Music of the Final Fantasy VII series

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Final Fantasy VII is a role-playing video game developed by Square (now Square Enix) and published by Sony Computer Entertainment as the seventh installment in the Final Fantasy series. Released in 1997, the game sparked the release of a collection of media centered on the game entitled the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII . The music of the Final Fantasy VII series includes not only the soundtrack to the original game and its associated albums, but also the soundtracks and music albums released for the other titles in the collection. The first album produced was Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack, a compilation of all the music in the game. It was released as a soundtrack album on four CDs by DigiCube in 1997. A selection of tracks from the album was released in the single-disc Reunion Tracks by DigiCube the same year. Piano Collections Final Fantasy VII, an album featuring piano arrangements of pieces from the soundtrack, was released in 2003 by DigiCube, and Square Enix began reprinting all three albums in 2004. To date, these are the only released albums based on the original game's soundtrack, and were solely composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu; his role for the majority of subsequent albums has been filled by Masashi Hamauzu and Takeharu Ishimoto.

<i>Final Fantasy VII</i> 1997 video game

Final Fantasy VII is a 1997 role-playing video game developed by Square for the PlayStation console. It is the seventh main installment in the Final Fantasy series. Published in Japan by Square, it was released in other regions by Sony Computer Entertainment and became the first in the main series to see a PAL release. The game's story follows Cloud Strife, a mercenary who joins an eco-terrorist organization to stop a world-controlling megacorporation from using the planet's life essence as an energy source. Events send Cloud and his allies in pursuit of Sephiroth, a superhuman intent on destroying their planet. During the journey, Cloud builds close friendships with his party members, including Aerith Gainsborough, who holds the secret to saving their world.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

Square Co., Ltd. was a Japanese video game company founded in September 1986 by Masafumi Miyamoto. It merged with Enix in 2003 to form Square Enix. The company also used SquareSoft as a brand name to refer to their games, and the term is occasionally used to refer to the company itself. In addition, "Square Soft, Inc" was the name of the company's American arm before the merger, after which it was renamed to "Square Enix, Inc".

Contents

The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII began eight years after the release of Final Fantasy VII with the release of the animated film sequel Advent Children in 2005. The soundtracks for each of the titles in the collection are included in an album, starting with the album release of the soundtrack to Advent Children that year. The following year, Nippon Crown released a soundtrack album to correspond with the video game Dirge of Cerberus , while Square Enix launched a download-only collection of music from the multiplayer mode of the game, which was only released in Japan. After the launch of the game Crisis Core in 2007, Warner Music Japan produced the title's soundtrack. The latest album in the collection, Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII & Last Order: Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack, was released by Square Enix the same year as a combined soundtrack album for the game Before Crisis and the animated movie Last Order .

<i>Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children</i> 2005 film by Tetsuya Nomura

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is a 2005 Japanese computer-animated science fantasy action drama film directed by Tetsuya Nomura, written by Kazushige Nojima, and produced by Yoshinori Kitase and Shinji Hashimoto. Developed by Visual Works and Square Enix, Advent Children is part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series of media, which is based in the world and continuity of the highly successful 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was released on DVD and Universal Media Discs with Japanese voice acting in Japan on September 14, 2005, and on April 25, 2006, with English voice acting in North America and Europe.

Nippon Crown Co., Ltd. is a Japanese record label established as Crown Records on 6 September 1963. It is a spin-off of Nippon Columbia and is owned by karaoke maker Daiichikosho. The record label singles which topped the Oricon Singles Chart are Kaze's "22-Sai no Wakare" (1975), and Gackt's "Returner " (2007).

<i>Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII</i> video game (2006)

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII is an action role-playing third-person shooter developed and published by Square Enix in 2006 for the PlayStation 2. It is part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII metaseries, a multimedia collection set within the universe of the popular 1997 video game Final Fantasy VII. The game is set three years after the events of the original game, and focuses on one of the game's playable characters, Vincent Valentine. In the story, Vincent is targeted by Deepground, a mysterious organization that plans to awaken a creature known as Omega, with the ability to destroy the Planet.

The original music received highly positive reviews from critics, who found many of the tunes to be memorable and noted the emotional intensity of several of the tracks. The reception for the other albums has been mixed, with reactions ranging from enthusiastic praise to disappointment. Several pieces from the soundtrack, particularly "One-Winged Angel" and "Aeris' Theme", remain popular and have been performed numerous times in orchestral concert series such as Dear Friends: Music from Final Fantasy and Tour de Japon: Music from Final Fantasy. Music from the Original Soundtrack has been included in arranged albums and compilations by Square as well as outside groups.

