Topic: Characters, music, personalities.  (Read 134546 times)

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8lue Wizard

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #60 on: September 17, 2009, 10:30:53 am »
Wind God Girl might be a reference to Wind God Gau, a well-known setup of a certain character from Final Fantasy 6. Then again, I have no clue what the Japanese name for it is, so it might just be coincidental.

Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #61 on: September 17, 2009, 02:13:09 pm »
Sorry everyone, I was gonna do an entry on Medicine, but I'll leave that off until tomorrow, as I'm having trouble putting words to thoughts. I'll hope that my Aya entry is enough to tide you over. I'll just point out - I'm really surprised that Medicine is really unpopular - that theme of hers is gold.

Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #62 on: September 18, 2009, 07:50:03 am »
I know nothing of Medicine, except that she's a doll youkai. Thus, I am going in blind, but, fortunately, this is quite a forgiving piece.

Medicine Melancholy – Poison Body ~ Forsaken Doll

The instrumentation choice very quickly sets the mood of the piece: organ and bells in addition to the usual trumpet and piano provide an intense gothic atmosphere – dark, foreboding and extremely unforgiving.

Like with many other characters that have some sort of psychological issue, this piece contains a desperate mantra of its own, the constantly-repeated diminished chords that use the main notes of a minor chord as starting points (first four bars on one note, next four bars on the next etc.). In Medicine’s case, the mantra could have been used for any number of reasons, but self-assertion is most likely, something that is burned into one’s own mind to make it a part of their very being. The fact that Medicine is creating this sort of attitude – one shown by oppressive minor - suggests extreme spite, a hope of revenge against an unknown person.

There is only one other aspect to the piece, really, which is in the melody. The entire melodic line is in ¾ time, as opposed to the 4/4 of the accompaniment. Not only that, but the melodic line clearly does not follow the strong beats of the accompaniment, instead going for syncopation. Syncopation means broken rhythm. “Broken” is the key word – the entire melody demonstrates on a pedestal just how broken Medicine is. The melodic line itself is perfectly fine and stable, quite elegant in its adherence to scales, actually, so, outwardly, Medicine looks perfectly normal, maybe even attractive. Only when she starts to move that the flaws come through – her body itself does not seem to move in the correct rhythm, some parts moving in one way, others in another.

Put simply, Medicine’s self is broken, much like her body. Forsaken Doll is an incredibly apt title for her, and, despite Gensokyo+, I’m having real trouble finding optimistic aspects to her. Perhaps I’ll come back to this piece a smidge later and see if I get any new ideas.

Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #63 on: September 18, 2009, 11:58:10 am »
Hmm, it really seems that nobody cares about Medicine. I could associate with that, there are practically no endearing factors to her - the broken girl-moe is nuked by the manical focus on some undefined vengeance, and any sympathy for said maniacal vengeance, like with, say, Kill Bill's Bride, is made impossible by Medicine being so ambiguously broken - we get no clue as to what broke her, so we can't associate. It really seems that Medicine is in the wrong story, and gets ignored as being inappropriate. Isn't it sad, Medicine?

Yuka Kazami - Gensokyo, Past and Present ~ Flower Land

Only slightly more familiar with Yuka than with Medicine - I know she's a youkai with power over flowers, and is also apparently ancient, and thus powerful. Unfortunately, her debut Windows theme doesn't detail very much, more painting with large brushstrokes, as it were. Some of the conclusions I come to may be off the mark, so I'd be interested to discuss with anyone more familiar with Yuka.

The introduction carries a dignified power - long organ notes supported by very intermittent piano chords, which are mostly there to provide texture rather than harmony. No running around in fast-paced etudes in either melody or accompaniment - in her usual state Yuka is, well, ponderous, for lack of a better word. Her power glows around her, obvious but not harmful, and Yuka revels in it, enjoying each moment of the day. It would be a mistake to describe her as slow - she just takes a while to get riled.

The next section confirms my thoughts that ZUN loves to riff - we have another improvisation set. The usual characteristics apply - self-indulgent and loves to ponder everything in the world for herself, and only for herself, by herself. The accompaniment makes this bit quite special, though, as it's a harsh one, mostly lacking elegance - trumpets, a sudden and unsettling change in instrumentation, playing the same broken chord over and over. This usually smacks of psychological issues in a character, and considering the section this accompaniment supports, I would say Yuka is quite deeply narcissistic, with a possible superiority complex, considering the repeated chords asserting to Yuka's self the importance of her independence, of valuing and indulging her self.

The third part finally introduces the melody, which supports my claim that Yuka is slow to rile. However, even in her assertive mode, Yuka retains the dignity and power that was present in the introduction - the trumpets, undistracted by any supporting melodic instruments, play long, graceful chords, carefully repeating notes when the melody wishes it. Curiously, that improvisation from the previous part is still heard behind the melody. Perhaps Yuka is showing this side of her to demonstrate her superiority? There's no tantrum, no insecurity, just an absolute conviction that she is just better, and she shows through careful, graceful example. Changing keys, the music loses the support of the improvisation, so perhaps Yuka has deemed her demonstration sufficient, and, now that everything's in place, she can continue enjoying things at her own relaxed tempo.

