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Author Topic: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)  (Read 720 times)

daj

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daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« on: December 26, 2016, 04:17:09 PM »

WARNING: THIS IS NERDY.

I write analyses about vgm stuffs. And because I'm me there will be theory. Yeaaahhh.

Wanted to save the OP for a glossary post or something but oh well i won't update it after a while anyways so here's the first entry :p




daj's top ten Sun and Moon tracks! :)
(might get turned into an actual video someday haha)

~

disclaimer:
- subject to extreme personal bias (go ichinose yeah <3)
- theory analysis was used to make it all sound more legit but it's all in the name of fun k ^^



#10
10. "Battle! (Hau)"
Hitomi Sato and Go Ichinose

Spoiler
Kicking off the list is the most energetic battle track of any game ever, composed by the two rhythmic geniuses who handled most of the DPPt soundtrack.

Hitomi Sato's "Hau's Theme" is brilliant in itself, because it essentially uses only one rhythmic idea in its melody throughout the track, yet still succeeds in sounding fresh and awesome. "Battle! (Hau)" opens with the complicated rhythmic layering which gives Go Ichinose's music its flavour, along with a melody that...basically recycles-and-extends Sato's idea for most of the section.

And the first section transitions suddenly to a perfect re-interpretation of the middle section of "Hau's Theme", and here we have it - the happiest battle track ever. It's hyped and cheerful as hell, and it's complemented perfectly with Hau's cluelessly happy pose in the background. Love it <3
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#9
9. "Mahalo Trail"
Minako Adachi

Spoiler
All the classic cinematic harmonies, with a nice little mallet ostinato and wonderfully programmed ambient textures. Honestly, it's not anything special - it's just a perfectly executed atmospheric piece that matches the mood like a charm. Minako Adachi's technical mastery in sound programming shines in this simple, clean track.
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#8
8. "Battle! (Gladion)"
Go Ichinose

Spoiler
Out of all his masterpieces in the DPPt soundtrack, Go Ichinose's "Galactic HQ" surfaces as the most rhythmically complex and most hyped-up track. I think it's his most well-composed track in the OST too (and then there's Hitomi Sato's "Eterna Forest" haha).

When it comes to the Sun and Moon OST, the Gladion Battle Theme falls in a similar spot. Without question, this is the most rhythmically complex track in Ichinose's Sun and Moon arsenal. The distorted bass guitar never stops moving until it plays in homorhythm with the other parts, rhythmic stabs punctuate the beat all over, and above it all floats an expressive, continuous melody. All of which, interestingly, are elements shared by the DPPt "Galactic HQ" track.

It is a technical masterpiece. The sounds are harsh and bright, the aggressive bass guitar cuts through tastefully, and the drum beat punches hard. When all the rhythmic elements come together, the track sounds amazing.
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#7
7. "Lively Lillie!"
Minako Adachi and Hitomi Sato

Spoiler
Not really a spoiler or surprise, but yes, there's another Lillie track coming up further down on this list. And we already know which one it is.

"Lillie's Theme" is a perfect reflection of her character. It struck me quite quickly that the  chord progression was reminiscent of Ravel's "Pavane for a Dead Princess" (IV7 - I7 twice, then naturals, yay), and the melody of the Lillie theme shares the mellow darkness and vulnarability of Ravel's Pavane too. Um, yeah.  Digressed a little there, not editing it out. Point is that Lillie's Theme paints the image of a dainty princess. Which is pretty accurate.

Lillie remains a passive character, getting lost and being useless for most of the story, and then she meets her mother and realises that the world seriously could use one less useless princess around. So she gets into action, and the "Lively Lillie" track plays as she reveals her Z-Powered form (cringe-y but cute so welp) for the first time.

The melody and harmony of this track is similar to the original, and the daintiness of the original melody is preserved through a brilliant choice of mellow instruments. But an upbeat drum pattern, some rhythmic fixes, and some hat shimmers breathe life into the track; the dead princess comes to life. I think most of us only got to love Lillie after this turning point, and the track really bought me over.
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#6
6. "Paniola Town (Night)"
Hitomi Sato

Spoiler
Chills. So much of them ran down me when I heard that whistling sound, and I instantly went weak. Everything about this track speaks "human", in the sense that it's raw and imperfect. Both melody sounds are never in tune, the guitar and melody don't agree on the chords sometimes, and those whistle slides are bone-chilling. Dang.

I won't be surprised if some people are turned off by the imperfection, but I find it beautiful. It's hard to describe, and it's the only track I won't do a theoretical analysis for, ahaha. I just love it.
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#5
5. "Battle! (Lusamine)"
Minako Adachi

Spoiler
This was the first track of the OST I put on repeat. Unlike the Lusamine-Nihilego theme, which is a huge, beautiful, distorted mess of sound, this track is pretty clean and structured. Yet, with the elegance of Lusamine's theme and Minako Adachi's harsh drum sounds juxtaposed like Team Skull and Aether's black and white, the track is a perfect reflection of Lusamine's main-bad-guy-with-a-story character.

The introductory flourish propels into a possessed soprano motif (D-Eb-A, shostakovich would eargasm), Lusamine's theme is sung in a bold piano solo in octaves, and then a beat drop shifts the music to a breakcore section which puts a clean melody-and-extension of Lusamine's theme against the syncopated breakbeat. The space between the powerful melodic phrases is filled with statements of the Aether theme in a harpsichord part (yes, really, and it's brilliant). The melody is classy and the accompaniment is grungy - Lusamine's stereotype in a nutshell.

A dissonant piano flourish calls in a "piano solo section". The low strings play a chromatic, subverted version of the Alola theme, and the piano responds with dissonant madness. So extrapolate a bit, and this ties Lusamine's mad ambitions with the peril of the Alola region. Hey, that's not far-fetched at all ^^

A new melody with a characteristic chromatic descending tail enters in the trumpet part, and the high strings respond with a similar line. The beat intensifies until the breakdown - an inversion (ascending, basically) of the chromatic scale plays in the background and a dark, minor version of the Aether theme floats in the foreground. And then the music explodes in rhythm, kicks and crashes smashing aggressively - above it all, a grainy, round drone sound imitates the chromatic rising passage. And that sound alone is probably one of the most well-programmed sounds in the whole OST.

