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Orchestral music, weird instruments, and sample libraries just about sums it up.

Sam Gossner @samulis

26, Male

Sample Library Devel

Berklee College of Music

New England

Joined on 1/3/10

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samulis's News

Posted by samulis - December 31st, 2019


I've been working on scoring a Voxel RPG game called Lost Existence since about 2013 as the solo developer has slowly built and grown the game- it's been a wild ride! Now it's gone public on Steam as an early access title, along with over 30 minutes of original music so far and more to come soon! The score is a mix of classical, world, and minimalist music in contrast to previous projects like Airscape and Primal Champions which mostly had 'epic' cinematic fare, which has been a pleasing departure for me.

As a teaser, I've put up a few tracks here on Newgrounds. Also check out the amazing art by @scottr5680 , who has created all of the amazing in-game assets and the epic logo above! If you're interested in hearing more of the score, consider buying the game or keeping your eye out for the album in a year or so!

More Info on LE:





Posted by samulis - August 12th, 2015

Hey guys!

Over the past two years, you might have noticed I haven't been posting much music to Newgrounds. That's because I was busy working on a game called Airscape: The Fall of Gravity (I also made the website), which is now out on Steam/Humble Store! If you like my music, I definitely suggest checking it out, as it really is some of my best work ever. I hope to put out an album version of the game's score within the week.



Posted by samulis - July 18th, 2015

[under construction]

Hi there! If you are reading this, you either (1) randomly appeared on my page, (2) are a fan and saw I made a newspost, or (3) received a review and/or feedback from someone on a piece you wrote and aren't sure what they meant. This page is to clarify and present a basic working understanding of the fundementals of music theory and general terminology. This is not a final or absolute source, nor a remarkably perfect one, but is just a rough point in a few directions to help folks get what I am trying to say and improve their craft.


1. Music is comprised of tones with specific frequencies. Thesse tones are called notes.

2. Notes can have different durations, but typically line up on a grid divided in progressively smaller halves. Notes that take up an entire "measure" are called "whole notes". Notes that take up half of a measure are called "half notes". Notes that take up a quarter of a measure are called "quarter notes"... and so on. This is the basis of rhythm.

3. The organized combination of rhythm and tones is what we call music.

4. There are seven letter-name notes, which repeat in cycle, corresponding to the white keys on the keyboard. These letter-name notes are, in ascending or left-to-right order, A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. C is the most familiar note. It appears directly to the left of each bunch of two black keys. If you pick one letter-name note on the keyboard and find the very next note of the same letter-name, you will have found the distance of an octave, or the point at which the letter names repeat.

5. The distance, or interval, between notes is measured in steps. A whole step is the interval of two keys on the piano (e.g. between C and the white key directly to the right... don't forget, the black keys count as 1/2 of a step!), while a half-step is the interval of one key (e.g. between C and the white key directly to the left). On a piano roll, it can be easier to think of spaces, a unit where 1 space = 1/2 step. There are 12 spaces per octave or 6 steps per octave (go ahead and count!).

6. Scales are the fundemental tool for creating music. Scales are dervied by applying a series of whole and half steps to any starting note or pitch. The most familiar scale is C Major, starting from one C, and going along the white keys up to the next C. Try to count the number of steps or spaces between each white key and the next. You should have gotten this pattern (w= whole, h = half) w w h w w w h (2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1 if you used spaces on a piano roll). See below for more on scales. We use intervals again to name the distance between notes in a scale. The distance between the bottom note (such as C) and the second note (in that case, D), is called a Second. The distance between the first note and the third note (E), is called a Third. This continues (fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh) before we meet C again. That, as we stated earlier, is called the octave. Then the interval system either continues (ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelth...) or repeats for simplicity (second, third, fourth, fifth...).

7. Harmony is when more than one note is played at once. Intervals a whole step and greater apart create more spacious harmonies, and intervals greater than an octave are almost too wide without any notes in between to fill the gap.

