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ARRANGE

WMGSO is always on the lookout for new arrangements of video game music. If you are interested in arranging for us (please do!), continue reading to see how you can get involved.

Any questions? Email the Arranger Resources Manager at resources@wmgso.org.

First time arranging for WMGSO?

Email the Arranger Resources Manager at resources@wmgso.org to be added to the arrangers listserv and Discord server. You will be granted access to participate in our peer review process and view our repertoire and works-in-progress lists.

Before starting an arrangement:

  • Review our eligibility guidelinesformatting guidelines, and current instrumentation list.

  • Check our existing repertoire and list of works in progress to ensure a similar arrangement doesn’t already exist.

  • If you are new to arranging or need a refresher, take a look at our guides on how to arrange for specific instruments and sections.

  • Consider the rights issues involved in WMGSO performing an arrangement based on your source piece(s).

    • In general, we have little trouble acquiring performance rights if the game is from a large publishing company and/or the composers are members of ASCAP or JASRAC. For independent games, we typically need to contact the developer or composer to inquire about rights.

After your first draft

  1. Transposed conductor’s score set to an 11x17 page size and optimized for the extra space, provided in PDF.  Include the name of the piece and a version date or number as a header or footer for each page. On the first page, also include the copyright owner’s information, the composer(s)’s name(s) and arranger(s)’ name(s), and the year in which the arrangement was produced.  Make sure to include page numbers.

  2. PDFs for each part, set to 8x11 pages, with the following file naming format:
        InstrumentName-PieceName-(GameOfOrigin)-YYYYMMDD.extension
        (e.g., AltoSax1-ChemicalPlantZone-(SonicTheHedgehog2)-20141015.pdf)
        Here, YYYYMMDD is the version date. Make sure to include page numbers.

  3. The sectional scores, one for each of the following sections: winds, brass, percussion, chorus, and strings.

  4. A complete list of source materials (name(s) of piece(s), the source game(s), and composer(s)).  This is required to secure performance rights.

  5. A complete list of instrumentation, indicating number of wind & brass players required on each part (e.g., Alto Sax 1&2).

  6. A draft of program notes. Usually this is a brief outline of the game and the context of the music within the game. One or two paragraphs will suffice.

  7. If this is a choral piece with lyrics that are not in English or Latin, a pronunciation guide.

  8. A conceptual recording.

  9. The arrangement file in the file format of your notation software (to allow us to correct typos quickly, should it be needed). We welcome scores made with a variety of notation software, including but not limited to Sibelius, Finale, Lilypond, and Musescore.

 

Items 4, 5, and 6 may be included as a cover page or appendix to the full score.

Once you're ready to submit...

Please email the following to library@wmgso.org:

  • The transposed score, engraved for 11x17 page size.

  • The sectional scores, one for each of the following sections: winds, brass, percussion, chorus, and strings.

  • A conceptual recording and links to the source material.

If selected after our review, we’ll need from you the following:

Consider submitting your arrangement for peer review. Please send an email to the arrangers email list (arrangers@wmgso.org) with a PDF and conceptual recording of your arrangement, along with any links to the source material.

Please note:

No monies will be given in either direction. WMGSO will not charge you a fee for score appraisal or the advice of its musical director. WMGSO will not pay you a fee for your music, its performance, or its recording. However, if the music is performed, we will acknowledge you as the arranger in the printed program and may use your name in the publicity material. Should you wish, WMGSO will issue you two (non-transferable) tickets to a performance date of your choice. You are also free to publicize that WMGSO is performing your arrangement.​

Want to write or arrange for us? Great! Since we only play video game music, here’s the criteria we’ll use to determine whether we can include your arrangement in our repertoire library.

Always eligible

  • Music that was composed for a game and appears for the first time in the game soundtrack. (Halo)

Sometimes eligible

  • Music that was not composed for a game, but was adapted for a game as part of the soundtrack. ("Korobeiniki" as heard in Tetris, "Beyond the Sea" as heard in BioShock, "Lacrimosa" as heard in Dead Space 2)

  • Music that appears in movies or other media associated with a game that carry on the story, story themes, or similar. (Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Pokémon: The Movie 2000)

  • Music that appears in media loosely associated with the game. (Wing Commander, the "Inspired by the Witcher" album)

  • Original pieces inspired by a game that could serve as part of a game’s soundtrack, or original pieces written for an unpublished or canceled game’s soundtrack.

 

If you think your arrangement falls into one of these groups, please contact the Arrangers’ Resource Manager (resources@wmgso.org) before you start. Let us know what you’re planning to do and what your source material is so we can discuss and evaluate its potential eligibility.

Never eligible

  • Music that appears in games as part of the game mechanic, or music that appears only because the player chooses to include it as part of the game experience. (Guitar HeroDance Dance Revolution, radio channel music from Grand Theft Auto)

  • Every other piece of music in the history of ever, such as movie music that’s reused in a game-of-the-movie. (Star WarsHarry PotterLord of the Rings, etc.)

