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Phils Game/Pop Music Similarities #257 - Settling the Score


Featuring Final Fantasy IX and irish traditional music etc.

Greetings fellow game music lovers,

from Final Fantasy VI we make a huge jump to Final Fantasy IX from 2000, the last game in the franchise that was fully scored by Nobuo Uematsu alone. The soundtrack has been described sounding "medieval" by Uematsu himself and indeed there are many folksy and traditional sounding melodies in the suite. One of them is "Cleyra Settlement" from the Burmecian outpost the tribe Freya descends from:

Some people have identified this music as irish traditional music. Cause for this may be that the Burmecians, and thus the Cleyrans, seem to share many aspects of irish culture, especially their dance routines. Some hints can also be found in the song itself:

  • The first six notes remember to some extend of the central motif in a traditional irish song known "The Lark in the Morning".
  • The rhythm has 6/8 time which is commonly used in irish jigs.

Nevertheless, there are also some clues that speak against it:

  • It is too slow for a traditional irish dance which tends to be rather fast as you can hear in the above Lark example.
  • The instrumentation does not really remember of other irish traditional music or the pauses or chromatic bits.
  • The tone is also less, for the lack of a better word, "enthusiastic" and energetic than what you usually hear from that direction.

So what is Cleyra Settlement in the end? A small hint can be found in the lead instrument which sounds very much like a Calliope, a pipe organ that can often be found at circuses and carnivals:

Circuses and carnivals were the height of their popularity in the late 19th and early 20th century when the musical landscape was dominated by rags, waltzes and marches. 

And indeed, there are some waltzes from that era with a musical curve pretty similar to Cleyra. Examples:

Victor Herbert - "It Happended in Nordland" (1904):

Maybe this one too:

Carol / Friedland - "Beautiful Roses" (1914):

So, my hypothesis is that Cleyra is a waltz that has been mixed to sound irish.

More Final Fantasy next week!

Phil out.

- 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