About Sheet Music

Not Starbound. Not even sure what this was even for.

Not Starbound. Not even sure what this was even for.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've received a lot of inquiries about Starbound sheet music. I'm really excited that people are interested enough in my music to want to play it themselves, and, for the most part, I think the music is easy enough to be widely accessible if there were sheet music available.

Unfortunately, it isn't, and probably won't be for awhile. While I'd love to make the music available right now, that process is simply too time-consuming given my current schedule. 

Why?

Producing a score to a videogame is a complex process that goes beyond just "writing notes". Most of the Starbound scores do start out as a small handwritten sketch, which I then input into Logic using a keyboard, a process that I have documented during livestream events wherein I wrote several cues for Starbound live. You can still view those videos on my YouTube channel.

The "score" for those cues is often barely legible, and is usually driven by MIDI data that can't show up on a written score. For example, while in a regular score, you can tell an instrumentalist (like a violin player) to get louder simply by writing a crescendo symbol, in a virtualized environment, I have to use MIDI controller envelopes like CC11 and CC1 to tell the violin track to increase in volume. Special technical effects like pizzicato, spiccato, etc., actually use different tracks with specific patches loaded-- which on a score shows up as a different instrument, even though on real score pizzicato and bowed notes live on the same staff, with a simple "pizz" or "arco" articulation mark telling the player where to switch.

Even "simple" tracks like M54 have barely legible scores, as I typically program them into my DAW (Logic) and then tweak velocity and other data in my performance. This is what the score to M54 looks like if I just load up the file:

Compare that to the notation for On the Beach at Night, which was originally conceived not as a track for Starbound, but as a piece for SSA choir:

The process of turning the top score into the bottom score basically means re-writing the entire cue from scratch, which isn't as easy as it sounds-- at this point I don't remember most of the details about each particular piece on the Starbound soundtrack, and I'd essentially be transcribing my own music. Its doable, but very time consuming. Seeing as I'm currently involved in several game/film projects at the moment, I probably won't be able to find time to actually go through this process any time soon. I do hope to in the future-- I'd love to have a medium-difficulty set of pieces for Starbound transcribed for piano available. That future, however, is probably a ways off.

In the meantime, I invite any fans of the Starbound soundtrack to transcribe any of the game's music if they so wish. Nobody's going to come after you or try to sue you-- we're just an indie game developer and a very indie composer. I would ask that you  not sell transcriptions of Starbound music, but if you want to sit down and write out your favorite cue, I'm not going to stop you-- in fact, I encourage it.

So that's that. I'm sorry I don't have enough time to build the kind of sheet-music collection I know our fans deserve, but I am happy to let anyone in the community who is passionate enough about our game make their own versions. An official one, unfortunately, will have to wait.