Thanks to rc522878 for the inspiration!
Sent my friend, who doesn’t play Final Fantasy (but loves video game music) the themes from V and VII and this was his response:
“I like how 5 is like IMA GO ON AN ADVENTURE! and 7 is like OMINOUS DEATH AND DYING haha Both are great!”
Nails the tone of those games with only hearing their themes.
Also, I still need to play through V =(
I wrote a post about Uematsu’s use of the Amen Cadence. In it I write:
We can all agree that Nobuo Uematsu is a genius, right?
Well, yes. Of course, he is. And I think so. But what makes someone a musical genius?
In order to be proficient in music, one needs thousands of hours of study and practice. Uematsu cites a large source of inspiration, much as Mozart influence Beethoven. And he’s has a wide range of musical influences, from Elton John and Jimmy Hendrix. Uematsu, as a self-taught musician, began playing the piano at the age of twelve. Even Mozart had a teacher (his father). I won’t be so facetious as to compare the two in the realm of study and practice. We can compare them to the immense amount of natural proclivity to music. For Mozart, it was when he was four. For Uematsu, twelve. Yet the desire and passion exists all the same.
Genius arrives when someone with this passion has musical ideas of a very high quality and diversity. They’re able to match the tone and mood of a piece to convey a timeless story. And they masterfully execute this skill at a high level.
The amount of tracks Uematsu created in an over a decade fits this criterion. His songs range from jazz and ragtime to classical, to reggae and pop. Yet the originality is what makes him stand out as a video game musician. This is more than just the ability to avoid copyright.
Mozart and Beethoven composed on traditional instruments, to make fine symphonies sound grand. Uematsu composed on Midi. Perhaps the latter doesn’t sound as impressive. Still, considering he was able to make beautiful works of art with such tools. Creating varied music with only three sounds is quite a talent. Yet each piece has a certain quality that, when translated into a symphony, executes different melodic lines simultaneously.
These complex and polyphonic performances observe the “laws” of harmony and counterpoint, yet at times he breaks the mold.
By all means, Uematsu is a prodigy of video game music. To be a genius requires high intelligence, sensitivity, and sense of structure in regards to a melody.
Innovation isn’t nearly as important as quality. Without quality, any composer can innovate without artistic merit.
Musical genius does not depend upon having perfect pitch or other technical abilities. Any musical practitioner can learn to play a piece; a genius creates one. He manipulates the notes to create a mood within the listeners.
But most importantly, you must have a sense of melody. You cannot truly learn this sense. And other times, you can sense this in other.
Hm! From looking at you, you seem to have quite a hidden appreciation for music. Shall I play my clarinet for you?
Don’t worry everyone, he’s a genius. He can toot his own horn.
EDIT: I know the clarinet isn’t a horn.