Drum Chart: Mario Kart 8 Main Theme + Practice Loop

Posted on August 22, 2021

 Mario Kart 8

I know I’m gonna sound like a weeb for saying this, but I must thank all the Japanese composers who have spent the last 20 years writing great big band music for their TV shows and video games. I mean, I know there’s probably more western entertainment with some killer (original) big band music that I just haven’t found yet… but in the meantime, the Land of The Rising Sun will keep me busy.

Today, it’s another Nintendo drum chart and practice loop; this one comes from Mario Kart 8 (Deluxe). I actually got a chance to play this game during its heyday back in 2014, around the time when Nintendo really started going hard with creating big band soundtracks. I played along to the start menu music a bit after the game came out, but all the versions of the track I found were looped ones; there didn’t seem to be a definitive ending to the song. About two years later when I began to chart tunes, I considered doing this one, but it felt weird since there was no ending to the track.

Well, nowadays I know I can turn this into a practice loop thing, so I have a chart to share. This one is a busy funk number, with lots of dense ensemble figures in the style of Tower of Power, or maybe Gordon Goodwin. The rhythms are busy and the tune is cooking, so getting through all 30 minutes of this video will really do a number on you:

If you listen to the original drummer,* you’ll hear that he doesn’t catch most of the figures. I wrote them all down to make the chart more challenging, and it’s a blast to navigate all those rhythms, even if it is a bit unrealistic.

I’ve been replaying Mario Kart 8 recently, and I think there may be upwards of a dozen songs from the game that are worth charting. I still plan on sharing a few more songs from Cowboy Bebop (as well as some other Nintendo games), so stay tuned.

You have noticed that I’m using the MuseJazz style for this chart. When MuseScore released the Petaluma font last year, I was excited to use it for these lead sheet/fakebook–type charts. But all these months later, I just don’t dig the look of it, so I think I’ll go back to MuseJazz. Don’t get me wrong though, I do appreciate whoever is trying to get more fonts in the MuseScore.

I’m also on the hunt for a new typeface. The MuseJazz Text typeface is just a bit too limited: no bold, oblique instead of italics, no em or en dash (e.g. —). Unfortunately, finding a handwritten font with all those things (that also looks good) has been impossibly difficult.

I found a few that I thought could work, and I tried out Kalam for this chart. I don’t know much about the typeface, but I think it was originally designed for Indian Devanagari lettering. After a lot of searching, I’m not sure it looks even right here. I might be stuck with MuseJazz Text. Sigh.

* If you’re interested, you can also watch the original drummer too. Get a load of that hair!

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