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40oz

Classical Music

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What are peoples opinions on classical music in Doom? I'm almost certain there's an abundance of classical music midis on the internet (though I haven't yet found the best source.)

I really like piano, harpsichord and strings and I think some classical could be pretty awesome. Anyone know of any good sites for good classical midis? Most of the stuff ive found have been okay but they're mostly single instrument peices and id rather hear full concertos like the one above.

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Classical music is very broad, there's a map in strain with Strauss' Blue Danube and it didn't fit at all IMO, but that's a very upbeat melody with a certain romance to it, whereas something like what you've linked would most likely fit in well, provided it went to the right map.

A problem that may crop up though with full MIDI conversions is that classical pieces have a hell of a lot of stuff going on, and there's a limit as to how many notes a MIDI can play at once, and it's really quite low. I always run into it :(

Even though it's not "classical" in the sense it wasn't written like 100+ years ago, Xaser proved with PRCP MAP15 that purely orchestral pieces can work brilliantly in Doom.

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I'm afraid I'll always associate it with The Sky May Be. Take that as you will.


[EDIT] Thanks for the mention! I'd never really pinned Helix's music track as "orchestral", but... maybe? Certainly closer than anything else I've done.

Also worth clarifying that my response above is quite non-serious. It's the first thing that came to mind, though. :P

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Personally, I don't find classical music to work well in Doom, but if used correctly, it might have some potential...

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Job said:

"Waltz of the Demons" is fairly classical in nature.


Hell yes. Its also a pretty awesome hell-themed track (comparatively speaking with the other IWAD music in Doom and Doom 2)

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I groan a little bit inside whenever I boot up an old WAD and hear this:


Yeah I guess people pick it because of the association with horror movies, but really only the first bit sounds creepy. Plus even the creepy sounding part I associate more with the sort of cheesy horror stuff you'd see in a Castlevania game rather than Doom-type horror.

This is even worse since it sounds less fitting to me in general and gives me all sorts of goofy associations with cartoons and stuff:


I suppose if you dig around in the hidden corners you might find something that'd work, though. An old SSI game called "Dark Legions" used a rendition of this as one of the background tracks and it fit pretty well in that game IMO:

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40oz said:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjSD12OQbFA

What are peoples opinions on classical music in Doom? I'm almost certain there's an abundance of classical music midis on the internet (though I haven't yet found the best source.)

I really like piano, harpsichord and strings and I think some classical could be pretty awesome. Anyone know of any good sites for good classical midis? Most of the stuff ive found have been okay but they're mostly single instrument peices and id rather hear full concertos like the one above.


I heard BWV 1052 about a decade ago and thought it must be the tip of an iceberg and have been on a chamber music Vision Quest ever since. I'm sad to report that there's no iceberg (aside from Bach's own work and his contemporary Telemann). You've basically picked the finest cherry from a basket of cherry picking, and as far as midi I don't think classical translates well at all. I can't help but be pretensious here and mention the timbre of Bach and Telemann pieces is essential to the experience... go try and enjoy a professional piano performance of one of those organ or harpsichord concertos. And then the way almost all classical midis render all instruments as only piano... it's unlistenable to me and certainly unsuitable as "doom" music.

All that said, I have heard a tune or two that might fit a doom map, but not as midi. While I think doom projects a rather silly light-hearted atmosphere including its music, I recognize that the community assigns a dark/edgy tone to it and when someone says "doomy" they mean spooky and dreadful. As such I'd point toward:

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I was thinking that Holst's Mars: the Bringer of War would be a good song for Doom, both because of the name and the sound. In fact, I have used a midi of it myself. I was looking for a YouTube video of the song, and found this:




EDIT: Video fixed, thanks Gez!

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There's a wide variety of different kinds of Doom mods, each could invoke a different feeling. As long as the piece matches the mood the modder is trying to portray, then it's good right? As long as it doesn't clash.

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40oz said:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjSD12OQbFA

What are peoples opinions on classical music in Doom? I'm almost certain there's an abundance of classical music midis on the internet (though I haven't yet found the best source.)

I really like piano, harpsichord and strings and I think some classical could be pretty awesome. Anyone know of any good sites for good classical midis? Most of the stuff ive found have been okay but they're mostly single instrument peices and id rather hear full concertos like the one above.