It's a track that's brilliantly designed and chilling to the core, and it probably holds a solid spot in anyone's Top 10 Sun and Moon track list.
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#4
4. "Alola Region Theme"
Minako Adachi

Spoiler
I arranged a 4/4 version of this theme in September, upon the release of the Japanese Gameplay Trailer. I sang it every time it came on playback, and that made transcription a lot easier...at the cost of cementing the Alola melody in my head for the months ahead. Even before I started checking out the Sun and Moon OST I knew this was the first track I would arrange.

It's a simple melody with a simple harmony. But amidst the slew of brilliant ambient electronica tracks that would define the Sun and Moon journey, it sounded like a charm. Alola is, after all, a simple Hawaiian paradise, once you look past the misguided teens and corrupted corporations (ok to be fair aether isn't that bad but still).

And beyond that, there were some sweet moves pulled on the music-nerdy side of things. It's the first time a Pokemon series had a central "region theme" which came back several times throughout the journey; in fact it's the first time a Pokemon soundtrack used common themes (less so leitmotifs btw cuz theory) in such an extensive way. It warrants some good discussion, but that's for another article in itself ^^

Anyway, about the Alola Region Theme - to cite some examples, we hear a bouncy and lively version of this theme in Ula'ula Island's "Route 10" track, "My Home" uses a clean acoustic guitar rendition of the theme, and the Credits track presents a heartfelt 4/4 interpretation of it that really got me. It was a theme I knew through-and-through, yet I still broke out in smiles and warmth every time it played. The Alola Region Theme was a stroke of genius, in a macro sense above all,  through the Sun and Moon OST.
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~

So at first I wanted to only put the top three in spoilers but dang these spoilers look good <3

#3!
3. "Lonely Lillie"
Minako Adachi, Hitomi Sato and Go Ichinose

Spoiler
It's honestly one of the best piano solo pieces I've heard in a video game OST. I thought the Xion final boss track in KH 358/2 Days was beautiful and melodramatic (though not strictly a piano solo), but this piece, with its cold piano sound and weird sustains, captured me in a much more profound way. Xion was just sad and sad and sad, and then whoa! A sad KH main theme. But Lillie wasn't just lonely - she was accepting, she was happy for Nebby, and more than that, when her theme played, it signalled that she was ready to walk on towards the world outside.

The opening is turbulent and confused, with weird rhythmic and melodic jumps inserted between phrases. The mood is tranquil, but the syncopation keeps it kinda upbeat and the music always moves forward. An ascending sequence leads to a rhythmic build in the middle register, and Lillie's Theme emerges from the turbulence, accompanied by a bouncy accompaniment that drives the music ahead. It's a beautiful transition - it's dainty and vulnerable. Anyone who isn't feeling something by the time Lillie's Theme comes in really needs to listen closer. Or, y'know, just start listening.

I'd heard the track many times before I reached the cutscene where it was played, because everyone seems to love this track and want to arrange it. But I didn't expect the cutscene to sync so well with it, and yeah, I probably cried. Whoops.

Definitely learning this one.
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#2!
2. "Showdown! (Lusamine)"
Minako Adachi

Spoiler
I'd be surprised if this track doesn't make it to everyone's Top 10 (or even Top 5) list, because it's a masterpiece through and through. The alternating 4/4 and 2/4 time signatures, along with a bass drum rhythm that doesn't quite match the beats, makes for a huge distorted mess of layers that sounds absolutely frikkin awesome.

Minako Adachi shows off her mastery in sound design here, juxtaposing heavy electronica textures and distorted drum beats with raw piano sounds. The sounds alone are genius, and then there are the harmonies - holy crud, that distortion.

Analysing the harmony reveals minor 2nds (eg. C and C#, a pretty horrid-sounding interval) all over, yet they're so carefully woven in that the distortion doesn't cut through too much. Then there's the piano, which cares a lot less about subtlety. When the piano plays a dissonant flourish, it slams it, because that's the idea - Lusamine has gone mad. And she's a jellyfish thing. So things are pretty chaotic.

It's not that easy to create organised chaos in music - the Lusamine-Nihilego battle track is full of subtleties. Many layers exist for textural effects, and every element - melody, rhythm, harmony - is distorted in some distinct way, then crammed into simple 4-bar phrases. From the analysis standpoint, this track is a creative masterpiece.

But y'know, you didn't need to listen that closely to know that the track was amazing :p
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~

honourable mentions!
"Battle! (Solgaleo/Lunala)" and "Battle! (Elite Four)"
They're actually really similar. Their structures are essentially identical. But they sound epic as hell, so go Jun'ichi Masuda, you're still great as ever <3

"Po Town"
Creativity could never be this simple: dark key, sharpened 4ths, drown in reverb - here's a dark track! :D Yet it's this simplicity that truly portrays the loneliness and emptiness of the Team Skull grunts, and I love it.

"Ancient Poni Path"
The last time I heard oboes used beautifully in a VGM track was "Gusty Garden Galaxy". And that was released a pretty long time ago. Also, those were real oboes, so they had an advantage. Another tear-worthy track.

"Acerola's Trial"
Now -this- is creativity. And stereo madness. Technical mastery on the programming end too. also was legit creepy, 11/10 <3
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Which brings me to my number one favorite track of Sun and Moon...

#1!!!!!1!
1. Battle! (Island Kahuna)
Go Ichinose

Spoiler
I don't know if it's a personal bias towards Go Ichinose - he did write my all-time favourite VGM track, after all - but when I shuffled to this track during my first listening I died all over inside. Go Ichinose doesn't have Minako Adachi's extraordinary talent in sound design, but he arranges parts and organises rhythms like a god. And this track shows it all.

The introduction is what you'd expect a boss fight theme to sound like - both sides priming for the fight, tension rising...and then a flute flourish explodes the track with energy, with low string ostinatos and rhythmic patterns in the upper mids filling the atmosphere with suspense. The introduction section builds towards a powerful climax, and you'd expect the most epic track ever...

But nope. The dominant chord stabs cadence to the "A Captain's Trial Begins!" melody, in a single bright flute part, in the chirpy parallel major key. I associated it with the Trial Victory track, but it's more or less based on the same plot idea, so ^^

It's Go Ichinose's rhythmic mastery that makes this anti-climax work - the percussion layering, complete with trumpet stabs, give the section a distinctive "song and dance" feel which got me captivated to Ichinose's style when I first heard Route 216.