Note: WMGSO does not perform music composed by Koichi Sugiyama, Jeremy Soule, or Alec Holowka.

To ensure consistency across all of our musical material, please consider the following while you’re preparing your score for submission:

Any questions? Email the Arranger Resources Manager at resources@wmgso.org.

Notation:

  • Use rehearsal marks where appropriate. Ensure rehearsal marks break multi-measure rests.

  • For tonal music, use key signatures.

  • Use a double bar at key changes, significant tempo changes, etc.

  • Use clear and appropriate time signatures.

  • Check that the beaming of 8th and 16th notes is consistent with the time signature.

  • If you’re writing for any extended techniques (string harmonics, etc.), check with a section leader or someone familiar with the technique to ensure your notation makes sense.

Score:

  • Scores should be transposed.

  • For tonal music, use key signatures.

  • Use a double bar at key changes, significant tempo changes, etc.

  • Each measure on the conductor’s score should be numbered.

  • Use a large point size for all the text on a conductor’s score. Remember that it will be scaled down for printing.

  • Please do not use “repeat measure” indications on a score—they add complexity to the score and make the conductor’s job more difficult.

  • Include the title of the piece of music (or an identifying nickname), the version date or number, and the page number on each page of the score.

  • If you issue revised versions during the rehearsal season, include the date you published that revision on each page of the score. This helps us ensure we’ve got the newest copy.

  • Proofread your score for collisions between notes, dynamics, text, markings, etc.

Parts:

  • If there is a long break in any given instrument’s part, provide cue notes from some other instrument that has a prominent phrase or similar in the bars leading up to this instrument’s entrance.

  • Use multi-measure rests where appropriate. Make sure that cue notes break the end of multi-measure rests.

  • Don’t create a part full of “repeat measure” indications—they are hard to follow. Use them only where one measure is repeated once.

  • Pay attention to the placement of page turns on each part. Do not put a page turn immediately after a rehearsal mark. Page turns are best during a multi-measure rest. 

  • Measure numbers should be included at the beginning of each line.

  • Include the title of the piece of music (or an identifying nickname), the version date or number, the part name, and the page number on each page of each part.

  • If you issue revised versions during the rehearsal season, include the date you published that revision on each page of each part. This helps us ensure everyone’s got your newest parts.

  • Proofread each part for collisions between notes, dynamics, text, markings, etc.

Choral Parts:

  • Size your music and words such that a printing on U.S. letter-size paper has at least a 12-point font for the lyrics.

  • Tenors use the suboctave treble clef (treble clef with “8” underneath).

  • If your piece includes a piano part, and the chorus enters on the first downbeat, you may wish to put a footnote in the piano part that lists the notes the pianist will provide for the chorus for tuning.

  • Please provide cue notes if at all possible, even for shorter breaks, since the choristers will be listening for cues to get their entrance notes after every break.

  • Please provide a piano reduction that includes the basic melody, chords, and rhythm. This is used to accompany the choir during rehearsals.

Writing for us? Here’s what we consist of. Arrangements don’t need to include parts for every player—feel free to use as much or as little of this as you like.  

Please note that WMGSO orchestration includes an integrated choir and a full saxophone section.

Any questions? Email the Arranger Resources Manager at resources@wmgso.org.

Woodwinds

  • 3 flutes (3rd may play piccolo or alto flute)

  • 2 oboes

  • 3 clarinets (3rd usually playing bass clarinet)

  • 2 bassoons

  • 4 saxophones (2 alto, 1 tenor, 1 baritone)

Brass

  • 4 horns

  • 3 trumpets

  • 3 trombones (2 tenor, 1 bass)

  • 1 tuba

Percussion

  • 6 percussionists – most instruments available, see below

Choir

  • soprano

  • alto

  • tenor

  • bass

Strings

  • violin (separated into first and second violins)

  • viola

  • cello

  • contrabass

Additional instruments we usually have available:

  • flugelhorn, doubled from 3rd trumpet

  • english horn, doubled from bassoon or oboe

  • guitar (electric or acoustic)

  • bass guitar

  • harp

  • piano or electronic keyboard

More auxiliary instruments may be available, on request. 

Percussion instruments we have used in the past include the following: marimba, xylophone, vibraphone, glockenspiel, tubular bells, gong, timpani (set of 4), bass drum, drum set, snare drum, taiko drum, wind chimes, claves, wood blocks, temple blocks, tambourine, congas, bongos, shakers, finger cymbals, triangles, crash/suspended cymbals, mark tree, bell tree, electronic drum kit, cajon, brake drum, anvil, wind machine, marching machine, rainstick, and more!

Arrangement Submission Guidelines

Repertoire Eligibility

Notation Style, Content, and Formatting Guidelines

WMGSO Standard Instrumentation

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