Music Contest #10 - Theme Discussion

Which theme would you like for the next music contest?


  • Total voters
    21
  • Poll closed .
While the old contest is still being voted for about ten more days, we can figure out what kind of a theme we'd like to go for the next one.
  • Magic
    Create a magical sounding musical landscape. Can pertain to a grisly old witch's plotting to take over the world, or a magical academy where wonders are learned about and researched, or the effects of magic in a dystopian, run down world. In essence, the theme's interpretations are plentiful.

  • Retro
    The crux of the theme is to create a music piece that sounds retro - as in, music from the 20th century. It can be some sort of an oldschool bebop track, some "all over the place" 80s synthy goodness, early rock/metal or anything in between. This theme's production score would affect the final marks the least, since seemingly *bad* production (by modern standards) can be an important part of the appeal (like panning drums left/vocals right to simulate Beatles or any really old song).

  • Canon
    Refer to this link for more info. The idea is to create a music piece that conforms, at least in some ways, to the canonical song structure. I think there are a plenty of people who'd have to think outside the box to make their style conform to this, and that's why I think it'd make for creative entries.

  • Yin & Yang
    The music piece must in some way create diametrically opposed (as-different-as-possible) soundscapes, either through dynamics, or through thematic difference, or some other creative ways one can think of. For example, one part of the song can be decidedly sad sounding, while the other one is decidedly happy sounding, or you can switch them up inside the verses all the time through modulations, or you can create a calm and beautiful atmosphere just to add some face melting synths or metal afterwards, completely throwing expected dynamics off. I think a plenty of people can create a composition like this, and it'd be fun to see how people go about the (very light) theme.

  • Stealth
    Either atmospheric, steady or action paced music depicting covert operations/infiltration/sabotage, recon missions be it in a medieval, fantasy, sci-fi or contemporary setting.

  • Warcraft Character Theme
    Compose a musical piece that in some way describes, refers to, or explains a character from the Warcraft universe. Refer to Arthas' theme, Illidan's theme and such for inspiration. The theme is pretty broad, and you could even say that the "Doom" theme from the wc3 soundtrack is Mannaroth's theme, for example.

  • Warcraft III Theme Remix
    You really like a Warcraft III music piece, but you wish it was more metal, or maybe you want to add some rap beats to it? Or wish it were fully 70s synthpop? Maybe just orchestrated differently? This is your theme. Sampling the theme and even using the full theme in the background is permitted, but the (lack of) effort is taken into consideration when judging.
 
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deepstrasz

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As I said, just re-format the suggestion to be in the same format that I posted, and I will add it to the first post.
Alright, first we suggest, then we put the poll up.

  • Stealth - either atmospheric, steady or action paced music depicting covert operations/infiltration/sabotage, recon missions be it in a medieval, fantasy, sci-fi or contemporary setting.
 
Yes, if we're making a poll for suggestions, that'd be unfair to the suggestions that are added late in the game, since people are more likely to vote on things that are put forward earlier. So let's get some suggestions going, by people who are interested in participating, then, depending on whether we really need a poll to decide the theme, create it or just proceed if enough people agree to one (or a combination of a few themes).

As for my preference - I actually don't necessarily care about the theme, but if I had to choose something that'd challenge me personally the most, I'd choose canon. If I wanted something that'd make it the easiest for me to make a good entry, I'd probably choose Yin & Yang. But I want to see what everyone else thinks about this.
 
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I'm all up for anything! Stealth and Yin & Yang make for very interesting themes. Sounds cool! My previous entry comes after many years of not playing and writing music so I'm very eager to get back into it!

Edit: +1 for Canon as well. I missed it on first glance.
 
I can already see where this is going, kind of.

IMO, Yin & Yang is an extremely versatile theme, and Stealth is a thematically challenging one, so they both have their merits. I think a poll would be good for his after all.

Alright, added a new proposal related to the timing of this contest, since a lot of people want to start asap.

Main Post said:
I have a timing-related proposal for this contest - since a lot of people who'd participate are already active on the site at the time being and check things regularly, since they're expecting judging results from the previous contest, and seem to be bent on creating more stuff (including me, of course).

So here's the proposal: The users keep suggesting themes until 27th, then vote until 1st. This means that there's a total of 10 days until the start of this contest, 5-ish days for theme suggestions, 5 days for theme voting, and the day that the previous poll ends, a new contest starts.

If you disagree with this proposal, state your reasons and they shall be considered.
 

deepstrasz

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So here's the proposal: The users keep suggesting themes until 27th, then vote until 1st. This means that there's a total of 10 days until the start of this contest, 5-ish days for theme suggestions, 5 days for theme voting, and the day that the previous poll ends. a new contest starts.