And when I heard the Captain's Trial section begin on my fight with Olivia (cutiefly swept hala too quickly i think), I saw it as the representation of the Trainer's journey. The track undoubtably happy and victorious, but more than that, the Trial melody is a reminder of what the Trainer's journey is for. You're fighting the big boss of an island, and it's an epic fight, but at the end of it the only thing that matters is that you had fun. After all, you can always try again ;)

So I guess that's why this track takes my number one spot, past the genius of the Lusamine-Nihilego theme. It's well composed and creative, but more so than that, it holds meaning that goes beyond the basic plot ideas. To me, at least :)
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~

And that concludes my Top Ten Sun and Moon Track List! :)

~

Thanks for taking the time to read this if you did, hehe. I'll probably be posting some deep analyses and other nerdy stuff like this in time to come, so yeah! ^^ This thread's going to be a nerdy dump. yaaayyyy
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 02:51:27 PM by dajwxp »
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Dekkadeci

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Re: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2016, 09:18:25 PM »

I love reading music nerd dumps!

Anyway, I did take the time to listen to some Pokemon Sun and Moon OST tracks (mainly on the reputation of Lusamine's tracks), and these are my comments on some of them:

I find Gladion's themes to actually be hilarious because, if I strip the accompaniment and change the instrumentation of the melody, it's very easy to make them sound like plaintive jazz ballads. IMO, the accompaniment is the only thing keeping his themes remotely energetic. (I miiiiight rearrange his theme some day, but Musescore already has good enough piano versions that sound like jazz ballads because they didn't transcribe the accompaniment.)

Lusamine's battle themes sound like typical soundtrack "epic" final boss themes, IMO--the type that Two Steps From Hell might compose. It's probably too typical a direction to take when even the SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom final boss theme is in the same vein. Granted, I played Pokemon Diamond and didn't remember Cyrus's theme--I think legendary and evil team boss Pokemon themes typically don't stick to me.

The Battle vs. Tapus theme seemed to be one of the tracks to stick to me the most energy-wise, although the Hawaiian words in the background are easily construed as swears.

(It must be a bad sign when the Team Flare Grunt theme was my favourite Pokemon OST theme I listened to that day.)

SlowPokemon

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Re: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2016, 09:51:34 PM »

^"Battle! (Team Flare)" was the best track from XY, fight me. And Cyrus's battle theme was amazing too. :(

You're both totally right about Gladion's themes--an excellent example of how a simple (borderline tired) melody can be made extraordinarily interesting if you just use varied rhythms and make the extra aesthetics cooler.

Loved your write-ups of Lusamine's themes, though you probably guessed that I felt similar when I ranted about them in Latios' thread so I won't repeat myself here (LOL). I have to say that unlike Dekkadeci, I don't think there's anything typical about them at all. Ms. Adachi is obviously really dedicated to her craft and can work magic with the details of her tracks.

Interesting choice with Paniola Town. That's a very cool and unique track from Ms. Sato and Mr. Kuroda. Not sure I totally agree with the top choice, but I definitely love a lot about that track. I also don't really care for the Solgaleo/Lunala theme much. I'll post my top ten when I have a second to figure them out.
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Fuck logic, that shit is boring, lame and does not always support my opinions.

daj

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Re: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2017, 08:45:55 AM »

I love reading music nerd dumps!

aww you're awesome. instantly <3

~

I swear with my life that i actually had intentions to reply to these as soon as I got the replies. I um, procrastinated. There's a note in my phone and I don't even want to c/p it over. Welp.

Anyway, thanks so much for your input, Slow and Dekka! ^^ There's lots of awesome points you brought out and I'll just throw some of them back at ya, if you don't mind~

^"Battle! (Team Flare)" was the best track from XY, fight me. And Cyrus's battle theme was amazing too. :(
Quote from: Dekka
(It must be a bad sign when the Team Flare Grunt theme was my favourite Pokemon OST theme I listened to that day.)

c'mon guys what else did XY have to offer let's be honest

Quote from: Dekka
I find Gladion's themes to actually be hilarious because, if I strip the accompaniment and change the instrumentation of the melody, it's very easy to make them sound like plaintive jazz ballads. IMO, the accompaniment is the only thing keeping his themes remotely energetic. (I miiiiight rearrange his theme some day, but Musescore already has good enough piano versions that sound like jazz ballads because they didn't transcribe the accompaniment.)

Absolutely, and that's the charm of Go Ichinose's tracks in a nutshell. ^^ Even my number one track for Sun and Moon (Kahuna battle, whoop) falls under the same vein to some degree - it's a slightly corny and very sing-able melody that sounds awesome because of the way it's presented. The magic is in the tiny stabs and details.

"oh, but you could just add layers!". Not really, and that's what I find amazing about his rhythmic writing. While there are lots of rhythmic layers, analysing any of Ichinose's tracks will still deliver you a 4/4 pattern that doesn't go over the bar and doesn't try anything funny. It's just written in a way that pushes the right beats, conceals the filler, and blends well when it needs to. I might do an analysis of his writing in Route 216 at some point, because that's definitely worthy of one, but our point still stands here, eh? ^^ Good rhythm + decent melody = good track. yayy

~
Quote from: Slow
Interesting choice with Paniola Town. That's a very cool and unique track from Ms. Sato and Mr. Kuroda. Not sure I totally agree with the top choice, but I definitely love a lot about that track. I also don't really care for the Solgaleo/Lunala theme much.

Hehe, it's kinda sad that Paniola Town's a minor city which you'll never go back to once you finish the main storyline (or even when you're doing it, unless I'm missing something). Maybe that's why they didn't mind throwing in a track like this there. Nonetheless I think it's nice to hear some imperfect tracks from time to time, and this was a nice breather from the pretty heavy OST :)

I think the Kahuna Battle track, analysis-wise, can never prove itself to be more sophisticated than Lusamine's themes, or even the Lillie themes. Maybe it's the context that makes this shine - the anti-climax just got me so hard, haha. And then we have Ichinose's genius at work. I won't fault anyone (but myself haha the bias is real) for questioning the position of this track, but I understand where you guys come from, so whoop!~

The poetically sad thing about this OST is that Junichi Masuda is still trying to do stuff. He's a brilliant composer and sound designer - I love his sounds so much, and that's why the Solgaleo/Lunala theme even exists here. But his tracks feel really rough - yeah, that's the word - when compared to the other ones in the OST. Minako Adachi's ambience control makes transitions flow like water, Go Ichinose's rhythmic stabs move the music like no one could ever do, Hitomi Sato is just good with structural development...and then Junichi Masuda slams a powerful ostinato down in the Solgaleo/Lunala track before the excellently-programmed blips in the opening bars get time to develop. It feels rough.

