November 18, 2011
Chrono Cross, Music, Strings, VGM, Video Games, Yasunori Mitsuda
My analysis/review of Yasunori Mitsuda’s Chrono Cross opener, “Time’s Scar” has spanned two post so far, and with this one I intend to close the book on it.
You’ve probably listened to and seen the video thirty times now, but I implore you press play again to take in the work as a whole before I begin. Once more, with feeling!
In the first post, I covered the “Introduction” (0:00-0:57), the low-key, nostalgic, and folk-like setup to the second post’s “Transition” (0:57-1:14), a high-energy section comprised of multiple layers that serves to burst from the introduction and build into the third section, which I had deemed the “String Melody” (1:14-1:49).
After having been bombarded with instruments that serve to rush the listener and to push the music forward, that listener is suddenly yanked back by a crying violin and flute combo that soars above the other instruments. The pairing is beautiful—the flute that the listener heard dancing around earlier in the piece smoothes out its howling violin partner. Unlike its string companions, Mitsuda decides that this pair need not play fast lines to incite adventure and excitement into the listener; instead, it leads an eighth-note pickup into a note held for a beat and a half. Normally, a beat and a half is nothing to a listener, especially at a quicker tempo—but when placed in a den of instruments that have been playing sixteenth notes for the last seventeen seconds, it seems like it lasts an eternity. The space reminds the listener that, amidst all of the adrenaline of an action sequence, there need be deliberate clarity and thought.
October 25, 2011
Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Chrono Cross, Flute, Music, Percussion, Squaresoft, Strings, VGM, Video Games, Yasunori Mitsuda
*In case you missed it, here’s Part I
For your convenience, I’ve reinserted the video:
I would suggest listening and watching one more time straight through so that you re-familiarize yourself with everything. Also, before I get into the analysis, I’d like the reader to see how I personally broke down the form of the piece for the sake of this analysis. If anyone has a better suggestion on how to organize it, please let me know—this is certainly not the end-all-be-all!
– Section A: “Introduction” (0:00-0:57)
– Section B: “Transition” (00:57-1:14)
– Section C: “String Melody” (1:14-1:49)
– Section D: “Breakdown and Ending” (1:49-2:22)
Cool. Now, let’s pick up where we left off. In less than a minute’s worth of music we listened to an enchanting, nostalgic, and, at points, childlike musical intro that set up not only the coming of an exciting display of PSX CGI power and adrenaline-pumping music, but also for the gamer for what he should expect out of the entire game’s soundtrack. We took note of Yasunori Mitsuda’s very present bass, dancing flute, and moving acoustic guitar, which all combine to enhance and reveal a folk flavor in his music.
Cue :56. A suspended cymbal roll comes from behind the flute, which turns and lands on a note that stings the downbeat of what I will call the “transition.” Suddenly, when the listener only had a few instruments to take in before, a flurry of sounds comes to him or her all at once and s/he is whisked off at full-speed. The important part about the transition is its ability to rush the listener forward and get him or her caught up in the moment using rhythm. Yes, the tempo speeds up, but it is not tempo alone that perks the ears and does the engaging. It may take the listener many-a-repeat to catch all of the elements that help drive the music forward, but they are worth fishing for and catching.