I believe that Yuka's relaxed, one-step-at-a-time nature is why her power is so hard to notice, and only just barely shows through as a constant glow throughout the piece. It would take a lot of effort indeed to have Yuka demonstrate it all.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2009, 09:31:50 pm by Fightest »

Hieda no Aya

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #64 on: September 18, 2009, 03:39:54 pm »
Alas, poor Medicine, screwy little thing she is. Fandom is a fickle mistress.

I like your interpretaion on Yuuka -- it's a change of pace from the way people usually represent her, though without actually contradicting it. And I've always had a hard time getting a reliable idea of her, but it fits for me too.

And Aya too, that combination of forceful and easygoing. But it's interesting to me that Aya's and Yuuka's themes are the ones that stand out to you as making it clear that ZUN loves to riff, since I've always gotten the impression they're among his favorite characters too. At least he used to fanboy over Yuuka (youkai moe~ whatever) and, for all the jokes about Aya being ZUN's girlfriend, she actually was sort of designed for his wish fulfillment; he pretty much created her so that he could make Shoot the Bullet. Figures if it's those themes where he really indulges himself. I guess he goes for that carefree, uninhibited, self-focused attitude too.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #65 on: September 18, 2009, 03:51:00 pm »
for all the jokes about Aya being ZUN's girlfriend, she actually was sort of designed for his wish fulfillment; he pretty much created her so that he could make Shoot the Bullet.

Hang on - PoFV came before Shoot the Bullet. Was Aya added to PoFV after Shoot the Bullet was already out or something?

But I think you're on to something. Case in point:


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Hieda no Aya

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #66 on: September 18, 2009, 04:21:57 pm »
for all the jokes about Aya being ZUN's girlfriend, she actually was sort of designed for his wish fulfillment; he pretty much created her so that he could make Shoot the Bullet.
Hang on - PoFV came before Shoot the Bullet. Was Aya added to PoFV after Shoot the Bullet was already out or something?

Haha, nah. ZUN talks about this in StB's afterword: he had the basic picture-taking-game idea for a long time, since working on EoSD, but couldn't figure out how to execute it. Eventually he figured that he needed a character who had an actual reason to be taking pictures of danmaku, since it didn't fit any of the existing main characters, so he came up with Aya. I guess he figured it'd be lame to introduce her in her own spinoff, better to establish her as an existing character first? Or maybe it was just luck that PoFV was being made around then. And both those games were closely tied to BAiJR too, naturally.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #67 on: September 18, 2009, 04:30:06 pm »
for all the jokes about Aya being ZUN's girlfriend, she actually was sort of designed for his wish fulfillment; he pretty much created her so that he could make Shoot the Bullet.
Hang on - PoFV came before Shoot the Bullet. Was Aya added to PoFV after Shoot the Bullet was already out or something?

Haha, nah. ZUN talks about this in StB's afterword: he had the basic picture-taking-game idea for a long time, since working on EoSD, but couldn't figure out how to execute it. Eventually he figured that he needed a character who had an actual reason to be taking pictures of danmaku, since it didn't fit any of the existing main characters, so he came up with Aya. I guess he figured it'd be lame to introduce her in her own spinoff, better to establish her as an existing character first? Or maybe it was just luck that PoFV was being made around then. And both those games were closely tied to BAiJR too, naturally.

Ah, yeah, quite right. I even read that same interview and thought it was fascinating how Shoot the Bullet became inspired. Don't know why I forgot that.

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Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #68 on: September 19, 2009, 09:31:32 pm »
No update today, sorry folks, travelling makes Fightest a tired fellow. However, something does bug me - those two pictures up there ain't that similar. I mean, sure, they've both got the black-white-beige theme going...

Actually, yeah, that red stripe on ZUN matches Aya's hat, and the colour schemes match perfectly. I think I see it now.

Oh yeah, I've been thinking about the times when I say that I'm unfamiliar with some of the characters whose themes I'm listening to and it smacks to me that that sounds awfully lazy and non-committal. I'll be honest and say that I try to familiarize myself with the characters as much as possible from a canon perspective, which inevitably means that characters with very little exposure don't have a lot for me to go on. This is why I'm slightly worried about my upcoming analysis of Fate of Sixty Years - a few people appear to be looking forward to it - but Shikieki only really appears in PoFV, no other canon work, and I've never even finished PoFV, so my starting point is vague indeed. I'll do my best, of course, and hope that it will match expectations. Update on Monday, then, with Komachi and Shikieki.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2009, 09:40:41 pm by Fightest »

Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #69 on: September 20, 2009, 08:37:41 am »
For purposes of accuracy, I've asked someone who's been in the musical business far longer than I have about certain tracks, and found out I've been either somewhat wrong or inaccurate in my musical analysis in some of the weirder pieces. That said, I'll put in this little intermezzo to rectify that.

Without further ado: Fightest Sign ~ Informed Recollection

Flandre Scarlet - U.N. Owen was her

A major factor that induces the ominous feelings of worry and oppression is the presence of harsh clacking sounds throughout the melody, which give a feeling of brutality. Additionally, the introduction really has a tendency to switch from 6/8 to 3/4 time frequently, changing the strong beats and throwing off the listener.

Curiously, if the clacking sounds are removed from the melody it quickly changes from oppressive to uplifting. There's a heavy metal remix of U.N. Owen out there that demonstrates this quite well.