No Pokemon VGM fan can ever hate on Junichi Masuda, really. He championed the Pokemon brand of sound design, while Go Ichinose did his part in rhythm. But maybe his team just shines too brightly for him to still stand out. Idk haha, i'm not at their level anyways such is the life of a critic :p

Quote
I'll post my top ten when I have a second to figure them out.

And when you do please drop me a PM, I'll be the first to blaze through it <3

~

Now, we have some interesting points brought up about the Lusamine themes, and they're definitely worthy of discussion ^^

Quote from: Dekka
Lusamine's battle themes sound like typical soundtrack "epic" final boss themes, IMO--the type that Two Steps From Hell might compose. It's probably too typical a direction to take when even the SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom final boss theme is in the same vein. Granted, I played Pokemon Diamond and didn't remember Cyrus's theme--I think legendary and evil team boss Pokemon themes typically don't stick to me.

Quote from: Slow
Loved your write-ups of Lusamine's themes, though you probably guessed that I felt similar when I ranted about them in Latios' thread so I won't repeat myself here (LOL). I have to say that unlike Dekkadeci, I don't think there's anything typical about them at all. Ms. Adachi is obviously really dedicated to her craft and can work magic with the details of her tracks.

A related aside - in my two-year hiatus from NSM I went over to IDMforums (nice place too haha) and published electronic music and stuff. And that place had a community that talked in a completely different mindset and a whole different set of conventions to apply when it came to composing. A key feature of electronic music is the control of ambient textures, which are essentially non-melodic layers that alter the mood, sometimes support the harmony, and all in all help to construct the musical soundscape that is intended to be presented.

From what I know, Dekka, you've come from a classical + hard rock/metal background, and I think it's going to be a little harder to enjoy tracks like these for you. ^^ The characteristic parts of ambient electronica boss themes lie behind all the foreground layers, and when people who do electronic music listen to these tracks, they look for the soundscape rather than the progression of melody, usage of harmony, and all that. Notice the elements of synesthesia I'm bringing into the mix - it's about the blending of audio and perceived imagery.

Lusamine's battle themes do a fantastic job at creating soundscapes if you listen to the ambient layers. It's hard for me to do a purely structural + formal analysis, because I'm not really listening out for musical progression haha. But I can imagine that if you look at it that way, it's going to look like a pretty boring track - theme, rhythmic show-off, theme, breakdown, climax. Pretty standard. Everything else, as I've said in my little write-up on the themes, is definitely not typical, and I guess dabbling in electronic music for while makes me more sensitive to these elements.

Tell me if this doesn't make sense! ^^ Or um, if it feels like I'm trying to knock you down. I'm not; I just really love these discussions and I'd love to understand your perspective more, so yeah! ^^ All is cool~

~




daj

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Re: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2017, 04:52:31 AM »


A while back, I did a little project that involved releasing ten arrangements, written for absolute simplicity. I've gone on to adopt that as my arranging philosophy, and I thought I'd share a little on how this stuff was done here ^^

The main idea was to write based on roles, rather than parts. So I did a lot less transcribing than the average arrangement. But in order to make up for this, I played a bit of analysis and cheated with some harmonic filling. To condense this a little, instead of saying,

“The melody is played in the synthesiser. Along with that,
the bass plays this, and the guitar strums this rhythm to it,”

I’d say,

“The melody is played in the synthesiser, and bass and guitar
form the rhythm section that accompanies it.”

Then I’d transcribe the melody and the general rhythm of the rhythm section, and I’d fill chords and motifs after that.

You don't have to agree with my method, but I thought it would make sense to give y'all some ideas for future arrangement projects ^^




~

Step One: Structure.

There was no way to understand a piece better than good ol’ structural analysis. Roles tended to change with changes in sections, as with most other melody-based works. So it was especially useful to know what was playing when, and when it changed.



~

Step Two: Transcribe Melody and Harmony.

Until a software that extracts MIDI files out of audio files is developed (which is theoretically almost impossible), a skill that all VGM arrangers need to have is transcription. Turns out there was no running from the most boring part of the job.

I found it useful, however, to notate the chords along with the melody. This helped skip a bunch of steps later in the process, and now the simultaneous notation of melody and harmony has become a habit of mine.



~

Step Three: Transcribe Rhythm.

This is where it got ultra-nerdy. I transcribed the general rhythmic pattern of each bar or section. This included significant drum parts which gave the track rhythmic drive.

In order to capture the rhythmic drive of the original track, the arrangement had to have all the accents of the original.

Here’s the catch – anything can produce an accent. The kick and snare, the soft string pad of “Paniola Ranch”, or even the aggressive slap bass of “Battle! (Gladion)”. But notating the accents wasn’t the end of it.

To make things harder, there were high and low accents – the kick produces a low accent which could be reproduced as a low octave, and the snare produces a mid-range accent that could be reproduced as a half-chord in the octave below middle C. I could probably do a video tutorial series on how to do this at some point, and it’d be about four videos long.

Oh, and then there were the rhythmic elaborators, which deserve another video series in themselves.

Needless to say, transcribing the rhythm can be considered a separate discipline to transcribing a single part, and this post can’t possibly communicate all the details about it.

Well, that escalated quickly.

~

Step Four: Fill Harmony.

With the high and low accents and all the rhythmic stuff figured out, filling the chords was kinda easy. It took some four-part harmony to work out at its hardest.

But the challenge here was writing an accompaniment that was easily playable. This was especially tough in the “Gladion” – the rhythm itself was challenging, so I had to round quite a few corners.

~

Step Five: Motifs and Harmonisation.

Basically beefing up parts to strengthen the link with the original track and allow for better flow, respectively. This was nothing different from most other projects, except I had to cut quite a lot of these elements for technical concerns.

~

Case in point, the whole process was theory-heavy and pretty tough on the mind.



Well, that's it for my sharing! ^^ If you'd like you can discuss, ask questions and all that stuff. It's a slightly less-than-normal method, so there's bound to be some corners that I didn't cover (because this process has kinda smoothened out for me, and I probably pull off some tiny moves without knowing). Ask away and stuff ^^

Dekkadeci

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Re: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2017, 06:29:25 AM »

Your "How to Write Easy" post reminds me of all the times I improvise arrangements of songs (from video games or otherwise) on my sister's glockenspiel. It has a limited range compared to the piano at home (or even her electronic keyboards), and it comes with only two mallets. I obviously have to trim a ton of the original songs whenever I play them on that glockenspiel. I often end up with only a melody, with any sustained notes represented by single-note tremolos. In rarer cases, I end up picking the most important accompaniment note on accented beats.

