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Piano: Zelda & Chrono Trigger


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Hi there.

I've never submitted anything to OCRemix before, and thought I'd send in something. I read through the submission form, and I failed on a couple of criterias.

"Submissions must be 6.00MB (6,291,456 bytes) or less."

The Zelda piano is 22mb (12min 14sec long)

The Chrono Trigger piano is 28mb (19min 55sec long)

"Medleys must sound like a single song, not multiple songs pasted together."

.. And I kinda failed on that one too, once or twice. Anyway, I thought i'd just add them here as a small notice that they exist, since I can't submit them to the actual page. I would like some feedback nevertheless :) .. Piano is always fun with game music, and I've come to like those kinds of remixes more than the trance/techno or whatever other styles people does. Jazz remixes though are really cool but I doubt I'll get into that department anytime soon. I hope to get some feedback on these, they took "some time" to get through, to say the least.

So anyway, here's the 2 mp3's;

hyperunknown - Zelda Piano Selections ( 2008 )

http://www.hyperunknown.net/ocremix/hyperunknown_-_zelda_piano_selections_-_2008.mp3

hyperunknown feat. princess - Chrono Trigger piano selections 4-handed ( 2008 )

http://www.hyperunknown.net/ocremix/hyperunknown_feat_princess_-_chrono_trigger_piano_selections_4-handed.mp3

// hyperunknown

www.hyperunknown.net

hyperunknown@hyperunknown.net

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First things first, if these are the length that you say they are; then it's the length that needs to be worked on first. I haven't downloaded and listened to them yet (downloading now) but I'd wager that they're either very repetitive, or have tons of intro and sustained pretty chord-ie stuff. If you want to keep the length for yourself or a full version so to speak, make multiple versions of the track. Just like writing for an english major; there are advantages to being able to write 10 pages on nothing, just like there are advantages to being able to write out what you mean in 3 sentences.

Also, these 2 together are more than a half hour. 8-O Whenever I come to the WIP section and listen to a track. I may listen to it 5 or 6 times while I write up a critique. Asking someone to listen critically for more than a half hour is a bit of a crazy expectation. I'm lazy and don't prolly critique here as much as I should, but you won't have too many people willing to invest the time in a serious critique for that length of time.

I'ma do you a favor this once and listen to these, cause I'm such a nice guy :tomatoface:I'm going to review these as one, becase the songs themselves don't really need much review, just the structure and ideas.

Zelda Chrono

I'm feeling the length is the major issue here. Remember if you're wanting to compose more than one song into a single one, you can't just play them back to back; you have to take the best parts out of each and put them together differently. You've got about a bajillian different songs in here, and you're basically playing the full songs.

Take the best parts out of the two or three you like; and analyze them by keys, chords, and progressian to decide how you want to put together a song using the ideas, but not using the entire songs.

I'm thinking a winning formula is pick two or so main ideas, and maybe use a third for some color here and there. You can't really get away with any more than that and keep it together easily.

Remember too, that the song has to start, work it's way into an idea, develope, and end, so pay close attention to how long each idea you want to use is, and in what order you want to use them. I'm assuming you actually want 2 different tracks here, a zelda medley and a chrono medley, so I'm going to approach it like that.

Pick complementary parts as you analyze the bits and pieces. There could be some great ideas you want to use in one, that are in odd keys or whatever that don't work within another set of ideas. My theory is admitedly weak, but I can see the idea from one song being used as an introduction and build up before changing into your second idea. It would need to be suficiantly re used, which is why either by modifying keys or chords or something, you'd want them to be fairly close.

Lets take Zelda for example. You start out with the theme at 8:30 mins or so, and use that bit as your introduction, before you switch to more of the 'epic sounding' main theme bits. Using a little bit of the other idea in each one to tie them together (little pieces and hints of the 'epic' theme in the introduction) I think the key for you is not letting yourself get all the way through a song, but just pick a small idea to use within another idea.

WELL, I'VE RAMBLED ON LONG ENOUGH! I hope that's what you were looking for.

-H

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I'm really good at medleys and I agree with hewhoisiam. I know many songs from Zelda so I'll comment on that only.

Length (both the medley and the individual themes) is important so watch the time. The longer the theme, the higher the urge we want to fast forward if nothing surprising comes up within the next minute or so (this depends on the theme). Try to keep the entire medley to no more than 20 min. I hate to say this, but most people don't have time to sit at their computer and listen for over half an hour.

Do not repeat themes over 2 times. Usually when you want to use a theme twice, the first time would be in the beginning, and the second time would be used again in the end to emphasize the medley's prominent theme. If not, then it should not be overused. In other words keep repetition low as possible!

Don't stick with the same mood throughout the entire medley. A medley should be able to tell a story. Use Major, Minor, 7ths, or any other modes. As hewhoisiam said, you need to be able to piece together songs with the correct mood. An example is to go from "major" (Link is having a good time, everything is happy) -> minor (Sky grows dark, ganondorf appears and attacks) -> 7th (There is hope for Link and he's winning) -> major (ganondorf is defeated, and Link and Zelda live happily ever after).

Transitions! There are two kinds of transitions: hard transition and soft transition. Soft transition is when you transition 2 songs in a single smooth flow, so that the listener still thinks it's still one song, but it's not. Hard transition is something you want to avoid as much as possible. The pausing and breaking technique used at an end of a phrase and onto the next gives it away telling the listener you couldn't form a good transition and decided to just "slap" it in. You do NOT want to do that.

Surprise me! Find any songs you know that sound alike or would work well in a transition and put them together if you can. If you can overlap multiple sources that would be cool too. Arranging one song back to back with another for the entire duration of the medley is very very bad for a medley; this is an example of a hard transition.