If you disagree with this proposal, state your reasons and they shall be considered.
Well, it's kind of a short time. We need the poll to be up until the judging is finalized and the voting poll is closed for the previous contest so we then can roll the next one. That poll ends on the 29th but I think the date should be farther away due to many users having exams in this period and not being too active on the site. If the poll deadline changes, then we could put the discussion theme poll somewhere at the middle of today and the contest poll's closure. If there is no extension, then I still think there should be more time for voting the theme than suggesting one.
 
Well, it's kind of a short time. We need the poll to be up until the judging is finalized and the voting poll is closed for the previous contest so we then can roll the next one.

I thought the judging was finalized, or maybe only @RiotZ said so, my bad in that case. I thought the results would be announced as the user poll closes, which will be the case if @RED BARON has finished his judging as the user poll closes (29th). If not, then the poll would last until the previous contest is closed, instead of @1st (as I suggested).

That poll ends on the 29th but I think the date should be farther away due to many users having exams in this period and not being too active on the site.

I am not exactly sure why at this time in particular, but yeah, the date should probably be farther to let more people vote, then.

If the poll deadline changes, then we could put the discussion theme poll somewhere at the middle of today and the contest poll's closure. If there is no extension, then I still think there should be more time for voting the theme than suggesting one.

Alright, you think that the poll closure should be further down the line, that's +1 for extending the voting time.

I'd say to start the poll as we reach 10 themes we'd agree on being in the poll, but the problem with that is that I have suggested the first 4 themes myself, so it would be unfair.
 
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I think some of these suggestions are not musically applicable. The rules for the theme needs to be more rigid so judges have valid criterion to vote on. For example retro is fantastic because it is both broad and easily applicable to a variety of sounds from cabaret to new wave etc.

Magic and stealth don't really have sounds. I'm not sure how to appropriately judge something on this criteria.

Yin and Yang is good but it's pidgeonholed, you'll find most people just building a song from quiet dynamics to loud dynamics or vice versa, this is going to make for some very samey entries compositionally, imo.

Canon could be fun.

Edit: My vote is definitely for retro though. I wanna hear some Sabbath worship, some 80s synths, maybe some big band.
 
I think some of these suggestions are not musically applicable. The rules for the theme needs to be more rigid so judges have valid criterion to vote on. For example retro is fantastic because it is both broad and easily applicable to a variety of sounds from cabaret to new wave etc.

Kind of, yeah, but that should also be reflected in votes for themes.

Magic and stealth don't really have sounds. I'm not sure how to appropriately judge something on this criteria.

Magic and stealth don't have sounds, they are ideas that can be conveyed through sounds. Thematic interpretations are mostly going to be pretty subjective anyways, so even if you'd be a judge, you don't need to concern yourself with this. One of the strengths of ideas like this (+steampunk) is that the theme is about a "feeling" and not a "rule". Canon, for example, is basically a mathematical rule, and you could literally use a computer program to measure how "canonical" a composition is. A lot of game/movie OSTs have exactly "magical" and "stealthy" music in them.

Yin and Yang is good but it's pidgeonholed, you'll find most people just building a song from quiet dynamics to loud dynamics or vice versa, this is going to make for some very samey entries compositionally, imo.

Not necessarily, but I do get what you're worried about - a concept is too easy to implement and abuse in a bad way. I didn't think about it that way, but I think you're right.

Canon could be fun.

It seems to suit all of your personal criteria - i'ts obvious what it means, it is easy to measure/judge (even mathematically), and it would indeed force people to create way different things in general. At the same time, you seem to be (understandably) biased towards things that are hard rules, instead of about capturing a feeling.

Edit: My vote is definitely for retro though. I wanna hear some Sabbath worship, some 80s synths, maybe some big band.

I think this'd be fun too :D
 
The point of not having subjective themes is so that one judge doesn't give one participant a 15/15 for theme while the other gives them an 8. This is unfair to contestants.

I'm 50/50 on this. Since the same two judges judge all contestants, so it's on equal grounds for all. The (thematically) best entry will be the one that manages to convince TWO people that it's thematically the best, instead of one. That's why there are two judges in first place. On the other hand, it is probably easier and more consistent to judge people based on something that can almost be calculated mathematically. I am not sure what to think about this.
 
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I would support stealth music since I have some familiar sounds for them in my mind. I don't know if I can finish any entry but I'd like to make something for the stealth thing. We might this too:

- Character Theme Music || I've had this in my mind for quite a while now. The contestants pick a character and compose a theme music for that character. With its ups and downs in it which would express the chosen character's nature, way of thinking, their movement etc... Some examples;
1) Hans Zimmer - Joker Theme Song
2) Hans Zimmer - Sherlock Holmes Theme Song
3) Hans Zimmer - The Dark Night Theme Song
4) Hans Zimmer - Cpt. Jack Sparrow Theme Song

Sorry for the Hans rant haha, these are the ones I could remember right on spot to give you guys some ideas.
 