It's that last part that reminds me of your post--we end up using similar techniques to convey rhythmic drive, especially since I'm not so good at the glockenspiel that I can reliably play a fast enough important bass line at the same time as a fast enough melody.

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Re: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2017, 06:42:45 AM »

I'm pretty sure I do almost the exact same thing, but with less conscious thought. To be honest, it's better not to think too hard about it, otherwise you'll try too hard and produce a lower quality product.
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Re: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2017, 06:48:24 AM »

I'm pretty sure I do almost the exact same thing, but with less conscious thought. To be honest, it's better not to think too hard about it, otherwise you'll try too hard and produce a lower quality product.
But none of your sheets qualify as "easy"
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WaluigiTime64

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Re: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2017, 06:53:14 AM »

That's subjective and you know it.
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daj

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Re: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2017, 05:55:31 AM »

I'm pretty sure I do almost the exact same thing, but with less conscious thought. To be honest, it's better not to think too hard about it, otherwise you'll try too hard and produce a lower quality product.

Hehe, i like this post. ^^

Absolutely! :) I personally enjoy knowing the theory in a very conscious way, because I find this stability in writing based on working theoretical concepts. But yes, the argument for writing based on feel stands - nothing can be wrong if it sounds right.

Personally, though, and just personally, knowing the theory was the way to go when it came to nailing fandamental elements. Which helped for making things easy. But y'know, to each his own :)

Thanks for sharing hehe

daj

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Re: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2017, 03:16:03 PM »

Fire Emblem Theme! ...and its variations.
(with Latios212! ^^)




The "Fire Emblem Theme" (from Brawl).

Here's what the original sounds like:


It's a brilliant, instantly memorable track. The theme is all-out in-your-face in a live choir, with full orchestral accompaniment supporting it. The verses are sung with solo vocal parts. But the melodies repeat almost exactly every time they come back - perfect for background music, not so friendly for the arranger.

With all the repetition and heavy orchestral layering, I didn't expect a decent, performable arrangement from this track.

But Latios212 (Lat) did a brilliant job with it. He showed me the score halfway through to completion, and from that I already knew that I wanted to record it. Here's his arrangement of it, with the audio from my recording:


The arrangement keeps the repetitive structure of the original while presenting fresh renditions of the themes in each of their recurrences. What I find amazing is that Lat's "variations" generally stay within the same mood, to each other and to the original, yet the story is told and the music always moves. It was his attention to details and understanding of the musical progression of the track that led to this brilliant effect - all while keeping the arrangement generally easy to learn. :)

If you'd like a manageable, fun arrangement to give a shot at, do consider picking this one up! ^^ You get to slam a piano really hard, yeah.

Alright, analysis time.



"I made every section different~!"

Everything in italics was ripped off my Skype chats with the arranger himself! ^^

~



"A"
The arrangement opens with a four-bar introduction that transitions over with the heroic fanfare of the trumpet. Then, the full choir enters with the theme - Lat writes with clean four-part harmony, mimicking the four choir parts.

Lat's arranging method puts a focus on accuracy, so he tends to work with transcriptions a lot - it's a fine method, and expanding on that core idea definitely worked well for this arrangement. He talks about it as a primer to the analysis of the sheet:

"I normally try and transcribe as much as I can until it fails to work - either too much to play all at once, or too little usable material to sound full enough on the piano. Bars 5-12 have the bass notes as whole notes as they are in the original, without using the drum rhythm.

This is fine for the first iteration of the theme we hear, but I knew, given that this is a heavily orchestrated theme and has multiple recurring phrases I'd need to change things up later on and make it more bombastic since the song is so full of energy!"

~



"B"
Tenor solo! Lat writes the melody as it was sung, in the octave below middle C. The left-hand part is a direct transcription of the lower strings' pizzicato part.

In my recording I recognised the pizzicato effect, which Lat marked out using portatos (a dot and a line). So I played the notes around 3/4 of their value and added some half-pedal, changing every crotchet beat.

~



"B1"
Now the B Theme comes back in the soprano, repeated exactly (until the last note, where it rises instead of falls). Once again, for the left-hand part, Lat transcribes the pizzicato part exactly.

I noticed that Lat didn't keep the portatos in the left hand for this section, instead rotating between legato and staccato. So this was an opportunity to add subtle contrast - I pedaled a little more liberally to help shape the melody, and added more pedal as I did a gradual, small crescendo towards the next section.

~



"A1"
This section is the first one that doesn't use transcriptions for the left-hand part. It sounds percussive and military, but the original wasn't this rhythmic.

Here, Lat puts the focus on the snare drum rhythm, allowing the left-hand to slam it in low octaves - a clean, crisp sound. In contrast, the original used mostly sustained string chords in the middle register to fill the texture. Lat's version came across as a little bass-heavy at first, then I figured this was supposed to be a percussive effect, rather than a textural one.

"The drums are the main thing missing at this point, and I figured it would be important to try and capture that rhythm with the left hand part without doing anything crazy, so as to still keep the focus on the melody. Rhythmic repetition of notes, octaves or chords is something I often see around NSM (in good arrangements and bad... like the sheet I replaced with mine) and I think it generally gets the point across well. It seemed to work for my arrangement of the title theme from Fire Emblem Awakening and I did something similar here."

On the performance side, I realised that I could offset that heaviness by getting the semiquaver staccatos as crunchy as possible. Therefore, as Lat did, I focused more on the bass rhythm rather than the melodic shape. This was easily the most fun part of the piece to learn, haha :p

~



"C"
This 7/4 bridge comes out of nowhere - in the original, the snare drum assists in the transition and there's a sudden increase in tempo over the bar. In Lat's arrangement, he forgets about the snare rhythm entirely on the perfect cadence of the A1 section, ending on a long chord instead. Then the new rhythm emerges, in a much more natural way.

No major performance decisions were made here, other than to follow the score and get that one single-note flourish right.

~



"B2"
It would have been a repeat of the B section, but Lat decided to innovate. Instead of keeping the bouncy rhythm of the original, he wrote block chords in minims as accompaniment, giving the section a grandiose, ceremonial feel.

