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djpretzel

OCR01135 - Final Fantasy VI "Battle Theme (Ivory Metal Mix)"

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This is an example of I how much I envy people who really know how to play the piano.

There is superb skill, no doubt. And this mix shows it. I really this guy's usage of dissonance in some places in the piece. Granted, too much dissonance can be a bad thing, but there's really no problems with it here. Very nice work indeed. Hats off to ya, noir. You can play.

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Hmm, that dissonance in the beginning is an interesting point in the mix - I can see why people would be split on this. As some of the judges mentioned, the first half is relatively uninteresting though - a straightforward rendition of the Battle Theme. The original section in the second half is much more interesting. As for how people would react to this piece, I think a lot of people would be left wanting more variation.

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Very nice work. This is truly a classic example of dissonance sounding really pretty. I am simply in awe at the work done to the prelude at the beginning, for instance. I have a feeling I know what Israfel was probably talking about, though he'd be able to state it much better than me - it sounded like the recording could have used some work (not that I could have done it even this good, myself) but the talent shining through more than makes up for it.

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Reading DJPretzel's review I downloaded this mix with doubts that I would enjoy it, but it is surprisingly listenable, the dissonence doesn't detract from my enjoyment of it at all. Overall it just felt like an energetic and well played piano piece, quite similar to how FF6's piano album handled the boss theme I think, taking fast complicated pieces and converting them to piano music via flowing rolling play. The bass notes also keep the energy in the piece, adding a sort of pulse / heartbeat to the whole affair.

Though I don't think it's the kind of thing I can just zone out to while listening on headphones walking around, count me among this piece's (and Noir's) admirers.

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Wow, that's one remix for the books, I think. Fast-paced, and done in piano ^_^. I don't see how a person can play like that, and do it that fast. Man I love this mix...its so powerful and in-your-face...well to me anyway. Anyway, 10/10.

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I really like this mix - and looking throught the judges decisions thread, I was REALLY suprised that it was that close. To me, the dissonance in the bass note at the beginning is obviously put there intentionally to set a more ominous tone for the prelude that's played on top of it. After all, it is supposed to be the battle theme. And it is resolved shortly thereafter.

However, there do seem to be a few odd notes here and there - especially in the upper register around 1:26, and around 1:38 things get a little shoddy arrangement-wise. But there is some nice expansion on the original here that is subtle and really fits (like the part at 2:27, which is neat). And I really do admire this piece for taking more risks than a lot of other piano mixes I've heard that tend to be just mushy and oversimplified.

So...good work, Noir. Hope to see more from you.

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I can see why this is a borderline arrangement. The dissonance at the beginning, while not completely horrible, just doesn't sit well with me. There are a vast number of arpeggios that would sound better over the pedal point than the ones that were chosen here.

The first section is well played and has energy, but it doesn't introduce any interesting variation on the theme. The bassline with the octaves is cool at first but gets tiring after a while. I'd like to hear this piece played with some more interesting harmonies or a more dynamic bassline. This interpretation offers neither.

The second half is superior in terms of arrangement. However, several times it strays so far from the original theme that I barely remember what I am listening to. The arranger has shown their talent at creating a fleshed out arrangement on the piano, but now they must work on finding the right balance between the original material and their own variation, rather than displaying the two extremes separately.

I give this a 6/10, but encourage the artist to continue working on their formula, as it holds much potential.

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hm. well, after listening to this a few more times, I would agree that the bassline is tiring and grating, the tempo fluctuates strangely and unnaturally sometimes, and there is little to no harmony in the first section, but none of those reasons are enough for it to not be enjoyable to me. Hell, it's still a hell of a lot better than the mushy 1353 pedal whoring piano pieces I've heard. And I do like how it establishes the theme, goes off on a semi-related tangent, then returns again. whatever...

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You've done two things in this remix that make me wish to comment.

1. You've taken a theme I've heard a billion times and made it enjoyable and new.

2. The structure reveals ingenuity. I like that.

I usually don't comment on remixes, but when someone does an FF6 remix this well I have to.