This could work.

I see a demonic mansion made o flesh, bone, skin tapestries, blood fountains and opulent fetus feasts, where the limbs of the stillborn (they go to Hell since they are not baptised) are snapped and artistically placed.

Though I think this would work better for that idea.

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Empyre said:

Wait a minute, how do I make the video embedded?

(yt)BHANdi0IbPY(/yt)
But with square brackets [] instead of parentheses ().

And I'm not a fan of music like Mars in a level soundtrack. Kind of too repetitive, same problem as Getting Too Tense.

Classical music is good in general but I've not often been convinced by direct use of classical MIDIs in Doom. I think it's generally better when people compose classically-inspired music for Doom. The problems with classical MIDIs have been exposed before, but they're often very shoddy ("every instrument is a grand piano, even the strings and brass and whatever else" is definitely a common problem) and are usually not meant to be looped over and over as you explore a virtual maze.

Harpsichords are awesome by the way and using them instead of pianos in "Into Sandy's City" was Bobby Prince's best idea.

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Gez said:

I think it's generally better when people compose classically-inspired music for Doom.

I would agree with this, not only for the reasons you mentioned but because it helps avoid the "oh, that's that piece I heard in some goofy Looney Tunes / Tom & Jerry (or whatever) show as a kid" associations.

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Classical music tends to have wide-ranging dynamics, from high to low and loud to soft, which can make it hard to match with a level. Maybe ... Lainos cityscapes ...

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I think it would be pretty difficult to find a piece of classical music that matches the tone and atmosphere of a fast paced doom level.

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Baroque and medieval music fits better under Hexen or Heretic than under Doom. More fairy tale factor inside those games than in Doom.

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god, gimme any amount of mysterious Doom maps full of moody, Russian classical music and I'd never get bored. check Zones of Fear map 08. never wanna hear another power metal midi in my whole fucking life

also i want a helicopter

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yakfak said:

god, gimme any amount of mysterious Doom maps full of moody, Russian classical music and I'd never get bored.

Heh. I put a midi of this into something once.



I recall it fitting oddly well once the revenants started dancing around.

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It can work, though it depends on the pacing and setting of the level, in addition to the overall tone of the track in question. Fugues or pieces heavy on organ or harpsichord can work pretty well for castles or stages making liberal use of Doom 2's library textures, for the same reason that "Wood Carving Pantita" works in Symphony of the Night's Long Library (technically an original work, but it's got the same style). Meanwhile, I'd be hard-pressed to be convinced a piece as light and airy as Pachelbel's "Canon in D" would ever work in a Doom map, unless you were deliberately going for an ironic dissonance between the music playing and what's happening on-screen.

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Shadow Hog said:

Meanwhile, I'd be hard-pressed to be convinced a piece as light and airy as Pachelbel's "Canon in D" would ever work in a Doom map


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I've seen classical music used in Doom. Rise of the Triad had a couple of remixes, one on Purcell's Funeral of Queen Mary and most famously the Adagio in G minor by Albinoni and Giazotto. If both fit well in the game, then they certainly do with Doom. The former hasn't been used as much as the latter, though. Mark Klem did a remix of Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy from The Nutcracker for Memento Mori 2, if I recall. As for that Pachelbel's Canon in the Boomedit wad, at least it was just a demo map to showcase the effects and capabilities of the Boom engine with no monsters to kill, so it works in a way. The Sky May Be used Bach's first movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, but that's a jokewad.

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There is also the famous The Unholy Trinity, which also used a composition by Bach whose name I don't really recall right now.

p.s. classical music in Doom is awesome, I've been using it in my early WADs and it's the only thing people liked :]

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none of those remixes you mentioned are classical-styled in-game, though. both the remixes of Adagio and Sugarplum Fairy were retooled to fit in a game-y environment. the only one that sort of still counts as classical is Funeral of Queen Mary, and even then, it changes up halfway through the song. Mist Ache from the same game is more classical-styled than it, in that sense.

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bzzrak said:

There is also the famous The Unholy Trinity, which also used a composition by Bach whose name I don't really recall right now.

The Toccata and Fugue in D minor, though that wad only plays the Toccata part.

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Neoclassical works better in Doom because it's more adventurous in that it tends to have more use of dissonance.

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