8. Chords are groups of notes at certain intervals played together. Chords are the fundemental unit of harmony. The most basic form of chord is the triad, which has three notes (like how tridents have three points or tricycles have three wheels). The most common form of triad is the Major chord. The major chord consists of a chosen starting note, plus a note 4 spaces (two wholesteps, or a Major third) above, and then a note a 3 spaces (1 and 1/2 steps, or a minor third). There is also the minor chord, which is the same intervals but in reverse (i.e. minor third, then major third).



Accidental: An accidental is a note that must be raised or flattened from its normal state to 

Arpeggio: A method of voicing a chord by playing only one note from that chord at a time. Literally means "harp-like". Ex. (C, E, G, E as quarter notes over a measure to make one example of a C Major arpeggio).

Background: The background is any musical content that is not intended to be focused on by the listener. This can be anything from drums to a repeating pattern to bass and more.

Chord: A chord is a collection of three or more notes, voiced either at once (hamophony/polyphony) or spread out over a measure (arpeggio). Chords can be functional or non-functional, meaning that they can utilize rules to create certain effects and patterns people find attractive, such as the motion from the 5th chord (V) to the root chord (I) of any scale. (see also, Roman Numeral Notation, functioanl harmony, hamophony, arpeggio).

Contrast: One of the basic principles of design (and music!). Contrast is to smoothly transition between different-feeling sections within a piece in order to create interest (for example, a sad section and a happy section).

Development: Taking a melodic idea and, through tools such as repetition, variation, and elaboration, creating a piece that has both consistency and variation.

Divisi: Divisi is when a section of instruments is split (divided) to play two notes at once, typically in harmony.

Dominant: The Dominant is a term in functional harmony to describe a chord that is a fifth above (or fourth below) the chord it resolves to. The dominant is typically built on the 5th step of the scale, resolving to a chord on the 1st step. See also, Secondary Dominant.

Dominant Chord: A Dominant Chord, or Dominant 7th Chord, is a major chord with a flatted 7th step (chromatic intervals 4 + 3 + 3). Dominant chords are typically functional, and should resolve to the chord that is a fifth below the root of the chord.

Fifth: A Perfect Fifth is a musical interval. It consists of 7 chromatic steps up or down from any given note. When it is above the root note, the fifth is the second member of a root position chord (see chord, inversion, root position).

Figured Bass: See Roman Numeral Anaysis.

Foreground: The foreground is any musical content that is intended to be focused on by the listener. This is typically the melody and sometimes counter-melodies.

Fourth: A Perfect Fourth is the intervallic inversion of a Perfect Fifth. It consists of 5 chromatic steps up (or down) from any given note. It is the first (bottom) note in a Third Inversion triad when it is below the root note. When used above the root note along with a 5th, it creates a Suspended 4 chord ("sus4"), which must be followed by a Major chord with the same root.

Frequency: Frequency refers to the absolute numerical value, in cycles per second (Hertz, abbreviated Hz) of a note. In acoustics, it describes the number of times in a second that the waveform completes a cycle (i.e. how we get cycles... per... second).

Function: Function refers to the imbued expectation of a concept (such as chords or steps in a scale) to behave in a certain way that the human ear has come to enjoy over the past 1000+ years.

Functional Harmony: Functional harmony is a set of rules that have been developed over the past 500 years to help humans understand why certain harmonic progressions sound better than others, and to assist in the fast and effective creation of enjoyable harmonies. Functional music revolves around three types of chords: the tonic, the dominant, and the subdominant. The tonic is home. It is a major or minor chord built off of the first note in the scale, such as the C Major chord in the key of C Major. The dominant is the next most important chord. It is a major or dominant chord built a fifth above (or a fourth below) the tonic (e.g. G Major in the key of C Major). The dominant always wants be followed by the tonic. Often, the dominant is preceeded by the, guess what, subdominant, which can be performed by either a major (or minor) chord built on the fourth degree (e.g. F Major in the key of C Major) or a minor or diminished chord built on the second degree (e.g. D minor in the key of C Major). The remaining chords (iii, vi, and sometimes vii) can be used before a subdominant. This gives us popular chord progressions like I - vi -IV - V - I (e.g. C Major, A minor, F Major, G Major, C Major).

Harmonic Material, Harmony: The harmony is the chordal accompiament of the melody. For example, while the melody might be holding the note "E", the harmony instrument(s) might be playing the notes C, E, or G in order to create a C major chord.

