Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Gaming Audio History: Super Spike V'Ball (1989)

One of a few sports games I played on the NES, Super Spike V'Ball was a staple of my NES years.  I remember the music distinctly!  Giving this music a listen through was really interesting.  The music is by Kazunaka Yamane, who also did the Double Dragon series music.  The style here though is very different from that music.  It's almost hard for me to believe it's the same composer!  That just shows the variety that these composers are capable of when faced with different gaming genres!

I definitely hear some of what I would call (for lack of a better term) mis-matched music with the event.  For instance, the New York match music is really interesting, jazzy, up tempo-- but would you believe it was underscoring a volleyball game?  That seems kind of crazy to me!  Also, the match start music-- I'm willing to bet no one has heard more than a few obligatory seconds of that, but it's actually half a minute long!  I wonder what the thinking with that planning was?  The Las Vegas track could have been the length of the match start section and it would have been a better balance considering what the player actually heard.

I think in giving these cities distinctive feels with the music is a really interesting idea.  Basically, there's music for the title screen and menu, music at the start of the match and end of the match (critical points, win/lose music), ending music for the game, and otherwise, the music is to reflect the different moods and atmospheres of the places where you're playing (or in the case of the world cup, the teams that you're playing.)  Those tracks yield an interesting take on feeling those different cities and creating the atmosphere of being in different places.  

Although there are repeating sections, musically speaking, this game has just under 11 minutes of music, which is a lot for any NES game that I've encountered.

Here's a link to the soundtrack I studied and my notes on each track:

-Title Screen: G major.  62 sec.  Intro A Intro(4) A B Intro(4).  First intro is 8 bars and afterward, it's only 4 bars.
-Menu: C major.  37 sec.  Intro(4) A B Blues form.  I-IV-I-V-IV-I.
-Match start: A major.  37 sec.  A(12) B(13).  Has anyone ever heard more than a few seconds of this track?  I had no idea it was so long!  What a mismatch of music to utility!
-Exercise Match: E major.  39 sec.  Love the 7th and 9th chords-- extended harmonies!  Drums(1) A A' B.  1 bar drum intro doesn't repeat.
-Critical score: Bb major.  34 sec.  Intro(4) A B.  The last two bars of B are the same as the vamp, but end with a drum fill.
-Game over: F# minor.  10.5 sec.
-Lost match: Diminished arpeggiation.  3 sec.
-Victory: F# major. 4.5 sec
-Brazilian: G major.  75 sec.  Intro A Intro A B.  Love the arpeggiating second voice in the A sections. 
-Chicago: Eb major.  38 sec.  A A B.  I debated whether I heard this in C minor or Eb major, but settled on the later.  Interesting piece!
 -Daytona: E major.  38 sec.  One of my favorite tracks in the game.  A B C.
 -Las Vegas: D major.  16 sec.  Simple short loop!  Again, 7ths, beautiful, lush thirds!
-Los Angeles: G minor.  30 sec.  A B.  Alternates between G minor and F major.
-New York: F minor.  42 sec.  5.5 sec intro doesn't repeat.  36.5 sec loop.  Intro A A B C.  Very interesting up tempo jazz combo with walking bass line.  Unique piece among those I've heard for NES and for this game as well.  Wouldn't think of this as volleyball music!
-US Navy: C major.  75.5 sec.  Intro A B(4) C C D(10).  Very interesting compositional style.   Arpeggiation in intro reminds me of the Chopin Ocean Etude.
-USSR: E minor.  38 sec.  A A B.
-Ending: A major.  73.5 sec.  A B C A B C'


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