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Final Fantasy 6 'Gogo's Theme' (semi-orchestral)

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Gogo's theme is a light, almost clownish little tune, it's a lot of fun on the soundtrack. I decided to remove as much happiness from it as I could and see what happened.

Source is here: http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/nintendo/snes/FF6-_Gogo%27s_Theme.mid

Or just hit up vgmusic.com, go to Super Nintendo, A-F, Final Fantasy 6 (as though anyone listening to WIPs needs instructions on how to do this, right?) and listen to Gogo (3) by Jorge D. Fuentes. I thought that that one was the closest to the source of the bunch.

My piece is here: http://www.tindeck.com/audio/my/zzem/Gogo

I say semi-orchestral on this because I really don't know much about orchestral composition and, essentially, I know I'm missing a lot of things necessary for the right feeling, the right motion, the right...everything, I just need to figure out what those are and how to do them! Hopefully I'll learn more with time. So until then, I'm okay with writing arrangements and putting them to orchestral instruments: semi-orchestral.

This isn't finished yet, as you'll notice there isn't even really percussion yet...and despite how conclusive it may sound at 2:13, I don't plan on ending there at all. This is mainly to get feedback on the rest of the arrangement, and to see if I should keep on going the way I'm going or take a different approach. I think I'm still developing my ear and so there's going to be a few things that I'll have screwed up, and I'd like to know what they are. I haven't put much effort into the production yet, really, but any comments you have on that will be appreciated as well.

Any and all feedback is appreciated, so please let me know what you think! Thanks.

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great work for not being too experienced with orchestral works.

please get some castanets in there!

your mix is extremely right heavy on the volume. its usually good to think about where all the instruments are in relation to each other in stage with the usually violins on the left and all that stuff but its not absolutely necessary.

i'm not sure how realistic of a sounding orchestra your going for here, it sounds pretty synthetic to me, but i think its good for the track and works well. if realism is the goal, more dynamics should be stressed because there isn't much happening dynamically in the instruments, apart from the end where instruments start bowing out. but the all the somber bell stuff in the back is great and adds a dimension to the brass and strings thats needed.

overall its very musical and a good take on the source. need more!

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At 0:30 you have this bouncy accompaniment against long held notes in the strings and brass. Get rid of anything sustained and figure out how to create harmony using more pizzicatos or staccatos in other instruments. See what happens if you add a pizz with the rhythm that only plays F, only moving it from F when it clashes with the harmony.

To make the violins stronger, make them play with another instrument in unison like flutes or oboes or clarinets. To make the trumpet stronger you'd usually add a doubling down the octave like horns, or violins at the unison.

Same thing at 0:45, you don't want those sustained notes unless they're doing something like fp. If the melody is in triplets, why not have the harmony move around in quarter notes? I think you're doubling the violins with clarinet here but it is barely audible. Try piccolo an octave above the violins.

At 1:00 you're still stuck with the sustained harmonies (also called "block chords.") I'd bring back the pizzicato cellos and basses and make that a prominent aspect of your accompaniment. Also the melody is becoming too treble-dominant and the bass should have the melody at some point.

So get rid of those block chords, and create a more bouncy accompaniment a la Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King or Dukas's The Sorcerer's Apprentice. It also might not be a bad idea to develop the piece similarly starting slow and soft and gaining speed, all the while using louder and louder instruments until the ending is blasting with brass and percussion (the timpani is suspiciously absent from your piece.)

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I definetly agree with Sil, there definetly needed to be some doublings of instruments to get that characteristic orchestral sound.

At 1:00, you have that main melody that starts with the trumpets. Then a woodwind (low clarinet?) carries on the second part of the melody while the trumpet switches to the harmony. It seems the trumpet overbalances that woodwind so the second part of the melody (the "answer" to the melodic "quesiton") cannot be heard very well. Either try doubling that woodwind instrument with another instrument (bassoon, horn, cello, etc...) or raise up the velocities for it. Just a thought.

Otherwise, I think the arrangment itself is awesome -- so good job with that! It's one of my favorites in the FF6.

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Great advice, thank you guys!

I took a listen to Hall of the Mountain King and I hear what you're saying, Sil. I'll give those ideas a shot and see what happens; thanks a ton for the in depth analysis, I really do appreciate it. (Also, the timpani is absent because I don't have really any percussion yet :oops:, I've just been working on the other sections. I'll start adding that in as well.)

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Before all else, the timpani is your most valuable percussive instrument, the second being the xylophone that is a godsend for wind doublings.

Some advice about the timpani if you're unsure how to use it, the less variance in notes, the more realistic it will sound. If you're in F minor, you're going to want the timpani hammering away at F and C most of the time. I can imagine the rhythm to Gogo's theme would go something like this: F CCCF F F FCCCF if that makes any sense. Might want to save that for the very end, though. Don't be afraid to use sustained rolls on F or C that cover several measures too.

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On percussion, if you really want it to sound like a symphony, percussion is not nessissarily used to slam out the beat or just in the backround. Most composers write percussion for color or even as its own important melodic ( or countermelodic) part (like Sil said about the xylo doubling the woodwinds). Being a symphonic percussionist, that's what I see 90% percent of the time unless its some kind of march.

About that Timpani thing, if you use only F & C (tonic and dominant?) it might sound too Beethoven-esk, unless that's what you are going for. Newer Symphonies use 4 different notes on four different drums. I could go into specific ranges for each drum, but I'll spare you unless your dieing to know. I've ranted too long. Hope that all helps.

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