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CoN 20th Anniversary: 1997-2017
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E8: #4 Balance is Restored (FF6) v. #15 Chrono Trigger (Crono's Theme) (CT)

 
Which song is your favorite?
Balance is Restored [ 10 ]  [71.43%]
Chrono Trigger [ 4 ]  [28.57%]
Total Votes: 14
  
Posted: 6th December 2017 16:28

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Balance is Restored has beaten some quality tracks to get here, first skunking out The Big Whale, then beating Phantom Forest and Frog's Theme. Crono's Theme beat out Highwind Takes to the Skies, the FFXV Main Theme, and then Loss of Me.

I don't think I'd ever heard the ending theme to Final Fantasy VI called by the name "Balance is Restored" until setting up this competition, but it makes total sense. This track is kind of a cheater's favorite, I think, since it mashes up so many wonderful themes into an overture. But, that doesn't take away from just how good it is, a song that is very much greater than the sum of its parts and composed perfectly to address the visuals it accompanies.

A newcomer this year is Crono's character theme, Chrono Trigger. While Crono doesn't necessarily start out as Time's Hero, there's no questioning his spirit of adventure, and adventure is the primary theme I can hear in this track. Listen long enough to get to the emotional bridge.
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Posted: 7th December 2017 12:42

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Visit here to view this matchup on the Regalia website or listen to these tracks.

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Posted: 10th December 2017 08:36

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Difficult matchup, to say the least.

Crono's Theme is basically iconic of Chrono Trigger.

Balance is Restored is a summary of Final Fantasy VI.

Neither track loops.

As a musical representative for the franchise, though, I think I'd prefer the FF6 ending theme. I don't think it's perfect -- the instrumentation is a little rougher than the iconic tune of Chrono Trigger, and FF4 also has a more memorable credits portion in my opinion. But it spans a wide variety of emotions and moods, and it in itself tells a story, just like a good FF game does. It introduces the characters, gives them theme tunes, and then develops those themes to some extent. And later, we also get the iconic Theme of Final Fantasy.

So my vote goes to FF6's ending theme.

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Posted: 10th December 2017 14:39

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Quote (Glenn Magus Harvey)
I don't think it's perfect -- the instrumentation is a little rougher than the iconic tune of Chrono Trigger


I don't understand what you mean by that. Do you mean that the song is poorly constructed, or the actual synthesized instruments are chippy? Either way, I disagree.

Quote (Rangers51)
This track is kind of a cheater's favorite, I think, since it mashes up so many wonderful themes into an overture. But, that doesn't take away from just how good it is, a song that is very much greater than the sum of its parts and composed perfectly to address the visuals it accompanies.


I think it may be cheating to vote for this one, except I would add that the song is not only greater than the sum of its parts, but parts of the song are also greater than many other songs. For instance, Balance is Restored's version of the Main Theme of Final Fantasy is probably my favorite version of the song.

I mean, I voted for Balance is Restored, but I'm still not sure about it. The Chrono Trigger Theme is iconic.

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Posted: 10th December 2017 19:21

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Quote (BlitzSage @ 10th December 2017 09:39)
Quote (Glenn Magus Harvey)
I don't think it's perfect -- the instrumentation is a little rougher than the iconic tune of Chrono Trigger


I don't understand what you mean by that. Do you mean that the song is poorly constructed, or the actual synthesized instruments are chippy? Either way, I disagree.

I think that Crono's theme does a slightly better job of hiding the fact that the instruments are synths, but this has to do with the nature of the music it's being used for. It's a very "actiony" track and the thicker and busier texture lets it get away with that more easily. More lyrical tracks using synth instruments are more likely to exhibit this minor imperfection, and there's quite a lot of that in the FF6 ending theme.

For an example from Chrono Trigger, consider Singing Mountain.

It's not bad, but it's just noticeable if you've gone off and been humming the theme yourself for a while, then come back and listen to it again, then you'll notice how it's a bit less expressive than having an actual instrumentalist/singer play it. But

But in my opinion, this is not a proper basis for comparison, because...well, that's just because Crono's theme doesn't use a certain kind of musical writing.

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Posted: 10th December 2017 23:42

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Maybe it's just going to have to be a point of disagreement between us. But I don't see synthesized instruments as less expressive as "real" instruments. I like when orchestras remake pieces, but I almost always prefer the original music.

When I listen to both of these songs, I am well aware that they are both synthesized, but I don't find either of them lacking at all. Comparing the two, if I had to choose which I thought was better, it would be Balance is Restored because I think its arrangement is better. The Chrono Trigger theme has a great hook, but the arrangement feels a bit muddled to me.

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Post #214133
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Posted: 11th December 2017 01:42

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Quote (BlitzSage @ 10th December 2017 18:42)
Maybe it's just going to have to be a point of disagreement between us. But I don't see synthesized instruments as less expressive as "real" instruments. I like when orchestras remake pieces, but I almost always prefer the original music.

When I listen to both of these songs, I am well aware that they are both synthesized, but I don't find either of them lacking at all. Comparing the two, if I had to choose which I thought was better, it would be Balance is Restored because I think its arrangement is better. The Chrono Trigger theme has a great hook, but the arrangement feels a bit muddled to me.

They sound less expressive mostly because they're not really able to adjust their dynamic range on the fly to the extent a real instrument can. But they can certainly be very expressive in their own right, and I've fallen in love with many a chiptune before. And the difference, already difficult to notice, is even less noticeable for faster-paced writing.

I do also often prefer the original versions of music over remakes and remixes, but for me, when this happens it's usually because they left out some key feature of the original that I liked -- for example, they may have changed a 4-beat rhythm to a 2-beat rhythm, or a particular chord or two was changed so that there's a different harmony in the new one, or something like that.

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Posted: 11th December 2017 15:26

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Quote (Glenn Magus Harvey @ 10th December 2017 21:42)
They sound less expressive mostly because they're not really able to adjust their dynamic range on the fly to the extent a real instrument can. But they can certainly be very expressive in their own right, and I've fallen in love with many a chiptune before. And the difference, already difficult to notice, is even less noticeable for faster-paced writing.

That's the hallmark of these songs. The composers had less of a palette to work with. When they are remade for an orchestra, and the full dynamic range is used, they often don't sound right. But that's not because they changed something. It's because the compositions were designed with limited technology in mind. If you painted a portrait, but were limited to a few colors, or certain techniques were unavailable, you would compose it differently.

Like Jack White says about his music. He tries to purposefully limit himself by using cheaper guitars, limited people in the band, etc. The limitation forces creativity. By remaking the songs, you're destroying the essence of what made the songs creative and beautiful in the first place.

As for speed, it's just another trick; throw in enough noise to "convince" people that these aren't synthesized instruments. Uematsu's work is gutsier, because it refuses to trick its audience. It says, "I am not hiding the instrumentation. In fact, I'm going to make two 17-minute and 20+ minute pieces of music back-to-back, and illicit powerful emotions with them." That is why his work stands the test of time. That's true creativity. I don't want to be tricked, and I don't want the composer to cover up the synthesized instruments, as if they're ashamed of them.

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