NinSheetMusic Forums

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Congratulations!! You, yes, YOU, dear user, have been selected for the "You Read This News Item" award! Click here for your prize!!

Author Topic: Erroneous Composer Attributions (Koji Kondo)  (Read 191 times)

HolaHashad

  • Blank Manuscript Paper
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
    • Email
Erroneous Composer Attributions (Koji Kondo)
« on: August 11, 2020, 01:32:14 AM »

Hi,

I've been looking around this site for a number of years looking at Mario scores, and I've come across several errors when it comes to attributing each tune to the right composer.

I realize some of these transcriptions are quite old, but I find it quite unacceptable that we have cases where tunes such as Flipside from Super Paper Mario being, the Flat Zone theme from Super Smash Bros. Melee, or much of the Mario & Luigi music being credited to Koji Kondo, when in fact, he had ZERO involvement with these games.

It's one thing to not know which composer did what when you have a soundtrack that involves more than one composer, but with games like Super Paper Mario, it's quite easy to just look this information up. It's particularly unacceptable with games such as the Mario & Luigi series when only one composer has been involved with all of them.

Seriously, just look it up on Wikipedia, there you'll see "Yoko Shimomura." Similar with games like Super Paper Mario. Just earlier, I found "Flipside" attributed to Koji Kondo. How on earth could someone get this wrong? Look up the Super Paper Mario Wikipedia page, and there you'll find who composed the soundtrack. NOWHERE is Koji Kondo mentioned

However, since I understand many don't know this, let me clear a few things up:

Until the first Super Mario Maker, Koji Kondo hadn't significantly worked on a soundtrack since Super Mario Sunshine. And even with that game, he only contributed about half (mostly in the first half of the game, it seems).

After this, he became more of a manager/supervisor, completely taking a backseat with most games. Hence, when you read the credits to these games, you'll see his name credited at the bottom of a long list of composers. (Whereas in Sunshine, he was the first of two names credited for its music, because he still contributed a significant amount of music)

Example, in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Kondo played a very small role in its soundtrack. The primary composer and sound director was Kenta Nagata, with Hajime Wakai contributing a good amount as well, then Toru Minegishi had a somewhat smaller roll, and Kondo being the least involved.

The only time he involved himself with any composition (and by that I mean, "contribute a handful of compositions to a soundtrack with hundreds of them") were the major Mario and Zelda titles (and a couple Smash Bros. games).

These include:
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
- New Super Mario Bros.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
- Super Mario Galaxy
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- The Legend of Zelda, Spirit Tracks
- Super Mario Galaxy 2
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
- Super Mario 3D World
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

After this, he became more involved with a few other games, including some side games
- Super Mario Maker
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Super Mario Odyssey
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Super Mario Maker 2.

So, let's start with Super Mario Sunshine. Kondo was still main composer of this game, and contributed all the main themes. Since Nintendo never released an official soundtrack, it'll never be 100% certain as to which ones he wrote. My guess is that he wrote most of the music that involves menus and fanfares and the like, along with some other tunes such as the original Delfino Airstrip music, the final battle with Bowser, and all the incidental music that plays during the cutscenes. But that's a whole other discussion.

We know, for sure, Kondo contributed the following:

- Delfino Plaza
- Bianco Hills
- Ricco Harbor
- Gelato Beach
- Secret Course
- Staff Roll

We know, for sure, that he did not write the following, as they were composed by Shinobu Nagata (known at the time as Shinobu Tanaka):

- Event
- Pinna Park
- Mecha-Bowser
- Noki Bay
- Sirena Beach
- Pianta Village
- The Nokis' Ocean Depths
- Sky & Sea

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was the first game Kondo took a backseat, as mentioned before, and there's only one composition known to be attributed to him, and that's:

- Grandma's Theme

With New Super Mario Bros. on the DS, Kondo acted as Sound Director, and composed only one composition:

- Aboveground BGM (the main theme of the game)