Creation and development

Final Fantasy VII was scored by the series' main composer Nobuo Uematsu Nobuo Uematsu - Paris 4-dec-2004.JPG
Final Fantasy VII was scored by the series' main composer Nobuo Uematsu

Nobuo Uematsu composed the music of Final Fantasy VII in less than one year, matching the game's development time, although he had taken two years to create the soundtrack for the previous title, Final Fantasy VI. Final Fantasy VII was the first game in the series to be developed for the PlayStation, and while the media capabilities of the console allowed for CD quality music, Uematsu opted instead to use MIDI sounds. [1] This decision has been credited as giving the soundtrack "a very distinctive mood and feel", forming a strong association for listeners between the game and its soundtrack. [2] The music was rendered using the console's native sound chip rather than being incorporated onto the disc due to superior overall sound quality: while the SNES had only eight sound channels, the PlayStation had twenty-four. Eight were reserved for sound effects, leaving sixteen available for the music. [3] Uematsu had initially planned to use CD quality music with vocal performances for the game to take advantage of the console's capabilities, but found that the advanced audio quality in turn made the game have much longer loading times in each area. Uematsu decided that the quality was not worth the affects on gameplay, though after the release and seeing Suikoden II (1998, PlayStation), which had used higher-quality music instead, he reversed his stance for Final Fantasy VIII . [4] There was a plan to use a "famous vocalist" for the ending theme to the game as a "theme song" for the game, but the shift to MIDI, along with time constraints and thematic concerns, caused the idea to be dropped. [5] [6] Uematsu has stated, however, that the move into the "PlayStation era", which allowed video game composers to use sounds recorded in the studio rather than from synthesizers, had "definitely been the biggest change" to video game music. [7]

Nobuo Uematsu Japanese video game composer

Nobuo Uematsu is a Japanese video game composer, best known for scoring most of the titles in the Final Fantasy series by Square Enix. He is considered to be one of the most well known composers in the video game industry. Sometimes referred to as the "Beethoven of video games music", he has appeared five times in the top 20 of the annual Classic FM Hall of Fame.

PlayStation gaming brand that consists of home video game consoles, a media center, an online service, handhelds and phones, as well as multiple magazines, created and owned by Sony Interactive Entertainment

PlayStation is a gaming brand that consists of four home video game consoles, as well as a media center, an online service, a line of controllers, two handhelds and a phone, as well as multiple magazines. It is created and owned by Sony Interactive Entertainment since December 3, 1994, with the launch of the original PlayStation in Japan.

MIDI electronic musical instrument industry specification

MIDI is a technical standard that describes a communications protocol, digital interface, and electrical connectors that connect a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers, and related audio devices for playing, editing and recording music. A single MIDI link through a MIDI cable can carry up to sixteen channels of information, each of which can be routed to a separate device or instrument. This could be sixteen different digital instruments, for example.

Uematsu's approach to composing the game's music was to treat it like a film soundtrack and compose songs that reflected the mood of the scenes rather than trying to make strong melodies to "define the game", as he felt that approach would come across too strong when placed alongside the game's new 3D visuals. As an example, he composed the track intended for the scene in the game where Aerith Gainsborough is killed to be "sad but beautiful", rather than more overtly emotional, creating what he feels is a more understated feeling. [4] Uematsu has additionally said that the soundtrack has a feel of "realism", which also prevented him from using "exorbitant, crazy music". [8] The first piece that Uematsu composed for the game was the opening theme; game director Yoshinori Kitase showed him the opening cinematic to the game and asked him to begin the project there. The track was well received in the company, which gave Uematsu "a sense that it was going to be a really good project". [5] He later stated in the liner notes for the soundtrack album that the music for Final Fantasy VII was his "greatest harvest" to date. [9]

Aerith Gainsborough

Aerith Gainsborough, transliterated as Aeris Gainsborough in the English releases of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy Tactics—is a player character in Square's role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII. She was designed by Tetsuya Nomura with influence from Yoshinori Kitase, Hironobu Sakaguchi and Yoshitaka Amano.

Yoshinori Kitase Japanese video game designer

Yoshinori Kitase is a Japanese game director and producer working for Square Enix. He is known as the director of Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy X, and the producer of the Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XIII series. Kitase is an Executive Officer at Square Enix, the Head of Square Enix's Business Division 1 and part of the Final Fantasy Committee that is tasked with keeping the franchise's releases and content consistent.

