clear, I am not saying the music for antiquity should be removed, but I do wish a few authentic pieces would be added. It doesn't feel right to not include them given that so many music sheets (or tablets I should say) were recovered.
 
What about marches and ragtime do you think is inappropriate? That's the music that is seen as emblematic of the turn of the 20th century era.
I don't think of either as emblematic of the turn of the 20th century. They also don't feel very... "soundtracky"? I think Leoreth once said marches don't really work for the soundtrack and I agree, it's too upbeat, bombastic. Ragtime feels the same but for piano (indeed it's a modified form of march). It would sound quite weird to hear The Entertainer as the soundtrack.

I'm seeing on Wikipedia right now that ragtime influenced the composers that I do see as emblematic of that era — like Debussy and Satie and Stravinsky. That's interesting. If there is a piece of ragtime that has the "mood" of soundtrack music, it might be appropriate to add it (just like some early jazz that fits with classical music, like Gershwin, would be nice to have). But it certainly shouldn't constitute the bulk of the soundtrack.
That default is already broken by the ethnic soundtracks and the earlier Western music.

But there already isn't aesthetic unity, given that the ethnic music and earlier Western music isn't classical. Rhye and Leoreth have already changed a bunch of things that the Firaxis designers chose to better simulate history and make the game more immersive.
I said that we should preserve the aesthetic unity of the medieval and later eras for Western civs, and your counter is that there is no unity because of pre-medieval eras and non-Western civs?

Also: if there was sufficient ancient classical music around, I'd be in favor of using that for the classical era, but I don't think that's the case. Likewise for non-Western civs. I'd be in favor of using music from the classical musical traditions of India, China, Japan, the Arab world, etc. if possible; but I don't know enough about them to know what's feasible.
It's not really representative of what mainstream music is like in the modern era. Nobody thinks of John Adams when they think of music that defines the Digital Era.
I don't think representativeness is something to strive towards. Anyway, with the immense diversity of late 20th and 21st century music, no choice we could make would truly be representative.

I have never quite understood why music from antiquity was cut out. Especially since Medieval Church music was partially inspired by Pre Christian Roman music.
To be clear, I am not saying the music for antiquity should be removed, but I do wish a few authentic pieces would be added. It doesn't feel right to not include them given that so many music sheets (or tablets I should say) were recovered.
Do you think there's enough? My understanding is that we have fragments of ancient music but very little overall, and probably even less that would work well as a soundtrack.

I also wanted to ask what you think about the music by Max Ritcher? Do you think it would be appropriate or inappropriate?
He'd have to be in the Digital era. I see no need to add to the John Adams track, but if it were to happen, some Max Richter pieces would fit right in. (There might be copyright concerns though maybe? He's a living composer)
 
I don't think of either as emblematic of the turn of the 20th century. They also don't feel very... "soundtracky"? I think Leoreth once said marches don't really work for the soundtrack and I agree, it's too upbeat, bombastic. Ragtime feels the same but for piano (indeed it's a modified form of march). It would sound quite weird to hear The Entertainer as the soundtrack.

I'm seeing on Wikipedia right now that ragtime influenced the composers that I do see as emblematic of that era — like Debussy and Satie and Stravinsky. That's interesting. If there is a piece of ragtime that has the "mood" of soundtrack music, it might be appropriate to add it (just like some early jazz that fits with classical music, like Gershwin, would be nice to have). But it certainly shouldn't constitute the bulk of the soundtrack.
Ideally that part of the soundtrack would have a mix of Debussy, ragtime, marches. By and large, I don't see classical music as really emblematic of any time period post-WWI, even any time post-1900 it's kind of iffy. Beethoven, Liszt, these guys were the rock stars of their day. Classical music was once the main type of music in Western culture, but it hasn't been for over a century.
I'm not sure what you mean by the "mood" of soundtrack music. I thought that the modern tracks in Civ III captured the mood of the era nicely. One thing Civ III did really nicely was giving each era a distinct feel, with unique music and the leaders changing clothes. I like the soundtrack to capture the feeling of each era. I don't think contemporary classical music captures the 20th century, it's too niche.
Here is the Maple Leaf Rag arranged for a Symphony Orchestra. What do you think?
I said that we should preserve the aesthetic unity of the medieval and later eras for Western civs, and your counter is that there is no unity because of pre-medieval eras and non-Western civs?
Because it seems arbitrary to me to want to preserve the aesthetic unity of the medieval and later eras, when
1) there isn't aesthetic unity with the classical and ancient period
2) there isn't aesthetic unity with the non-Western soundtracks
3) the music from the medieval, renaissance, and industrial eras mostly reflects the type of music that was popular in Western cultures at those times. The music from the global and digital eras doesn't.
And I would even want to have more folk songs included in the industrial era, it would be great if, playing as America or Canada (and if Australia and the Boers ever make it in, them too) to hear some more folk songs, like Shenandoah, Red River Valley, Home On The Range, etc...