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Kondo contributed only one composition, and it's actually a demo piece that wasn't even used in-game. It was later released with Twilight Princess HD:

- Orchestral Piece #2

With Super Mario Galaxy, Kondo contributed four tracks. However, three of these tracks are just different arrangements of the same tune, so it's really just two compositions altogether:

- Good Egg Galaxy
- Rosalina's Comet Observatory 1
- Rosalina's Comet Observatory 2
- Rosalina's Comet Observatory 3

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Kondo arranged the classic Overworld theme from the original Super Mario Bros.:

- Ground Theme (Plays in the Mushroomy Kingdom stage)

In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, there's an old interview that stated that Kondo worked on:

- "Ending" theme (Don't know if this is the credits theme, or music that plays towards the end)

In Super Mario Galaxy 2, Kondo contributed five tracks. Just like Super Mario Galaxy 1, three of these are arrangements of the same tune:

- Yoshi Star Galaxy
- Starship Mario 1
- Starship Mario 2
- Starship Mario 3
- Bowser Jr.'s Fort

In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Kondo contributed only one composition. It plays during the opening cinematic that beings playing when you set your controller down at the title screen for a little bit:

- The Legend of Skyloft

In Super Mario 3D World, Kondo contributed two compositions, and they're really just different arrangements of the same melody:

- Chainlink Charge
- Sunshine Seaside ~ Underwater

For Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Kondo once again arranged music of the past, this time, a medley:

- Super Mario Bros. Medley

Super Mario Maker is where things get tricky, as he was considered "main composer" of the game. He wasn't the only composer, however, he was sound director, and was responsible for the majority of it from what it sounded like in interviews. Nintendo, however, never released this soundtrack. It can be assumed that he wrote some of the new retroactive compositions for older game styles, such as the Ghost House theme for Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3, as well as the Airship theme for Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World. Again, though, two other composers worked on this soundtrack: Naoto Kubo and Asuka Hayazaki.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe credits him at the very end as a composer, likely for contributing one of the additional battle tracks. It's not known which one he wrote, but some believe it to be the regular Battle Stadium course. However, again, that's speculation, so it really isn't known.

Super Mario Odyssey was a massive project, and saw the first time Kondo contributed a significant amount of original music for a mainline Mario game since… Super Mario Sunshine:

- Wooded Kingdom: Steam Gardens*
- Wooded Kingdom: Steam Gardens - Sherm Zone
- Wooded Kingdom: Torkdrift Battle
- Lost Kingdom: Klepto Appearance
- Lost Kingdom: Cappy Gets Taken Away!
- Lost Kingdom: Forgotten Isle*
- Bowser Kingdom: Bowser Castle*
- Bowser Kingdom: Bowser Castle: Main Courtyard
- Bowser Kingdom: RoboBrood Battle
- Crazy Cap Shop
- Run, Jump Throw! Stage 1

*8-bit versions of these were composed by Kondo as well

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Kondo arranged the final battle music from Super Mario Bros. 3:

- King Bowser (Super Mario Bros. 3)

Finally, Super Mario Maker 2, Kondo acted as sound director, but also contributed new retroactive compositions for the old game styles with the Desert, Snow, Forest, and Sky themes that didn't exist back then.

Seriously, after Wind Waker (since again, it's not known exactly what was contributed there 100%), these are ALL the compositions that are confirmed to be composed and arranged by Koji Kondo himself. He did not work on the Paper Mario, the Mario & Luigi, nor the Mario Kart games (until Mario Kart 8 Deluxe that is), he didn't work on any remakes of old Mario/Zelda games, he didn't work on any Mario Party games, and he wasn't at all involved with the rest of the New Super Mario Bros. series. Similarly, Kondo had ZERO involvement in Breath of the Wild, composition-wise.

