On September 2~4, conference event for game developers of the biggest in Japan "CEDEC 2014" was held in Yokohama, Kanagawa. Japanese game media 4Gamer reports an interesting lecture held in it. About Japanese traditional musical instruments and the game music.
Now, Japanese game industry has a lot of many games about the Sengoku era(戦国時代: age of civil strife) and the Japanese-style fantasy. and there are examples to fuse in Japanese tradition music, traditional musical instrument and game music. However, as for them, various problems and trouble occur because they have a totally different characteristic with European music and the musical instrument. In CEDEC 2014, game developers and the musician of the Japanese musical instrument talked about them.
At first, how many Japanese traditional musical instruments do you know?
With a flute made of the bamboo, keys are different by length. Because the score of the shakuhachi is not staff notation, you must transfer score written in staff notation to the sheet of music of the shakuhachi before the play.
The flute which painted small kind of bamboo with Urushiol and finished. It has various kinds and must use it properly by kind of melody.
The bamboo transverse flute which high pitched. It is commonly used in traditional Imperial Noh and Kabuki theatre. It does not have absolute musical scales, because composer cannot reproduce a melody on score.
Japanese short-necked fretted lute. There are four string types and five string type. Of course sounds are different each.
Genre of Shamisen(Stringed instrument of 3 strings) music originating in Aomori prefecture. It is today performed throughout Japan, though associations with the Tsugaru area of Aomori remain strong. The samisen has a variety of kinds. Composer must select carefully which samisen they should use by a difference of the number.
13 stringed musical instrument. However, there is the bass type of 17 strings, too. Form of the pick and performance-styleis are different by Ryūha(流派: School).
Small hand drum. The player can change a tone by regulating a string putting leather on.
Big hand drum. The player must warm the leather before playing it. The time required is about two hours. Furthermore, the leather is worn out by six times of play.
Metal percussion instrument. they are used in not only the traditional music but also a folk songs and the festival tunes.
In addition, there is a various kinds of Japanese traditional musical instruments and they have a characteristic each. Composer and the sound producer understand all of them and must choose these appropriately.
The player of a Japanese traditional musical instrument says, "We are said to the people of the game industry, -Are players of the Japanese traditional musical instrument strict people?-". Of course it is prejudice. All are openhearted and are gentle, and there are the many young people.
There is the problem only by Japanese traditional musical instruments. These weak points are "modulations". These are not suitable for a performance with many modulations structurally. However, Gazan Watanabe of the shakuhachi player says, "The modulation is surely difficult. However, good number is born from a difficult play. The consideration of the composer is nice, but I do not want them to avoid composition of number with the modulation". Watanabe told that it was important that they talked about how they should overcome it together for difficulty.
Watanabe played BGM of "Samurai Warriors(戦国無双 Sengoku Musō)" series, the consoles game of Tecmo Koei Games. At the time of game release of 2004, even a producer of the game music did not understand how they should use the Japanese traditional musical instruments. Therefore Watanabe supervised the music as well as play.
It may be surely difficult to manage Japanese traditional musical instruments. However, Watanabe said that game developers do not have to read several textbooks and to learn strictly traditional music. He suggests that they listen to traditional music than it. he said "Anyone has a taste of the Japanese traditional music as far as we are brought up in Japan. It is a start if you write score without your deleting the its taste".
The Japanese game music has begun to introduce Japanese traditional musical instruments from the just the 21st century. At that time, Japanese game industry began to think about a world advance in earnest at last(It was too slow!). Afterwards, Japanese game companies performed various global expansion, but those most failed. And the shown lesson was this "We must make works of distinctive of Japan". Japanese game music noticed it quickly and emphasized a quality of Japanese. It's important that we must make original works of oneself before localization. It's similar by not only the game but also all contents and culture.