Okay, no one asked for this: here’s another angry/funny article. Haven’t done one of these in a while—in fact, the only other angry/funny article I wrote before this one was about Arianna Grande in Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius. And I already see a pattern!!? I apparently have lots of pretend/real grievances against Square Enix… Though this one is aimed more toward zealous fans.
All right. So the topic of discussion today is about a piece of music that I actually really, really enjoy and think is quite beautiful, in all of its simplicity.
The Prelude from Final Fantasy.
Oh. That is epic. “From Final Fantasy”. No numbers. That’s right, the Prelude is from the ORIGINAL Final Fantasy game, and has since made appearances in every single subsequent FF game to follow.
Let’s listen to the original version of this heavenly prelude:
This lovely prelude includes a beautiful arpeggiation of the major tonic/one chord with a two-suspension, followed by a very similar type of chord: submediant/minor six, also with a two-suspension. It cycles between the tonic and submediant twice. It then goes to the subdominant/major four, then dominant/major five, then major flat six, major flat seven, and then loops back to the start. In this piece there is actually quite a lot going on harmonically, yet it is so simple and so recognizable.
And THAT is where the angry part begins.
The arpeggio is the music term we can use to describe the flowy up-and-down pattern that is heard throughout the entire track.
As stated in italics above, ever since the first game of the Final Fantasy series was released thirty-one years ago, the Prelude has been included in every single FF game since then—in the menu screen.
There have been some claims that the Prelude is included in other tracks throughout the games as well, and perhaps in SOME of the pieces, the arpeggios that you hear are indeed a gentle nod toward the Prelude, especially if they are arpeggios of the tonic or dominant with a two-suspension.
However, NOT EVERY SINGLE ARPEGGIO that is included in each piece is paying sacred homage to the Prelude.
Sometimes… Uematsu-san just. Wanted. To. Use. An. Arpeggio.
He uses an arpeggio somewhere else, and everybody throws their hands up to their faces, eyes twinkling, grinning with much enthusiasm and hope, quivering ever so slightly, murmuring, “IT’S THE PRELUDE…!” (“I AM SO SMART, I SEE WHAT HE DID THERE!”)
No. Stop it. It’s not ALWAYS the prelude. You can still feel smart and in-the-know when you recognize character theme variations within each game, when you can draw parallels between characters’ story arcs, and pick up on the subtle social commentary and life lessons…
But no. Whenever you hear an arpeggio in a Final Fantasy game, it is not ALWAYS THE PRELUDE.
An arpeggio in another song also does not mean it’s the prelude… Even if that song is called “Final Fantasy”…
Thank you, and you’re welcome.