I know some people will say "B-b-but, he supervised it, right?" "Supervising" could be anything, like passively accepting and rejecting a piece. That doesn't mean he composed it, and furthermore, it diminishes the hard work someone else put into making that composition. He's credited as "supervisor" for many different soundtracks because he's the manager of the entire sound group there at Nintendo. This is similar to how Nintendo presidents are credited as "Executive Producer" for every game that released under their leadership, that doesn't mean they had any creative involvement with the projects whatsoever.

I know others will point out that many of these games reuse compositions from Kondo's older games, and they do indeed. But I still think it's inappropriate to just credit Kondo on these, because someone else was involved in arranging them. There are a lot of callbacks to his older games in Super Mario Odyssey, for example, but the soundtrack booklet does a great job at crediting the arranger first, then Kondo second.

I'm not trying to put Kondo down. Quite the opposite, I actually have the utmost respect for his music, but I hate how he's erroneously attributed to a lot of work that he had zero involvement with. Similarly, I hate it when some of the music he did gets wrongly attributed to another Nintendo staff member.

I hope this clears up a lot.
Logged

Latios212

  • NSM Overlord
  • Administrator
  • Nintendo Nocturne
  • *
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 6384
  • Wheeeee™
    • View Profile
    • YouTube channel
Re: Erroneous Composer Attributions (Koji Kondo)
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2020, 01:53:04 AM »

Hey, thanks for the feedback, and we apologize for the incorrect composer attribution. It's something that we're aware of. Let me explain...

The thing is, as you're probably aware, many of the arrangements that are still live on the site today were created before we had strict standards for quality, and this includes everything from note accuracy to good engraving to correct composer/company attribution. A lot of sheets that have this problem also suffer from a myriad of other issues and really do need to be replaced entirely. I agree this is a pretty awful blunder but I think it makes more sense to spend time replacing the sheets entirely rather than changing this one thing on a sheet that will need to be redone completely sometime down the line anyway.

Something to point out - all of the sheets that have the new site URL (https://www.NinSheetMusic.org/) on them should be up to the quality standards we uphold for new submissions today, and can be used as a rough indicator of whether a sheet needs to be replaced or not.

So my question to you is - do you see this problem of composer mis-attribution on sheets with the new URL on them? For the others, it's a known issue we will take up when we replace the old sheets, but for recent sheets with the new URL we should make sure that's fixed ASAP. One thing to note is that, as you mentioned, for the newer tracks that are clearly based off of some of his old compositions (example), we are sure to attribute him after the primary composer.

Thanks again for pointing this out, and sorry for the confusion!
« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 01:55:45 AM by Latios212 »
Logged
My arrangements and YouTube channel!

who needs education when you can have WAIFUS!!!!!

Spoiler
[close]
turtle

Yug_Guy

  • Resident Palindrome
  • Global Moderator
  • Ordon Overture
  • *
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 1533
  • Just your everyday skeleton
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Erroneous Composer Attributions (Koji Kondo)
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2020, 01:55:15 AM »

Moved to the Feedback board because it fits better here.


I can appreciate the enthusiasm you've put on display here, and you're certainly not wrong in calling us out for this. However, there is really one reason why these sheets are the way that they are: for the first ~10 years or so, NinSheetMusic really didn't have any sort of quality control standards. Thus, a lot of our sheets from that time have incorrect information, composer info being just one of the many casualties. We do have a process in place to add replacement sheets to the site (and more recently a new project that'll hopefully add quite a bit more), however, many sheets still don't have replacements made for them mostly due to a lack of enthusiasm to make them or a high difficulty threshold for a proper piano arrangement.

Aside from that, it can be extremely difficult to pin down the original composer(s) for a given song if the game has multiple composers and no official soundtrack release. Nintendo is pretty infamous for this, so it's no surprise that there's a lot of misinformation as to who composed what piece. It can be pretty easy for someone not in the know to take a cursory look at sources and come out with the wrong info. It's not surprising that Koji Kondo, one of Nintendo's most famous composers, gets a lot of songs falsely accredited to him.

