Making Up Lyrics For Instrumental Video Game Music

Making Up Lyrics For Instrumental Video Game Music

Listening to Tetris Effect‘s many varied songs has brought back an unexpected memory: the lyrics that I invented as a child for “Korobeiniki,” the original Tetris theme song.

Back then, I knew the song as the Type A music selection on my Game Boy copy of Tetris. I heard the song over and over, and now and then, I would change to Type B and Type C music just so that I could give my brain a break from hearing the Type A song again. That said, Type A was my favourite song in the game, so I’d always return back to it before long.

I heard the song so many times that I started to notice an odd similarity between its structure and the structure of the song “Do Re Mi” from The Sound of Music. Although “Do Re Mi” is in a major key and “Korobeiniki” is in a minor key, both songs have a melody featuring mostly quarter notes climbing up and down a scale. They also both have a secondary bridge that uses mostly half notes to contrast with the quarter note building blocks of the initial melody.

In “Do Re Mi,” that’s the section during which Julie Andrews sings, “If you know the notes to sing / you can sing most anything.” The slower half note section of “Korobeiniki” has a melody that is almost identical to the section of the song in “Do Re Mi,” except again, it’s in a minor key.

I’ve cued up this YouTube video to start at that exact part of “Korobeiniki” so you can hear it. Imagine Julie Andrews singing a very sombre version of the “Do Re Mi” bridge over this:

As a child, that is exactly what I did, at first. I would sing a minor key version of “If you know the notes to sing / you can sing most anything” along with my Game Boy. You have to drag out the “aaanything” to make its three syllables fit across four notes, but it works. Soon, I came up with some Tetris-themed alternate lyrics to sing instead: “If you know the blocks to bring, you can clear most anything.”

This was not the only Game Boy game that inspired my inner lyricist. I also played Super Mario Land over and over, and my favourite song was the Muda Kingdom theme:

If you want to sing along, my lyrics went like this:

Here we go! It’s Mario on the go

On his way! He’s ready to save the day

Pick it up, we’ve got a place to be

Somewhere there is a princess waiting for me

I rhymed “go” with “go” in the first line, but other than that, it’s pretty much perfect. Good job, elementary school-aged me!

Did any of you write lyrics to instrumental video game songs that you heard over and over? Tell me your lyrics so that I know what to sing the next time I hear them.

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