ReMix: Final Fantasy VI 'City Corner Lullaby'

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Final Fantasy VI

 Newcomer Jared Ong, alias Jennerstein, writes:

"Having heard both McVaffe's arrangement and Uematsu's piano arrangement of the piece, I tried to compose this lullaby arrangement as a homage. My intent was to add a quiet slightly lilting feel by altering the melody in places (making it a bit more melodic) and making subtle changes to the chord progressions. My harmonic modifications are mostly found in the A section of the piece, as a walking a bass line down from the root. Originally, I planned on making more extensive chord modifications to the B section, but my attempts took the flow away from the piece and I kept the the main chord pattern intac instead.

The mix was made using a Motif ES6, and ProTools. I'm a keyboard player, so I played the piece directly into ProTools and made final tweaks and edits on the midi notes itself."

For some reason "Jennerstein" made me think of "Bennifer" crossed with Frankenstein, which would be horrific but excellent tabloid material. Regardless, we haven't had a solo piano mix in these parts for a good stretch, and though FF6 isn't exactly obscure, 'Kids Run Through the City Corner' is certainly a seldom-covered track off its epic OST. Thanks to Jared for explaining his arrangement approach in such detail - always good to have a bit more insight into the artist's thought process. This isn't a superflashy, run-fest with blazin' arpeggios of fury, and the recording level is soft enough that you'll have to pump up the dBs a bit to get into it, but what the mix lacks in flamboyance and/or amplitude it compensates for in expressiveness & subtlety. Vinnie writes:

"This is great stuff - very gentle, even compared to the original. It's conservative in structure, but I found a lot to appreciate about this arrangement in other areas. There were somewhat significant additions and changes to the melody, the left-hand part strays a good amount from the bass part of the original, and there are a couple short parts like 1:23 that are entirely original and alter the chords. I think it has enough personalization. The piano is full and crystal clear, playing is excellent, and the dynamics are good."

Anso adds:

"Fairly close in terms of melody but you've gone the extra mile and spiced it up with melodic additions and chord changes to make this a very pleasing arrangement. You could probably have made this a finger-jerk session but I think this arrangement is terrific as is, additions like 1:23-1:35 are small but gives the piece that extra something that is needed."

An arrangement like this completely rides on whether the performance has the dynamics and emotion to carry it through, and that's what I think Jared nails. It's not overly elaborate, melodramatic, or embellished, but it's a carefully thought out, emotive, and well performed solo piano piece that adds a bittersweet nostalgia to the original composition. In more ways than one, sweet.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
cheema201
on 2012-07-04 02:47:27
What an arrangement...
Forced me into repeat listens,
Recommended
mv
on 2009-06-10 09:08:34
This is lovely.
Great skill on the piano playing, and very solid/clever arrangement to make the piece feel more intimate and mature. Recording/sound quality is very fine as well. Thumbs up in all directions! It makes me want to start learning piano seriously, which I unfortunately probably never will do!
Mtlbro
on 2009-06-09 00:17:25
Piano could have packed a bit more reverb but wow your playing is remarkable!!
Martin Penwald
on 2009-05-30 10:59:28
Definitely delivers what the title promises: a lullaby. It's like several people mentioned in this thread; if you don't pay attention to it, the remix will go right past you, but I think a lullaby isn't really supposed to grab your attention and never let go of it anyway.
Zeklan
on 2009-05-30 09:09:11
Having played through FF6 more times than any person should be willing to admit, I know the soundtrack pretty well.
I have to say, this is a welcome addition to my FF6 collection.
Skullbullet
on 2009-05-16 17:01:14
Definitely one of my favorite piano arrangements on the site. Great job! :)
Ghetto Lee Lewis
on 2009-05-16 01:57:30
I'm also a pianist, so I'm always interested in hearing piano arrangements on this site.
Quite interesting arrangement. I listened to this piece, as well as a couple of songs off your page. Your style reminds me a bit of Uematsu's himself, but with a more tender approach. I like the use of arpeggiated 9th chords and various chord changes. It reminds me a bit of Debussy.
I was reading your influences on your website. I was very disappointed that Rachmaninov wasn't listed. Although I'm not really suprised, as his music often has an intensity that I haven't heard from your recordings yet. I would highly recommend listening to his work, especially his first three piano concertos (especially number 2 in C minor, and number 3 in D minor); as well as his preludes (C sharp minor is a good one).
As for practice, I highly recommend Chopin and Liszt. I've been working on a couple of Chopin's etudes (i.e. the Revolutionary in C minor and Winterwind in A minor) and Liszt's "La Campanella", which is absurdly difficult for only being about 4 minutes long. While I'm not complaining about your technique, your style is not as emotional as some I've heard; it never hurts to try and expand and learn what you can from fellow musicians.
Of course, I do feel a lot of nuances are missing that you'd get from playing a live instrument instead of a keyboard. However, overall your playing is very smooth. You obviously show a lot of talent as an arranger. I might be interested in a possible collab on a future project with you.
Black Mage
on 2009-05-15 10:37:44
Some of the most memorable and my favorite remixes are the solo piano mixes (kLuTz, where are yoooouuuu!?), and this piece is no exception. it's one of those pieces that just make you want to kick back in the evening with a glass of absinthe, and a DS (a combination that can make for some interesting PokéMon battles/discussions on WiFi).
Jennerstein
on 2009-05-15 03:07:20
Thanks for all the comments guys! It's been interesting reading all of your feedback, and I definitely feel humbled by some of the compliments.
I wanted to try something familiar with my first remix submission and thought a good piano piece would be a way to get my feet wet. At the time of composition, I made the decision to really focus on the emotion and atmosphere of Uematsu's melody. Virtuosity seemed too distracting (and I'm no Lizst by any means anyway), but I knew I could evoke my ideas through different harmonies, 1:30 to 1:37 is probably my favorite part of the piece because of the seventh tonality that ends up being a bit melancholy.
If any of you have any suggestions for another piece that you'd like arranged let me know. I've been contemplating my next projects: I think I'll do one more piano piece in this style in order to practice the continuation of a genre, without rehashing. Does anyone have any ideas?
Also, my "experimental" piece that I'm working is an original composition that is a more dance/techno/new age hybrid. However I'm definitely trying to found a good theme to remix in that style.
-J
OA
on 2009-05-13 12:06:53
Very classy work, the presentation of this really made me take note of the melody, and appreciate it more. I loved the additional tone colors you've added in the chords, and I really wish it was longer, but it's so easy to just repeating it.
Very subtle and nuanced, I absolutely adore this one.
Lucentas
on 2009-05-11 11:59:20
Very nice piece--simple, yet expressive. This is one of my favorite tracks from the game (although with a soundtrack that good, I can legitimately say that most tracks from the game are my "favorites"), and it's great to see it get more coverage.
Plus piano arrangements rock.
metalsnakejuice
on 2009-05-11 09:11:27
A nice melody that deserves a lot of credit.
jordash11
on 2009-05-10 16:00:46
A very nice piece, I think this may be more proof that OCR should put out a classical album full of piano and orchestral remixes. Just an idea
avaris
on 2009-05-10 15:25:36
Sweetness, one of my favorite VGM songs. This arrangement and attention to detail def does this source justice! Kudos!m:nicework:
kitty
on 2009-05-10 04:47:36
This is excellent work. I appreciate these kinds of solo piano arrangements in contrast to fuller arrangements such as klutz's World of Piano, though both kinds are awesome. I think the arrangement on this is very soothing, perfect for my sleepy playlist that I listen to when I go to sleep. But it does seem to pass by without notice if you're busy doing something while listening. Overall I believe this is a very good remix and expect more great ones to come!