Top 5 Tracks From Final Fantasy
Nobuo Uematsu is a genius in his own right. He went from working in a small, independent record store to scoring a video game called Final Fantasy, which then went on to become one of the most popular video game series of all time.
He has since scored over thirty games for Square Enix, many of which include Final Fantasy titles, before he ultimately parted ways with the company in 2004. What follows is a list of the best tracks from this original game in which he first made his mark, and a discussion into why they are stand out tracks that still impress and inspire today.
The first track we shall mention is the Prelude. It plays during the opening main menu of the game, and comprises of a simple ascending and descending C major scale, before shifting to its relative key of A minor. It then moves into more complex scales out of the original key, keeping the same scale pattern, before returning to the tonic C major.
The whole song is played by a solo harp, and is both simple and iconic in itself. In fact, it has then gone on to appear in some form or other in almost every other Final Fantasy title to date, which is deserving of an honourable mention alone and is one of the elements that define the Final Fantasy series. Remarkably Uematsu claims this song was a last minute addition to the soundtrack, and was composed in under 10 minutes.
This is the piece of music that is played whenever you enter a town in the game, and is a beautiful and peaceful composition. Played on rich acoustic guitars, it is a major key piece that is very catchy and relaxing and instantly puts a smile on your face.
Occasionally a flute joins in to play the melody previously played by an acoustic guitar while the other guitar continues to play the rhythm in the background. There are many other town themes that have been used in other titles in the series, but this one remains one of our favourites.
The Main Theme in any Final Fantasy soundtrack usually refers to the piece of music that is most prevalent in that particular game, and the first game in the series is no exception. Played during exploration of the world map as in most of the other games, this track is uplifting and extremely motivating.
Using most of the instrument groups available, Uematsu uses strings, brass, woodwinds and bells to create an epic tune that fits the theme of the game perfectly, suggesting a great adventure on the horizon and a great feeling of hope and potential victory. It is hard not to feel a sense of duty and obligation as you travel to your next destination in the game, driven by this epic fanfare playing in the background.
Although not usually mentioned very often in similar articles, we feel that this track is a hidden gem in the original Final Fantasy soundtrack. A reprise of the Temple Of Chaos theme, which also deserves special mention, this one has a much more epic feel about it and is a more full instrumental rendition, therefore making the list as opposed to Temple Of Chaos.
It begins with an emotional and slightly dark melody line played on strings, with a thudding bass in the background driving the piece forward. Eventually a very soft and delicate melody is played on top, giving it a slightly more calm and friendly feel than the intro, before the strings return to raise the piece to its peak. Haunting and beautiful, this is indeed a brilliant early showcase of Uematsu’s talent.
Bonus Track – Matoya’s Cave
Matoya’s Cave is a very prominent theme in this game, featured in multiple locations and dungeons. Originally encountered in the cave in which the witch Matoya dwells, it then re-emerges in several dungeons and caves. A bouncy, uplifting piece, the cheerful melody suggests an optimistic and great adventure.
Slightly medieval in its ideas, this fits the theme of the game brilliantly and remains a fan favourite to this day. It is still often played by an orchestra in concerts as a part of a Final Fantasy or video game medley, despite only appearing once in the original game more than 25 years ago.
The final track on our list is the opening theme that the player encounters early on in the game. It occurs once the warriors of light have accomplished their initial task, only to discover that a far greater adventure awaits them and this is perfectly demonstrated in this piece. An epic, adventurous and uplifting theme that told the players that the game was far from over, and they were about to experience something very special.
It begins soft and warm, almost melancholy, before slowly building up to a powerful and strong crescendo that encompasses the scope of the game ahead. This has been used briefly in part in many other Final Fantasy titles since, and has been dubbed the main theme of the entire series. Uematsu has even named this score as the song he’d like to be remembered by, and considers it his most important song. This track defines and captures the essence that is Final Fantasy.