The Driving Force of Music


Evening! It's been a while since I did a blog post. I'm here to talk about the power that is called music.Music is an odd but wonderful entity that exists in our lives. It's known as a universal language that everyone can understand through emotions. Anyone can listen to it and create some vivid scene in their imagination. Anyone can be happy when listening to an upbeat song; sad when hearing a slow and soft melody resonate; full of vigor when a grandiose tune starts playing. We can invoke just about every emotion humanly possible with the power of music. It's rather amazing.As a musician since I started playing the piano at age four, I have always had a fondness for rhythms. Rhythms are the patterns that help progress a song and give it its own identity. There are some typical patterns that we subconsciously expect in music, and it's really interesting how we're able to predict rhythms before they are even heard. A part of that is surely due to the mind being able to identify similarities in songs, and from there, determining a best guess on what the rhythm will be. Next time you listen to a song, think about that. You'll be amazed by how often you guess correctly.I admit, I listen to a lot of video game soundtracks. That sounds nerdy, but I think we'd have to identify exactly what I mean by video game soundtracks. No, I'm not talking about the music of the past, where instruments were limited to a set of 255 different possible sounds (although that instrumentation does pave way for making more interesting songs than we'd imagine). Rather, I'm talking about orchestrated music that you hear in more modern games. Games, much like movies, rely on a strong soundtrack to captivate and engross the audience into their world. Most video games will have their music created with an orchestra to provide additional realism to the story they are telling. For me, I am always fascinated with what the composer was thinking when he or she imagined a scene and wrote down a particular theme. That, and listening to how multiple songs will have different interpretations upon a singular theme gives me nerd goosebumps...particularly because for me, you understand how intelligent the composer is when they are able to create the overall theme and be able to put it into certain environments of feelings and just make it work. I went over this a bit in depth on a few particular songs in the Final Fantasy XIII series, and I absolutely love it.I'm not exactly sure where I'm taking this, but I wanted to share a few songs that I think are orchestrated amazingly, and can really grasp someone's emotions if they allow it. Can you guess where each song came from, be it a movie, a show, a classical piece, or a video game? Without further ado...1.[audio]2.[audio]3.[audio]4.[audio]5.[audio]6.[audio]7.[audio]8.[audio]9.[audio]10.[audio]Answers:1. "i think this world is precious" by Yuki Kajiura, Madoka Magica Movie 3: Rebellion2. "The Wildlands" by Naoshi Mizuta, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII3. "Decretum" by Yuki Kajiura, Madoka Magica series4. "is this love?" by Yuki Kajiura, Sword Art Online series5. "Land of Beginnings" by Revo, Bravely Default6. "The Promise" by Masashi Hamauzu, Final Fantasy XIII7. "The Wind Waker Symphonic Movement" by Koji Kondo, orchestrated for Zelda Symphony; Original source from Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker8. "Unforgotten" by Martin O'Donnell, Halo 29. "Midnight Eternal" by Naoshi Mizuta, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII10. "Deference for Darkness (Part 1)" by Martin O'Donnell, Halo 3: ODSTYou'll probably notice that a lot of these answers involve a select composers, some of which are my personal favorites.Yuki Kajiura creates very mysterious and fantasy-like compositions, which are always appealing to me. Most of her works involve themes that centralize on fantasy and magic, and so listening to her compositions across many different series all seem to blend in very well.Masashi Hamauzu and Naoshi Mizuta (along with Nobuo Uematsu) are responsible for a lot of music in the Final Fantasy series, and they never fail to disappoint. They have created what I would say are some of my favorite soundtracks to listen to. They range from dynamic, upbeat tunes to very slow, melodic, and powerful pieces. Honestly, that list above could have been filled with works by them, but then that would be pretty boring to find out later on.Martin O'Donnell wrote many of the songs in the Halo series while he was with Bungie, and one could dare say that the themes he developed were some of the most iconic for video games of that decade.Koji Kondo is responsible for writing many of the iconic themes of the Mario and Zelda franchise, so naturally, he had to have a spot.A newcomer to the realm of music has been a group named Revo, who are responsible for writing the soundtrack to Bravely Default, as well as the opening themes for Attack on Titan. If you've never heard of it, take a listen. It's powerful stuff.Anyway, despite how all of the songs listed above were from video games, did it change your impression? Naturally, when you hear something coming from a video game, you'd immediately think of something retro-sounding. However, with improved technology comes improved compositions, and these songs help drive a work of art become as real as it can;dr: Music is pretty damn amazing, and I'm a fan of all sorts. What do you like? Until next time,Corey