Banjo-Tooie: Terrydactyland

Made by Laura Miller

Create a representation that shows how video game music - even music that seems crude or unsophisticated - can have a physical presence.

Created: October 17th, 2016



The big idea behind this project was to capture nostalgia in both an individual and collective fashion.  I wanted the sound/music to be recognizable as video game music, but not immediately recognizable as one of the most popular pieces of video game music of all time.  I did this so I could make sure that what I felt from it was my own - not something that was influenced by other people - but still connect to people on a visceral level.  So, I chose the Terrydactyland music from Banjo-Kazooie's less popular sequel, Banjo-Tooie.  It isn't what many people would consider beautiful, but it is something that holds a lot of meaning to me personally, and I find it beautiful in its own way.

I've embedded a video from YouTube below of the music I used (the video itself is just a few still images and is not important).  

Banjo-Tooie Music: Terrydactyland
southernpickle -


I created a product that embodied the crude, primitive sound of the music using wax from Mini Babybel Cheese wheels.  To me, the low trumpet notes and repetitive nature of the song gave a mucky, waxy sort of feel, and I decided to embody that with the most literal interpretation.  I wanted to make the piece feel as if it were made by a child, and because the wax felt very much like playdough when warmed up I felt it lent itself to the same sort of hand-shaping that a child would do.  The occasional "whoops" and "grrrs" emitted in the song (and, admittedly, my own experience with the level in the game) gave the piece a feeling of being part of a complete world inhabited by dinosaurs, so I decided to create a small world of my own with adult and baby dinosaurs and prehistoric plants.  The song feels heavy, and so I created heavy long-necked dinosaurs, yet there were also some bird-sounding noises, so I made flying Pterodactyls as well that I hung using a sewing needle, string, and tape.  The plate embodies the boundaries that I felt while listening to the music and serves to complete the world.



I approached this assignment with no set expectations.  I chose my piece for the reasons I stated above and because I had recently felt an urge to replay this game, and I felt a sense of nostalgia over the child-like wonder that the game embodied to me.  Although our approaches were differently based in physical realities (mine was worlds, dinosaurs, plants, etc. while hers were literally 3D printing the soundform), I was influenced by Katie Davies' Soundform.  I liked the approach of taking the literal soundform and creating an object from it, but since I didn't have the luxury of a 3D printer, I decided to use the literal approach in terms of what I created, not from the sound itself.



To me, the simple is beautiful, and crudeness can facilitate beauty.  Seeing the world through a child's eyes and remembering those precious childhood memories is important.  In the end, I think I captured the content and aesthetics of the audio somewhat accurately.  A very literal interpretation as opposed to an abstract one was okay in this case because of the world that the song creates with the addition of creature noises.  I've learned that creating a physical object or world to represent a song or sounds is a very subjective experience, influenced by our own connections with the music.  I'm not sure how applicable this will be for other people even though that was one of my goals.  If I could do this again, I'd try my hand at a piece of music that I was less familiar with to be less influenced by my own pre-associations.

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62-150 Intro to Media Synthesis and Analysis

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New creative industries are empowering new modes of collaborative consumption, creation and reuse of media. This often relies on successful collaborations between cross-trained artists, designers a...more


Create a representation that shows how video game music - even music that seems crude or unsophisticated - can have a physical presence.