5/5

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This caught me of gaurd. For one, I downloaded it because it said Battle Theme and i am into RPG Battle Themes like mad. Then i saw Ivory Metal Mix and thought it had something to do with Rock/Metal. Then I found out it was a piano solo. was that bad? nah, not at all, but actually awesome to hear. I've also been into piano solos and looking for something to replace a not as awesome tetris medley on my personal VG Piano CD in which the title is still in the works. Thank you for an awesome mix and for completing my first CD. love to hear more from you.

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I think this qualifies as a case of "too little, too late." Like others have mentioned, the actual arrangement doesn't even come in until around 1:50. Unfortunately, at this point the piece is already more than half over, and the remaining time isn't enough to allow the arrangement to fully develop.

On the other hand, I'm not sure I understand where this controversial "dissonance" is that everyone's talking about. Do you guys mean the pedalpoint at the beginning? I don't see how people can even be arguing about that.

And I do have to commend you on your performance technique...very clean and articulate. Those countless hours in the studio were not spent in vain!

Well played, and congratulations on your first OCR posting!

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You people have said some great things... I'm glad there's been such a warm response...

But actually, I'm even happier that there's been such a mixed response though. I wasn't writing this arrangement for everyone, and I'm actually quite tickled that it has caused so much debate and dissagreement... means I must be doing my job ;) I'm not going for pure entertainment, after all.

I am surprised that there was such arguement by the judges, though, over the beginning pedal point. To clarify things: yes, those dissonances were entirely intentional. It's a modal modulation of the prelude arpedgio through an octatonic (diminished) progression, over pedal point. In other words... yeah, it's sorta like playing in two keys at once.

It was hard to do though, not because of the notes or anything... but because the prelude itself needs to be quite legato and smooth, while the bass should be punchy and not muddy... I'm not quite sure I acomplished exactly the best of both worlds, but I had to come to a fairly happy medium without things getting too runny and muddy. This also plays out a lot with the piano I was using (dumbass Yamaha grand... way too bright), and the recording equipment I used.

There have been a lot of comments regarding the second half of the arrangement being better than the first. I find this interesting, since I never really separated the whole into two distinct areas. Fact is, it IS a relitively straight-ahead arrangement, I won't mince words about that. Really, I started off writing this thinking "let's see if I can play this on the piano", not really to make anything very unique out of it, but I started adding things here and there until you have what's here. To get a sense of where I was coming from, I STRONGLY urge people to listen to the version put out by Uematsu's "Black Mages" progmetal band. While that arrangement isn't for everyone, it adds a very new spin (read: HEAVY) on the old theme. I was probably drawing my arrangment just as much, if not more, from that than from the original. While the "piano solo" section is my own melodic contant, the idea isn't... I stole it.

In any case, although I am quite proud of the outcome, I know it has a lot of room for improvement, and isn't my best work. I have a JENOVA piano arrangement going through the que right now that I think is much better. It's not quite as "out there" tonally, and is easier to digest, but don't worry, it still has some bite.

Understand, in the school I'm going to, Oberlin Conservatory, tonality is taboo... most of the stuff that comes out of here (besides being pure crap, IMO) is a lot more dissonant than this. I've never been comfortable with pure atonaity, but my roots do lie in the early 20th century, where music still has a tonal basis, but strays far from it at times.

If anyone is interested in some of my own work. I have a 6 movement piece (working on the 6th movement now) for piano and pre-recorded sound material, called the "Seidonia Suite". I have a live hall recording (a 5 movement version) of it online. Every other movement is piano, alternating with pre-recorded material.

http://www.oberlin.edu/student/ebarker/Seidonia/

Sorry about the long post, and thanks again for all the comments, possitive and negitive!

- Eric

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I really like it. While there are complaints about long periods of non-arrangement, there is still quite a bit of original stuff in the first minute and the last minute. Also helping this piece is that the battle theme is not on the original Square made piano collections, thus even a non-arranged version is filling in a needed gap. The variations are original, but also clearly show the portions that they are based on.

Very good job.

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It was hard to do though, not because of the notes or anything... but because the prelude itself needs to be quite legato and smooth, while the bass should be punchy and not muddy...