Reisen Udongein Inaba - Lunatic Eyes - Invisible Full Moon

The opening arpeggioes are not related by perfect fourths. The alien-ness comes from mixed tonalities - the tonalities of each arpeggio are totally unrelated with each other, which creates that feeling of dissociation.


That ends this session of Informed Recollection. See you guys Monday!
« Last Edit: September 21, 2009, 07:01:31 am by Fightest »

Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #70 on: September 21, 2009, 07:00:12 am »
Komachi Onozuka - Higan Retour ~ Riverside View

A notable feature in this track is the lack of ZUN's usual fast tempo. Practically the entire piece moves along at a leisurely pace, the melody built up of long, graceful trumpet notes. Neither is there much variation in the piece - most of it is trumpet or piano in the melody and that off-beat drum and ... something synthetic in the accompaniment. Additionally, there is a barely audible, but incredibly deep and powerful if you know what you're looking for, horn-like bass as harmony.

I'll divide this analysis slightly differently and start with the melody. The melody comprises of three parts: the piano chords repeating a gentle 4-bar non-legato melody, a muted trumpet playing a little rebellious interlude and finally standard paired trumpets coming in with their own straightforward 2x4-bar melody (different from the piano part). The track has no issues switching from one part to another when that part is done, and does so freely, without complicated cadences or sequences.

The first melodic part, the one played in piano (although sometimes has trumpet following along), follows a classical and uncomplicated set of cadences that all eventually lead back to the initial key. It's a relaxed melody that suggests lack of guile and trickery, suggests a what-you-see-is-what-you-get personality. Its grace stems from its being in a different time signature, 3/4, than the rest of the piece, which is in 4/4. 3/4 time signature is the signature in which waltzes are written - simple but beautiful dances, carrying a graceful rhythm, a welcome and familiar mainstay of aristocratic courts during the Victorian period. Just remember the Blue Danube (that one waltz everyone's heard) and see what I'm trying to say - Komachi's attitude to anyone she meets is open and friendly, perhaps overly so, but her simple approach make her easy to be around, and the grace she has, perhaps surprising for her simplicity, means that her presence does not grate over time.

The second melodic part is rebellious for moving into a different time signature, as well as picking a different instrument for itself. A muted trumpet has a comic seriousness to it when compared to unmuted trumpets, like a child puffing themselves up, trying to look bigger to an adult. Such a section can lead to two possible character traits, both related to Komachi having a childish side that comes through every once in a while, being immature about something unexpected: either she is genuinely so, or she does so to mock. Considering the final melodic part, which I'll move on to shortly, I would say it's a mixture of both - she can be surprisingly childish when arguing, or stating a point to someone she disagrees with.

That childishness will always make way for her serious side, though. The trumpets double up in their real, unmuted sound, providing a strong, yet still calm and elegant due to its legato and slow tempo, clear melody. Komachi believes strongly in herself, and will reinforce her importance - the melody changes to a higher pitch, even clearer to the listener.

What Komachi thinks she lacks in quality, she makes up for in quantity - these melodic motifs repeat at least once each in the track, as if Komachi is determined that she be remembered.

Underpinning all this is that deep, powerful and very melodic bass. Serving as harmonic support, it shows Komachi's spiritual strength. Her outward appearance may be simple and predictable, albeit pleasant for the eyes, but there's a power so deep within her that it's barely noticeable, yet a power that reinforces her presence so elegantly yet uncompromisingly. Its low pitch suggests that there is something ancient about that power, something that is really independent of the person carrying it. Komachi seems entirely comfortable with this power.

Komachi prefers a straight approach, and her natural grace carries her through most incidents without issue. She has a tendency to be immature about any odd thing, perhaps adorably so. She might even like to pout. A deep and ancient power resides within her, something she is used to, is comfortable with, and something that perfectly supplements her character without imposing on her personality.

Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #71 on: September 21, 2009, 12:35:32 pm »
Bull, horns, etc.

Shikieki Yamaxanadu - Touhou Judgement in the Sixtieth Year ~ Fate of Sixty Years.

A very noticeable instrument in this piece is the church organ, and whether it’s in the melody or the accompaniment, it’s always audible. The organ’s steady sound and constant volume, in addition to its characteristic brass-ness, provide an unmistakable feeling of something uncompromising, which, combined with a minor key and unrelenting repetition of arpeggioes, give the feeling of something great and terrible, hidden just out of sight, its presence only visible by the shadows it casts. Just listen to the signature song of Phantom of the Opera, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. This organ is going to be the central instrument of the piece – others might come in to do their part, but the organ will always be there. This is, to me, Shikieki’s duty – she is a Judge of the Dead, the final arbiter, the bringer of last judgement, etc. etc. and she takes her job extremely seriously, knowing the full extent of the power she wields. Considering the presence of the organ in all the other motifs in her theme, I would say that this attitude might lead to her being overly serious in every aspect of her life, possibly unreasonably so.