Also: if there was sufficient ancient classical music around, I'd be in favor of using that for the classical era, but I don't think that's the case. Likewise for non-Western civs. I'd be in favor of using music from the classical musical traditions of India, China, Japan, the Arab world, etc. if possible; but I don't know enough about them to know what's feasible.
There isn't ancient classical music, by definition. I would love to incorporate more actual ancient music (the current ancient soundtrack is, IIRC, mostly African music, so that could be used for African civs, my preference would be to create an ancient/classical soundtrack for European civs, and just extend the ethnic soundtracks back into the ancient era).
AncGRFull from Civ III is a real ancient Greek song.
AncECFull from Civ III appears to be an original composition, but it's so good and really captures that ancient European barbarian tribal feel so well, I'd love it in there too.
I don't think representativeness is something to strive towards. Anyway, with the immense diversity of late 20th and 21st century music, no choice we could make would truly be representative.
Yes, we can't represent every style/artist, but I think we should strive to have the music be a good reflection of the era/culture. Modern classical music doesn't really reflect the 20th or 21st century, any more than Sunstorm is a good reflection of 2010s music. Yes, the music was made in the 2010s, but it was made in a style that had its peak of popularity decades earlier.
 
Ideally that part of the soundtrack would have a mix of Debussy, ragtime, marches. By and large, I don't see classical music as really emblematic of any time period post-WWI, even any time post-1900 it's kind of iffy. Beethoven, Liszt, these guys were the rock stars of their day. Classical music was once the main type of music in Western culture, but it hasn't been for over a century.
I'm not sure what you mean by the "mood" of soundtrack music. I thought that the modern tracks in Civ III captured the mood of the era nicely. One thing Civ III did really nicely was giving each era a distinct feel, with unique music and the leaders changing clothes. I like the soundtrack to capture the feeling of each era. I don't think contemporary classical music captures the 20th century, it's too niche.
Here is the Maple Leaf Rag arranged for a Symphony Orchestra. What do you think?
By "mood" I just mean it should be soundtrack-y, it's hard to define exactly. Music that doesn't take too much space, yet provides the desired level of immersion. That orchestral Maple Leaf Rag is cool, it might actually work. But I'm not sure it actually would. I'd have to try it.
Because it seems arbitrary to me to want to preserve the aesthetic unity of the medieval and later eras, when

1) there isn't aesthetic unity with the classical and ancient period
2) there isn't aesthetic unity with the non-Western soundtracks
Sure, it's arbitrary. It's also a good design choice.

There are good reasons to deviate from that unity in the cases you said: lack of musical sources to draw from in the case of the early eras, and broken immersion for non-Western civs. In the absence of such good reasons, I maintain that we shouldn't deviate from the existing design. Of course, your point is that there is a good reason — that the soundtrack should reflect music popular at the relevant time:
3) the music from the medieval, renaissance, and industrial eras mostly reflects the type of music that was popular in Western cultures at those times. The music from the global and digital eras doesn't.
But I'm not quite sure that's true? Western classical music, even in its heyday, has always been more of an elite thing. Various flavors of folk and traditional music have probably always been more popular overall, though of course much of it is lost to us. If this argument is correct (I think so but I'm not entirely sure), then it seems fine if the later soundtrack is also niche elite music rather than an attempt at exemplifying what was popular at the time.

Also, this is a bit of a technical point but the soundtrack for the medieval era isn't even medieval — it's almost entirely Renaissance music. The Renaissance soundtrack in turn has no Renaissance music but instead baroque and classical period music, though it's fine because those periods are included in the "Renaissance Era" as defined in the game. This shows that representing the era correctly has never been a primary goal.

So what is the primary goal, if it's not picking popular, emblematic, or representative music? I'd argue it's something like evocativeness: the soundtrack has to evoke certain feelings that match the experience of playing the game in the relevant era. For instance, the John Adams music is evocative of acceleration, machines, and futurism, which fits very well with the late game. What exactly is evocative in the desired sense is, of course, ill-defined. In other words it is an entirely arbitrary artistic decision. Which is why principles like "aesthetic unity" matter, and also principles like "keeping the soundtrack we've been used to, as a matter of tradition." These principles aren't absolute, again they can be broken for good reasons, but representativeness of an era's music isn't one IMO. You're welcome to try to convince me that representativeness or popularity are important, but I have yet to hear a good argument for this.
And I would even want to have more folk songs included in the industrial era, it would be great if, playing as America or Canada (and if Australia and the Boers ever make it in, them too) to hear some more folk songs, like Shenandoah, Red River Valley, Home On The Range, etc...