As a performer, I took his cue and gave an extra push on each chord. I also had to take care with the transition to the next section - while it was easy to play a whole section majestically, transitioning from that to a quieter part took some conscious thought.

~



"A2"
In the original track, this soft section, with a solo soprano set against light string accompaniment, was the most poetic part of the piece. Lat's arrangement stays quite faithful to that.

We disagreed a little on the organisation of the accompaniment: I wanted to skip the first middle-voice chord each time there was a bass note, while Lat wanted the organic Mozartian accompaniment throughout, which involved lots of hand-crossing.

"It was there in the original, present on every eighth note throughout the section. Most likely I wanted to keep it there because I was used to hearing it that way in the original, but I can think of other reasons I'd like it that way - for consistency, so that the voice drones throughout the whole section, and to contrast with the other sections through de-emphasis of the bass. The middle voice is what makes this section stand out from the others so much."

Laziness prevailed here for me, but anyone who is willing to practice this to perfection should try the sheet as it was written. And um, tell me how it sounds. :p

~



"A3"
There's an impressive modulation to a grand and bold A-flat major statement of the theme. But in the original, this section is almost an exact transposition of A1. Lat maintains the snare rhythm of A1 here, but writes the rhythmic part in fourths instead of octaves. This gives it the slightly muffled quality of a timpani, rather than the crisp clarity of a snare drum in Lat's A1.

"I think I was going for the power chords here. I figured since I had two more iterations of the main section to go I'd need to one-up the section at 29. So adding the fifth of the root note makes things bigger and louder without creating any muddiness down that low on the piano. I think the reason that I didn't use power chords all the way through (repeating the notes currently as whole notes) is that it might become a little too overpowering and drown out the right hand."

While it was important to differentiate the dynamic level (loudness) of this section to that of A1, I didn't put too much attention to that, as the dynamic contrast with A2 was more immediate.

To mark out the rhythm, I tried giving the fourths as much clarity as the octaves, but it wasn't possible - either due to my own technical limitations or the smudging of harmonics from the held bass notes. If you intend to pick up this sheet though, you should approach this part with the mindset of the A1 section: maximum clarity, tightly-locked rhythms. The effect is not as prominent, but anything less than maximum clarity makes this part sound muddy.

~



"B3"
Similar to A3, B3 is almost an exact transcription of B1. Lat's final version recognises that similarity, and uses portato crotchets in the bass line (also an exact transposition from B1) with a single melodic line. The only addition is a middle voice in the lower register - this gives it a more regal feel. If B1 is the image of a prince walking in the palace courtyard, then B3 is that of him walking formally in the throne room.

In the version of the arrangement that I used, the portatos in the bassline were not marked - thus I read the section all legato, and used pedal quite generously to enhance the effect. Even if I did the portatos, however, I would still use pedal to sustain the bass notes as much as possible. I believe that the contrast with B1 has to be set, and that added middle voice part determines exactly how that contrast should be executed.

~



"A4"
I believe this section is the real, definitive climax of the piece - the original didn't do a fantastic job in communicating that, but Lat's arrangement rubs it in your face. Tastefully. Four-/five-note chords in the right hand, a blatantly marked fortissimo, and a triple-forte about two lines down as proof. In the left hand, however, is the exact same accompaniment pattern as A3.

"For the last climax at m. 77, I hoped the extra RH harmonies would suffice as a final addition to the theme that I'd been building on since the beginning."

While some changes in the left-hand part would have added to the contrast with A3, I believe it would be mostly unnecessary, and it would definitely add extra difficulty (once again, unnecessarily) to the section.

Therefore it is the performer's job to bring out that contrast somehow.Here, I chose to do the pressure/accent contrast between A3 and A4 respectively. The chords of A3 are played slightly more firmly, while the chords of A4 are slammed with deliberate force. Finally, just for the theatric effect, I decide to use body weight for the final chord, and that involves standing up and dropping my weight on my hands. Yep, pretty much. :p

~



Coda
There isn't much to analyse in the coda - I just played as it was written. And made some mistakes. :p

(there's three mistakes in the coda alone. try to spot them if you'd like, hehe.)



In closing, I'd just like to say that this was a really fun project to work on - talking about the sheet even before it was complete, working on it as Lat built it up from the arranger's side, and then re-visiting it with more critical, theory-focused eyes.

I'd once again like to recommend this arrangement for anyone who was captivated by the original, or anyone who's in the mood for piano slamming. It's, above all, an arrangement that demands passion. Growing to love this work as a part of the learning process was really meaningful for me, and I hope it will be so for you too :)

Cheers!
~ daj
« Last Edit: March 24, 2017, 03:19:18 PM by daj »
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Re: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2017, 04:10:39 PM »

The amount of effort and thought both of you put into it is clear. Thanks for analyzing it, the arrangement/performance choices give me stuff to think about. Also, nice job with the actual performance itself!
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daj

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Re: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2017, 02:41:28 PM »

The amount of effort and thought both of you put into it is clear. Thanks for analyzing it, the arrangement/performance choices give me stuff to think about. Also, nice job with the actual performance itself!

Thank you for taking the time to read that word dump! ^^ If you're trying this sheet, be prepared for awesomeness. ;)

And thank you! ^^ It was a lot easier than i thought it'd be, so I could play a lot more freely than the average arrangement. Glad ya enjoyed it :)

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Re: daj talks VGM! ^^ (warning: nerdy)
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2017, 04:24:57 PM »

WARNING: THIS IS NERDY.

I write analyses about vgm stuffs. And because I'm me there will be theory. Yeaaahhh.

Wanted to save the OP for a glossary post or something but oh well i won't update it after a while anyways so here's the first entry :p




daj's top ten Sun and Moon tracks! :)
(might get turned into an actual video someday haha)

~

disclaimer:
- subject to extreme personal bias (go ichinose yeah <3)
- theory analysis was used to make it all sound more legit but it's all in the name of fun k ^^



#10
10. "Battle! (Hau)"
Hitomi Sato and Go Ichinose

Spoiler
Kicking off the list is the most energetic battle track of any game ever, composed by the two rhythmic geniuses who handled most of the DPPt soundtrack.

Hitomi Sato's "Hau's Theme" is brilliant in itself, because it essentially uses only one rhythmic idea in its melody throughout the track, yet still succeeds in sounding fresh and awesome. "Battle! (Hau)" opens with the complicated rhythmic layering which gives Go Ichinose's music its flavour, along with a melody that...basically recycles-and-extends Sato's idea for most of the section.

