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Sunday, May 29, 2011
When the topic of video game music comes up, gamers and even non-gamers have a tendency to think back on the classic melodies from Super Mario Bros., Tetris, or Final Fantasy. These catchy 8-bit tunes left a lasting impression, especially for anyone lucky enough to grow up during the era of big hair and leg warmers. Older games like the iconic Pac-Man and Pong have also made their mark in the audio realm of video games, but digital music and sound go back even further than the 1970s.
It was 1957 when Max Mathews wrote MUSIC, one of the first computer programs written to make music (or sound) on a digital computer and was widely used in the music research community. Mathews' program spawned multiple descendants including current programs such as Csound, Cmix and MAX--named after Mathews himself--that video game composers such as Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill, Shadows of the Damned) have used. In the 1970s Mathews developed Groove, a system used to create and manipulate music, and it was the first computer system designed for live performance.
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