In the introduction, the organ is also given a feeling of menace by the harsh percussion (cymbal and clacking) and that unusual sound effect that is unique to this piece – those precise and focused “blips”. It’s the latter that really threw me off when listening to this for the first time, it was like the piece was prodding me in extremely specific points, nodding sagely and writing something unknown to me in a notebook. Those blips don’t have a structure to them, they appear almost randomly – there is still method to them, as they are completely in line with the harmony, and they are just long enough not to be considered staccato, but too short to be non-legato – they are short, measured prods in strategic locations for an unknown, but clear reason. It is impossible to hide anything from Shikieki when she is doing her work. She will quickly and precisely strike at all the correct strings of the one being judged, who might not even realize that he is being read like an open book.

The first melodic line takes over suddenly from the introduction with a surprisingly long melody - 16 bars long. The melody is slow and has an elegant flow, but develops syncopation in the second half without changing timbre. There is just naturally so much to Shikieki herself that she does not need to make up with quantity – the casual flow of the long melody gives the impression of long experience with the world, demonstrating with the broken rhythm in the second half that she understands that not all is serious business in the world, and, perhaps might want to give the impression that she can have fun as well. This is, of course, undermined by that ever-present organ in the background, complete with blips, showing Shiki’s cold, analyzing gaze underneath what she might think may be a warm expression.

This aspect of her really comes to the forefront in the next part, with the introduction part coming back in full force, a lone trumpet playing what may be a somewhat melancholic motif, a minor melody occasionally moving into major before going back to minor. As could be expected from a character in a position of cosmic importance like hers, it’s possible that sometimes she might wonder what it would be like without the responsibility that weighs down on her even at that moment. Notably, this melancholic, wistful tone is present in the previous part as well, showing to me that Shikieki always, always feels the pressure of her position, feels the necessity to uphold her dignity regardless who she’s around and when.

The third part starts off, almost interrupting the previous train of thought, with a surprisingly warm organ melody that eventually reverts to the first part through a seamless transition. Mostly low-pitch and in a major key, this organ part shows that perhaps Shikieki’s work attitude is not all cold and analytical. Despite the necessity of impartiality, Shikieki is compassionate, and thus might provide some indication to whoever is before her on what to do, how to proceed, not only from her position as a judge, but also from her as a person, as demonstrated by the first-part melody.

This is not the easiest of pieces to analyse, as it, as usual with final and extra themes, is packed with conflicting feelings and strange interludes, which means there is lots to miss or to misinterpret. I feel Shikieki is a person who lives their job, meaning that, for her, she has to uphold a dignity and impartiality of a judge even when off-duty. This leads to her always seeming distant, even when she tries to close that gap. Despite this impartiality, she is compassionate, and takes a personal interest in others, as well as the interest of a judge.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #72 on: September 21, 2009, 04:04:59 pm »
Oh wow. Your take on Shikieiki is excellent. No matter where in the song I'm in, I always feel like I'm in the presence of something much bigger, much stronger-- and much more compassionate than me. The ORGAN. Oh god.

And backtrackin' a bit, Yuka's interpretation is similarly good. I know you probably won't be doin' much PC-98 music, but to see Flower Land compared to Sleeping Terror or Inanimate Dream would be helpful to see how Yuka's character has developed over the years-- she's mellow now, slow to action, but her older themes, Sleeping Terror in particular, show a time when the sleeping terror... wasn't so sleepy, if you will.

Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #73 on: September 22, 2009, 07:19:22 am »
to see Flower Land compared to Sleeping Terror or Inanimate Dream would be helpful to see how Yuka's character has developed over the years-- she's mellow now, slow to action, but her older themes, Sleeping Terror in particular, show a time when the sleeping terror... wasn't so sleepy, if you will.

Sleeping Terror, huh? Youtube delivers, as always, so I've had a listen. I'll do the full analysis later, but I'll say it right now - it's quite similar to Faith is for the Transient People in, uh, "instrumentation" (bleh chiptunes) and mood. Although, I could be the only one to think this.

And speaking of Faith is for the Transient People, I'll be shortly moving on to Mountain of Faith! Say what you will about gameplay, the music here is fantastic, and is the last game with music completely in ZUN's classic style before he gets creative in Subterranean Animism.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #74 on: September 22, 2009, 07:43:41 am »
And speaking of Faith is for the Transient People, I'll be shortly moving on to Mountain of Faith! Say what you will about gameplay, the music here is fantastic, and is the last game with music completely in ZUN's classic style before he gets creative in Subterranean Animism.

My Tewi :'(

Helepolis

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #75 on: September 22, 2009, 09:02:28 am »
YOU FORGOT TEWI. NOW YOU WILL GET BAD LUCK FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE



Fightest, seeing you analyse so deep. Do you play any instruments?
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Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #76 on: September 22, 2009, 09:26:56 am »
My Tewi :'(

Exclamation mark! You're right. This is what happens when I don't play the games the music to which I'm analysing to any degree of completion. Hmm, my track name does not match that of the Touhou wiki's.

Tewi Inaba - Lord Usa's Elemental Flag or White Flag of Usa Shrine.

There's a lot more to Tewi than meets the eye. Her theme demonstrates a confident intensity that comfortably segues into playful interludes. She is canonically portrayed as a trickster rabbit that doesn't follow any rules but her own, and I think that this piece sheds a good amount of light on her approach to life in general.

There are two distinct parts to the piece. The first is mostly an organ-based ostinato with supporting piano interludes, and the second is a set of piano arpeggioes distinctly in contrast with the flowing organ previously.

