I figure at some point in time we will have to start talking music. If anyone is even going to try to write any sort of set of music -- even if it's just the standard incidental music (speed shoes, invincibility, etc.) -- there are a few design sensibilities to keep in mind [if this is a bit confusing, I can clarify anything if you want, it's just easier to put the basics down now]: 1. Emphasize minor thirds in both melodic and chord structure. Minor thirds, ascending and descending, show up a lot in Sonic games (Sonic 3D Saturn in particular seems to use it as a leitmotif). There's a very important reason for this. THIS IS THE MELODIC PROGRESSION OF THE CLASSIC "SE-GA" THEME. Note that minor intervals do not on their own make a song minor. A major chord has a minor third interval between the two higher (of the three) notes in the chord, and thus can be in an upbeat manner. A minor chord has this between the two lower notes, with a major interval between the two higher ones. Since it can be used up or down easily and can change the musical effect between major and minor chords, it ends up sounding less stale than a perfect fifth or fourth, which always occurs harmonically in major and minor chords (fifth is from root note to top note (like from C to G) going up, fourth is from top note to root (like from G to C) going up), since the interval between these two notes. A minor third 2. Chord progressions for upbeat songs, especially for the first level of the game, use a flat-VII chord (to clarify, not a "major seventh" chord) for emphasis. A lot of rock and funk songs do this as well. In other words, if we're playing a C-major chord, the next chord would be a B-flat-major chord. Chaotix in particular uses flat-7 chords heavily for this use (also several minor thirds, incidentally). 3. Sonic music derives heavily from styles of the 60s. Jun Senoue's more notable works borrow heavily from a 60s aesthetic, which use minor iv chords in particular to return to the root chord. Examples of this chord structuring include Space Harrier's theme, Subterranean from Earthworm Jim 2, and this (which was meant to epitomize the 60s style). This 60s style also uses a major-II chord after the root chord quite often. This is the second chord heard in Green Grove Zone [not including the intro]. 4. A lot of songs from the 60s also use a couple of chord progressions: I-vi-IV-V and the twelve bar blues (see 5). The V chord is notable for its ability to lead into the I chord again quite well, so in trying to loop a verse or lead back to the beginning of a song, the V chord should be used. This is the results screen for Sonic 3's 2-P mode's chord progression (C-A minor-F-G) among other things. 5. The twelve bar blues format is surprisingly rarely used in Sonic games. The 3D Saturn special stage is a notable use of this progression. The chord structure to this is fairly set in stone. It is four measures of the root chord (say, C major) used to introduce the main melodic line, followed by two measures of the IV chord (in this case, F major) that usually use the first half of the same melodic line in the first four measures modulated to that chord followed by two measures of the root chord again that usually use the second half of the melodic line in the first part again. This is followed by a measure of the V (G major) chord, a measure of the IV chord and a closing with two measures of the I chord, where the melodic line should reach a conclusion. Since it has a lot of repetition without a lot of change, it's easy to see why it isn't normally used in zones. Zones should use music that has significant complexity without much repetition due to the fact that the song used will likely play for the entirety of the zone without stopping. This way, the music can become familiar without being boring. The Super Mario Bros. main theme has gained its legendary status because it has many different sections that fit well together without sounding the same, and having a length much longer than a lot of other contemporary game songs. However, the format can be used in very exciting and fast-paced ways, and thus is well suited to sections that have a fixed (short) time/length limit such as a special or bonus stage. 6. Given a number of the motifs that have been discussed, a good motif to work with in terms of notes within the scale is "root"-"flat third" (probably one chord here)-"flat seventh" (since it's used a lot)-"fifth" (to get back to the start). An example would be going from [note, not necessarily chord] E to G to D to B. Incidentally, this is an ascending minor third followed by a descending minor third. Little wonder that this melodic line can be heard in Sonic games from Sonic 3 to Chaotix to 3D Blast to Labyrinth to Sonic Adventure to Sonic and Tails to both versions of Sonic CD. If you'd like me to highlight the songs I have in mind, I'd be perfectly happy to do so. I'd say for starters to take a look at the act 2 music of Sonic Labyrinth, which is available in vgm format at SMS Power! Trying to create music with these motifs in mind allows for the work to have some unifying characteristics. Since it's likely that there will be a bunch of submissions from a bunch of different people, this in particular helps keep the music from sounding like a random mishmash of songs (while I loved the music to Sonic Heroes, I wish that it had more consistency among the various songs). EDIT: Oh yeah, one other thing. A lot of songs in the Sonic games, while in a major key, do borrow heavily from the minor key as well (C major and C minor chords appear in the same song a lot). B flat major and E flat major both occur in the C minor key (same as E flat major) but are used with a C major chord in songs like the Sonic 3 credits. Another chord in C minor is A flat major. Panic Puppet 1 for the Genesis uses the chord progression C-A flat-B flat-C, which is as you can see uses mostly C minor chords, but resolves to a C major (similar to the concept of the deceptive cadence, since B flat is the V chord of the E flat key and C is thus VI [major]).