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FFVII: Opening & Bombing Mission - French Horn Octet (classical arrangement)


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FFVII Overture for 8 Horns

This is my arrangement of the opening and bombing mission from Final Fantasy VII, for eight horns (all parts played by me). In the interest of turning this into more of a proper operatic overture, some other themes and leitmotifs make appearances as well, including Sephiroth, a melody from "Fight on!", and themes from Cid and Jenova.

Does this sort of thing fit here at OCRemix? I wrote this arrangement in hopes of someday actually finding people to perform it with, and it's very much geared towards being playable live, though it's tricky here and there.

I've been making recordings like this as a way to stay busy and keep my chops up during Covid-times. The track is in what I'd normally call a "pre-production" state, as I usually shoot video during recording and composite things together for youtube as a "virtual performance." (So, this is mic'd a bit closer and more "direct" sounding than what I'd put out for a finished product, but it's handy to hear it this way while laying tracks down for real).

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I guess my main curiosity is whether the arrangement is either too ambitious or too conservative. I'm very used to dealing with complicated scores at my day job, so I'm not sure whether something that sounds perfectly clear to me will be obvious for others, or whether my stodgy classically derived ideas are fun enough (I've been known to listen to entire Bruckner Symphonies *for fun*).

The first ~1:45 is basically a new composition made up from Uematsu's themes, which gives way to some of the original opening theme at 2:06. Then the bombing mission starts with a tense scherzo, again built mostly from original material but with some new rhythmic ostinato accompaniment. I'm trying to paint a picture of some pre-mission activity and jitters, considering the game's first FMV and what's likely happening on the train as the curtain rises. Uematsu's bass lines become these sneaky/meandering interjections a couple octaves above their original pitch. Things settle back into a groove of a slightly longer melody at 3:06. Then more tension builds until 3:52 where it finally finds a straightforward groove.

Anywho... I'm curious what folks here will make of it! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not familiar with the source so unfortunately I can't provide much input about whether it's too ambitious/conservative... I do think it's awesome though, and hopefully someone else can chime in.

I found the brief ostinato-only bits (~a measure or two, each?) to be a bit too repetitive, personally, especially towards the end. I think when you choose to use a highly uniform ensemble (8x of one instrument, which by the way is awesome) it might be better to provide some higher variation/contrast between the repetitions.

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I'm not a judge, but this is a unique, creative, and well-executed arrangement. The source material is easily distinguishable, yet it's clearly not a note-for-note cover. In other words, it's exactly the type of thing that would fit perfectly on this site, IMO. Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

As a professional brass player myself, the first thing that comes to mind is: Wow, extremely well written and performed, congratulations! I personally would even consider this finished, not Work in Progress, but if you're willing to change things up, some points I'd find worth considering (and only considering!) would be:

  • The intro is really nice (and I like a good intro!) but it takes a while to get going and maybe the arrangement would work better as a remix when starting straight away with the theme, or maybe with a start at around 1:23? Could also be perfectly fine the way it is.
  • I personally find the ending a little sudden, but as I can't really pinpoint to why exactly I feel that way I might as well be hearing ghosts.
  • Not exactly a point, more like an idea, but maybe exchanging a few of those horn voices with Wagner Tubas might be additionally enriching for the arrangement?

Asides from that I'd fully second everything Dhsu has written! Great work and good luck!

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20 hours ago, anachromium said:

As a professional brass player myself, the first thing that comes to mind is: Wow, extremely well written and performed, congratulations! I personally would even consider this finished, not Work in Progress, but if you're willing to change things up, some points I'd find worth considering (and only considering!) would be:

  • The intro is really nice (and I like a good intro!) but it takes a while to get going and maybe the arrangement would work better as a remix when starting straight away with the theme, or maybe with a start at around 1:23? Could also be perfectly fine the way it is.
  • I personally find the ending a little sudden, but as I can't really pinpoint to why exactly I feel that way I might as well be hearing ghosts.
  • Not exactly a point, more like an idea, but maybe exchanging a few of those horn voices with Wagner Tubas might be additionally enriching for the arrangement?

Asides from that I'd fully second everything Dhsu has written! Great work and good luck!

Adding Wagner tuben is pretty much the last comment I would have expected! Sadly, my orchestra doesn't own them, though some folks in town have Jinbao tuben (which aren't great). So, I don't think that's going to happen on this chart...  but what I can do is play different instruments (I have four, and access to more), and different mouthpieces, and vary mic placement a bit.

All of this feedback is really useful and appreciated! I think a lot of these issues can be solved or improved pretty easily...  The score is a little sparse on dynamics and articulation markings, and that's an easy fix for varying tone colors and pacing, and reducing repetitiveness. 

On 3/10/2021 at 8:46 AM, I Think said:

I found the brief ostinato-only bits (~a measure or two, each?) to be a bit too repetitive, personally, especially towards the end.

There's only one short section that has no original source in it, and that's for about 3 bars at ~5:43-5:48... and now that you mention it, it does feel like something's missing there.

The only other ostinato that gets played without any melodic material over (or under) it is this stuff...

b-mission-ostinato.jpg

... which is actually straight out of the original source. It's also in the horn parts of the orchestral arrangements that I've played, which is why I let it be so prominent... It's one of those things you hear a lot during the first playable section of the game. 

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