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Author Topic: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?  (Read 1275 times)

Dekkadeci

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I'm wondering about your opinions on this topic: How does commercially available video game sheet music affect the rate we submit transcriptions for that game or the quality of our transcriptions for that game?

I'm mainly asking because the fact that I've previewed piano sheet music for the video game Blue Dragon that costs money is definitely getting in the way of me transcribing it without using those sheets' copyrighted material, but I have a hunch that commercially available sheet music gets in the way of (our) fan transcriptions in more cases.

On the other hand, we've got transcriptions of Final Fantasy sheet music that the commercially available Final Fantasy Piano Collections also provide, and since our transcriptions and theirs look different enough that I don't think anyone plagiarized the Collections, I can't figure out what you guys' opinions will be...

NocturneOfShadow

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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2017, 05:08:16 PM »

Why Do People Commonly Capitalize the First Letter in Every Word When Asking A Question?
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JDMEK5

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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2017, 05:24:40 PM »

Don't copy. That's the golden rule. Buy a book if you want (as there are now Super Mario and Zelda books out now as well) but if you're arranging, don't use any elements from the book. Nothing. For that reason, I would actually advise against buying any books if you arrange, since the temptation won't exist. Essentially just act like you don't have access to the book and you're good.

Regarding quality, just do your best, keeping in mind what I mentioned before. I have seen things in official books that I would either change or consider altering if I was in some kind of editing position there (as I am here). Not all (even official) arrangements/sheets are flawless.

but I have a hunch that commercially available sheet music gets in the way of (our) fan transcriptions in more cases.
Not sure what you mean by this.

How does commercially available video game sheet music affect the rate we submit transcriptions for that game
Not sure what you mean by this either.

Maybe I was totally off with regards to your question and if so, apologies. These are my thoughts on the subject in general.

There are advantages (from a consumer's standpoint) to purchasing official scores over free alternatives such as ours. Most practical being a guaranteed accuracy with regard to essentially every element of the score, clearest intent with regards to any text direction within, and (everyone's favorite) the far-nicer aesthetics including but not limited to images of the copyright-protected mascots plastered all over the book/score (even it being a book is fancier). So I don't think that what we do here is a significant detriment to the selling of the official scores, but as a disclaimer, be aware that I have no facts to back up that statement. However, based on what I've also noticed (primarily regarding the aforementioned Super Mario and Zelda books), Nintendo (in this instance) doesn't seem very concerned with these official scores. I say this because rarely do we get even soundtracks from Nintendo (which would not only sell better but also appeal to a much, much greater market). This seems to suggest that Nintendo isn't counting on making tons of revenue from these scores. Another thing I've noticed (again, this applies only to the Mario and Zelda books) is that one single person is responsible for all the arrangements. And I mean the same person for both series. Not to say this is what happened, but it wouldn't surprise me if (perhaps this very person) wanted to arrange scores (much like we do) and so pitched the whole "official score" idea to Nintendo, and they saw some decent credentials and said "Sure." The whole thing just kinda lacks support from Nintendo from what I see which is kinda unusual and doesn't make sense for things that they really bank on. Nintendo is careful and they are very vigilant.

*I'm gonna try to use very careful language for this next part; because this is the internet after all*

If my conclusions are correct therefore, it likely just is that Nintendo isn't as concerned about the official score line to justify them going to great measures to enforce the whole score thing. That would explain why we haven't had problems, despite the possibilities you have suggested. Unless we've somehow existed underneath Nintendo's radar this entire time (which I can almost guarantee is not the case (heck, we've had Chad York on the forums with us)) it seems like a rather chill relationship where as long as we don't charge anything for our services and stay out of their way, they may see fit to just leave us alone. It's a relationship I can definitely live with.
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Dudeman

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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2017, 07:27:57 PM »

(heck, we've had Chad York on the forums with us)
Holy crap, I totally forgot about that time! That was awesome!

Judging by your conclusion, though, his discovering of NSM does not equate to Nintendo's discovering of NSM. It seems that they stay relatively hands-off when it comes to musical material outside of a game itself, so unless they suddenly change how they handle releasing their music in an isolated form to the public, I don't think we're in any sort of trouble.
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SlowPokemon

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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2017, 07:30:59 PM »

All of the games say that the entire game, including sound, is under copyright. So technically they could shut us down if they wanted to. But honestly I don't think it's a bad thing for them so I doubt they'll see fit to.