Most common songs use 2 phrases (8 measures long). In sheet music you usually see A, B, C, D marked above bars. This step is crucial in medleys. Avoid doing hundreds of phrases for one song. This is a rule of thumb if you want to create an interesting medley. ei. arrange phrase A in one song then phrase B in another song. In other words, don't try to arrange complete themes in every song in the medley. The fewer the better. If you don't, see point #1 above and you'll see why.

Now for the comments! I'll use the above as a guideline.

Length of medley: 12:14

Number of unique themes used: 5 (title screen (link to the past), Main theme, Ending theme (link to the past), Zelda's Theme, and Outset Island). You've accomplished too little in that time frame.

Number of times main theme has repeated: 5. This includes the first 4 themes after the title screen and before the ending theme. Another is used again in the ending theme; even if it's original source, it still counts as repetition.

Number of times Zelda's theme has repeated: 2. What's worse is they're next to each other.

Number of times Outset Island has repeated: 2. Same point as above.

Mood progression: all in key of major. You need progression.

Number of hard transition: 3. at 5:00, 8:30, and 10:05.

Number of soft transitions: none. You'll need to be able to put together similar songs that you recognize. It's like butter and bread goes well together.

Right now there are no surprises in this song. It's too "predictable" and tbh I did fast forward to whatever was new. As for the number of phrases, you've actually arranged an entire theme for all the songs.

I hope this guideline helps. I would demonstrate an example, but it's still WIP.

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While I would certainly look forward to any paring down of the medleys you've posted, I'm downloading and enjoying them as-is. I love some cool, mellow piano and the themes you've chosen to represent are excellent. You've represented the spirit of each tune so well with your calm piano renditions and it's a pleasure to listen to.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think what should have been mentioned is don't get discouraged. You play piano really well, too! The pieces you provided for us to listen to can be more or less considered a cover, not a remix. OCR is for Remixes, as the name clearly states, so try to go for that next time around. Keep up the good work!

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As a big fan of Zelda, I can certainly appreciate the work you've put into this piece. I don't, however (and you even mentioned this in your post), think this is OCR material. You've taken a couple liberties here and there, but all the melodies and chords are pretty much replicated verbatim, playing one right after the other with no transition. In that respect, it's not even quite a medley. Unless you're willing to completely rewrite this (and I'm not suggesting you do), I'd just find another forum to showcase my work, like YouTube or Newgrounds. That way you'd get some recognition without a bunch of people telling you to change everything. ;-)

Good luck.

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What kind of piano and recording setup are you using? The dynamics feel very uncomfortable throughout the piece, almost as if it were sequenced. However, I hear a lot of inside piano noise so I'm confused. It sounds like you're using very close microphones. I'd like to guess you're playing a big upright grand. It sounds like the room you're using has very tight acoustics; I'm guessing a recording studio or a college practice room.

The Zelda arrangement definitely sounds like tons of work went into it; however, I don't hear very much emotion in the performance. Maybe it's just me.

The Chrono Trigger piece does sound more emotional. I wonder how you got your rhythm so perfect. I hear almost no tempo variations at all (for both pieces). Given the type of synchopation on your opening Chrono Trigger song, that seems like it should be very difficult to accomplish. I'm still thinking that you're using very advanced sequencing techniques along with artificial piano noises. Whatever your method is it must be time consuming.

The piece around 2:40 (I forget the name of the song) pretty much tells me this must be live playing. Those are the kind of dynamics I've been looking for through most of your arrangements. This is actual a beautiful and extraordinary performance. You have quite a talent.

If you do decide to cut your arrangements down for resubmission I would definitely suggest this particular song. It should be very easy to slice up the recording; you wouldn't even need to record it over again. Then again, the piece that plays around 5:02 I don't care for very much. I think you could have done a lot more with the arrangement on that section.

As for the song at 6:00, it's such a simple song I think it needs more espressivo. Once again I think you could have done more with the arrangement.

The 600 AD song is pretty nice, but I've heard other piano versions that I prefer over this one (Spekkosaurus for one). I enjoy your performance and interpretation, but I must complain that it sounds too much like the original and lacks energy and emotion. This song may be my favorite from the game actually so sorry to say I was disappointed. Also this song really seems to drag. For the length you really could have developed it a lot more.

From here I pretty much fast forwarded to 14:30-ish. Now this is a song I'm enjoying much more. This seems to be the type of song written for piano. However, I think maybe I'm bored from the last couple of songs (or maybe it's lack of sleep; it's way past my bed time). I pretty much skipped around a bit to the end.

Overall, for a 4-hand arrangement I expected much more. I can probably write much more complex pieces for just two hands. While I was not disturbed by dissonance and sloppy playing, I was quite bored and disappointed through much of the performance, especially the songs near the middle and end (they really seemed to drag on and on and on). I have nothing against long piano arrangements as long as they stay interesting the entire time.

I noticed most of the songs played pretty much lacked energy. It would have been really nice to hear a couple of fast or energetic songs inbetween the slow ones. Listen to Spekkosaurus - The Trial in Concert; you'll hear what I'm talking about (not an extremely fast song, but it sounds like a very aggressive and emotional performance).

Hope the feedback helps. I try to be honest (hope I don't sound too brutal), as a fellow pianist and composer, not like I could really do much better at the moment in terms of any decent piano arrangements/recordings; I'm pretty much just fiddling around with a few classical pieces at the moment. Also, if it counts for anything, I've performed several pieces from both these games on the piano myself.

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