• Clement S. Sealy, Jr.

How To Compose And Design Music For The Gaming Industry: Horizontal Re-Sequencing

Horizontal re-sequencing is the method by which pre-composed segments of music can be re-shuffled according to a player’s choice of where they go in a storyline or environment. The most basic re-sequencing technique is to simply crossfade between two cues immediately. When the scenario changes, the first cue is faded out while the second cue fades in. A more elaborated technique when using this method is phrase branching. In this case, the change to the next segment starts when the current musical phrase is ended. A more sophisticated and flexible technique is dedicated to transitions. Transitions are triggered when switching between different segments. These transitional elements make the changes musically fluent and therefore keep up the flow of Music.

A perfect example of horizontal re-sequencing would be in racing games.  Usually, there are three to four different musical cue changes.


The first music played is the calmer version where the drivers are just starting the race.

The second comes when the track is bending and winding.  Also when there is a change of scenery or another group of cars are passing or in competition with your ratings.  This is where the music gets more intense.  

The third can be more intense than the second depending on the difficulty of the game. There may be more SFX, visual effects, and stunts that the player has to achieve.  

The fourth is usually your victory music or the dreaded music of defeat.  

All of these songs can be composed and arrange in various sequences depending on the scenario (first, second, first, second, third, first, fourth).  Whatever will allow the player to go through the storyline and stay emerged.

Try practicing your horizontal re-sequencing.  The practice is the process for perfection.

See you next article: Designing Unique Sounds.

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