Song: FF7 Boss Battle (Those Who Fight Further) – Two Piano Remix

Listen online:last.fm

Download song: mp3 Ogg FLAC

While Final Fantasy VII is not my favorite game from the series, it does possess some very memorable music. Chief among these is the anxious, driving boss battle theme, known as “Those Who Fight Further” (更に闘う者達). I’d go so far as to call it the most well-known JRPG battle theme, which is why I thought it worthy of a full-scale piano remix.

Several hours into my arranging, it became apparent that there was no way to do the song justice by using a single piano.  So two were required.  This is an arrangement for four hands on two pianos, and frankly, it would probably be easier as six hands on three pianos.  However, because this is a synthesized arrangement (e.g. not recorded live) I got away with mixing it in a manner that is probably impossible for just two people to play.  Exciting!

Credit for the original composition goes to the great Nobuo Uematsu.  I also based this arrangement off a MIDI version of the track downloaded from rpggamer.com.

Bonus: if you’re in the mood for some nostalgia, here’s a 10-minute video of every boss battle in the game. :D

Creative Commons License

This arrangement of “Those Who Fight Further” is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License. The original song is ©1997 Square Co., Ltd.

Song: Aerith’s Theme – an impromptu piano solo

Listen online:last.fm

Download song: mp3 Ogg FLAC MIDI

Okay – I’ve finally had it.  I have listened to so many mediocre arrangements of this song that it’s finally time to write a good one.

For those who don’t know (shame on you), Aerith’s Theme comes from quite possibly the greatest game of all time: Final Fantasy VII.  The theme is beautiful, and many artists have attempted to arrange it in a variety of styles.  Most are terrible; a rare few turn out very nice.  I hope that this intermediate-level arrangement fits the latter description…  ;)

I hesitated to post this song since it is, as described, an impromptu performance.  I haven’t edited the recorded MIDI at all.  What you hear is straight how it came outta my fingers, sloppy runs and all.  But I feel like it’s important to post a good, original, live arrangement of this piece on the internet since most the amateur versions out there sound like they came out of a Lv3 Alfred Book.  Argh.  This is certainly a more varied, lively performance than the ones I’ve heard so far.  (And no, I haven’t heard the Piano Collections arrangement of this, unfortunately.  I imagine it’s quite good!)

It is also worth mentioning that this was arranged by ear, without any source notation.  The mp3 and ogg files are soundfont-generated and NOT from an actual piano.  I apologize for that, but alas – no recording studio + Yamaha Disklavier yet!  Someday!!  :D

Comments/requests for additional FF arrangements are welcome.

Creative Commons License

This arrangement of “Aerith’s Theme” is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License. The original song is ©1997 Square Co., Ltd.

Music for Writers

Several months ago I had the enjoyable – and enlightening – experience of reading through some 20+ excerpts at the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest (ABNA). It was very interesting to see firsthand the vast difference in raw talent among aspiring writers. Some of these people make you wonder why they’re not published already while others make you wonder why they’re writing at all.

Anyway, after returning and glancing through several particularly boring entries, I’ve decided that many aspiring authors could stand to listen to a bit of music while they work.

So as a courtesy, here’s some recommended listening for your genre of choice:

Science Fiction Music

Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness

by Coheed and Cambria

While every Coheed and Cambria album is worthy of your listening, I found IV a particularly good album for writers. For those who don’t know, Claudio Sanchez (the band’s lead singer) is also a comic book author. C&C’s music tells the story of Claudio’s comic book series The Amory Wars, an epic space opera. Each album covers a wide array of styles; some songs are almost pop, others punk, some are really pretty acoustic numbers, and C&C’s classic metal sound is hard to beat. Even cooler is the band’s near-use of leitmotifs, as recurring themes throughout each album appear depending on the events and speakers.

Every C&C album is brilliant. Do check them out.

Fantasy Music

Final Fantasy S Generation

Anything Nobuo Uematsu, but I especially like Final Fantasy: S Generation

If you’ve lived this long and never heard of Final Fantasy, you’re lame. No really – you’re totally missing out on some of the most original music to come out of Japan in the last twenty years. Uematsu (the series’ long-time composer) was named as one of Time Magazine’s “Innovators,” and the recognition was well-warranted. Uematsu’s scores draw from a wide variety of styles and he’s done more to make video game music legitimate than perhaps anyone else in his field.

S Generation is a fantastic orchestral remix of songs from Final Fantasy 7, 8, and 9 – the games for the original PlayStation. I’m particularly fond of the beautiful orchestral arrangement of Aeris’ Theme, and the piano remix of Eyes on Me is second-to-none.

The otherworldly nature of fantasy writing could draw a lot of inspiration from the mystic beauty of Uematsu’s work.

Action/Adventure Music

Phobia

by Breaking Benjamin

This is perhaps the most epic rock album you’ll ever own. If you enjoy bands like Foo Fighters, Fuel, Evanescence, and 3 Doors Down, this album is especially likely to impress you.

Phobia is one of those rare albums where you can actually listen to the entire album start-to-finish without skipping a single track. Even stranger, the headline tracks from this album (Diary of Jane and Breath) aren’t even the best songs BB has to offer – Dance with the Devil and Evil Angel are both masterpieces, and the acoustic version of Diary of Jane almost eclipses the original.

This is perhaps my favorite hard rock album of all-time, and I wrote every action scene in The Zargansk Wars while listening to this killer CD.

More genres to follow in the future.