Featuring Kid Icarus and marching music / latin jazz.
Greetings fellow game music lovers,
after starting with an entry for the overall soundtrack last week, now we shall have a look at some individual songs from the Kid Icarus (1986) soundtrack, starting with the song people that don't like writing down passwords should be most familiar with: The Underworld theme:
My hypothesis is that the song is a blend of marching music and latin jazz. The first hint towards this was already presented last week when it was determined that the first six notes of the song are a sample often occuring in marching music. Thus, our focus this week lies on the notes after that.
In order to make my point, I'll start my journey in the middle of the 20th century when a large portion of pop music was still based on two large influences: Marching music and jazz. Thus, it is no suprise that you can find the one or other piece that has a pretty similar structure to the above mentioned Kid Icarus section:
Les Paul - "Whispering" (1951):
Jerry Herman - "Dear World - Finale" (1969):
First, let's elaborate the potential jazz influence: In 1927,
This piece includes a sequence, that lacks the heroic tone but has a pretty similar curvature to the section in Kid Icarus above. Listen closely (note: this is the 1928 version by Paul Whiteman; I use it because it has no singing during the sequence ):
In order to demonstrate the marching music influence, I present you a marching song from 1913 by german composer Ludwig Siede with the title "Indischer Brautzug". It features the peak and the long stretched notes at the end of earch verse:
What is most common in all these snippets is the buildup to the high note in each verse followed by two long notes at the end.
Of course, unless Hirokazu Tanaka is a 20th century musical buff, one could ask oneself how he might have come in contact with the melodies above. My current hypothesis is that he witnessed it indirectly via Brazilian music, that has been popular in Japan since the 60s. This music has backing tracks that give off a similar vibe to the ones mentioned above. Some examples:
The Players - "Steppin' Lightly" (1983):
Jorge Aragão - "Coisa da pele" (1986):
Rossini Ferreira - "Recado" (1978):
Os Brasileiros - "No Paraiso Das Mulatas" (1957):
And so we are finished with Underworld for the time being. Next week comes Angel Land.