So, the question remains: what do we do about this? Honestly, there's no good answer for that. We could try manually reviewing each and every sheet to correct any mistakes, but that comes with issues. Firstly, how we delegate this job as there are now +4000 sheets on site, and what we should do when the sheet in question is utter trash and in dire need of a replacement.

...and ninja'd by Latios. I suppose defer to his post I guess. Whoops. 
Logged
Personal Arrangement Thread Here. Youtube Channel Here.
wanna see something really scary?
2020
[close]

HolaHashad

  • Blank Manuscript Paper
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Erroneous Composer Attributions (Koji Kondo)
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2020, 02:57:01 AM »

So my question to you is - do you see this problem of composer mis-attribution on sheets with the new URL on them? For the others, it's a known issue we will take up when we replace the old sheets, but for recent sheets with the new URL we should make sure that's fixed ASAP. One thing to note is that, as you mentioned, for the newer tracks that are clearly based off of some of his old compositions (example), we are sure to attribute him after the primary composer.

It's hard to say, because I can't find the difference between this "old URL" vs. the new one. I can't find a timestamp or anything that'll tell me if certain arrangements are just old, I can only guess based on my own personal recollection on how long I've seen them on this site (which is very, very rough), or the quality of the arrangement itself. Some have very erroneous note spelling and aren't properly beamed (likely didn't know how to use Finale or whatever software they used), and so it leads me to believe they're just "old."

Furthermore, I don't know what "old" means. How recent were these new policies in place? Are we talking the last five years? Ten years?

I was hesitant to actually provide examples before, but since both of you provided them, I guess I'll point out a few. For example, just recently I found four tunes credited to Koji Kondo under New Super Mario Bros. for DS. "Walking the Hot Desert," "Walking the Plains," World 1, and World 3 (the first of these three are two-piano arrangements) all credited as Koji Kondo, when, as I pointed out in my post, he only wrote one composition, and and none of these are that composition.

Another one I found was the Mega Mushroom arrangement, and this I was able to somewhat pinpoint to five years ago, and it also credits Kondo, when in fact, this one was written by Asuka Hayazaki (Maiden name: Asuka Ohta).

Even the "King of Hyrule" one is a bit wrong, as it credits Kenta Nagata when he played no role in the Breath of the Wild soundtrack. It's a composition that comes from Koji Kondo, and it was arranged by Manaka Kataoka, Breath of the Wild's primary composer. This one can't be an old arrangement, as the game came out three years ago.

Another set of examples I found were under Super Mario Advance, which all credit Yukio Kaneoka for the new music exclusive to this remake. The problem is, not only is this wrong, Yukio Kaneoka hasn't had an active role on any game since F-Zero in 1990. Now these, I found, were from about 4 years ago (all arranged by the same person). From what I gather, the sound composition for the first Super Mario Advance was handled by Masami Yone and Kenichi Nishida. I spent less than a minute Googling this to find that out

And I think that's really the crux of the problem that I bring up. Sure, there could be "lack of enthusiasm," but how? If someone is spending hours and hours transcribing and arranging these tunes (even the worst ones take some amount of time), does it really hurt to just do a quick Google search to credit the right person? Fact is, this person must've spent some time Googling something, as that's a highly specific credit to give. Yukio Kaneoka is a rather old staff member at Nintendo who worked on games such as the original Mario Bros. arcade game and Donkey Kong.

Aside from that, it can be extremely difficult to pin down the original composer(s) for a given song if the game has multiple composers and no official soundtrack release. Nintendo is pretty infamous for this, so it's no surprise that there's a lot of misinformation as to who composed what piece. It can be pretty easy for someone not in the know to take a cursory look at sources and come out with the wrong info. It's not surprising that Koji Kondo, one of Nintendo's most famous composers, gets a lot of songs falsely accredited to him.

