Beethoven shoot ’em up: Scoring violent video games with the classics

Posted on: February 26, 2015

“When I was a youngster first learning about music, I was puzzled by the grand claims made for the genius of Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Wagner and the other towering figures of the Romanticist period,” writes Ted Gioia in Saturday’s (2/21) Daily Beast. “Eventually, as I trained my ears, I could hear its magnificence for myself. Yet I also could tell that current-day composers showed no desire to write works in this same Romanticist style. In fact, they seemed embarrassed by the very emotional intensity that they admired in works of an earlier day.  … The spirit of Beethoven has come back to life in first-person shooter games. Over-the-top Romanticism, in all its most extravagant manifestations, is now the preferred musical accompaniment to virtual killing. That’s right. The grandiloquent sounds of the 19th century are still alive in the new millennium … but only when someone is getting bludgeoned, bloodied, blown-up, or decimated with automatic weapons. … I can’t help wondering what Beethoven or Mahler or Wagner would think of this state of affairs. … Who would have thought that, so many years later, their oh-so-serious sounds would find new traction as accompaniment to amusements and games?”

Posted February 26, 2015