As I said before, church organs sound uncompromising. The major key and quick tempo of the organ part give that feeling of confident, experienced intensity without any deep-seated issues or ominous undertones. Of note in this part is the rhythm and timing: the piece is in classic time, yet each repeating motif is 3 bars long, not 4, which throws off the listener’s internal expectation of how the motif would proceed – normally, for a satisfactory conclusion there would have to be one more bar, but the melody ignores that and goes for a repeat when it needs to. The contrast between the long notes of the first two bars and the short notes in the third only empowers the confusion.
The other component of the first part is the piano segments. These are even more elaborate than the organ part, the (quite simple, harmony-wise) melody doing pretty much what it wants, when it wants, breaking pace every other bar whilst still maintaining something familiar by keeping to classic time and harmony. Going back to the melody, it’s all in major, no out-of-the-ordinary key changes, the only quirk being that large volume of ornamentation (pretty much an ornament per actual melodic note).

This all speaks volumes about Tewi. Outwardly she may look quite simple, and there could be evidence that she might be even a little foolish, but there’s an immense amount of self-respect within her developed by decades of experience. Due to this she may appear exceptionally selfish, as her approach to life puts her whims before anything else, but this is caused less by the desire for self-assertion but more by the will to be absolutely unbound by any artificial constraints imposed by strangers. That said, she is entirely of this Earth, and her mannerisms are not alien, just quirky, the difference being that it is far easier to associate with the latter than the former. This, when considering the major key of the piece, makes Tewi ultimately a positive character, even if this is not immediately visible from her behaviour.

In the second part, inevitably, the melody changes key signatures to ¾, as if messing around with timing wasn’t enough. Bizarrely, this section maintains a completely straightforward rhythm, following strong beats and bar counts correctly. There is no melody really to speak of, the section relying on sequential arpeggioes to fill up space. To me, this is a demonstration. Tewi is showing exactly why she behaves like she does: this section, following all the rules and expectations, has no individuality. It’s a comfortable, predictable series of chords that doesn’t ask any questions or provide any answers. There’s no character in it, and her character and individuality is what Tewi holds paramount.

Of course, the piece comes back to the first part, this time with a single horn providing a simple, whimsical tune in major on top of the organ. A final demonstration, perhaps, that all this off-structured behaviour of Tewi’s is completely natural to her, that she is perfectly capable of doing anything and still maintaining her own, nobody else’s, tempo.


P.S. Gwah! Red writing! I'm sorry for forgetting you, Tewi!
P.P.S. I play the piano. Though, to be fair, I've been exposed to all sorts of music, mostly of the pre-1900 sort, for a long time, which is what, I feel, gives me the most insight here.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2009, 09:33:54 am by Fightest »

Polaris

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #77 on: September 23, 2009, 01:19:32 am »
There's also Flowering Night, Oriental Dark Flight, and Spring Lane ~ Colorful Path (the rest are remixes as far as I know) for Sakuya, Marisa, and Reimu respectively. I'm interested in Flowering Night the most, though.

There's also Night Falls ~ Evening Star for Yukari (which I'd really like to see analyzed) and Onigashima in the Fairyland ~ Missing Power for Suika (which is a fun song even though it's not one of my favorites) from IaMP.

Now I feel guilty piling a bunch of songs on you :x

Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #78 on: September 23, 2009, 07:27:05 am »
There's also Flowering Night, Oriental Dark Flight, and Spring Lane ~ Colorful Path (the rest are remixes as far as I know) for Sakuya, Marisa, and Reimu respectively. I'm interested in Flowering Night the most, though.

There's also Night Falls ~ Evening Star for Yukari (which I'd really like to see analyzed) and Onigashima in the Fairyland ~ Missing Power for Suika (which is a fun song even though it's not one of my favorites) from IaMP.

I'll be doing remix and alternate theme analyses later on after I'm done with the core themes, and, as for Onigashima - ha ha! I am the victor this time, as I refer you to page 1. It's right there, enjoy!

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #79 on: September 23, 2009, 09:09:33 am »
Any movies you have of you playing touhou themes or something Fightest? ( like on yt )
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Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #80 on: September 23, 2009, 12:50:55 pm »
Any movies you have of you playing touhou themes or something Fightest? ( like on yt )

No, although not for lack of trying, mostly because I can never find decent piano arranges of the themes I like, and I don't have an ear for improvisation, so I needs me my sheet music. I did find playable sheet music for Septette recently, though, so if there's demand...

In other news, time to move on properly onto Mountain of Faith! As I mentioned before, I love the music here. It is also the last of "classic" ZUN before he goes all creative in SA and UFO.

Minoriko Aki – Because the Princess Inada is Scolding Me

Unusual for a first boss theme, there is an immense amount of power emanating from the piece due to instrumentation, and its unrelenting tempo. Additionally, it has a touch of aloofness and, perhaps, cruelty, due to certain sound qualities, which I’ll get into later.

