Guild Wars 2 Composer Lena Chappelle on Melody Writing

Lena Chappelle Composer Quest

Video game composer Lena Chappelle worked her way into the game business by starting as a quality assurance tester. Now she's both designing and writing music for games like Guild Wars 2. In this Composer Quest interview, Lena shares some of her music and creativity tips, including her method of composing songs during her bus rides. She shares how to write a good melody, and how her experience as an author has influenced her musical storytelling. I also ask Lena about her perspective as a transgender woman in the video game industry.

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Music Production Lesson: Visual MIDI Improv

Charlie McCarron - VMI v1a

I was inspired by my interview with Cyriak Harris to create a piece of music purely by visually entering MIDI. Although Cyriak listens back and tweaks the notes as he goes, I decided to take it to another level and turn off my speakers until I was totally finished. I also tried to avoid anything I would normally do to make it musically "right," and just make visually-interesting patterns.

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Cyriak’s Surrealist Music and Animation

Cyriak - Composer Quest

Cyriak Harris has wowed the internet with his weird YouTube animations, which often feature dancing, mutating animals, like his 34-million-views video "cows & cows & cows." But he's rarely asked about his soundtracks, which are equally intricate and wild. In this episode of Composer Quest, I interview Cyriak about his composing methods and creativity tips.

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Composing Quest 17: The Tattoo

Composer Quest - Tattoo Composition Notes Staff

I'm excited to announce our next composing quest, courtesy of Tim Cheesebrow and his forearm. Tim has been looking for a way to commemorate his family tree through music, and he's decided to leave it to Composer Quest listeners to write a "Cheesebrow family" melody. Tim will then choose his favorite composition, and TATTOO IT ON HIS ARM.

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Niche Songwriting with Jonathan Rundman

Jonathan Rundman Composer Quest

Jonathan Rundman's songs have appeared on the Ellen Degeneres show, the CBS Morning News, and NPR. He realized the success of these songs have been due in part to their narrow topics, like insomnia and wearing glasses. But Jonathan has recently shifted to writing songs with more "heart" than his journalistic lyrical past, after somewhat of a mid-life crisis and a purifying experience playing ancient Finnish music. In this episode of Composer Quest, Jonathan shares words of wisdom from his 25 years as a touring musician. We also talk about his podcast Creativity Drill, which he co-hosts with his wife Dawn.

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EDM Production Tips with Sam Matla

Sam Matla Composer Quest

Sam Matla admits that his hometown of Wellington, New Zealand doesn't have a big electronic dance music scene. But he's been hard at work producing EDM tracks and educating people about electronic music through his blog and podcast at For today's episode of Composer Quest, I interviewed Sam about his production techniques and advice for new producers.

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Slot Machine Composing

Slot machine composers Nick Tardiff, Aldo Perez, and Jonathon Roberts

Reelspins, rollups, symbols, celebrations, underscores - they're all different sound ingredients that go into a slot machine. In this episode of Composer Quest, I interview three guys in the sound department at High 5 Games about their unique challenge of making music for casino slots. We talk about the composition techniques they use to hook players into these elaborate slot machine story worlds. I also ask them how they feel about using their musical skills to get people to throw down money and press that button again "like a monkey looking for that frickin' shot of espresso," as Aldo describes it. It's a fun and quirky interview, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Kevin MacLeod, King of Royalty-free Music


If you’ve been to an indie film fest, you’ve probably seen Kevin MacLeod in the credits. Or maybe you’ve heard his music in a cute cat video, or a Minecraft video, or in a department store, cab ride, or on hold. By writing an enormous amount of music and giving it away for free, Kevin has built his reputation as the single biggest royalty-free music composer.

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Game Jam Begins!

Pixels at an Exhibition Title

I'm excited to say that over 70 people have signed up for the "I Barely Survived That Game Jam" game jam. We have SIX CONTINENTS covered, including participants from Brazil, Taiwan, Australia, South Africa, Norway, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Macedonia, India, UK, Canada, and the US. After forming teams based on everyone's skill sets, it looks like we'll have 17 games in progress this week. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

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