It's interesting that you mention this because I was going to mention it in my feedback. I found it hard to pick out the bass especially on some of the low notes and actually couldn't tell if they were dissonant or not. The recording is probably a factor, as is my playback. My speakers I'm sure are emphasising (or indeed creating) the problem since they don't have a very good bass response, I've noticed.

There have been a lot of comments regarding the second half of the arrangement being better than the first.

I would concur with this view. I'm not sure quite why though. Perhaps the composition just gets a bit better as you get more into it? The left hand really wasn't doing much at times and felt quite detatched and almost distracting. Playing the same note over and over, at a different octave once in a while, was where it was at its least successful for me. I think this happened more in the first half.

I noticed it complimented, and indeed shaped, the tune much better when it sat an octave higher. This might be a compositional thing; it might be also to do with the fact that, since the left hand is quite far down the keyboard it's panned a good deal to the left, so it sounds detatched in the mix, played to one side. This can't have helped any.

To be honest I was a little underwhelmed by the use of dissonance in this piece, after all the discussion. I suppose it's a bit more unusual for here but I think most of the progressions used are well tried and tested, to be fair. That's not meant as a criticism btw; the important thing is whether or not it works and I think most of it does.

...but my roots do lie in the early 20th century, where music still has a tonal basis, but strays far from it at times.

This is probably where I'm most comfortable as well. Debussy had it sussed. I think modern composers can get caught in a vice and, so desperate not to sound too boring or normal, just end up rearranging it into a sound akin a cat walking up and down the keyboard, which can become just as boring in itself. One tends to become immune to it after a while. It just become background noise. But I digress...

Good work anyway, this was a good arrangement for sure and, although there's room for improvement, it's not half bad as it stands. :)

I'll be sure to check out your other piece some time.

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I noticed it complimented, and indeed shaped, the tune much better when it sat an octave higher. This might be a compositional thing; it might be also to do with the fact that, since the left hand is quite far down the keyboard it's panned a good deal to the left, so it sounds detatched in the mix, played to one side. This can't have helped any.

Interesting thoughts. Well, for one thing, during the section that's up an octave, I switch up the bass, which goes into a 3 feel over the normal 4/4, creating a simple polyrythem, and makes it seem a bit off kilter and I think helps to make it a little more driving.

It is interesting that you meantion the panning. That I deffinitely will look into. I think I had them panned around -60 and +60 (out of -100 to +100) left and right... which is usually a no no. I sorta went against my teachings there, usually they say to pan piano around 30-40 from the center, but I thought it helped to thicken the sound. But you're probably right, it should maybe be panned a little more subtly.

In the future, I may try changing the arrangement for the second time through the melody line... basically, the only reason it's there is to get all the transitions in, and it's not very important. A bad reason to simply repeat it... it's sorta unlike me to do this, but I was silly/stupid/uninteresting, and did it anyway.

- Eric

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I really, really like this piece. FF6's battle theme ownz.

Anyway, before I listened to it I was expecting some sort of heavy metal mix. Even while I was listening to it, I half expected Noir to break out into metal guitar. Of course, he didn't, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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For a taste of what antiphony I've been listening to today, look up John Corigliano's Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra. This is Bach by comparison. =P

I'm surprised people had any issues at all with the dissonance. Psh.

What would have made this better for me would have been more articstic liberties and mangling of the original melody after the first 0:45 when you get into your edition of the original.

But y'know what I really want to hear as I listen to it again? This, orchestrated. That bass line is perfect for low strings, the section at 2:10 would be perfect for a brass adaptation... shit, it would be tight.

No matter what, the ideas you put on this thing are kickin' and, to my ear, just scream, "develop me more!"

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As my piano teacher always says to me, "It could use a bit more practice..." :D

Actually, it's quite *wince* nice. But there are a slight delays when you shift your hands up/down.

A minor? I woulda done the same thing. I hate the black keys. Not enough sound, and they're so far away. (That's why I'm a Chopin hater. Too bad I love his music after I get it down. Heh.)

Arpeggios at the beginning are nice. But get them down! Gotta play them at 92 bpm with 4 notes per beat.

The "maintaining the themes provoked by the original song" is also kinda iffy there. But that's what a rendition is supposed to do, right?

Overall, like pretzel said, challenging. I wouldn't have taken this one. Very good job!

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