I know I said I was going to talk about the Beethoven symphonies, but something came up, and those can wait. It's not like the symphonies are going anywhere anytime soon. Anyways, you know what we're actually going to talk about today? We're going to talk about the guys you can see in the pictures next to and above this paragraph -- Marty O'Donnell & Master Chief.
What is it about these two people that are so important? Glad you asked. Most of you probably already know who Master Chief is. He's the main character dude in that video game series called Halo. I recently got an Xbox One, and it came with the Halo: Master Chief Collection. You can imagine my childhood nostalgia that kicked in when I got this, so I've started playing through the Halo games again, and it has made me realize two very important things.
A: How bad I am at Halo.
2: How awesome the music is in Halo, and this is where Marty O'Donnell comes in.
You might be asking, why is Marty so important? That's because Marty wrote the music for the wonderful game franchise. Not only did he write the music, but he made the music so astounding and uses so many different pieces of music theory and history to influence the soundtrack that it's pure genius.
Let's start with the main them, shall we? If you have ever played the game, or even just opened Halo up to the main menu screen, then you know this song. It's incredible. Let's look at the various pieces that make this song awesome. The first thing is CHANTING. Chant is a form of singing that dates all the way back to the renaissance times, and it was used in the church for various musical things. It's best described as a repeated rhythmic phrase sung by a single voice or a group of voices in unison. Just basically imagine monks singing, and that's what chant is. Hit play on that video, and you'll hear a group of men sing the line you can see notated below. Marty, forgive me if my notation is off.
It's so refreshing, right? So nostalgic. Everything about it is just so perfect, and it makes me all excited inside like a little kid who just got to play with a puppy. Unless you hate puppies. In which case, what's wrong with you? WHY DO YOU HATE PUPPIES?!
The next coolest thing you can hear in the piece is something amazing called counterpoint. Counterpoint is something that dates all the way back to the Baroque times of J.S. Bach. Yes, that's right. This guy. And yes, he's saying "DEAL WITH IT" because he's being compared to Halo. What of it?
Anyways, counterpoint is what happens when you have multiple voices or instruments, in music, singing different melodies at the same time. It is defined by my good friend, Merriam-Webster, as a combination of two or more melodies that are played together. So my definition is pretty much the same thing. Anyways, listen this piece right here, the Truth & Reconciliation Suite. You can hear the counterpoint happening between the cellos/basses (low sounding strings) and the violas/violins (high sounding strings) beginning around 1' 57" of the piece. You will hear the low strings come in with their first theme, and then you'll hear the violins start to play some harmonies in their parts. Finally, you'll hear the real counterpoint occur at 2' 28". The low strings go back to their first theme when the high strings being playing a counter melody on top of it. You can see it notated here. Again, I apologize for any bad notation, Marty.
Both of these two concepts are incredibly awesome, and there are so many more different things about this music I could go into and nerd out about, but there's one key thing about the music in the Halo games that goes above and beyond any cool music theory/history thing I can talk about. The best thing Marty O'Donnell did about the Halo music is he wrote extremely memorable music with incredible melody and harmony lines that even if the music wasn't so complex and incredible to sit down and analyze, he wrote music that was memorable, and it's going to get stuck in your head. You know the Halo themes by heart not because you played Halo for 30+ hours every week in your best friend's mom's basement, but because Marty did such a good job writing the music and creating something magical to help create a world that's unlike any other. It's because of Mary's music that I love going back and becoming Master Chief, because the music puts me so much into the game that it's magical.
School starts back soon, so the next post more than likely will be about the Beethoven symphonies, because my professor really wants me to write those.
Until next time, stay on your toes, my friends. You never know when the Flood will show up. And never go away. And more and more continue to show up and OH GOD, SAVE US ALL.