• Clement S. Sealy, Jr.

How To Compose And Design Music For The Gaming Industry: Vertical Layering

Layering is a technique in music production where you get Fat or rich sound by just “layering” with different instruments occupying similar or slightly different frequencies in the spectrum. ... layering in general means using a couple of different synths sounds together (playing identical notes) to create fat sounds. Vertical Layering is more about the combination of a variety of instruments, melody, and rhythms that can stand alone and be combine for different moods in the music.

This is one of the most exciting concepts in composing gaming music to me. Vertical Layering is combining music, SFX, and voices into the game. The best way to explain it is for you to see it how it is done.

As I stated in the previous article, capturing the emotions of the character and scene is extremely important. Even the sound effects have to match the scene. When all the elements are combined you have Vertical layering.


There are many purposes for creating vertical layers in your music. The concept is to create a low key atmospheric track to a more dynamic action-orientated track. This is done to make the track more versatile. Each instrument tells its own story and has its own expression creating at that balance in vertical layering. Each layer should be able to stand on its own as well as combined with the others. It also gives the game development team choices to choose what combination of instruments that will work well with the mood of the game.

As stated previously, in this series articles, It is important to keep in mind the theme of the scene or character and using instruments and sounds to accompany it.

See you in the next article: Horizontal Re-Sequencing

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