STA: KHUx.23 – The Deep End / A Lesson in Musical Vamping

Today’s article is going to be the first of a few epic boss battle themes that are used in the Raid Boss battles in Kingdom Hearts Union Cross. All of these themes were used originally in Kingdom Hearts I, for various boss battles. This one, “The Deep End”, was first heard in KHI during the battle with Ursula (“The sea and all its spoils BOW TO MY POWERRRRR“). The topic of interest for today is inspired by the track, though is not entirely illustrated by it: vamping.

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STA: KHUx.22 – Apprehension / A Lesson in Found Sounds

Not uncommon in video game music is the use of “found sounds“, or recordings of everyday or unusual objects which are not usually thought of as musical instruments. In the super foreboding track “Apprehension”, we introduce percussive effects which are either recordings of industrial objects (anvils, brakes, or other mechanical/metal-type materials) or are at least imitating the sounds of these objects.

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STA: KHUx.21 – Dance of the Daring / The Harpsichord and its Popular Successor

Today’s article is one of those “inspired” write-ups; that is, we are going to be talking about something that is inspired by something I heard in the piece, not necessarily about the piece itself. In my music theory classes, I like to go over┬áthe mechanics of the piano, and how its predecessor was the harpsichord. Now there are quite a few tracks that use the harpsichord, especially in whimsical video game music, including the one of interest for today, “Dance of the Daring”.

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STA: KHUx.20 – Waltz of the Damned / An Introduction to the Waltz

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.

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STA: KHUx.19 – What Lies Beneath / A Lesson in Call and Response

Some of the past articles I’ve written on here have been suuuuuper information-dense, so let’s try one that is a little lighter! Ironically, this “lighter” music is the battle theme for the Underworld… But the topic is certainly more on the basic side in terms of music theory ­čÖé Although it is a more simple concept, it is still a very beloved┬ácompositional technique, to me: call and response.

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STA: KHUx.18 – The Underworld / A Lesson in Minimalism

Technically still considered part of Olympus Coliseum, the Underworld is a place your character travels to after discovering Hades is up to something bad (shocker!). I personally love this track so much: it is such a harmonically and rhythmically static piece, and┬áthe slight variations are so unsettling, but in such a beautiful way. In today’s article, we are going to be talking about a somewhat contemporary genre in the Western music world, minimalism.

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STA: KHUx.17 – Go For It! / A Lesson in Mixolydian Mode

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.

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