It’s time for the latest Community Spotlight: a showcase of some of the best and most unique servers across Discord.
If you’re looking for like-minded people to discuss the finer points of your favorite video games with, there’s no place like Discord to find your community. The same is true if you’re a musician looking for peers to discuss, create, and share critique with. But what if you want to do both at the same time?
There’s already a home waiting for you: the 8-bit Music Theory community. To find out how they’ve blended their love of controllers and composers, press play and read on.
Striking up the Chorus
It all started when the creator of 8-bit Music Theory, a YouTube channel dedicated to analyzing popular games in terms of their soundtracks and composers, experimented with livestreaming for the first time. He was struck by how engaged, educated, and enthusiastic the discussions in his chat were.
It struck me as being really cool that these people had found each other and had this great conversation through a mutual interest in my content, and I thought that I could use my channel to funnel like-minded video game music lovers into a community where they could share their interests with each other.
8-bit Music Theory does a deep dive into Halo 3: ODST’s “Deference for Darkness:
He started developing a Discord server as a kind of extension of his channel: a place for music enthusiasts to put the concepts he talks about in his videos into practice. “I think my videos appeal to people interested in analysis as a form of entertainment, but there’s also information that could be useful for hobbyist musicians or aspiring composers,” he explains. “The latter type of viewer could use the Discord community as an outlet for practicing using information gleaned from the videos, and for finding like-minded musicians to connect with.”
In other words: a chance to move up from the audience to the stage. As he discovered, it was an opportunity many were waiting for.
Finding the Harmony
Make no mistake, you don’t have to be a master musician or video game historian to get a kick out of the 8-bit Music Theory community. As long as you have a passing interest in beats or button-mashing, you’ll find plenty to chat about. You’ll also have a front-row pass to the server’s main attraction: a never-ending music festival featuring an ever-growing roster of talent.
From the moment they join, musicians and music fans are integrated right into the community. “We have roles that members can choose from to display what instruments they play, whether they’re a composer, producer, music appreciator, or whatever else.” It makes finding people to chat and even collaborate with very easy. If you want to talk shop, share the finer points of an instrument, or even put together a brand-new supergroup, all you have to do is scroll through the members list and get connected.
If you’re hungry for feedback, the server’s definitely got you covered. Anyone who wants thoughtful and critical responses to their work can find them in the #roast-and-post channel — whose name is definitely tongue-in-cheek. The focus isn’t on laughs, it’s on helping one another succeed and improve.
I think any outlet for sharing your work with other people can be great motivation to push yourself creatively.
There’s a lot going on. 8-bit Music Theory compares his community to the most well-known boss battle themes within the Final Fantasy community, “Dancing Mad” from Final Fantasy VI. Give this a listen while you’re scrolling through 8bit Music Theory’s server chat:
When comparing the track to his own community, he explains:
So many different musical styles and elements are woven together into [Dancing Mad] — driving synth parts, spooky carnival music, church-y organ music, crazy prog rock riffs — but they all work together to create a fantastic final product. There’s lots of different ways you could take advantage of the server: no matter what your level or specific interest around music and games, I’m sure you’ll find something for you on our server!
While there’s always music in the air in the 8-bit Music Theory community, the headlining act is its weekly composition challenge. Already in its second year of operation, this tune-oriented tradition pushes creators to challenge themselves and their work on a regular basis.
“Every week a new theme is posted, and members write original music around that theme and submit it. Then everyone gets together to critique each other’s work, offer encouragement and suggestions for improvement.” It’s rewarding for those who take part, but when each week brings a slate of brand-new and creative compositions, everyone in the server is a winner.
But while pressure can be an amazing muse, not all the server’s traditions are as intense as the weekly competitions. “Year of the VGM takes a more laid back approach to the same basic idea, offering looser prompts once a month and a more casual mentality for members who find that attitude more conducive to fostering creativity.” For the users who get to enjoy the music either way, there’s no way to lose.
8-bit Music Theory started out as a YouTube series discussing music, but in the past few years, it’s been responsible for creating many amazing tracks of its own. The creator may have opinions on whether Earthbound or Breath of the Wild has a better soundtrack, but when pressed to name a favorite track created from within his own server, he was flummoxed. “There are so many great pieces of music posted by members, it’s too hard to choose!”
Luckily, you don’t have to. Check out the 8-bit Music Theory server at discord.gg/8bmt and catch some tunes…and maybe put out a few yourself.