Musical Monday: “Roses of May” (Final Fantasy IX), composed by Nobuo Uematsu

Welcome back to Musical Monday!

This week’s song is from a game I haven’t played — I know it from its appearance on the orchestrated Final Fantasy album below. Following the recent mobile re-release of Final Fantasy IX, the time seems right to highlight this lovely piece. Enjoy!

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Musical Monday: “Final Fantasy” (almost every game in the series), composed by Nobuo Uematsu

Welcome to the first Musical Monday of 2016! To inaugurate the year, I have chosen the warm, hopeful theme of the Final Fantasy series, as performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Enjoy the song, and may you all have happy listening.

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Musical Monday: “Cyan’s Theme” (Final Fantasy VI), composed by Nobuo Uematsu

This week’s song is another gem from FF6, which excelled at clear, simple, memorable character themes. I’m slowly learning how to play it on the piano; the version I linked below is the SNES original music. Decades later, it still sounds good. Enjoy!

 

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Musical Monday: “To Zanarkand” (Final Fantasy X), composed by Nobuo Uematsu

This week’s song is one of those beautiful, melancholy pieces I like so much — I’ve loved it for years, long before I touched the actual game. It’s another recurring fixture of Final Fantasy arranged concerts, and below, I’ve embedded both an orchestral version and a piano version that’s closer to the simplicity of the in-game song. Enjoy!

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Music for Matchsticks: The piano sheet music of Final Fantasy VI

FFVI sheet music coverHappy Easter, everyone!

 

This month marks the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy VI‘s Japanese release, and despite the game’s age (and the technical limitations of its platform, the SNES), I still think its soundtrack is one of the best in video game history. I’ve also been meaning to get back into practice with the piano! So it was a thrill to find, and be able to import, Final Fantasy VI: Original Sound Version Piano Solo Sheet Music via Amazon. You can see my recently arrived copy on the left, and if you’d like to peek inside, I’ve posted the book’s version of Terra’s theme at the bottom of this page.

 

The book itself is a 197-page collection of what I believe is every single song on FF6‘s OST, from opening to ending (1). According to the Final Fantasy Wiki, it’s aimed at beginner to intermediate pianists, and this sounds about right — after so many years of disuse my skills have atrophied all the way back to “beginner”, but with a bit of work I can still play recognisable, if mangled, character themes.

 

On this note, the book’s arrangements (by Asako Niwa) hew quite closely to the in-game music, perhaps a little too closely — many songs loop rather than tapering to a “natural” close. Still, I think the book’s literal approach works — it preserves the strength, clarity, and simplicity of Nobuo Uematsu’s original soundtrack, and since I know the game music quite well, this also makes it a bit easier for me to learn.

 

Overall, I am very happy with my purchase so far. While it’s still early days — I haven’t even touched the left-hand part of each song — I feel that the book sits in the happy intersection between “easy on the ears” and “not too hard to learn”. It’s also succeeded at motivating me to pick up the piano again — I think I’ve played more in the last couple of weeks than I have in the last few years. Book in hand, I plan to keep practicing hard, and (with the proviso that it is a bit expensive) I’d recommend it to anyone else who might be interested.

 

Do you play music? If so, what do you like to play, and have you tried your hand at soundtracks? Drop a note in the comments!

 

(1) Note that there is another, separate book called Final Fantasy VI Piano Collections, which contains fewer songs, is a bit more ornate in its arrangement, and is aimed at more advanced pianists.

 

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Musical Monday: Aeris’ Theme (Final Fantasy VII), composed by Nobuo Uematsu

Since I alluded to this song a few days ago, I decided to feature it as this week’s featured piece. It’s popped up in basically every single Final Fantasy orchestral concert over the last decade, and for good reason — it’s lovely. Below, I’ve embedded the version from the 2007 Distant Worlds CD. Enjoy!

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Musical Monday: “Memoro de la Stono ~ Distant Worlds” (Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy XI), composed by Nobuo Uematsu

Happy Queen’s Birthday to my fellow Aussies! This week’s song is actually a two-in-one medley created for the Distant Worlds orchestral concert, with both parts taken from a game I haven’t played, MMORPG Final Fantasy XI. I personally prefer the first half, a sweeping choral piece (“Memoro de la Stono”), as I find the lyrics in the second half (“Distant Worlds”) a little cheesy. However, the song remains excellent and well worth listening to. Enjoy!

 

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Musical Monday: “Into the Light” and “Voyage” (Final Fantasy series), composed by Nobuo Uematsu

Long before video game music took off in the West, the Final Fantasy series had a long tradition of beautiful vocal and orchestral music —  all the way back to the NES/SNES era! Developer Squaresoft circumvented the technical limitations of the time by re-arranging its in-game music into orchestral, piano, and vocal CD albums, which remain a treat to this day. Below, I’ve linked two of my favourites, both from the 1994 “Final Fantasy: Pray” vocal album. “Into the Light” (Japanese: “Hikari no naka e”) is based on “Theme of Love” from Final Fantasy IV, while “Voyage” is based on “Boundless Ocean” from Final Fantasy III (NES). Enjoy!

 

 

 

Full credits for songs: Both songs were composed by Nobuo Uematsu. Both were sung by Risa Ohki.

Musical Monday: “Terra” (Final Fantasy VI), composed by Nobuo Uematsu

This week’s song is the theme of Terra, the heroine of Final Fantasy VI, and also the game’s first overworld track. Melancholy, wistful, yet with a strain of hope, it is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard despite being composed for the SNES sound chip. Here it is:

 

 

Deservedly, it also features in pretty much every Final Fantasy remix collection there is: I’ve listened to piano, vocal, and multiple orchestral versions of the song. However, while the orchestral versions are grand and glorious and good (I’ve linked one below, from the “Distant Worlds II” collection), I can’t help but think that they miss the sweet sadness that made the original so special. The vocal version, “Wanderer of Time” (linked, bottom), comes a bit closer to the original. Still, they’re all well worth a listen.

 

 

Details

Track: “Terra”.

Source: Final Fantasy VI original soundtrack.

Composer: Nobuo Uematsu. “Wanderer of Time” version sung by Risa Ohki.