Hamophony: Hamophony is when the harmony functions in a block-like motion as opposed to being elusively hidden in multiple moving lines (counterpoint). It is very common in popular and contemporary music. Not to be confused with Polyphony or Monophony.

Instrument: An instrument is a physical or virtual tool that is used to produce sound. Many instruments are, on their on, monophonic, but can be combined with other instruments to play mutiple lines and thus create a work. The art of using mutliple instruments at once is called Instrumentation or, in a classical context specifically focused on the orchestra, Orchestration.

Major: Major music uses the scale "2, 2, 1, 2, 2 , 2, 1" (ascending) in spaces or "w,w,h,w,w,w,h" in intervals (w=whole, h=half). The easiest example is C Major, which is formed by playing the white keys of the piano from C to C, ascending (or descending). Major pieces are considered happy.

Major Chord: A major chord consists of three notes: the root, a note a major third above it (4 chromatic steps) with a note a minor third above that (3 chromatic steps) stacked on top (creating a total interval of a fifth, or 7 chromatic steps between the bottom note and the top note). For example, C, E, and G played together create C Major, a major chord.

Melodic Material, Melody: The melody is a faster moving monophonic idea (typically hummable/singable) that functions as the top layer of your composition.

Minor: Minor music uses the scale 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2 (ascending) in chromatic steps or "w h w w h w w" in intervals (w=whole, h=half). The easiest example is A minor, which is formed by playing the white keys of the piano from A to A (octave), ascending or descending. Minor pieces are typically considered "sad" or "contemplative". A common feature of functional harmony in minor music is to swap out the minor IV chord and V chord for major chords by raising the 6th and 7th step (making a scale of 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, also known as the Melodic Minor), or sometimes just the 7th step (making a scale of 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 3, 1, also known as the Harmonic Minor). This is in order to let the V chord function as the dominant effectively.

Minor Chord: A minor chord consists of three notes: the root, a note a minor third above that (3 chromatic steps), with a note a major third above that (4 chromatic steps) stacked on top (creating a total interval of a 5th, or 7 chromatic steps, between the bottom note and the top note). For example, A, C, and E played together create A minor, a minor chord.

Monophony: Monophony is when only one note appears in a piece at a time. Similar to Unison.

Non-Chord Tones: NCT's are notes in the melody or countermelody that DO NOT belong to the harmony that is currently being used. They are functional, meaning that they must be resolved. The four most important kinds are Passing Tones (PT), Neighbor Tones (NT), Suspensions (Susp.), and Anticipations (Ant.). Passing tones go between two chord tones, literally passing (for example, in quarter notes over a measure of C Major: E, D, C, C). Neighbor tones are like passing tones, but they return to the note that they originate from instead of following through with the pass. Suspensions are when a chord tone from one measure remains into the next measure where it is NOT a chord tone, and then resolves down to a chord tone in that measure. Anticipations are when a chord tone from a measure appears in the previous measure and is held into that measure before the chord changes proper.

Octave: The octave is an interval of 12 chromatic steps. A note an octave above another note is twice the frequency (e.g. A4 {A in the fourth octave} is twice the frequency of A3 {A in the third octave}, which in turn is twice the frequency of A2 {A in the second octave}).

Orchestra: An orchestra is a body of musicians comprised of four main sections: brass, strings, percussion, and woodwinds. Within each section is 4-8 different instruments or sections of instruments that each play a line in a piece. Most orchestras number about 100-200 musicians total. A small orchestra is called a Chamber Ensemble. The art of writing for and assigning parts to each of the instruments in the orchestra in an effective way is called Orchestration.

Ostinato: A repeating pattern, such as CDEDCDED repeating every measure, with each of those note staking an eighth note duration.

Polyphony: Polyphony is when there are multiple notes at once in a piece. Contrast with Monophony.

Root: The root is the note in a chord that the chord is named after, regardless of if the chord is in "root" position or inverted. If you have an interval larger than 4 chromatic steps, you are likely looking at an inverted chord. In functional harmony, the bass often follows root motion to emphasize the functional motion of the harmony.

