Today’s article will focus on the Overworld music, where you select in which world you’d like to embark on your next adventure. These map selection themes in both games, Brave Frontier and Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius, are quite similar. Let’s go through three different categories in which they can be easily compared and contrasted: tonality + meter, structure, and instrumentation.
Let’s start by listening to both pieces, “To the Horizon” (FF:BE) and “Frontier” (BF).
Tonality + Meter
Both pieces are in a major key and a 12/8 time signature (compound quadruple; read this article for an in-depth explanation on simple vs. compound time :3). Compound quadruple time, in short, means that there are four strong beats per measure, and each beat can be divided in 3 (think “1 + a, 2 + a, 3 + a, 4 + a”. They are also both in pretty much the same tempo, of 120 BPM (beats per minute).
In these simple respects, the two pieces are extremely similar. Earlier today, I was trying to remember both tracks. Since I’ve been playing Brave Frontier for almost three years, I could remember it pretty much identically to how it is. But with FF: Brave Exvius, I couldn’t remember the second section… My mind automatically went to a middle section of Brave Frontier’s track, and it actually fit together really well! ;P
Now here’s where things start to get a little different. In terms of distinct structure, “Frontier” is a bit more defined, more so by instrumentation than anything (which we’ll get to in the next section).
- 0:00 – 0:19 – bombastic intro, with grand melodic gestures and very punchy percussion
- 0:20 – 0:35 – a stronger melody comes in, supported by more steady percussion and tons of harmonious counter-melodies
- 0:36 – 0:43 – the percussion drops out a bit, with just some occasional hits, while the winds dominate both the main melody and ornamental accents (oboe + flute trills)
- 0:44 – 0:56 – powerful strings take over, and the it ends in the same grand way that it began (so that it can loop, of course!)
“To the Horizon”
- 0:00 – 0:09 – also a bombastic beginning, but this part more so sets the stage, as there is no main melody yet
- 0:10 – 0:24 – the low brass and some higher strings/pitched percussion take the role of main melody
- 0:25 – 0:45 – there is a slight change in tone, but only slightly; the underlying chords convey a bit more urgency than before
- 0:46 – 1:05 – brass and strings trade off the melody in this section, and it almost sounds like a reprise of the beginning; the horns and percussion are playing something very similar to what they played at the start (again, very fitting, so it can loop)
In terms of instrumentation, there are not that many differences. Both tracks have very strong percussion (snare drum, cymbals, glockenspiel), powerful low brass (though I’d argue that BF’s “Frontier” has stronger bass), trumpets (BF also has higher-reaching trumpet melodic lines), flutes (playing both melodies as well as trills and runs), high and mid strings (violins, violas, maybe some cellos and basses).
In terms of instrumental spotlight and leveling, there are not many drastic changes from start to finish in “To the Horizon“. In “Frontier“, however, there is a very noticeable change, from 0:36 – 0:43, where essentially everything but winds and harp drop out. There are some spare snare drum accents, but for the most part this section is carried by an oboe, some flute trills, and harp arpeggios. I love musical breaks like this, where there is a lot of variety and clear distinction between sections.
What do you think? Are there any other similarities or differences that I didn’t talk about here? Let us know in the comments! 🙂