There isn't ancient classical music, by definition. I would love to incorporate more actual ancient music (the current ancient soundtrack is, IIRC, mostly African music, so that could be used for African civs, my preference would be to create an ancient/classical soundtrack for European civs, and just extend the ethnic soundtracks back into the ancient era).
AncGRFull from Civ III is a real ancient Greek song.
AncECFull from Civ III appears to be an original composition, but it's so good and really captures that ancient European barbarian tribal feel so well, I'd love it in there too.
I'd say the First Delphic Hymn to Apollo counts as ancient Greek classical music. I'm using the word classical in the broader sense of "art music", as should be clear from my usage of it for e.g. Chinese classical music. Sacred music from Greek religion is definitely art music.

Also note that the two pieces you mention are already part of the Civ IV soundtrack for the classical era. (Some pieces from Civ III were added to the classical era with the Warlords expansion.) Which is cool, I didn't know there was real ancient Greek music in the soundtrack!
 
I agree partially with Steb. If the current soundtrack is chosen for 'evocativeness' are saying that soundtracks outside western classical music lack that. I know for one that Chinese Classical Music has every bit of this, and many pieces would not be overwhelming for the game. We can also look at Embroydead's Sengoku Mod or certain parts of RFCA for examples of this.

Of course we completely agree that the inclusion of the Civ III classical music is a good thing, I am glad they are there but I would also be happy if more pieces were added to complement for them.
 
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By "mood" I just mean it should be soundtrack-y, it's hard to define exactly. Music that doesn't take too much space, yet provides the desired level of immersion. That orchestral Maple Leaf Rag is cool, it might actually work. But I'm not sure it actually would. I'd have to try it.

Sure, it's arbitrary. It's also a good design choice.

There are good reasons to deviate from that unity in the cases you said: lack of musical sources to draw from in the case of the early eras, and broken immersion for non-Western civs. In the absence of such good reasons, I maintain that we shouldn't deviate from the existing design. Of course, your point is that there is a good reason — that the soundtrack should reflect music popular at the relevant time:

But I'm not quite sure that's true? Western classical music, even in its heyday, has always been more of an elite thing. Various flavors of folk and traditional music have probably always been more popular overall, though of course much of it is lost to us. If this argument is correct (I think so but I'm not entirely sure), then it seems fine if the later soundtrack is also niche elite music rather than an attempt at exemplifying what was popular at the time.

Also, this is a bit of a technical point but the soundtrack for the medieval era isn't even medieval — it's almost entirely Renaissance music. The Renaissance soundtrack in turn has no Renaissance music but instead baroque and classical period music, though it's fine because those periods are included in the "Renaissance Era" as defined in the game. This shows that representing the era correctly has never been a primary goal.

So what is the primary goal, if it's not picking popular, emblematic, or representative music? I'd argue it's something like evocativeness: the soundtrack has to evoke certain feelings that match the experience of playing the game in the relevant era. For instance, the John Adams music is evocative of acceleration, machines, and futurism, which fits very well with the late game. What exactly is evocative in the desired sense is, of course, ill-defined. In other words it is an entirely arbitrary artistic decision. Which is why principles like "aesthetic unity" matter, and also principles like "keeping the soundtrack we've been used to, as a matter of tradition." These principles aren't absolute, again they can be broken for good reasons, but representativeness of an era's music isn't one IMO. You're welcome to try to convince me that representativeness or popularity are important, but I have yet to hear a good argument for this.

I'd say the First Delphic Hymn to Apollo counts as ancient Greek classical music. I'm using the word classical in the broader sense of "art music", as should be clear from my usage of it for e.g. Chinese classical music. Sacred music from Greek religion is definitely art music.

Also note that the two pieces you mention are already part of the Civ IV soundtrack for the classical era. (Some pieces from Civ III were added to the classical era with the Warlords expansion.) Which is cool, I didn't know there was real ancient Greek music in the soundtrack!

I think historical accuracy would provide a certain richness to a game that values that, however, if we are purely going on what is urbane on capturing the high culture of these eras/civs, then I would be more likely to recommend songs like this. Using a Guqin but obviously not quite ancient.

 
I would love to have the christian civs be properly split in soundtrack. Its not that immersive hearing gregorian chant as Russia, Byzantium or Ethiopia.
Some eastern orthodox chants and even oriental orthodox.
 
I would love to have the christian civs be properly split in soundtrack. Its not that immersive hearing gregorian chant as Russia, Byzantium or Ethiopia.
Some eastern orthodox chants and even oriental orthodox.
Maybe it would be better to add these to the Christian playlist, after all there was a concept of a Christendom. That was the point, right?
 
Here's a nice track to add: Irish folk song "Danny Boy" (the lyrics were written by an Englishman, but the tune is Irish) arranged for a small orchestra. A nice bit of Celtic flavor for the Industrial Era soundtrack while still fitting the orchestral style of the other tracks
 
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