Roman Numeral Analysis: Roman Numeral Analysis is an alternative method to notating chord progressions that lets you work without worrying about using a specific key. The way to derive the chords in any key is simple. In the major scale, create chord on top of each step in the scale, obeying the accidentals of that key (for example, in the key of G, a chord built on the fifth degree, D, would have an F#, not an F natural, because F is sharp in the key of G). Analyze if the bottom interval in each chord is major or minor, and that is the classification of that chord. For example, let's do the C Major scale. First we have the chord C, E, G. The interval between C and E is four spaces or two wholesteps, so it is a major interval. Thus, our first chord is Major. In Roman Numerals, the number "one" appears as an "i". Because that chord is major, we capitalize the i: I. Our second chord is built on D: D, F, A. The interval between D and F is a minor third (i.e. 3 spaces), so it is a minor chord. The number "two" is two i's (ii), and because this chord is minor, it is put in lower-case: ii. This process continues. We can thus state that the chords of ANY major scale are as follows: I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, viio. The seventh step is a special case. It makes a diminished chords (two stacked minor thirds, and gets a degree sign after it. Roman Numeral Analysis lets us look at music functionally easier. For example, when I say "V - I", I mean the motion of the dominant chord to the tonic chord in functional harmony.

Secondary Dominant: A secondary dominant is a case in which a Dominant Chord that does NOT belong to the key appears before either the ii, iii, IV, V, or vi chords. As a dominant chord, it is a fifth above (or a fourth below) the root of the chord it is going to and typically has a flatted seventh scale degree (see dominant chord). in Roman Numeral Analysis/Notation, it is written V/[destination], spoken "Five of [destination]". If a seventh is present, it is V7/[destination] or "five-seven of [destination]". An excellent example is the V/V. In the key of C Major, we know our V (dominant) chord is G Major (or G Dominant 7). Thus, we go a fifth above that (or fourth below) and get the note D. Now, D is our second scale degree, so typically it is a minor chord. However, if we turn it into a major third by raising the middle note of the chord, it becomes major, and thus eligible to be a dominant chord. We can clarify the dominance by giving it a flat seventh. As in the key of C major, the 7th of D (C) is already flatted (i.e. 10 spaces above the root instead of 11), we can just add the C as-is. Thus, we can make a progression: D(7) -> G(7) -> C.

Unison: Unison is when multiple instruments play the same exact note, typically in the same octave, at the same time. This can be used in orchestration to create textures. Contrast with Divisi.

Variation: Variation is when a part of a melody or harmony changes upon being repeated to create contrast and fresh interest.

Posted by samulis - June 11th, 2015

Hey cool!

I logged in today and now I feel loved. You guys rock! I'm now a quarter the way to enlightenment a.k.a. 1000 likes. ;D

kidding aside, thank you all for your continued support, encouragement, and most importantly, painfully brutal criticism. All three of these things weigh heavily on my development of my style and ability as a composer.

Have a great day!


Posted by samulis - April 21st, 2015

Hey guys, just put out a sampled harpsichord! Lots of detail, plus sampled releases. It's now available for $15. Includes a really sweet Kontakt version too!


Posted by samulis - March 18th, 2015

Yep, it's that time again, time to vote on the NGWS contest!


The theme this year was "body noises". Contestants had to make a song using only body noises. Categories are creativity, disgustingness, and humor. Take a gander, leave a vote!

Posted by samulis - March 6th, 2015

So a big elephant in the room this year at GDC is the subject of women in the games industry. As we all know, there has been a decently steady amount of progress towards equality in education and some areas, but some industries are seemingly void of women or still have some antiquated attitudes towards their roles.

I think the core thing to understand about this subject is that for any group seeking social intergration, any group that raises a "question" ("the female question", "the gay question", "the ____ question"), the actual end goal is for there to not have to be any dialogue. The Germans, Irish, and Italians who immigrated to the US in the late 19th and early 20th century faced persecution and extreme prejudice both at home and in the workplace with regard to what they could and couldn't do (there are even remnants of this around, if you've ever passingly made a "ginger" joke).

