ReMix:Secret of Mana "Dark Star Scherzo" 3:55

By Jormungand

Arranging the music of one song...

"The Dark Star"

Primary Game: Secret of Mana (Square , 1993, SNES), music by Hiroki Kikuta

Posted 2006-06-18, evaluated by the judges panel

Newcomer to OCR and piano arranger extraordinaire Jormungand writes:

"This was an attempt to blend the style of Masashi Hamauzu's rich piano voice with Hiroki Kikuta's imaginative composition. As both are among my favorite composers, I tried to retain the spirit of both."

The judges were unanimous on the arrangement being creative and the technique/performance being emotive and technically proficient; the only real hangup was the production. The mix is recorded at a fairly low level, requiring a volume bump to get it up to where other songs on your playlist will be sitting, and is essentially mono, not wrapping the higher notes right and lower left (aka player perspective) or vice versa detectably. That being said, the piano timbre itself is quite lovely, and the dynamics employed take full advantage of multisampled velocity layers to dance between forte and piano. Actually, due to somewhat limited recording, one panelist thought it was a live recording, until reading the ReMixer's note. zircon writes:

"WOW!!! Talk about piano technique. We've got some great pianists in this community, but this ReMixer shows a lot of proficiency, and a pretty unique playing style too. Bravo. The arrangement is most excellent as well, with lots of dynamics and emotion. I have no complaints in this category. I will be completely honest. I thought this was a live recording. You had me fooled. I had a whole paragraph written up about how recording live piano is difficult and that it's not a big deal, until I saw that you said you used samples for it! That being the case, there's more you could do to make this sound closer, cleaner, and more full (in terms of stereo width). However, by no means does this hold back the GREAT arrangement and performance."

This actually reminds me of pieces from Michael Nyman's score to The Piano which have a similarly quick tempo and general feel to them of stark but flowing beauty. Great to see yet another talented ReMixer working in the solo piano genre submit a strong arrangement that showcases both skill and musicality.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2012-12-13 09:43:40

still can't believe this was sequenced. mind-blowing.

on 2009-06-22 11:32:57

Wow, if the artist wouldn't have said it was sequenced, i'd never have known. A super natural sounding performance, and some really great additions to the source make this one a definite keeper. Piano sound was slightly muffled, but still sounded good, just not optimal seating for the performance is all. ;-)

on 2009-03-18 07:19:13

Actually... my favourite styles of music weren´t especially piano tunes... this one changed my mind! Since i´ve heard it for the first time i´m listening to every piano-remix i come over. There are some great songs about Chrono Trigger too. Well, i have to see, if there´s something from you too ^^

Cya, DJMadMax

on 2008-12-06 18:57:32

Most of the solo piano pieces on this site are amazing, and this one is no exception. Absolutely wonderful job, the arrangement is so rich and magnificent.

on 2006-09-11 10:36:54

I have to say this remix is nice. And just to show that I'm not bias I haven't read any other reviews on this song yet. It has a very "waltzy" attitude. I like it, it's delicious. I'm a sucker for Piano melodies, though.

In the middle it starts to just throw staccato chords in there. I thought that sounded a little... bland. I didn't like that part much. But after that it rollentandos. That was nice. Woo. I liked your remix... kind of.

8 out of 10

on 2006-09-10 12:52:02

Would you all believe it took me this long to realize there was a remix review forum? .'

I have to be honest, I was shocked that my arrangement made it, and even more surprised at all the positive commentary. I'm very glad that it was able to entertain some of you, as that's all that matters to me in the long run.

I figured I'd address a few things regarding the mix for the sake of clarity, though most has already been illuminated.

First (and I want to emphasize this point the most), as many of you deciphered this arrangement was entirely sequenced. The limits of my piano proficiency qualify me, at best, to be a master performer of the ABC song (and that's on good days). Still, my love for the instrument and all the inspirational literature for it I've experienced is always foremost in my mind when I'm sequencing piano music. While it's impossible to imitate human performance, especially on a solo instrumental piece, if I was able to impart at least a fraction of human expression then I achieved my goal.

As for the recording quality, yeah, it's not terribly good. At the time, I was recording using GPO's steinway (the previous sample I used―the one that is currently on vgmix―was too bright for my tastes so I opted to re-record with the darker steinway sound). However, this also forced me to rebalance the MIDI date itself―mainly to correct velocity issues. Additionally I modified the ending in attempts to make it sound less abrupt.

Interestingly, I hadn't even noticed the stereo issue until after I recorded and submitted. You know how you listen to something so many times certain details become numb? Composers and remixers, you know what I'm talking about. ;) Unfortunately, even if I had noticed it earlier, I wouldn't have had the means to fix it due to inadequate computer power and even less adequacy in having any production skills to speak of. I rely entirely on the samples and my own sequencing; don't know a damn thing about mastering.

Finally, I'd like to acknowledge those who expressed interest in sheet music for Dark Star Scherzo. It's not something I've ruled out altogether, and it's certainly possible (I may not be able to play piano to save my life, but I can notate for it! :P). Currently I've got four remixes on the queue, as well as a thousand^3 compositions in the works, so I'm not sure when (or if) I'll find the time to sit down and develop an appropriate and accurate transcription in Finale. I did offer the raw midi file to those of you who emailed me, so hopefully that will satisfy some of your needs (even if it's partially) for the time being.

Anyway, thanks again for all the feedback, positive and negative alike. I hope to continue sharing with the vgm community in the future. :)

on 2006-09-10 09:52:06

nothing much to say, i like the piano and i like secret of mana music. Its sounds quite professional, and thats what i like to hear.

on 2006-07-30 23:44:10

I didn't really like this when I first heard it, mostly because the way it's recorded made it sound dull and uninteresting. But recently it's really started to grow on me. The arrangement is really creative, and it really enhanced the source (eg. 1:21). That piano sample is pretty good too.

on 2006-07-14 13:58:53

oh wow. piano + secret of mana?



Felix the Cat
on 2006-07-10 13:16:05

Hey Mr. Jormungand, do you mind if I ask you how long you have been playing the piano?

on 2006-07-10 11:43:47

Dark Star Scherzo is one of my favorite remixes. Of all time. It reeks of powerful emotion regardless of quality issues. Jormungand plays with feeling And believe it or not, no matter how good you are on piano, if you can't play with feeling, a song will have less effect on the listener.

on 2006-07-10 04:39:00
This a superb piece. I fell in love with it right away. As for me, I don't hear anything mechanical about it. It sounds live and amazingly expressionistic, in my opinion. Making it sound crisper might even ruin it for me. I've never been a huge fan of piano remixes for some reason, but this one took the cake for me. It's my favorite piano piece right now. Thanks for the beautiful work, Jormungand.

I feel the same way

on 2006-07-09 15:56:50

Best remix. Ever.

Felix the Cat
on 2006-07-08 12:42:37

Good job, your fingers move fast.

on 2006-06-28 19:01:30

This a superb piece. I fell in love with it right away. As for me, I don't hear anything mechanical about it. It sounds live and amazingly expressionistic, in my opinion. Making it sound crisper might even ruin it for me. I've never been a huge fan of piano remixes for some reason, but this one took the cake for me. It's my favorite piano piece right now. Thanks for the beautiful work, Jormungand.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Secret of Mana (Square , 1993, SNES)
Music by Hiroki Kikuta
"The Dark Star"

Tags (2)

Arrangement > Solo

File Information

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