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How does video game music work?

Tom Service goes on an interactive odyssey to discover the secrets behind our favourite video game music.

Bleep... bleep.... bleeeeep

It's amazing how a few electronic bleeps can tell us so much about what's going on in a video game without us even being aware of it

But music in video games has come a long way from the arcades, from the bleeps and bloops of Space Invaders and Super Mario to epic orchestral scores of the Legend of Zelda and Bioshock, Tom Service goes on an interactive odyssey to discover the secrets behind our favourite video game music. Along the way he meets composer Jessica Curry and video game expert Tim Summers who tell us what's really happening in the music when we're playing, the composer tricks of the trade and how video games can get new audiences closer to classical music.

bleeeeeeep... GAME OVER.

Available now

29 minutes

Music Played

  • Koji Kondo

    Super Mario Bros Themes

    Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Andrew Skeet.
    • X5 Music Group.
  • Masato Nakamura

    Green Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog

    Performer: Unnamed.
    • Wave Master.
  • Hans Zimmer

    Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 – Theme

    Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Andrew Skeet.
    • X5 Music Group.
  • Nobu Uematsu

    Final Fantasy VII – Theme

    Performer: Unnamed.
    • DigiCube.
  • Jesper Kyd

    Secret Invasion from Hitman Blood Money

    Performer: Budapest Festival Orcehstra. Performer: Béla Drahos.
    • Sumthing Else Music Works.
  • Alexey Pajitnov

    Tetris Theme

    Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Andrew Skeet.
    • X5 Music Group.
  • Bill Elm

    Born Unto Trouble – from Red Dead Redemption

    Composer: Woody Jackson. Performer: Unnamed.
    • Rockstar Games.
  • Garry Schyman

    The Ocean on his Shoulders – from Bioshock

    Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Andrew Skeet.
    • X5 Music Group.
  • Mike Zarin

    Splinter Cell Blacklist

    Performer: Unnamed.
    • Ubisoft Musi.
  • Guns N’ Roses

    Sweet Child O Mine

    Performer: Guns N’ Roses.
    • Geffen.
  • Jessica Curry

    Numbers of the Light – from Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

    Performer: Unnamed.
    • Private tape.
  • Jessica Curry

    Infinite Zero – from Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

    Performer: Unnamed.
    • Sony Classical.
  • Jessica Curry

    An Early Harvest – from Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

    Performer: Unnamed.
    • Private tape.
  • Jessica Curry

    Disappearing – from Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

    Performer: Unnamed.
    • Sony Classical.
  • Giacomo Puccini

    Come e lunga l’attesa! from Tosca

    Performer: Angela Gheorghiu. Performer: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Performer: Sir Antonio Pappano.
    • EMI.
  • Michael Z. Land

    The Dig – Original Soundtrack

    Performer: Unnamed.
    • Angel Records …..
  • Richard Wagner

    Tannhauser Overture

    Performer: Staatskapelle Berlin. Performer: Daniel Barenboim.
    • Teldec.
  • Koji Kondo

    Legend of Zelda – Suite

    Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Andrew Skeet.
    • X5 Music Group.

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Service
Interviewed Guest Jessica Curry
Interviewed Guest Tim Summers
Producer Hannah Thorne

Broadcast

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