However, these groups each led a two-pronged approach towards gaining job and income equality with other nationalities (primarily the Anglo-Saxon settlers who had been there since the revolution and controlled the country). The first prong was organization: they organized clubs in which their fellow Germans or fellow Irishmen or fellow Italians or fellow _____ could get together, discus problems, help each other along, and share ideas on how to improve their conditions. These social clubs were widely successful in cities, where most of the immigrants were trying to find work.

The second prong was having extreme "get shit doneitude". These people as a whole were incredibly driven. Look at any invention made between 1860 and 1930, and there's a good chance it was done by some European immigrant. Look at who worked the hardest, most challenging jobs almost consistently through the 1950's and beyond. It was those immigrants. Thousands of first and second generation immigrants, through help from their clubs and fellow nationals, built sprawling corporate empires from what was nothing. Thousands entered into politics with a devotion and zeal hardly seen before since the Civil War or the Revolution. The Irish in Boston were famed for their role in filling the ranks of the police and fire departments. Greek and Italian immigrants launched diners and restraunts of all kinds imaginable across the country. Many Germans turned to commerce, shipping, and technology, creating vast fortunes on inventions and trade with other nations.

Now when you read the newspaper, you don't read how Italians are feeling discriminated against. That is because ethnic boundaries and the related difficulties were transcended between the dual-prong approach and the assimiliative attitude of the American culture. In addition, they were aided by two facts- that second and third generations would have more "american" ways of speaking and behaving, and that in truth, they weren't really much different from the Anglo-Saxon elite anyway, in culture, tradition, or looks.

Unfortunately for a number of causes today, the American assimilative attitude is not as potent as it once was with the decline of nationalism. Immigrants were practically brainwashed to give up their national identity and become an "American". In addition, the rather close cosmetic appearance between the immigrants and the cultural elite at the time was a large bonus factor that does not apply to all "questions".

I think the lesson to take from this historical comparison is not that "social integration is easy and should happen automatically", but rather that "social integration happens. It can be slow, and the more diversity between the politically and culturally dominant group and the integratee, the more work that it requires." I think it is also fair to say, complaining, pointing fingers, etc. etc. is a relatively poor way of doing things. There is certainly a need for active vocal dissent, under clear and courteous terms, such as in the attitude of MLK or Ghandi. On the other hand, what will truly make a difference is the mobilization and creation of a group-wide identity, and the utilization of that identity in groups to help others of the similiar alignment to not just protest the issue, but to just live a happier, more productive, and better life.

The biggest and most common mistake with social integration is that the problem is the fact that a group is not socially integrated. The gap between what men and women are paid is NOT the problem, it is the symptom. The true problem behind that particular issue is that there are industries where the dominant leadership genuinely feels that women are not as qualified to complete the tasks as men. In some very very rare cases, there are a handful of industries in which this, as a generalization, is actually more true than others on a scientific, typically neurological basis (however, that should, of course, not exclude outliers who are qualified more than most women to do those tasks, but it should be noted that they are in fact outliers in those cases). However, in most industries, due to the rising equality in education, it can be said fairly and with a great deal of certainty that men are no better than women at the tasks involved.

At this point, I would like to point to some videos done by LindyBeige, a somewhat controversial but nonetheless always interesting and broad-minded figure, in which he describes how the prehistorical contexts of gender roles still applies today. His view is NOT to say that men and women should only follow preconceived gender roles, but rather, that preconceived gender roles are the way they are because of biological and neurological evolutionary changes that made our race not die out like so many millions of others. The degree to which men and women follow these roles is irrelevant, but a valid point can be made in some cases that, on "average", certain roles can be better performed by one gender than another, although aquired knowledge can overcome most natural advantages held by the other sex at nearly anything (e.g. a man can learn how to read the behaviors of a baby to know what it needs as well as any woman).


Trying to treat the symtoms of the poorly described and shadowy foe of the feminist movement (what even is it? All men on earth? Just the ones who are bigots or have uncontrollable sexual tendencies? The ones who uphold inequality as an excuse?) is no different from taking some cold medicine- it may help you sleep, but it's not doing fuckall to deal with the actual affliction, just the symtoms. There is too much confusion, too much self-diagnosis among all the members of the movement, and, as a whole, too many disparate opinions. What needs to happen next is not radicalism, but a united front, a network, if you will, where women can come together and dialogue to help improve their condition. This is the same with any other "questions". This has been very effective so far with the campaigns of LGBT (or, no offense, whatever the latest incarnation of that abbreviation is) and other similar groups and I feel that sort of unity needs to move into the areas of race and gender prejudice.