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I like the idea of a broad, yet specific theme such as retro or @NightStalker idea of character theme music. Something that will in a split second put a particular sound in your head. It would make both the composition phase and the judging phase quite a bit easier.

Another reason I feel the character theme music could be a good idea is because the variety of instruments used to portray certain themes are not always readily available to all (such as a Santoor which gives off a very desert-y sound, but near to no one would have). But with so many characters to choose from, one could find a character that suites their instrument library.

It may be necessary to narrow down the character choices to a pre-defined list of more well-known characters so that the judges know what to look for in the sound, but yeah, just my thoughts!
 
Well, from a judging standpoint, the "character music" theme becomes a problem because, as people have noticed, you need a predetermined character list that the judges would be familiar with in order to be able to really judge it, so I am not sure it's such a great idea.

Still, I added it to the list in case somebody can define and clarify it further.

I added the limitation that it has to pertain to a Warcraft character. They are easy enough to grasp even for a judge that isn't into WoW lore, so it's possible to read up on a few lines about the character and get an idea.
 
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I think the entire theme discussion should relate more to instrumentation and genre than rudimentary "ideas."

You can say judges will have trouble defining certain characters by their sound being that they're unfamiliar with the character; but that's silly, because I'm unfamiliar with what stealth sounds like.
 
I think the entire theme discussion should relate more to instrumentation and genre than rudimentary "ideas."
While I do see your point, you seem to be in minority regarding this, though. If you refer to previous contests, you'll see a trend that technical implementation, instrumentation and genre limitations aren't common.

Speaking of which, please do feel free to suggest some ideas that would be easier on the judges, and more relevant to be objectively analyzed. Format them as I have said, and I will add them to the list. If people like the ideas again, they should get votes.
 
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I support character themes. If the judge isn't familiar with the character it falls on the composer not the judge, being that it's so much more broad than some other suggestions, the composer has the opportunity to pick a character that is recognizable and easy to compose a piece of music around.

Moreover if you're judging something you know nothing about, it's on you to at least do a bit of homework to be as fair as possible to the contestants.

I'll reiterate one of the problems with a theme like stealth is that you're more or less reviewing someone's composition based on how much it sounds like everyone else's.
 
I'm 100% with you on that. Yes, judgement isn't just "plug and play, listen and judge". It should require some homework, but at the same time, as we've discussed, shouldn't be something completely arbitrary.

As for stealth music, you could see that it'd refer to music that's generally subdued and tense sounding, like this. Compared to stealth music, action music could go all out with aggressive vocals, synth or guitar lines, or anything of the sort. It's just domain knowledge in terms of purpose-driven composition for games or movies, so I could also say that this is also about judges doing their homework in a way.

And while it is not that easy to define "magic music", it should be clear (to a judge) that this sounds more "magical" than this, and it's just domain knowledge for people who compose music or take great note of how it is used in popular media.
 
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I would personally love some magic :grin: That said though, a very interesting twist for me, although it might require more manipulation that usual, would be the "found object" music. Meaning music created from playing on something not usually considered an musical instrument. Say you make your beat from glass being dropped, mixed with the sound of car brakes.

Another would be Warcraft themed, but more in the vain of "Storm, Earth & Fire", however while sounds from the Warcraft universe could be used, to truly shine, I guess vocals would be required - so perhaps ignore this.
 
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@RED BARON I actually added the possibility of doing a wc3 theme remix, I think it's a good compromise here.

Yea, I saw it just after I made the post :smile: I've added a vote for it.

That is the hard part about being the one to make the suggestions. Perhaps consider what you easily can get ideas for when looking at it, and then of those, what you would like to listen to the most yourself.
 
Alright, not much time left to vote. However, I think we should get another vote cycle since the top few entries all have a lot of votes (relatively). Either that, or we need a lot more people to vote for the same entries to make this poll more decisive. If you guys don't want that, we'll just go with whatever is the top rated genre two days from now.
 
Heya

So, first the results from contest #9 are posted (which will be soon).

Holy shit I forgot about that.

Then the contest #10 thread can be made - anyone can host it, not necessarily me.

@deepstrasz how about it

Also I like the Retro theme, congrats to whoever suggested it.

I will take pats on the head as a payment, thank you. Also I am sure it was recommended like 5 times in the past, not that I'd bothered to check.
 
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Retro it is then! Hop on Back to the Future Delorean © Universal Studios LI.jpg
 
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