ReMix:Kingdom Hearts II "Duet of the Keyblade Masters" 6:05

By Uboichi

Arranging the music of one song...

"Darkness of the Unknown"

Primary Game: Kingdom Hearts II (Square , 2005, PS2), music by Hikaru Utada, Kaoru Wada, Nobuo Uematsu, Yoko Shimomura

Posted 2008-08-23, evaluated by the judges panel

Uboichi, real name Uub Jacobson, showed up with a pretty memorable first mix of Killer Instinct back in December of 2004, and now (finallly!) returns with a follow-up. His debut piece was memorable not just for being a quality solo piano arrangement, but for the unusual decision to do a solo piano mix specifically of Killer Instinct, which conjures a more aggressive genre for me at least. He made it work, though, and follows it up with a mix from the immensely popular Kingdom Hearts 2, our first from the sequel, which is also a solo piano arrangement. Uub explains why this one took awhile to reach completion:

"I haven't got a clue what gotten into me when I decided to arrange this piece for 2 pianos. Not because it's a crazy idea ('cause it isn't), but more because I started with this arrangement about 8 months ago. It's so long ago that I simply don't remember why I started it. When I first got close to finishing this piece my computer broke down. It was horrible, I couldn't make music on my PC anymore! So I saved some money every month for a few months so I could buy myself a brand new PC. But that saving took me so long that I didn't have my PC untill last week. So if anyone remembers this being on the WIP forum, this is why it took me so long to finish it."

This is why I've got 6 machines, with two set up for music production. Of course, that's the result of hoarding components for over ten years and spending more money than I should have, but I've certainly been there before myself on losing data... I remember back when I was using an Alesis DataDisk to store MIDI files onto floppy disks, and suffered more than a couple total losses due to power failures and corrupt sectors. I feel old. At any rate, be glad Uub saved enough to get another box, as this is an emotive, elaborate solo piano piece that KH fans and solo piano fans alike should get into. At just over six minutes, there's a lot of material here, with tons of runs, arpeggios, interlacing, interlocking patterns, chromaticism, and powerful dynamics. Mr. Jacobson definitely makes use of the two pianos, too; in most every passage you can tell that there's enough going that a single pair of hands probably wouldn't be enough, with fortissimo power chords simultaneously resounding over quick rise-and-fall runs. Vinnie writes:

"This takes the basic figures of the original and turns them into something much more intricate, using them in a variety of different ways. The interplay is excellent. My favorite moment is at 1:00, which has the pianos trying to outdo each other. When I hear it, I imagine a battle scene in a play, where swordfighters are taking turns dashing at each other. Suffice to say, the piano playing/arranging in this is great."

Shariq adds:

"Ah, don't you just love Yoko Shimomura? ¦]

The tone overall is a little dark on the pianos, which I personally prefer, but like Vinnie said, a little more contrast between the dueling pianos would have helped, especially in terms of definition. Some of the articulations get lost. Overall though, great piece. Very dynamic and epic. The pianos mesh very well. Nice job."

Six minutes of piano duet is quite the mouthful, but Uub gives us an arrangement that keeps progressing and both develops and resolves naturally. It's great to see him back in action after almost four years, great to see his technical difficulties addressed so he could finish this rather epic mix, and great to see him deliver on the promise of his debut piece with another excellent solo piano piece - this time with double the ivory.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2015-07-31 12:51:00

And another 3 years have flown. I would still like to get my hands on the sheet music...

From the description of


An incredibly fun piece to play! Practice diligently, and keep the darkness at bay during your piano duel!

on 2015-05-28 11:42:21

And another 3 years have flown. I would still like to get my hands on the sheet music...

on 2012-11-26 00:49:52
Wait a second... It's called "Duet"??? I've always thought it was named "Duel of the Keyblade Masters" I feel really dumb now.

But I still like it.

Same thing happened to me lol.

Anyway, I can't believe no one has posted here in almost 2 years. This song is great, amazing piano playing/sequencing/whatever and a very interesting arrangement.

on 2010-05-12 20:54:44

This is definitely my favorite piece on the site. Great arrangement.

on 2009-11-27 03:34:34

I like how it starts out soft then it get stronger.

on 2009-11-16 15:56:39

This was a very interesting and very well arranged piece of music. Darkness of the Unknown must be like one of the few songs i just couldn't imagine on the piano. and yet here a great remix for the piano. I don't usually do this but 10/10. this definitely deserves it.

Pachi Risu
on 2009-11-15 13:00:15

Good remix, the outcome was very well received. Kudos.

on 2009-10-01 18:28:44

You know the more I listen to this piece the more I appreciate it. It has a depth to it that you don't find with a lot of piano arrangements. When I saw how long it was at first I was a little suspicious that it wouldn't have the 'stamina' to go the distance. I must say I was happily surprised - it maintains its high level of energy right through the last strain. Bravo!

on 2009-07-22 22:35:32
Very interesting piece. Using two pianos makes the soundscape so wonderfully filled; not one part of this remixes seems empty and underwhelming.

However, I agree with what was said in the write-up; the pianos sound a little too similar. Making them sound more differentiated would have added to the "battle" feeling of this song.

Nice work.

It's funny that you should mention the similarity between the piano sounds.

While I agree that the identical sound is probably less than ideal in most situations, the music that was covered in this submission lends itself strongly to having two pianos that sound alike in it for various reasons. It's just my opinion, of course, and yet I find it easy to share it because though there is so little distinction between the tones it feels, to me at least, to convey a subtly stronger idea than if they were differentiated.

What strikes me about the piece is how they seem to attack each other, and yet they also complement each others' sound to the point where any distinction between the two is tossed out in favor of an overall synergy (buzzword, take a shot!) emphasizing the scheme presented by both the original work and this rendition, namely, that this is a kick-ass boss fightin' tune and you'd better have your beatin' shirt on.

on 2009-07-22 19:43:33

I have to say I definitely love listening to this!

Also: nice! (about the sheet music)

on 2009-07-22 18:58:50

Good news for all out there who were wishing for the sheet music:

It's in progress right now and almost finished. You can expect it anytime soon :).

Thin Crust
on 2009-04-01 22:24:26

Wait a second... It's called "Duet"??? I've always thought it was named "Duel of the Keyblade Masters" I feel really dumb now.

But I still like it.

on 2009-04-01 17:46:20

I love this remix. It is quite literally the best remix so far. Maybe rivalled by Ryu for Four Pianos but this is just spectacular.

So in the end are you not going to release sheet music since we havn't had any news. While I have transcribed the piece for my own benefits I feel it would be better to play from the original since transcriptions by ear are not accurate...especially with this piece haha so umm...yeah.

on 2009-01-06 20:55:04

I love piano remixes and this shows up as extravagant! Some parts are a bit slow or repetitive but overall has good dynamics and connection between parts.

on 2008-12-06 23:00:06

An awesome piano piece, very powerful and dynamic. It seems to get a bit repetitive in the middle and could probably have been made a bit shorter in those parts, but the rest is beautiful.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Kingdom Hearts II (Square , 2005, PS2)
Music by Hikaru Utada,Kaoru Wada,Nobuo Uematsu,Yoko Shimomura
"Darkness of the Unknown"

Tags (3)

Arrangement > Duet
Time > Duration: Long

File Information

6,170,666 bytes


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