Posted by: frostare | October 10, 2011

Khold’s Communiqué – Music

Hello, and welcome back to another article by me, Kholdstare. Now, this isn’t about image movesets (that will wait til I have my first one this MYM out), it’s about music and its effect on both writing and reading a moveset. You may be thinking that music doesn’t make that much of a difference. Stick around and I’ll tell you how it actually does!

The creative writing process, not just movesets, can sometimes be inspired by outside stimuli. This includes music. A good piece of background music when writing will help it break the writer’s block and have an effect on the way you write, and what you write about. For instance, a track from Alice: The Madness Returns could inspire gloomy or surreal ideas and tones in your moveset. An action track, such as battle music, could inspire a good, action-packed idea. Music cultivates moods that in turn reflect in your writing.

This can be used to your advantage. For instance, I went into the Left 4 Dead sound files and picked out the ambient music tracks and compiled them into a playlist for myself so I could get into the mood when writing my Infected moveset. A good selection of music will, at least subconsciously, let you tailor your moves toward that mood you want to convey to the reader.

Then again, if you’re not wanting to convey a specific mood, get a selection of music you like and just listen to it when writing. Music is better than silence when you have the creative gears going. Droogy Rool told me that he listened to Jay-Z and Kanye West’s entire Watch the Throne album while writing his MYMX ghosts, but they hardly have anything to do with Gengar, Haunter, or Gastly.

Now, after you’ve written the moveset, post the music you were listening to as a playlist for the reader to listen to while they read it! It allows them to experience the same moods you did, hopefully, and it establishes a connection to the moveset that is greater than normal. You must be careful, though. If you want to convey specific moods at specific points in the moveset, such as a calm feeling during the relatively “calm” moves, you need to pace your playlist accordingly. Although not everyone reads at the same pace, try to make the tracks match the point the reader would be at if they started the playlist and read the moveset at the same time.

Avoid putting in every track from the character’s origin in the playlist. Rather, put in tracks that match the mood even if they are unrelated to the character. For instance, to use Rool again, he had a collection of awesome horror, apocalyptic, and creepy tracks in his Romero moveset, rather than just the music from Romero’s works. Romero’s playlist has been praised as the greatest for a moveset ever for all the precise reasons I’ve listed.

Music helps stimulate the mind and the senses. To quote Peter Townshend of The Who, “The day you open your mind to music, you’re halfway to opening your mind to life.”

Thanks for reading! Next article will be about image movesets, I swear 😛



  1. A very interesting article you have here Khold. With the subject on matter it’d be pretty interesting to have some playlists on this page though I guess that’s a responsibility to the individual to find.

  2. I love this article, good work Khold. Might actually try the post what you were listening in a playlist thing for future sets. Especially for ones that don’t have much music to work on to begin with.

  3. To be fair, it wasn’t JUST Kanye and Jay-Z that I listened to throughout my creative process this context – but yeah, I most definitely use music as fuel while I’m working (and at pretty much all other times, really – I don’t sit at the computer without my pair of headphones on my head).

    And in fact, this is why I phased out musical headers and don’t listen to those of others: I’m already in the middle of some album or other as I’m reading your moveset, and dictating my own tone.

    Whether that’s a healthy practice remains to be seen. But on the whole, music is a very powerful tool to an MYMer; it helps you to “trick” the reader into seeing your moveset as an experience rather than a cluster of words.

  4. Heh, funny story. I typically make playlists for my sets before anything else, and listen to them as I write the set. And I’ll sometimes edit them based on the pace of the set and the themes I try to communicate with my sets. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who cares about the musical element of sets. And yeah, I do get slightly annoyed by trolly playlists like the one that Muk had.

  5. I’m a monotenous sort, and tend to stick to a single music track stuck on a loop. I feel it helps my consistancy, though it does force me to take frequent breaks, otherwise I enter a mindless stupor. I think this is also why I tend to lean more toward single links to music, rather than a link to a playlist. Game music is intended for continuous listening, and not the active listening one would associate with other music forms. I also worry that a playlist may not be contiguous enough, jumping from one music style/pace to another.

    I remember talking with Rool about music choices before, and how I never label the music I put with my movesets. The idea is a ‘grab-bag’ of sorts. Because of the hassle involved in scrolling back up to get the next song, readers will likely just pick one at random and stick with it, or even just listen to their own music. While that sounds counterproductive, it means everyone’s reading experience will be different, and they will all interpret the moveset differently. In turn, they show me their perspective on the moveset, and I get to see just how well the set holds up when attacked from all angles.

  6. Hm, I see. Interesting idea, Junahu. It certainly puts some things (i.e. “pick your poison” songs at the beginning of a set) into perspective.

  7. Dammit Junahu, I always have to bring up your sets in two tabs: one to actually read the set and the other to click links in (D)

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