Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack

Koji Kondo s Super Mario Bros Soundtrack Koji Kondo s Super Mario Bros score redefined video game music With under three minutes of music Kondo put to rest an era of bleeps and bloops the sterile products of a lab environment replacing

  • Title: Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack
  • Author: Andrew Schartmann
  • ISBN: 9781628928532
  • Page: 245
  • Format: Paperback
  • Koji Kondo s Super Mario Bros 1985 score redefined video game music With under three minutes of music, Kondo put to rest an era of bleeps and bloops the sterile products of a lab environment replacing it with one in which game sounds constituted a legitimate form of artistic expression Andrew Schartmann takes us through the various external factors e.g the video gaKoji Kondo s Super Mario Bros 1985 score redefined video game music With under three minutes of music, Kondo put to rest an era of bleeps and bloops the sterile products of a lab environment replacing it with one in which game sounds constituted a legitimate form of artistic expression Andrew Schartmann takes us through the various external factors e.g the video game crash of 1983, Nintendo s marketing tactics that coalesced into a ripe environment in which Kondo s musical experiments could thrive He then delves into the music itself, searching for reasons why our hearts still dance to the primitive 8 bit tunes of a bygone era.What musical features are responsible for Kondo s distinct Mario sound How do the different themes underscore the vastness of Princess Peach s Mushroom Kingdom And in what ways do the game s sound effects resonate with our physical experience of the world These and other questions are explored within, through the lens of Kondo s compositional philosophy one that would influence an entire generation of video game composers As Kondo himself stated, we at Nintendo were trying to do something that had never been done before In this book, Schartmann shows his readers how Kondo and his team not just succeeded, but heralded in a new era of video games.

    One thought on “Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack”

    1. The 33 ⅓ series are small paperbacks, usually between 100 and 200 pages long, looking at important albums of 20th century music. I’ve read the ones about bands I love like The Beatles, The Pixies, Nirvana, and Elliott Smith, but occasionally they put out some more abstract books, like Carl Wilson’s on Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love. It wasn’t so much about the album as it was about critical taste in general and explored why so many people, himself included, have a negative react [...]

    2. Generally the best 33 1/3 volumes are the ones that approach the concept of an album differently and in this case, the album consists of three minutes of the video game music that soundtracks The Super Mario Bros video game. Unfortunately this does not work as well as I thought it would.The first part focuses on the video game industry in the 80's and the develop of the Super Mario Bros game. This section makes for first class reading.Then Schartmann delves into Koji Kondo's life and that is pre [...]

    3. “Haydn. Mozart. Beethoven. Kondo.” Andrew Schartmann’s entry in the 33 1/3 series is a bit controversial.Some call into question Super Mario’s placement amongst the most noteworthy albums of all time, or “The Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack” being called an album at all. Schartmann acknowledges the unorthodox position he is writing from, sure, he says, it’s not an album like at the record shop. And sure, a big piece of why we are still enamored with NES music 30 years later is nostalg [...]

    4. Sometimes the 33 1/3 books are really adventurous (Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste comes to mind) and at others they are heavily padded versions of journal articles or blog posts. Schartmann's text belongs in the latter category. He spends an inordinate amount of space on Atari's E.T. game and the mythology surrounding its burial in Alamogordo, NM. Given that this book is marketed to game music enthusiasts, I was never sure why he did this. In terms of writing style, it's mo [...]

    5. I found this fascinating, though it's probably written for somebody with a lot more musical knowledge than I have. I kind of skimmed through all of the technical details, but I loved reading about how the early 8-bit sound pioneers were able to create insanely memorable music using very limited means.

    6. gave me a greater appreciation of something that appears to be so simple on the surface. I recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in video game history or music composition. Full review: puregeekery/2015/04/27Note: I received this book for free from NetGalley for review.

    7. Smart. Incisive. Well-researched. Packed with nerdy music theory, but accessible to people who love the music of Super Mario Bros. Great use of interviews from the composer and top brass at Nintendo. Great read.

    8. While the content gets a bit over my head in terms of music notation (I don't fault the book for that, obviously), the book is successful. It explores something that's not often explored. Very interesting stuff.

    9. Almost all of 33 1/3 books I've read are all about music I adore and want to read my love for the music transcribed into book form. I want to learn as much about the albums I love and hear a breakdown of what makes them great. The Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack 33 1/3 is the first book in the series based around music without an album, but instead around basically four songs in one of the most popular video games of all time. The music is instantly recognizable and well-known to anyone who has pla [...]

    10. Speaking as someone who has had the "underwater waltz" theme from Super Mario Brothers stuck in my head for days at a time, I was intrigued to read about the story and design behind the music of this classic game. In a very short book (not much bigger than an NES cartridge), the author gives a brief history of video game music and the NES console, describes the limitations of NES music (and various approaches to overcoming them), and analyzes the approach that the composer Koji Kondo took toward [...]

    11. Meh. Definitely an easy read, though I just can't say I agree with the point on the Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack being worthy of discussion as a musical album. This does provide some slight insight into the time period/circumstances surrounding the release of the NESbut overall, the musical discussion lacked focus.

