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Phils Game/Pop Music Similarities #73 - A Postexamination of the Prelude


Featuring Final Fantasy and several.

Greetings fellow game music lovers,

the Final Fantasy month is finally coming to an end and I want to use the opportunity to have another look at one of the most famous pieces of music in the franchise: The eponymous "Prelude". One of the most important themes of the series, it originally played first in the opening of the very first entry and appeared in every single game of the main series since then, usually in special situations that often go into the meta realm (endings, save screens etc.).

Despite it being a pretty simplicistic tune, its appearance has been far from abundant in the music industry. Thus over the course of time, several theories have been made, what could have been the inspirement for this music. Before I started looking into the topic, I was aware of three theories concerning this matter that made their way around the web:

The first one comes from a piece by Pete Townshend - Let My Love Open The Door - from his 1980 album "Empty Glass":

It is even listed in a blog entry on this very page.

The second one is more obscure and features an electronic piece by Francis Rimbert called "Voices of Paradise" from his 1979 album "Bionic Orchestra":

The third one is from "The Moody Blues" and their song "The Other Side of Life" from their album of the same name from 1986 which has a comparable short sample at 3:05:

According to Uematsu himself, he made the theme up in about 10 minutes under the pressure of the deadline. But is this really the end of it?

Note: I'm aware that the prelude is a very popular piece and has been looked into by many people. So if the stuff that follows has been known in certain communities for a long time, I apologize in advance. A quick google search gave no results in that matter.

My personal journey to the prelude does not start with the first entry of the series, but with the ninth (2000). It features an eerie, heavily synthesized rendition of the piece called "Crystal World":

Once upon a time while researching electronic music, I stumbled on a piece by an english group called "This Mortal Coil" from 1986 - one year before the first Final Fantasy - called "Fire Brothers" that has a very similar eerie synthesized set of ascending/descending notes:

A quick look into the discrography of the band reveals that a lot of the pieces they create are cover versions of other groups.

Including, but not limited, to a song called "Fire Brothers" (1971) by the band Quicksilver, who is usually credited as "Quicksilver Messenger Service". This band is not a newcomer for Final Fantasy fans. Their song "Edward, the Mad Shirt Grinder" has been suspected to have inspired the Gilgamesh theme from Final Fantasy V. 

And indeed, if you look into their version of Fire Brothers, it has again a set of ascending/descending notes that reminds me strongly of the prelude (NOTE: It is the piano sound in the background. You have to listen closely):

Now is this the end for Final Fantasy in this blog? I think not. I have some more stuff in the pipeline that still needs some preparation and I think everyone can use a little break for now as there is much other stuff to look into.

Now that FF month has ended what will come next? It will be DUN DUN DUN


Phew, this has been going in my head for quite some time.

Phil out.

Update 27/08/2020:

Another interesting finding from the finale of Cherubinis opera "Médée (1797):

- https://www.destructoid.com/blogs/PhilsPhindings/ https://www.reddit.com/user/PhilsPhindings

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About PhilsPhindingsone of us since 5:50 PM on 01.21.2019