I would now like to ask anyone who has any other observations, feelings, or opinions in general on this subject to please share them, either in a comment or, if not enough room exists, a tagged newspost. As I said before, the only way to deal with these issues is to identify and move on the source, and also to unify and aid the members of the affected to take the wheel and work hard to prove that what they say is true. The world revolves around evidence, and feminism is a field where that is more twisted and bent than anywhere else. It strongly needs honest stories of successful people doing successful things, not because they are women, but because they are no different from anyone else and can. As I started, the end goal is for there to be no question and no argument, just unified existence. To try to prove superiority, to show dislike or hatred towards other groups in order to advance your agenda, is only going to set back the true causes of our time.


Posted by samulis - February 23rd, 2015

Hey guys, I'm back, and I'll be honest, I missed NG and being around y'all. Unfortunately, I'm also simultaneously super tied-down between virtual instruments, school, and projects... I do hope to put up a few "for fun" songs eventually though.

Keep compos(ed/ing)!


Posted by samulis - January 19th, 2015

Friends and followers, fellow composers and producers.

Although this is my fifth anniversary as a composer, I deeply regret to tell you all that I will, as of now, be leaving Newgrounds, and most public places, for a few months. I am simply too flustered, insulted, and ill-tempered to be a constructive element of this community until I manage to get rid of these emotions.

Certain individuals seem to hold grudges at me for a number of my actions over the past few months. As I noted in my first correspondence to one of them, "the only thing I dislike more than enemies is having enemies." I wish only that they will get over this soon and find a constructive path to follow.

Aside from that, my decision to judge the NGADM made me far more enemies than friends it seems. It was my task to judge, and I damn well made sure I did that. I didn't give out a single rating or critique I haven't received considerably harsher of on my own work and learned greatly from, but I digress: it is done, and long gone, but I am still dealing with the emotional fallout from it and the last rumbles.

I will be taking this time to continue and speed up my ongoing exploration of the reaches of music- free improvization, early music, and now the exciting world of 19th century brass instruments and their applications in modern settings. I will also continue working on the creation and publication of virtual instruments, especially free ones, however, I will likely ask @Camoshark to make postings of them.

For those who have a nit to pick with me, or anyone over anything, I want you to open up text pad, write it out until you grow tired, then save and close it. Tomorrow, open it up, and slowly, deliberately drag it to the trash can. Rinse and repeat until you're done. That's what I'm going to be doing until then; letting time and logic overcome the heat. No one should have to fight tooth-and-claw to defend themselves, likely only inciting more insult in response.

For those who have concern for me, I will still have my e-mail and skype open at times.

I would like to thank @Step, @Camoshark, @Etherealwinds, @Troisnyx, @Skyewint, @Bosa, @nimble, @soundchris, and many others for their help, encouragement, dedication, and feedback over the years.

Keep compos(ed/ing)!

-Sam Gossner

Posted by samulis - November 5th, 2014

The NGADM has concluded, and it's been a great deal of fun. There were TONS of AMMAZZING entires and I am honored to have gotten to judge this year. I'd just like to address a few points quickly about the aftermath:

  1. My scores and reviews are picky. They follow specific criteria and a formulaic approach to rating pieces and are not purely a matter of personal reckoning; they are numerical analogies of how well your piece used the aspects that form all music. No hard feelings, no personal vendetta, just "here's your piece" and "here's where it could be and how". No, I don't judge this hard when I'm just writing reviews for funzies.
  2. Reviews are coming soon. If you are missing a review for a round or a song from me, don't fret, I will be working on them this week as I can.
  3. No, I will likely not be judging next year. Aside from me having horrible work ethics, the activity of having to nitpick other people's work when I know how hard even polite critique can be to swallow. Plus, I wanna compete next time. ;)
  4. Tongs are good.


P.S. For anyone interested, here's an example of my rubric I used for judging:

Rubric Example