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One thing I’m grateful for in my life is growing up with a background in classical music appreciation. I remember my parents had a record of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf at home, and I would listen to it all the time. The depth of the music was fascinating to my little brain, especially compared to the childish Disney songs and bubblegum-pop hits of the 90’s that I’d otherwise hear on the radio. But the reason why this work helped me with understanding music was that it was specifically aimed at kids in order to teach them how to pick out leitmotifs, or unique, repeated phrases in the songs. Leitmotifs are often used in classical works to tell a story, and certain instruments or melodies can represent people, emotions, events, and other parts of the story. Many soundtracks still continue to use this device in their songs, and can provide interesting clues (or spoilers!) for those listening close enough. Videogames are no exception, and paying attention to details in the background music can often help come to a deeper understanding of what’s really going on behind the scenes.
Dancing Mad is, to put it bluntly, the best fucking final boss theme in existence. (Yes, even better than One-Winged Angel!) And while I appreciated the technical mastery of the song and its use of classical styles, I didn’t fully grasp its true complexity and scope until recently. I found a good piano transcription of it earlier this year, and started learning how to play it. It wasn’t until I sat down and started picking the song apart that I recognized how it all fit together, in a perfect character study of the villain it represents. I was always bugged by the fact that Kefka seemed to be the only villain in Final Fantasy history that did not have a memorable final speech to make after the heroes defeated him. He just fades away and the tower collapses around him. Then I realized, that I was looking at his fight in the wrong way. His entire boss theme is his last speech, outlining his rise to power, and lamenting his eventual defeat. In order to break it down and illustrate what I mean, I’ll separate the piece into its four distinct movements.
"Dancing Mad" Part 1
Dancing Mad Part 2
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[Editor's Note: We're not just a (rad) news site -- we also publish opinions/editorials from our community & employees like this one, though be aware that it may not jive with the opinions of Destructoid as a whole,...more