The introduction’s strength comes from loud, separated piano chords, each accented by the strong beats of a time signature with many strong beats – 2/4 (C with a line down the middle for those who know what I’m talking about). The supporting acoustic guitar is an interesting touch, as the guitar is most commonly heard in Spanish and Latinoamerican dance music. The dance of these cultures (the Cha-Cha-Cha, the Tango etc.) is extremely harsh and precise, yet intimate and sensual. In fact, the introduction has a few unmistakable features from the Tango, giving me a previously unconsidered image of Minoriko – a graceful, proud and powerful dancer, a harsh mistress that rewards loyalty with a dedicated affection. Castanets are optional, but absolutely appropriate.

That said, the single melodic part of the piece maintains the same rhythm as the introduction, swapping the piano for trumpet, keeping the guitar intact. To me, this is just the continuation of the dance that was started in the introduction. The biggest change is the switch from 2/4 to 4/4 time, allowing for fewer stronger beats to allow for a flowing melody, 8 bars long with a fair share of cadences and key transitions for a comparably short melody. These cadences demonstrate the emotion flowing off Minoriko - she is also of the type to show what she feels, when she feels it, very clearly. This show of emotion, however, is strongly embedded into that furious dance of hers, making it almost a part of her very self, making Minoriko as she is described here something indivisible, something elemental. I believe this is appropriate, considering the animistic nature of Shinto gods.

More than just a goddess of autumn harvest, Minoriko is the goddess of reaping what you sow, of reward for loyalty and punishment for lack thereof, a goddess of clear consequences to deeds done. She is impartial in her judgment, and may seem cold and distant for this, especially so if one incurs her karmic wrath, but she is just as capable of blazing passion should one be in her favour. Truly, there's no middle ground to her.

She should also wear a stunning tango dress, in autumn colours.  ;D
« Last Edit: September 23, 2009, 12:56:14 pm by Fightest »

Polaris

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #81 on: September 23, 2009, 10:25:26 pm »
I'll be doing remix and alternate theme analyses later on after I'm done with the core themes, and, as for Onigashima - ha ha! I am the victor this time, as I refer you to page 1. It's right there, enjoy!

Oh, wow, now I feel stupid, especially since I remember reading the analysis... ^^;

Fightest

  • Fighter than anyone else
Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #82 on: September 24, 2009, 11:46:55 am »
Hina Kagiyama – Dark Side of Fate

Dark Side of Fate’s main motif repeats no less than four times, eight if one includes the usual repeat of the entire piece. Each of these individual repetitions consists of four parts, two of which are repeats of the other two parts. Furthermore, the second two parts of the motif themselves can be divided into four parts, each second one of those repeating major elements from each first one. Repetition, repetition, repetition, with a minor degree of escalation, only to go back to more repetition. Combined with the fast pacing, we get movement, agitation, in a very characteristic manner. I probably don’t need to tell you this, but the piece demonstrates aptly the act of spinning on the spot. This is certainly a physical characteristic of Hina’s, although I would be hesitant to say that it’s a psychological characteristic of hers, as that would imply indecisiveness, lack of ambition and vision, as well as fear of change combined with the self-delusion of normalcy. Bad characteristics in general.

That said, is Hina not an apotropaic god? Perhaps these characteristics are indeed, not hers, but curses, collected by her before they can get to their victims. In that case, this piece is a demonstration of the repertoire of curses that Hina builds up on a daily basis. The instrumentation tells the listener that these are pretty serious curses, at that – the melody is all over the minor keys with a bit of major thrown in for contrast, half the piece is in organ, the other half in piano, giving us a mix of ominous dread and desperate melancholy. The background has deep horns presenting an ancient, creeping power, as well as quiet, higher-pitched pipes presenting a continuous wail, to increase the tense atmosphere, as if the pressure of all these curses in such a small place is enough to be perceived by human senses. Essentially, Hina is constantly surrounded by a potpourri of negative emotions and intentions, all exceptionally strong and malevolent, all only held in place by Hina's own ability.

Hina is like a bomb disposal expert whilst on duty – you know she’s on your side, and doing things at her expense to improve your life, but you’ll be damned (ha!) before you’re going to go anywhere near her. Even seeing her means that something’s wrong, and you should be beating feet in the strictly opposite direction. Unfortunately, there’s not much about Hina herself in this piece, and perhaps that’s appropriate – she’s extremely hard to make out in any kind of detail from underneath all those curses that cover her seemingly from head to toe, like some sort of gothic bee-keeper’s swarm. Perhaps she is content with just doing her assigned duty, and does not care to show of herself any more than would be required by professional courtesy. She would then be a loner, heard of but rarely seen, performing her duty of guarding others whilst remaining hidden - a spiritual vigilante.

Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #83 on: September 25, 2009, 05:36:14 pm »
Sorry for no update today folks. If all goes well I might update as early as tomorrow, otherwise I'll be back on Monday!

Onozuka Nikuyokura

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #84 on: September 25, 2009, 07:29:24 pm »
I've started reading through these and I would like to say that I very much enjoy the interpretations of the characters via their themes. The summaries strike me as very educated and very enjoyable!
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Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #85 on: September 28, 2009, 10:44:29 am »
I'm back from the weekend and ready to continue with MoF commentary. Thanks to everyone for the positive feedback!