    12. Really enjoyed this little volume. I learned a lot about the extreme limitations Kondo was working under, and how impressive and complex his work actually is. I re-listened to some of the music from Super Mario Bros. and, indeed, had a whole new appreciation for it. Definitely want to read more from this series!

    13. I wanted to like this book more, but ultimately found that its interests were not quiet aligned with mine. Unlike some of the others who reviewed this book, I found the technical music theory parts of it fascinating and the core of what I was looking for. Sadly, those just make up a small portion of the book. Some of the contextual information was worthwhile, but a decent portion of it seemed to just reinforce the "Video game music is similar to classical music therefore legitimate" thread. Ulti [...]

    14. The essence of great art is opening up new possibilities within a limited medium, pushing the boundaries of what was thought possible. In that sense, the team that produced Super Mario Bros. are among the greatest artists in the history of their medium. This book focuses on the methods and accomplishments of just one of those people, composer Koji Kondo, who took a limited musical tool set and pointed the way forward to complex arrangements and a more intimate marriage between recorded sound and [...]

    15. I enjoyed this book as a whole.In particular, I liked the context and history and technological discussions about what videogame music was at the time, how it was made, and who Kondo approached his design to the Mario Soundtrack.That being said, there are parts of this book that went WAY over my head. As the chapters progress and Schartmann delves into the music theory and historical context of Kondo's inspirations--he lost me. I consider myself a fairly intelligent and informed person, but when [...]

    16. I received this book through a First Reads giveaway sponsored by the publisher Bloomsbury. My love of video game music (VGM) began of course as a child, but is has only grown since then with my love of music in general. My appreciation for VGM deepened when I discovered the Legacy Music Hour podcast (now on hiatus) which specifically avoided Super Mario Bros. music because everyone already knew about it. I was of course excited to learn of the existence of this book and you can imagine my elati [...]

    17. This fell short of what could have been a fantastic novelty entry in the 33 1/3 series. While I understand having a different author for each book may raise some discrepancies in the way they are written, I don't think anybody could have actually saved this one. Schartmann is a music theorist by heart, and I feel like even he struggled with this book. For such an unusual choice in the series, As a musician myself, I was excited to learn more about the compositional aspect of the game's soundtrac [...]

    18. This book was an unexpected delight. When it was first announced, I was suspect of it. Not because I thought video game music wasn't prestigious, quite the opposite, but it seemed like a curious choice to highlight three-minutes of music in a series dedicated for whole albums. While I guess you could still argue that idea, this book feels like a welcome addition to the 33 1/3 series. Of all the editions I've read, this one felt the most educational. It stretched me to think about music in a diff [...]

    19. Unlike most 33 1/3 books, this is written in the style of scientific peer-reviewed paper. Thus, it's not a very exciting read, since it was written more for future authors to cite it than for actual readability. That being said, it was interesting seeing how technique, technology, and expectations combined to create the situation Kondo found himself in when making the music for Super Mario Bros. Just FYI, about 30% of this book is footnotes, at least in the Kindle version.

    20. Video game composers are an underappreciated lot, none more so than the NES pioneers who created a generation of memorable tunes with the musical technology equivalent of stone tools and fire. Nice to see them get their due here as both terrific composers and early electronic music innovators. I learned a lot reading this but it does tend towards heavy academic music theory, and runs a bit dry if you aren't a scholar (I'm certainly not).

    21. The author is a little too free with superlatives that they can't back up with convincing historical context. Everything is the best, most innovative, most original.But the author's real forte is compositional analysis and those bits are interesting enough to make the surrounding sections worth getting through.

    22. Interesting, and slightly boring, look at the music for Super Mario Brothers. It has a lot of valid ideas about how music and sound changed one's perception while being immersed in a game. It just had a patina of dullness about it. I liked it, I just wanted a little bit more zip to it, I mean we are talking about video games, for goodness sake.

    23. Pretty much does what it says on the tin. A fine book about influential early Kondo work, but could've been much shorter and less flowery. Some nice background on 80s era Nintendo, but nothing you won't find elsewhere, if you're into that sort of thing. The strongest parts compared Kondo to earlier composers on a music theory level.

    24. Yeah real neat, good for some historical context tidbits (pre-Jumpman our boy Mario was called Mr. Video) and also discussion of compositional techniques in relation to embodied cognition, and the idea of 'metaphorical Mickey Mousing' i.e. creating sounds that have a one-to-one correlation to something that doesn't have a literal known sound to it.

    25. The beginning was great, with an overall explanation of the history of video games and their impact. I'm sure I would have found the rest of the book fascinating if I was a composer, or an audio technician, or a classical musician. But I'm not, so it wasn't fascinating. It was repetitive. Win some, lose some.

    26. I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.This is a detailed account about the music of Super Mario Brothers, and although a lot of the music terminology and discussions went over my head, it was very interesting to read about such a groundbreaking composition.

    27. Starts with a lot of history then dives into the music theory about why the music of the original Super Mario Bros. is just so darn catchy! I loved it!

    28. Great technical (both in terms of electronics and music theory) discussion of early video game music composition. Really highlights just how complex Koji Kondo's music was.

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