Yes, I'm aware of that. Like I said, Nintendo has left many of their OSTs unreleased, so it remains difficult to say in some cases. However, sites like vgmdb are quite helpful in this regard, as they often credit each composer (when they know). also, Nintendo has released a few compilation albums in the mid-2000s where they included tunes from games like Wind Waker, Animal Crossing, and Luigi's Mansion.

This is how we know that Kenta Nagata wrote the "Great Sea" tune, as well as Dragon Roost Island, and it's how we know that Koji Kondo wrote Grandma's Theme.

I focused my energy almost entirely on Koji Kondo, because I didn't wanna spend an entire day on this, but there are other composers who get falsely attributed to other tunes as well, as mentioned above.
Logged

Static

  • Updater
  • Sonic Ska
  • *
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 1350
    • View Profile
    • YouTube
    • Email
Re: Erroneous Composer Attributions (Koji Kondo)
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2020, 03:15:22 AM »

It's hard to say, because I can't find the difference between this "old URL" vs. the new one. I can't find a timestamp or anything that'll tell me if certain arrangements are just old, I can only guess based on my own personal recollection on how long I've seen them on this site (which is very, very rough), or the quality of the arrangement itself. Some have very erroneous note spelling and aren't properly beamed (likely didn't know how to use Finale or whatever software they used), and so it leads me to believe they're just "old."
There are multiple old URLs, but the most common ones are "ninsheetm.us" and "ninsheetmusic.tk". Like Latios said, ones that are "NinSheetMusic.org", and even more specifically ones with "https" instead of "http" are our most recent sheets.

Furthermore, I don't know what "old" means. How recent were these new policies in place? Are we talking the last five years? Ten years?
Our current standards were put in place in around 2014, so the last 6 years or so. At that time, there was a bit over 2000 sheets, so that is why there's still a high frequency of these kinds of errors.

And I think that's really the crux of the problem that I bring up. Sure, there could be "lack of enthusiasm," but how? If someone is spending hours and hours transcribing and arranging these tunes (even the worst ones take some amount of time), does it really hurt to just do a quick Google search to credit the right person? Fact is, this person must've spent some time Googling something, as that's a highly specific credit to give. Yukio Kaneoka is a rather old staff member at Nintendo who worked on games such as the original Mario Bros. arcade game and Donkey Kong.
You'd be surprised, actually. It's very easy to just find or create MIDI files of video game tracks and just dump them in Finale; that's how we end up with such wonderful surprises like this, another "Koji Kondo" original. It's very easy to just create template files in Finale with the same composer/copyright info and just dump MIDIs into them without a care for the music or engraving, let alone details like the composer. People can and will be lazy when they can get away with it - no one bothered to even do a quick search back then, and it's something updaters still have to sometimes bug people about on current submissions. While we are a site founded on the enthusiasm of gamers/musicians, we've only really required that enthusiasm since 2014.

Like Latios and Yug Guy mentioned, we are entirely aware of the many, many errors on the site, but we prefer to correct them along with everything else (hence replacement submissions and our current replacement project that Yug mentioned - check it out, a lot of your examples are actually part of that project and will be replaced soon). There's no point in just fixing the composer info if the music itself is wrong, it's just a waste of time - unless of course a sheet is recent, and then we'll fix it as quickly as possible.

That brings me to this next point:

Even the "King of Hyrule" one is a bit wrong, as it credits Kenta Nagata when he played no role in the Breath of the Wild soundtrack. It's a composition that comes from Koji Kondo, and it was arranged by Manaka Kataoka, Breath of the Wild's primary composer. This one can't be an old arrangement, as the game came out three years ago.
I actually very much agree with this, a lot of times arrangers here will put official arrangers as "composers" when they're really not; I'm usually a big stickler about keeping this information separate but not everyone here is. You are right that it's one of our current standard sheets.



Hopefully this makes sense, but ask away if you have more questions.
 

Page created in 0.138 seconds with 36 queries.