Recent alum to teach class on video game music

Alex Bartick
WWU Communications and Marketing intern

As a child, Jon Bash enjoyed playing video games, much like any other child. The aspect that appealed to him most in these video games though wasn’t the gameplay, but the music that accompanied them.

Prior to having any musical training, Bash would try to figure out how the music in the video games he played was composed. The first video game music composer he really started looking up to as a kid was Nobuo Uematsu, who composed a large amount of the music for the Final Fantasy video games.

Now, a recent graduate from Western’s music composition program, Bash is composing music for video games and movies. Last year he composed the musical score for the feature-length film “Valley of the Sasquatch,”which recently premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival.

His most recent composition was done for a video game called “Submersive Intent.”The game was created for a game jam, which is when a group of people gets together for 48 hours and makes a functional video game.

“The theme of the jam was depth, and so it was like an underwater submarine game. I tried to create music that would sort of sound underwatery and dark,” said Bash.

In the fall Bash will be teaching an online class on video game music. The class won’t focus on composition but instead will be about the history of video game music and what’s happening in the industry today.

Bash received both his bachelors and masters degrees from Western. In June he graduated with a masters in music and was named the outstanding graduate from the College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Bash said the most difficult part about composing music for video games is finding the balance between writing music that is interesting but won’t distract the player from the actual game.

“The music also needs to support the game play and the action on screen and what the players doing rather than getting in the way of that,” said Bash.

Since most video game music is played on loop, Bash said it can also be difficult making sure the music won’t annoy the player after it has been looping for an hour or so.

Even though Western’s music composition program is focused on concert music and other forms of art music, Bash said the program has really helped him refine his skills and knowledge in music theory and composition.

“The way I think about music has been changed in my time in the program,” said Bash. “I went through a bunch of classes focused on electroacoustic music, which is like electronic art music, music that you just listen to. There are usually no visual elements. That has totally changed the way that I use my ears, and it's really affected the aesthetic that I like to go for and appreciate.”

For more information on Bash's upcoming class and other online course offerings, go to http://www.wwu.edu/ee/westernonline/index.shtml.

Monday, July 6, 2015 - 12:43pm