(also, I'm the one who got Chad York to come here, heh. The dude is super nice and was more than willing to talk about his music a bit. I don't think Next Level Games or Nintendo heard about it, though.)
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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2017, 07:55:38 PM »

(also, I'm the one who got Chad York to come here, heh. The dude is super nice and was more than willing to talk about his music a bit)
I remember that; give me five!
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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2017, 04:43:23 AM »

I'll give you a solid four
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Dudeman

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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2017, 05:19:55 AM »

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Dekkadeci

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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2017, 06:08:45 AM »

but I have a hunch that commercially available sheet music gets in the way of (our) fan transcriptions in more cases.
Not sure what you mean by this.
I don't believe I'm the only transcriber (at least on this forum) who looks at existing sheet music of video game themes, whether free or commercial/buy-only, accurate or inaccurate. If the sheet music is good enough, my transcriptions will definitely be affected by theirs, to the point that I'd often use their copyrighted material if I can't make out accompaniments in the original theme well enough.

How does commercially available video game sheet music affect the rate we submit transcriptions for that game
Not sure what you mean by this either.

Maybe I was totally off with regards to your question and if so, apologies. These are my thoughts on the subject in general.
I'm not confident in my ability to submit any transcriptions of video game themes I've found good enough sheet music of because I actually did or suspect I did use their copyrighted material, and I suspect others in my situation would behave the same way. Enough transcribers behaving similarly cautiously will probably result in fewer transcribers actually submitting transcriptions for those songs.

As an extreme example, even free piano sheet music of video game themes will almost certainly prevent anyone from submitting transcriptions for those themes to NinSheetMusic if the sheet music is definitive enough (released by the composer(s), in the correct key and tempo, etc.). The video game theme I most doubt will ever have a transcription hosted on NinSheetMusic is "Cohen's Masterpiece" from Bioshock, as http://garryschyman.com/sheet-music/ and http://garryschyman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/garryschymanbioshock.pdf are free to access and released by its composer. Therefore, I doubt that anyone else who submits its sheet music to NinSheetMusic didn't just completely rip off those 100% accurate files.

Regarding my question about how the commercially available sheet music affects our transcriptions, I couldn't find a very good way to word it, but I'd suspect that, among those who have seen the buy-only sheet music, their transcription quality of the pieces in the sheet music would go up. This probably comes at the cost of them potentially or actually ripping off the buy-only sheet music.

Why Do People Commonly Capitalize the First Letter in Every Word When Asking A Question?
Because, in titles, every single word is commonly capitalized (with some exceptions, such as the words "the" and "of").
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 06:10:53 AM by Dekkadeci »
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Dudeman

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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2017, 07:36:05 PM »

Dekka, I think you're not considering the fact that some of us (I hesitate to say "most of us") don't consider outside sheet music at all. Official sheet music for a piece will not affect the possibility of it getting arranged at all. The only thing that stops a piece from being arranged is whether or not an arranger likes a piece enough to arrange it, not if it's already been arranged by someone else off the site. Just because other sheet music exists doesn't mean we are aware of it or bother looking at it for inspiration. I think you're taking a personal observation and assuming the rest of us think the same.
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Brassman388

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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2017, 07:37:08 PM »

From what I've seen it's really evident if someone plagiarizes commercial sheets, or midis for that matter.

It's really an honor system. Sometimes if I'm stuck in a particular spot in a piece I'm working on, of course I'm going to reference someone elses' sheet. It's usually 0.02% so I don't fret too much about it. It's copying note for note which I've had a problem with ever since I've started arranging.
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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2017, 08:23:31 PM »

And I'm over here, amazed we actually got an official VGM composer on the forums.
Nice job, Slow.
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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2017, 08:25:50 PM »

I don't believe I'm the only transcriber (at least on this forum) who looks at existing sheet music of video game themes, whether free or commercial/buy-only, accurate or inaccurate. If the sheet music is good enough, my transcriptions will definitely be affected by theirs, to the point that I'd often use their copyrighted material if I can't make out accompaniments in the original theme well enough.
You really... shouldn't be consulting other sources in order to copy notes when making arrangements. It's okay to skim other people's stuff for ideas or confirm a pitch here or there, but it's problematic if you start relying on them in any sort of way, because then you're dangerously skirting the border around plagiarism.

Since I view pretty much all of the arrangements that get submitted, I can say that the vast majority of everything submitted around here is done completely by ear (at least, from the arrangers I'm familiar with). If something is too hard to hear, improve your ear training or make up something that resembles the original (i.e. same chord, rhythm, etc.)

So to answer your original question, no, commercially available sheet music shouldn't and doesn't affect our arrangements*, because we don't refer to them.

*Not transcriptions, arrangements.
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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2017, 10:17:03 PM »

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Re: How Does Commercial Video Game Sheet Music Affect Our Transcriptions?
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2017, 10:21:45 PM »

Just because another website has a perfect version of a sheet doesn't mean we shouldn't host an arrangement for that too.  In fact from a business standpoint it probably would be better to focus on arrangements that can be accessed from other sites.  We aren't a business, obviously, but we perform a similar function with the bonus of it being fun
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