In today’s article, we’re going to be looking at the field theme for Beast’s Castle, “Waltz of the Damned”. This track first showed up in Kingdom Hearts II. A somewhat simple topic today, we are going to be talking about the defining characteristics of a waltz.
First, as always, we’ll listen to “Waltz of the Damned”. I like the recording I found from KHII, so we’re going to listen to that one (instead of the one from Kingdom Hearts Union Cross) (they’re both extremely similar though).
This piece has some great instrumentation and arrangement, from the solo clarinet at the beginning, to the gently falling choir melody, to the overwhelmingly beautiful sweeping strings.
Now what is a waltz? A waltz is a dance form that originated in 16th century Europe, and the type of music that accompanies those dances also took on the same name. The most defining characteristic of a waltz is the triple meter. That means we can hear three distinct beats, the strongest emphasis being on the first beat.
That is the most striking difference between waltzes and other pieces of music in triple meter. While some triple metered music may have a somewhat strong emphasis on the first beat and then two weaker beats, a waltz has a very strong accent on the first beat, followed by much weaker ones. This may be to both imitate and emphasize the strong step that dancers must take while dancing in this style.
Another characteristic of a waltz is the tempo. This is not something I officially read or learned anywhere, but I do believe that if a piece of music is too slow, or too fast, it would not be considered a waltz—that is, if the tempo is too fast or slow, then it would be difficult to dance to.
Listen to this waltz and come up with your own dance! 😉 ♪
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!