And the first section transitions suddenly to a perfect re-interpretation of the middle section of "Hau's Theme", and here we have it - the happiest battle track ever. It's hyped and cheerful as hell, and it's complemented perfectly with Hau's cluelessly happy pose in the background. Love it <3
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#9
9. "Mahalo Trail"
Minako Adachi

Spoiler
All the classic cinematic harmonies, with a nice little mallet ostinato and wonderfully programmed ambient textures. Honestly, it's not anything special - it's just a perfectly executed atmospheric piece that matches the mood like a charm. Minako Adachi's technical mastery in sound programming shines in this simple, clean track.
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#8
8. "Battle! (Gladion)"
Go Ichinose

Spoiler
Out of all his masterpieces in the DPPt soundtrack, Go Ichinose's "Galactic HQ" surfaces as the most rhythmically complex and most hyped-up track. I think it's his most well-composed track in the OST too (and then there's Hitomi Sato's "Eterna Forest" haha).

When it comes to the Sun and Moon OST, the Gladion Battle Theme falls in a similar spot. Without question, this is the most rhythmically complex track in Ichinose's Sun and Moon arsenal. The distorted bass guitar never stops moving until it plays in homorhythm with the other parts, rhythmic stabs punctuate the beat all over, and above it all floats an expressive, continuous melody. All of which, interestingly, are elements shared by the DPPt "Galactic HQ" track.

It is a technical masterpiece. The sounds are harsh and bright, the aggressive bass guitar cuts through tastefully, and the drum beat punches hard. When all the rhythmic elements come together, the track sounds amazing.
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#7
7. "Lively Lillie!"
Minako Adachi and Hitomi Sato

Spoiler
Not really a spoiler or surprise, but yes, there's another Lillie track coming up further down on this list. And we already know which one it is.

"Lillie's Theme" is a perfect reflection of her character. It struck me quite quickly that the  chord progression was reminiscent of Ravel's "Pavane for a Dead Princess" (IV7 - I7 twice, then naturals, yay), and the melody of the Lillie theme shares the mellow darkness and vulnarability of Ravel's Pavane too. Um, yeah.  Digressed a little there, not editing it out. Point is that Lillie's Theme paints the image of a dainty princess. Which is pretty accurate.

Lillie remains a passive character, getting lost and being useless for most of the story, and then she meets her mother and realises that the world seriously could use one less useless princess around. So she gets into action, and the "Lively Lillie" track plays as she reveals her Z-Powered form (cringe-y but cute so welp) for the first time.

The melody and harmony of this track is similar to the original, and the daintiness of the original melody is preserved through a brilliant choice of mellow instruments. But an upbeat drum pattern, some rhythmic fixes, and some hat shimmers breathe life into the track; the dead princess comes to life. I think most of us only got to love Lillie after this turning point, and the track really bought me over.
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#6
6. "Paniola Town (Night)"
Hitomi Sato

Spoiler
Chills. So much of them ran down me when I heard that whistling sound, and I instantly went weak. Everything about this track speaks "human", in the sense that it's raw and imperfect. Both melody sounds are never in tune, the guitar and melody don't agree on the chords sometimes, and those whistle slides are bone-chilling. Dang.

I won't be surprised if some people are turned off by the imperfection, but I find it beautiful. It's hard to describe, and it's the only track I won't do a theoretical analysis for, ahaha. I just love it.
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#5
5. "Battle! (Lusamine)"
Minako Adachi

Spoiler
This was the first track of the OST I put on repeat. Unlike the Lusamine-Nihilego theme, which is a huge, beautiful, distorted mess of sound, this track is pretty clean and structured. Yet, with the elegance of Lusamine's theme and Minako Adachi's harsh drum sounds juxtaposed like Team Skull and Aether's black and white, the track is a perfect reflection of Lusamine's main-bad-guy-with-a-story character.

The introductory flourish propels into a possessed soprano motif (D-Eb-A, shostakovich would eargasm), Lusamine's theme is sung in a bold piano solo in octaves, and then a beat drop shifts the music to a breakcore section which puts a clean melody-and-extension of Lusamine's theme against the syncopated breakbeat. The space between the powerful melodic phrases is filled with statements of the Aether theme in a harpsichord part (yes, really, and it's brilliant). The melody is classy and the accompaniment is grungy - Lusamine's stereotype in a nutshell.

A dissonant piano flourish calls in a "piano solo section". The low strings play a chromatic, subverted version of the Alola theme, and the piano responds with dissonant madness. So extrapolate a bit, and this ties Lusamine's mad ambitions with the peril of the Alola region. Hey, that's not far-fetched at all ^^

A new melody with a characteristic chromatic descending tail enters in the trumpet part, and the high strings respond with a similar line. The beat intensifies until the breakdown - an inversion (ascending, basically) of the chromatic scale plays in the background and a dark, minor version of the Aether theme floats in the foreground. And then the music explodes in rhythm, kicks and crashes smashing aggressively - above it all, a grainy, round drone sound imitates the chromatic rising passage. And that sound alone is probably one of the most well-programmed sounds in the whole OST.

It's a track that's brilliantly designed and chilling to the core, and it probably holds a solid spot in anyone's Top 10 Sun and Moon track list.
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#4
4. "Alola Region Theme"
Minako Adachi

Spoiler
I arranged a 4/4 version of this theme in September, upon the release of the Japanese Gameplay Trailer. I sang it every time it came on playback, and that made transcription a lot easier...at the cost of cementing the Alola melody in my head for the months ahead. Even before I started checking out the Sun and Moon OST I knew this was the first track I would arrange.

It's a simple melody with a simple harmony. But amidst the slew of brilliant ambient electronica tracks that would define the Sun and Moon journey, it sounded like a charm. Alola is, after all, a simple Hawaiian paradise, once you look past the misguided teens and corrupted corporations (ok to be fair aether isn't that bad but still).

