Soundtrack Study – Xenoblade’s Main Theme

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

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Fan Arrangements

This first fan arrangement is a re-orchestration of the main theme using the artist’s own samples. The unique part of this arrangement is the way they switch up the tone and pace of the music halfway through, during the “strings melody.” Soundcloud user Minor Cloud uses alot of creativity to set their own mood to Shimomura’s composition

This is another re-orchestration by YouTube user OkamiiYuki Alias Yukiaro. While not quite as different as the one above, the execution is fantastic in amplifying many of the same moods from the original theme. The use of some instrument samples being played backwards is also very ambitious.

For retro lovers there is this 8-bit remix of the main theme by YouTube user kikabu34. This is a very close translation of the original theme to the musical limitations we all grew up with while being introduced to video games. The treble of the high melody sample can be challenging to listen to, but I can definitely imagine this being on an old video game system from the 80’s.

For something really really different, and more lively, I present you this J-core mix by bandcamp user Helblinde. It’s certainly not the main theme as we know it, but the execution and creativity of the mix is very impressive. An interesting aspect of this is the way they include Japanese voice samples from the script during transitions. If you can sneak this into your local DJ’s playlist, I’d love to see a video of that.

Now that I’ve completely destroyed your memories of the song, you are ready for the Xenoblade tape loop. This is a much more experimental mix that may be challenging to listen to for all but the most dedicated audiophiles. The original theme is sampled in heavily altered loops to create a repetitive and ambient rhythm effect using the original audio.

Covers

This cover is a performance by Anjoola, the musician who transcribed one of the most popular piano arrangements for the main theme that is available online as a duet. You can download the main theme sheet music and many others from her website.

Anjoola’s arrangement was used by many musicians as a base for their own arrangments, and this performance by YouTube users Josh Chiu and Zorsy is a great example. Instead of a piano duet, the second instrument is a violin playing most of the later melodies from the theme. The result is a very faithful, but scaled back arrangement of the original composition.

For guitar fans there is this acoustic cover by YouTube user Jospicka9. What’s remarkable about this arrangement is the calming mood that is sustained throughout the duration, even during parts of the original that were very loud and intense. This is perfect if you’re looking for a more relaxing sound with a steady flow of music.


Now that I’ve succeeded in my quest to create the longest article about a title screen ever, I’m passing it off to you. What do you think of Xenoblade’s music? I’m sure that both fans and contributors to this website alike have strong emotions tied to this soundtrack. We waited a very long time for this game, and it is partly responsible for oprainfall’s very existence, at the very least. There’s no question the music is a very big part of that, and Yōko Shimomura sets a high standard in the first few seconds of loading the disc for the gaming experience that is to come.

About Raymond Dwyer

Former Contributor--Raymond is an architect in Chicago who has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. For all that the city offers, he mostly prefers sitting down to a good game when he can spare the time. Buildings look better rendered than they do in real life anyway.


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