I am new to composing. One of the exercises I have been told to do is to find music that I enjoy, analyze them, and try to figure out why it sounds "good" the way it does and to hopefully gain some information into why the composer wrote it that way in order to help write my own music.
For a quick exercise, I chose "Relm's Theme" from Final Fantasy III, which was written by Nobuo Uematsu. If you're not familiar with the game - Relm is a young painter. She is talented, smaller (in height and weight) than other characters in the game. She is feminine, quirky, innocent, and sometimes a bit sassy.
I've never done this sort of thing before and this is pretty much my first dive into music theory (I've touched on in before, but not much) but I'm a little proud of myself for sticking this out and figuring some things out.
I'm sure I've only touched the surface here. Let me know what you think about what I've noticed so far, what I might be missing, and some other ways I can analyze this piece. Thanks!
1.) I said that the piece was written in F Major. Not sure if this is true, but I just picked up my guitar, started playing the notes by ear from memory (before I looked on YouTube) and wrote them out. I started on F and I found one flat (Bb), so I decided that it was written in F major.
2.) Next, I wrote out all the notes:
F G A Bb C D E
3.) I looked up online for some information and found the following:
E (LEADING TONE)
4.) I took the melody (0:15 - 0:20) and broke it into 4 groups and then took notes on what I thought about each group and it's relationship with the next.
The Tonic is a great place to start because it sounds nice, whole, and clearly defines our key center (F Major). A descending pattern is a nice choice because it brings a sense of movement to the beginning of the piece and helps the listener feel "guided."
The Tonic moving into the leading tone causes tension, plus, the leading tone moving into the submediant causes more tension. Combine this with the slight "hold" on D really creates a beautiful anticipation for the listener.
The "C" or Dominant is a great place to start the next phrase because it provides (like the Tonic, but only slightly here) a sense of "home" or release. A quick bit of tension to "Bb" and a nice release back to "C" creates a swaying sensation and pleasant movement (a sort of innocence like our character Relm). This ends on "A" which is the Mediant between the Tonic and Dominant. It is tense and wanting to release. Once again a slight "hold" here brings anticipation.
The tension is released by a quick ascension up to the Dominant which is the "home" that our ear enjoyed in the last phrase. This feels good, but not all the way complete.
Ahhhh! A quick slide from the leading tone into the Tonic really brings us home and everything sounds complete and whole once again.
Next you might look at the chords used in conjunction w/ the melody..
Then, maybe, which chord inversion.
Then, after that (if it applies to this piece) it gets a bit more complicated.. noticing the counterpoint, and its sense of cadence - which may be too difficult to go into here.. A book might be good to have on this..
What do you think of what I have so far? Is what I wrote correct? Thank you for your response!
gregorio X said:
Well, you are noticing how the melodic movement strikes you.. Good to notice. Also there are shapes to that melody, or cells. Also you might try alternative inversions to chords used to see how they strike the ear differently - in conjuction with the melody - and why perhaps they chose their particular inversion, but it would also depend on the sensitivity of the composer - to be aware of That choosing.