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Battle Theme for Retro RPG

sqr

New Member
Howdy!

I'm in the process of composing music for a Final Fantasy-style RPG game that a friend is making. I usually do rock/pop stuff for music libraries, and while I've fooled around with some orchestral stuff before I still feel quite lost.

While I'm pretty satisfied with how the track sounds so far, I feel like it should be at least twice as long and I'd greatly appreciate some advice on how to get there. Would you repeat the same thing with a variation of the theme, or do you think a third section would be more appropriate?

I'd also love some feedback on the orchestration, since I find that part particularly tricky.


Hopefully you won't be too put off by the cheesy soundfonts, they are part of the genre after all. If anything I might switch to an even cheesier one ;)
 

Aakaash Rao

Member
I grew up playing this type of game so I enjoyed listening to this! I do think the piece would benefit from a more memorable melody. The first horn phrase (0:05-0:10) is fine, but the response doesn't seem to go anywhere. I also think mixing up the accompaniment and rhythms would go a long way. Listen to how Uematsu does it, for example, in FFV, and try moving your accompanying ostinato-type figure between strings, brass, and woodwinds.


But overall, great start!
 
I think you've done a nice job of capturing the feel of RPG battle themes from that period, but I also feel like the constant heavy beats are pounding me into oblivion. :) My suggestion would be to adjust the mix to tone them down just a tad and bring out the other elements a bit more. Also, I agree with Aakaash's comment that you could work toward a more memorable melody. Those early Final Fantasy games had some really strong, lovely melodies even in the old 8-bit days.
 
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sqr

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Thanks for the great feedback guys! I really like the idea of moving the ostinato between different instruments, that could probably save Mr. Stiles from being pounded into oblivion aswell :laugh:
I find it really hard writing melodies, but I'll definitely give it a go and see if I can come up with something catchier.

I've been listening a bunch to Uematsu and I've been trying to emulate him a bit, in the rough sketch linked below for example, but I'm not sure if I've succeeded. I really should learn some theory so I could figure out what's going on in his pieces.

 

RyanMcQuinn

Grateful Member
I've studied Uematsu a bit too. He is a jazz pianist by nature if I remember correctly. So is John Williams btw. See a theme here ? :) I would recommend googling jazz scales. Study them a bit and you'll start to see that a lot of the quick notes in Uematsu's music that aren't in the key signature are components in jazz scales. This may lead to more melodic inspiration too. Good luck!
 

IoannisGutevas

Active Member
Damn i love that "cheesy" style music! Brings back memories from Final Fantasy / Chrono Trigger games which i love! I liked the 1st WIP you posted here but i have to agree with Aakaash, a nice mix and catching melodies thats all there is to it :)

From the orchestration perspective i think as soon as you establish a catching theme and polish it with a nice counterpoint you are golden! Layering sounds and trying to be 'realistic' here is not an issue here so have fun with it!

Damn, im gonna download and go re-play Chrono Trigger now!

Thanks for posting this! You surely made my day! :)
 
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sqr

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I would recommend googling jazz scales. Study them a bit and you'll start to see that a lot of the quick notes in Uematsu's music that aren't in the key signature are components in jazz scales. This may lead to more melodic inspiration too. Good luck!

Thanks Ryan, I'll see if I can figure that stuff out :)

I liked the 1st WIP you posted here but i have to agree with Aakaash, a nice mix and catching melodies thats all there is to it :)

There seems to be a consensus on what I need to work on, so that's great!

Thanks for posting this! You surely made my day! :)

And reading that made mine. Thank you sir!
 
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