And beyond that, there were some sweet moves pulled on the music-nerdy side of things. It's the first time a Pokemon series had a central "region theme" which came back several times throughout the journey; in fact it's the first time a Pokemon soundtrack used common themes (less so leitmotifs btw cuz theory) in such an extensive way. It warrants some good discussion, but that's for another article in itself ^^

Anyway, about the Alola Region Theme - to cite some examples, we hear a bouncy and lively version of this theme in Ula'ula Island's "Route 10" track, "My Home" uses a clean acoustic guitar rendition of the theme, and the Credits track presents a heartfelt 4/4 interpretation of it that really got me. It was a theme I knew through-and-through, yet I still broke out in smiles and warmth every time it played. The Alola Region Theme was a stroke of genius, in a macro sense above all,  through the Sun and Moon OST.
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~

So at first I wanted to only put the top three in spoilers but dang these spoilers look good <3

#3!
3. "Lonely Lillie"
Minako Adachi, Hitomi Sato and Go Ichinose

Spoiler
It's honestly one of the best piano solo pieces I've heard in a video game OST. I thought the Xion final boss track in KH 358/2 Days was beautiful and melodramatic (though not strictly a piano solo), but this piece, with its cold piano sound and weird sustains, captured me in a much more profound way. Xion was just sad and sad and sad, and then whoa! A sad KH main theme. But Lillie wasn't just lonely - she was accepting, she was happy for Nebby, and more than that, when her theme played, it signalled that she was ready to walk on towards the world outside.

The opening is turbulent and confused, with weird rhythmic and melodic jumps inserted between phrases. The mood is tranquil, but the syncopation keeps it kinda upbeat and the music always moves forward. An ascending sequence leads to a rhythmic build in the middle register, and Lillie's Theme emerges from the turbulence, accompanied by a bouncy accompaniment that drives the music ahead. It's a beautiful transition - it's dainty and vulnerable. Anyone who isn't feeling something by the time Lillie's Theme comes in really needs to listen closer. Or, y'know, just start listening.

I'd heard the track many times before I reached the cutscene where it was played, because everyone seems to love this track and want to arrange it. But I didn't expect the cutscene to sync so well with it, and yeah, I probably cried. Whoops.

Definitely learning this one.
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#2!
2. "Showdown! (Lusamine)"
Minako Adachi

Spoiler
I'd be surprised if this track doesn't make it to everyone's Top 10 (or even Top 5) list, because it's a masterpiece through and through. The alternating 4/4 and 2/4 time signatures, along with a bass drum rhythm that doesn't quite match the beats, makes for a huge distorted mess of layers that sounds absolutely frikkin awesome.

Minako Adachi shows off her mastery in sound design here, juxtaposing heavy electronica textures and distorted drum beats with raw piano sounds. The sounds alone are genius, and then there are the harmonies - holy crud, that distortion.

Analysing the harmony reveals minor 2nds (eg. C and C#, a pretty horrid-sounding interval) all over, yet they're so carefully woven in that the distortion doesn't cut through too much. Then there's the piano, which cares a lot less about subtlety. When the piano plays a dissonant flourish, it slams it, because that's the idea - Lusamine has gone mad. And she's a jellyfish thing. So things are pretty chaotic.

It's not that easy to create organised chaos in music - the Lusamine-Nihilego battle track is full of subtleties. Many layers exist for textural effects, and every element - melody, rhythm, harmony - is distorted in some distinct way, then crammed into simple 4-bar phrases. From the analysis standpoint, this track is a creative masterpiece.

But y'know, you didn't need to listen that closely to know that the track was amazing :p
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~

honourable mentions!
"Battle! (Solgaleo/Lunala)" and "Battle! (Elite Four)"
They're actually really similar. Their structures are essentially identical. But they sound epic as hell, so go Jun'ichi Masuda, you're still great as ever <3

"Po Town"
Creativity could never be this simple: dark key, sharpened 4ths, drown in reverb - here's a dark track! :D Yet it's this simplicity that truly portrays the loneliness and emptiness of the Team Skull grunts, and I love it.

"Ancient Poni Path"
The last time I heard oboes used beautifully in a VGM track was "Gusty Garden Galaxy". And that was released a pretty long time ago. Also, those were real oboes, so they had an advantage. Another tear-worthy track.

"Acerola's Trial"
Now -this- is creativity. And stereo madness. Technical mastery on the programming end too. also was legit creepy, 11/10 <3
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Which brings me to my number one favorite track of Sun and Moon...

#1!!!!!1!
1. Battle! (Island Kahuna)
Go Ichinose

Spoiler
I don't know if it's a personal bias towards Go Ichinose - he did write my all-time favourite VGM track, after all - but when I shuffled to this track during my first listening I died all over inside. Go Ichinose doesn't have Minako Adachi's extraordinary talent in sound design, but he arranges parts and organises rhythms like a god. And this track shows it all.

The introduction is what you'd expect a boss fight theme to sound like - both sides priming for the fight, tension rising...and then a flute flourish explodes the track with energy, with low string ostinatos and rhythmic patterns in the upper mids filling the atmosphere with suspense. The introduction section builds towards a powerful climax, and you'd expect the most epic track ever...

But nope. The dominant chord stabs cadence to the "A Captain's Trial Begins!" melody, in a single bright flute part, in the chirpy parallel major key. I associated it with the Trial Victory track, but it's more or less based on the same plot idea, so ^^

It's Go Ichinose's rhythmic mastery that makes this anti-climax work - the percussion layering, complete with trumpet stabs, give the section a distinctive "song and dance" feel which got me captivated to Ichinose's style when I first heard Route 216.

And when I heard the Captain's Trial section begin on my fight with Olivia (cutiefly swept hala too quickly i think), I saw it as the representation of the Trainer's journey. The track undoubtably happy and victorious, but more than that, the Trial melody is a reminder of what the Trainer's journey is for. You're fighting the big boss of an island, and it's an epic fight, but at the end of it the only thing that matters is that you had fun. After all, you can always try again ;)

So I guess that's why this track takes my number one spot, past the genius of the Lusamine-Nihilego theme. It's well composed and creative, but more so than that, it holds meaning that goes beyond the basic plot ideas. To me, at least :)
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~

And that concludes my Top Ten Sun and Moon Track List! :)

~

Thanks for taking the time to read this if you did, hehe. I'll probably be posting some deep analyses and other nerdy stuff like this in time to come, so yeah! ^^ This thread's going to be a nerdy dump. yaaayyyy

Hey, I'm Jiho from Youtube and I had to read this when I found about it!
The list was really fun to read through and it really shows all the passion and love you have towards the music of the Pokemon franchise.
The analysis you put into each song was super in-depth and although I didn't really understand some of the musical terms you said, it really helped me in re-discovering the beauty of the Sun & Moon soundtrack.
Anyways thank you for all this and hope you do more of these nerdy stuff in the future!
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