• What Makes Terra's Theme So Special?

    Most fans consider Final Fantasy VI to be one of the finest games in the series, if not the finest. But even those who don't have to admit that there is something special about the opening scene. When you see the snow falling and the magitek armor making their slow march across the field, you know you're in for a real treat.

    Terra's Theme is iconic. Perhaps it's because of that unforgettable opening scene in FFVI, or perhaps it's because it's pervasive throughout the rest of the game, or perhaps it's a little of both. But either way, Terra's Theme has not only become the quintessential theme of Final Fantasy VI, but it's transcended its source material.

    Oh, sure, the song appears in Dissidia and Theatrhythm - that much isn't surprising. But did you know that Terra's Theme appears in Final Fantasy XIII? Biggs and Wedge are traveling musicians in Yusnaan, who, during the night, play their own rendition of the famous tune.

    And did you hear about how it's tied to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn? The first video showing the magitek armor was a recreation of the opening scene to FFVI, right down to the song. Naoki Yoshida even said that he would add the song in the game itself if there was a fitting spot for it.

    But perhaps where Terra's Theme truly shines is in the fanbase. Terra's Theme is easily one of the most remixed Final Fantasy songs on OCRemix, a site dedicated to video game music remixes and the promotion of video game music as art. It gets better - one of those remixes is by a man named Jeremy Soule, who you may know as the composer of the soundtracks for Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, Guild Wars, Secret of Evermore, and dozens of other games. "I have a tremendous respect [Square Enix] and I have to say that Nobuo Uematsu is a friend of mine," this immensely talented composer said in an interview. In fact, he said in a later interview that working on a Final Fantasy game would be one of his dream jobs. So out of all the songs he could have chosen to remix as a tribute, which one did he pick? Terra's Theme, of course.

    So what is it about Terra's Theme? Perhaps it's that, upon listening to it, one gets the sense that they are about to embark on a grand adventure. Perhaps it's how mysterious and otherworldly it sounds. Perhaps it's because it's tied to such a great game. Regardless of the reason, there's no denying - Terra's Theme is a special song.

    (Want to read more about Terra's Theme and how amazing it is? Check out an earlier post from our very own Psychotic!)
    This article was originally published in forum thread: What Makes Terra's Theme So Special? started by Pike View original post
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. Fox's Avatar
      Fox -
      Always one of the highlights of Distant Worlds this one, along with Maria & Draco of course.
    1. Spooniest's Avatar
      Spooniest -
      If you want to talk about simple things like terraced dynamics (instruments coming in or dropping out to contribute or take away from overall volume), this is the song in the game on which the drums enter.

      That in itself speaks volumes. Add that to the fact that they fade in, and you have a very ominous beginning to the game indeed.

      Music without drums is a little...how do you characterize it? Ghostly? It's just sort of floating around the room at you. Humans thrive on rhythm in their music...drums were the first musical instrument for a reason.

      The piece provides contrast with what came immediately before it (The title screen organ solo, then the bell, then the strings, then the horns, then all together, finishing with a harp). The very elaborate nature of the preceding music is starkly different from the simple, minor key piano melody.

      The modulations (Section C of the song) are a minor third up the scale, unusual, but not terribly unpredictable. When it goes back to the main theme, a new chord progression is introduced to play on it a little. Then the big crescendo finish happens, with the third of each chord going down one step with each new change...gives ya chills by itself, but...

      The piece ends just hammering the tonic, with the drums perfectly in sync, sounding rather like the striking of an anvil, especially in the way it reverberates out near the end (emphasizing the fifth of the chord is just creepy).

      Splendid music. Easy to play, too.
    1. The Man's Avatar
      The Man -
      Well, it would be easy to play if Uematsu hadn't set it in A flat minor. Of course, you can just transpose the song (which is what I did when I performed it because it's difficult to improvise in A flat minor).

      But yeah, the song is a masterpiece and it's justly regarded as one of the best video game tracks ever. Only Dancing Mad tops it, probably.
    1. Spooniest's Avatar
      Spooniest -
      G minor.

      Edit: Oh you're talking about the Overworld Theme, which is indeed in Ab minor.

      The intro theme is G minor.
    1. Mirage's Avatar
      Mirage -
      I don't know why but the track is really good bro
    1. Vyk's Avatar
      Vyk -
      It immediately became one of my favorite melodies in any game ever at the time of my first exposure. And I was more than happy to be beaten over the head with it. They have like 4 different renditions of it in just that game. And you spend tons of hours with it in the overworld. What was really vindicating was that one time my dad came in to see what the heck I was doing/playing that sounded so beautiful lol I was just walking around the overworld
    1. Spooniest's Avatar
      Spooniest -
      Oh yeah! It's one of the only songs in the game that has an ending at all! Most of them just loop.

      Aria Di Mezzo Caraterre has an ending...so does the game over theme. Are there any others?

      Besides the ending (duh)...Not that come immediately to mind.

      Edit: And I guess the two intro themes.
    1. Laddy's Avatar
      Laddy -
      Like Terra it is underlined with tragedy but the beat still moves and progresses. Not fully escaping the sorrow, but rising above it and eventually emerges from its influence.
    1. Ayen's Avatar
      Ayen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Laddy View Post
      Like Terra it is underlined with tragedy but the beat still moves and progresses. Not fully escaping the sorrow, but rising above it and eventually emerges from its influence.
      Laddy hit the nail on the head.

      Plus that whole opening scene is just iconic.
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