Nitori Kawashiro - Akutagawa Ryuunouke's Kappa ~ Candid Friend

First of all, listen to the track, then imagine it being played without the drums and guitar, slow it down a smidge and change the trumpet, organ and piano to cello or flute. What you'll end up with is the sweetest, almost childlike in its emotionality, two-and-a-bit minutes of music in MoF. There are parallels to be drawn with Hiroari Shoots a Strange Bird, in that the core melody, simple and adorable, is heard through an "action" filter, and thus certain similarities will exist between Youmu and Nitori - Nitori is expressive and emotional, and this attitude shines through even when she unloads firepower.

What makes the whole track unique to me is the 3-second pre-introduction. Using completely artificial sounds compared to the "real" instrumentation of the piece proper, this little segment is like a little announcement, a characteristic cue, visual or audible, that Nitori is here. Considering the context of the first time that the player sees Nitori, I would think that it's a videogame-ey flicker or sizzle of her optic camo, something that tells the listener that she's around even though she's still mostly invisible. Considering this, it's possible that Nitori has a penchant for dramatic entrances.

Supporting my claim, the melody explodes into organ and rock guitar playing a short introduction with long, powerful, separated chords that end on a dominant chord cadence - dominant chords naturally lead to the tonic chord, thus ending on one is a good way of providing a feeling of suspense, keeping the listener on the edge, waiting for something to happen. This segment is well-described by the word "fanfare", presenting Nitori in all her glory, dramatic pose and everything.

The melody in the piece consists of three parts, all played using either piano, organ or trumpet, usually supported by acoustic or rock guitar, demonstrating that whatever emotion or expression Nitori may be showing, the "action" filter still applies. The first is the most common in the piece, a simple 2x4-bar segment. It is in a major key and in an elegant 3/4 time, instilling a positive, warm feeling - after all, Nitori is generally a friendly and gracious character. Considering the other two melodic parts, this one is somewhat deceptive in its simplicity: the first impression of Nitori shows someone uncomplicated and a bit ridiculous - after all, the combination of that little motif with such powerful instrumentation, adding in that dramatic entrance, might have one think that Nitori has an overinflated sense of self-importance.

Then the melody moves into its second part, basically a transition, but entirely able of standing alone by itself and much more complicated than the first melodic part, containing a melodic line, presented by strong, non-legato chords, that spans a full 8 bars, and suddenly the instrumentation does not seem so ridiculous any more. Nitori shows the presence of a surprising depth of character, demonstrating that her first impression is a dangerous mis-assessment. This segment demonstrates Nitori's self-confidence and self-awareness. She is also most likely aware of the impression she presents initially, and it's possible that she presents this spiel intentionally.

The third part of the melody shows that this spiel she presents may be more for herself than for others. The motif is a shocking 16 bars long, filled with little segues into a minor key from the overall major, presenting an unshakeable feeling of longing, wistfulness, maybe a momentary melancholy, all blasted at the listener by trumpets. I feel that Nitori is hamming it up quite severely - she has developed a persona for herself of some sort of wandering hero, righting wrongs and helping the weak, whilst never getting close to anyone, a loner. However, she does not take this entirely seriously, this probably mostly being a game for her, so she rotates between the oversimplified and overcomplicated aspects of the "hero", probably depending on her mood. Considering the "action" filter, it is possible that this "hero" aspect of hers only really comes into play when there's action to be had. Thus, considering that Nitori is, as I mentioned above, expressive and emotional, I feel this is the reason why the cycling between oversimplified and overcomplicated - this is how Nitori expresses herself in action. Perhaps Nitori's been watching a bit too many action movies?


P.S. I don't think I've been entirely clear on this one, so I'll have to ask you to bear with it. My mind's been all over the place with this piece.

Solais

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #86 on: September 28, 2009, 07:12:49 pm »
Damn you're good. It's a good read, though I've skipped three or four. I'm curious about Mysterious Mountain. Maybe your analysis will somehow explain to me why it sounds really, really nostalgic.

Fightest

  • Fighter than anyone else
Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #87 on: September 29, 2009, 07:28:16 am »
Damn you're good. It's a good read, though I've skipped three or four. I'm curious about Mysterious Mountain. Maybe your analysis will somehow explain to me why it sounds really, really nostalgic.

Oh, and here I was planning on skipping it, as I've already gone over Aya, thus making it really belong in the "alternate themes" camp. That, however, means making you wait for quite a simple answer - Youkai Mountain ~ Mysterious Mountain sounds nostalgic due to instrumentation, phrase structure and pacing. Specifically, it uses the sound of a pan-flute (the one where there's lots of tubes of different lengths tied together), which is commonly heard in, say, traditional folk songs, it being such a simple instrument to make, which could very well give it a nostalgic vibe if you're at all familiar with folk song.
This feeling would then be strengthened by the first part of the melody, which very much runs like a jig, which itself has Irish and Scottish traditional dance roots, and, again, you might be familiar with Irish or Scottish dance music. A noteworthy fact is that a common instrument to accompany these dances would be the aforementioned pan-flute.
The final aspect, which ties into the dance-likeness, is the common use of repetition of a small bit of a phrase once the phrase itself is finished, which consolidates the phrase, immediately making it something familiar, so when it crops up again there's a strong feeling of recognition, and anything familiar that one remembers can evoke nostalgia.

