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Scoring sanctuary's soundtrack

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

Hello fellow gamers and music enthusiasts, I'd like to share some insight into the creation of the Sanctuary soundtrack. If you've ever wondered to yourself how a massive orchestral experience is performed digitally with the use of a single midi keyboard, how complex synthesizers (along with all of the chaotic routing) and mixing desks the size of a fridge are transported into a digital world, wonder no more.

It all comes down to VST (Virtual Studio Technology) and samples, utilised inside a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Digitally recreating the beautiful tones, endless depths and the stunning workmanship of the instruments we all take joy in listening to is no small feat. Having a priceless Stradivari violin performed in a world famous strings concert hall at the tip of your fingers is truly a humbling experience (they even shut down part of the city to record the samples, pretty cool!). (Not sponsored)

With VST the possibilities are endless, string instruments recorded in a massive hall with varying microphone positions, or in in a small room with just one close mic, percussion in a cave or in an acoustically sculpted studio. Each instrument recorded thousands of times, every dynamic range, every articulation and every detail possible all come together to create a life like or a completely imaginative sounding experience that can be played on a midi keyboard or simply programmed with the click of a mouse.

Techniques such as "round robin" are used to create convincing digital performances, if you press the same key repeatedly, let's say C3 for example, the resulting audio from each key press will be selected from a bank of different C3 note performances, all slightly differing in sound just like if you were to play a C3 note repeatedly in real life. Rather than each press of the key playing the exact same recording of a C3 note over and over which would sound flat and manufactured. Virtual Studio Technology is growing more convenient, intelligent and expressive every day, giving us digital artists more control, more freedom and the ability to compose music as if we had a real life orchestra at our command.

Of course convincing as they are we haven't reached a point of VST replacing the real thing, which is a good thing in my mind. Speaking of the real thing, I would like to show you how putting yourself in the place of the real thing, the performer, can make all of the difference when working with VST. Performing our VST through the mind, technique and soul of the player is perhaps the best tool we have in bridging the gap between virtual and physical.

I've prepared a 30 minute video going through some of the basics of midi and utilising VST to create music digitally. I'll talk through some of the key points you need to understand and then jump into one of my tracks for Sanctuary to give some examples and explore the track.

If you're feeling brave grab your favourite alcoholic beverage and take a drink every time I say the word "realistic" or "realism".

I hope this quick look into the world of digital music production has been insightful and interesting. There is so much to learn and experience with virtual music, I cannot do it any justice with a 30 minute video and some lines of text. There is so much content available on the web and countless courses both free and paid.

I hope you've enjoyed (and didn't end up too tipsy).

Take care and see you around.

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