The Coliseum is one of the most thrilling parts of Kingdom Hearts Union Cross. After you complete Quest 130 of the Story mode, you get to embark on monthly rapid-fire challenges to earn Coliseum Coins and unlock special skill medals and avatar parts (special-themed clothes for your character). On the first of every month I usually blast through a few dozen rounds and earn hundreds of coins, unlocking all of the milestones on a couple of the Coliseum boards.
And of course, one of the most exciting parts of the Coliseum is the music! While “Olympus Coliseum” has a very slow-moving, open, grand feel, “Go For It!” (the Coliseum battle music) is packed with energy and driving vitality. Though not my most favorite mode, “Go For It!” uses one of the eight Gregorian modes, Mixolydian, which is the topic for today’s article.
Let’s listen to “Go For It!”, which appears in many of the Kingdom Hearts games.
This is not the exact version that shows up in Kingdom Hearts Union Cross, but for the purposes of this article, it will suffice.
Here is an excerpt of the first part of the track, with part of the main melody and part of the bass accompaniment:
That perfect fourth bass line ascension though…
Notice that although the key signature suggests F-major, the piece begins and ends on C. That is because this piece is in Mixolydian mode. Just like the other Gregorian modes, there are a few different ways to think about Mixolydian mode:
- Major scale, but starting on scale degree five/the fifth note in the scale. For example, playing a C Major scale, but starting and ending on G. Or, more pertinent to this piece, playing an F Major scale, but starting and ending on C.
- Major scale, but with a flat seven/lowered scale degree seven. So, a C Major scale, but instead of playing B♮, we play a Bb.
Whichever way you look at it, the pattern of notes is the same. One of the key characteristics of the major scale, especially in Western Classical music, is the finality of scale degree seven resolving to scale degree one. So in C Major, B going up to C. The interesting thing about Mixolydian mode is that scale degree seven is flat, so there is not as much finality, or at least not as dramatic of a finality as usual.
I generally am not too big of a fan of Mixolydian mode… While I do love the minor 5 chord (which does occur in Mixolydian mode—in the case of C Mixolydian, it would be a G-minor chord), the mode as a whole always sounds too similar to plain major. Though the use of blaring brass and syncopated bass in this wonderful track do make this mode a bit more favorable to me than it had been in the past… Perhaps I will give it more of a chance next time I hear a piece that uses it ;P
What’s your favorite Gregorian mode? Or do you know of any songs or pieces that use Mixolydian mode? Leave your comments below! ♪
Stay tuned for more Single-Track Analysis Articles of tracks from Kingdom Hearts Unchained X / Kingdom Hearts Union Cross! One article every day in the month of April 2017!