I hope that makes sense.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 11:28:29 am by Fightest »

Solais

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #88 on: September 29, 2009, 12:02:13 pm »
Ah, it does makes sense! I love Irish music, and I'm familiar with folk songs (heard a lot when I was a child), not to mention, the k-waves Touhou arrangements are my favorites. Thanks!
And, by the way, I think Mysterious Mountain is not a theme of Aya. More like a theme of all tengu, and their mountain.

Fightest

  • Fighter than anyone else
Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #89 on: September 29, 2009, 01:12:29 pm »
As much as I try to fulfill requests, I'll go with my original plan and skip Youkai Mountain ~ Mysterious Mountain (do expect to see it when I go on to alternate themes) and go on straight to...

Sanae Kochiya - Faith is for the Transient People

I like Sanae, and I understand she's quite a popular character in general. I've realised, however, how little of her character I really know, despite her appearing quite frequently since her debut. All I know is that she very heavily influenced by her two patron goddesses, and her attitude at any given moment might not even truly be her own, instead being a projection of the feelings of either Kanako or Suwako (considering the events in UFO). It is because of this that I am very hesitant to attribute any personality traits gleaned from Faith directly to her - she is, after all, protecting the shrine in the name of Kanako, who has a very... aggressive attitude to things that stand in her way, which there are a lot of, considering her love of revolutionary progress (see SA). Regardless, let's see what the piece has to offer.

Oh. That's actually quite easy. We have piano and flute for the melody, supported by high-pitched plucked string (hesitant to call it acoustic guitar), and the accompaniment is all low-pitched rock guitar with an extremely prominent drum beat. The melody and accompaniment are pretty much two characters - melody for core Sanae, accompaniment for Kanako's psychological influence and divine investment. Have a listen to Faith, keeping these two separate characters in mind, listening to how one weaves into the other. Right now. Here's a link and everything:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGyE-b-KaMs

I'll start with the accompaniment, since it has a few quirks when it comes to the melody. The instrumentation is really what makes it tick - the low-pitched rock guitar creates a rumble, an ominous hum of a transformer station, the low roar of a powerful engine - basically there's an immense amount of power on standby for Sanae to tap at her convenience, a power that follows her around at every step. This is Sanae's divine investment that she receives from her patron goddesses, and considering how this power menaces, I think that there's little argument to whose aspect is present now.

The melody, representing Sanae, is highly intense. Being practically all in minor key with a major chord or two only to emphasise the minor that comes after it, and played in a blistering tempo with almost no rests combine to create a grim determination, a drive to get something done no matter the cost. There is a personal power there, independent from the accompaniment, shown by the full chords in the melody on the natural strong beats in a bar (every fourth beat, the piece is in the usual 4/4 time). Considering this, I had another listen to the first part of the melody, the one you hear as soon as the piano comes in. Here, the strong-beat chords are the same as those heard during the rock guitar introduction, with little, almost superfluous motifs joining each chord. This, I think, is a clear demonstration of how much influence Kanako has over Sanae - Sanae will follow along to the goddess' attitude, her preferences, even when Kanako is not around. On the other hand, it has been shown in UFO that they have some sort of long-distance telepathy deal going, so perhaps it's the other way around - Sanae will follow the instructions of her patron, but inevitably add little frills, quirks that were never intended originally. Either way, Kanako has a good deal of control over Sanae's actions, which Sanae does not resist.

The second melodic part is a transition to the third, and is interesting for being strongly both similar and dissimilar to the first - the melody's rhythm is practically identical, but the strong chords and the tonalities that go with them are gone, and the melody sometimes even misses a strong chord where there should have been one. Supporting my suspicions, the accompaniment here sounds confused, unsure of this new direction the melody's gone, not sure whether it should deploy its usual power or not, and so holds back. It follows the melody as harmonic support, the two in a bit of an awkward equilibrium. This shows to me a rather funny set-up - Sanae's propensity to adding unwanted features to her task at hand might have gotten out of hand as the girl goes on a bit of a tangent. Kanako, bewildered, follows along, hoping that Sanae gets back on track, knowing that, ultimately, she can only tell Sanae what to do and give her power, never control her directly.

The two reconcile in the third part of the melody, which has developed into its own musical line, without imitating anything that came previously, with the accompaniment happily supporting at full strength, even following some of the melodic passages with its own deep voice. The melody here is expressive, open, excited in its broken rhythm, and full of ornamentation. This is most likely Sanae's own, proper personality, outside of influence (there's a passage towards the end of the track that has this melody without any rock guitar whatsoever, which I feel supports this). That power from the beginning is still there, the strong chords are still emphasised, showing Sanae as a self-confident girl with a dose of playfulness and rebelliousness. What I feel going on here is that Kanako understands well the necessity of supporting Sanae's personal growth, and, like a well-meaning parent, go along with whatever the girl's doing, even though it might be completely unexpected. Eventually, when enough is considered enough, she will attempt to subtly steer the girl back on track with a suggestive word or two, hoping Sanae will get the hint.

Faith is for the Transient People shows the bond between Sanae and Kanako, between a girl still in the process of growing up and finding herself and a goddess who's taken on a somewhat mother-like role in that girl's life. Despite the difference in nature between the two, they are incredibly close, showing a great deal of intimate trust in the other's judgment. That said, I'm not the first to come across this evaluation, as I've read a good deal of doujins which show exactly this, and I feel that's a satisfying result.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 01:14:32 pm by Fightest »
 

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