Liner notes

Liner notes are the writings found on the sleeves of LP record albums and in booklets which come inserted into the compact disc jewel case or the equivalent packaging for vinyl records and cassettes.

Final Fantasy VII was the first game in the series to include a track with digitized vocals, "One-Winged Angel". The track has been called Uematsu's "most recognizable contribution" to the music of the Final Fantasy series, [5] though the composer did not expect it to gain such popularity. [10] The piece, described as "a fanfare to impending doom", is said to not "follow any normal genre rules" and has been termed "possibly the most innovative idea in the series' musical history". [1] Uematsu approached the piece, which accompanies the final battle of the game, in a different manner than previous "boss tracks": as he felt that using his normal approach would cause unfavorable comparisons to his well-received Final Fantasy VI boss tracks, he instead tried to take a different approach. Inspired by The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky to make a more "classical" track, and by rock and roll music from the late 1960s and early 1970s to make an orchestral track with a "destructive impact", he spent two weeks composing short unconnected musical phrases, and then arranged them together into a song, an approach he has never used before or since. [4] The lyrics of "One-Winged Angel", a Latin choral track that plays at the climax of the game, were taken from the medieval poetry that forms the basis of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana , specifically "Estuans Interius", "O Fortuna", "Veni, Veni, Venias" and "Ave Formosissima". [11] Uematsu has stated that the intro of "One-Winged Angel" is based on Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze", that the piece revolves around the image of Sephiroth, and that despite the chorus and orchestra, he still thinks of it as a "rock piece". [10] [5] [12] He said in a 2005 interview that "One-Winged Angel" is his favorite tune from the soundtrack, [13] and in 2004 that it was his favorite battle theme from any Final Fantasy game. [14]

<i>The Rite of Spring</i> ballet by Igor Stravinsky

The Rite of Spring is a ballet and orchestral concert work by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. It was written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company; the original choreography was by Vaslav Nijinsky with stage designs and costumes by Nicholas Roerich. When first performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation. Many have called the first-night reaction a "riot" or "near-riot," though this wording did not come about until reviews of later performances in 1924, over a decade later. Although designed as a work for the stage, with specific passages accompanying characters and action, the music achieved equal if not greater recognition as a concert piece and is widely considered to be one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century.

Igor Stravinsky Russian-born composer

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was a Russian-born composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century.

Choir Ensemble of singers

A choir is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform. Choirs may perform music from the classical music repertoire, which spans from the medieval era to the present, or popular music repertoire. Most choirs are led by a conductor, who leads the performances with arm and face gestures.

Final Fantasy VII Albums

Original Soundtrack

Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack
Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack.jpg
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedFebruary 10, 1997 (1997-02-10)
May 10, 2004 (2004-05-10)(reissue)
RecordedSound City, Tokyo
Genre
Length70:56(disc one)
64:20 (disc two)
69:45 (disc three)
68:26 (disc four)
279:53 (total)
Label
Producer
  • Nobuo Uematsu
  • Minoru Akao

Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack is a soundtrack album containing musical tracks from the game, composed by Nobuo Uematsu and produced by Uematsu and Minoru Akao. It was originally released on February 10, 1997 through DigiCube and later reissued directly by Square Enix on May 10, 2004. The soundtrack spans 85 tracks over four discs and has a combined duration of 4:39:53. A limited edition was produced along with the original album, containing illustrated liner notes with several pictures of Uematsu's workspace and personal effects, various cutscenes and in-game screen shots from the game, and a discography. [1]

The soundtrack covers a wide variety of musical genres, including rock, techno, orchestral, and choral, [15] although the soundtrack as a whole is primarily orchestral. [2] While many of the tracks were intended as background music, reviewers noted the emotional intensity of several tracks, especially "Aerith's Theme", which plays during a moment described as "the most shocking moment in video games," [16] and has been described as the most memorable track from the album. [1] The theme has become popular among fans, and has inspired various arrangements. [17] Other notable tracks include "Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII". [1] Themes from this track play during several other tunes from the soundtrack, such as "Words Drowned by Fireworks", to tie the soundtrack together. [1]

The regular edition of the album reached #3 on the Japan Oricon charts, while the limited edition reached #19. [18] [19] Overall, the album sold 148,000 copies as of January 2010, with the limited edition selling a further 21,000. [20] [21] The album was well received by critics. Allmusic awarded Uematsu's original soundtrack a five-star rating. [22] Ben Schweitzer of RPGFan claimed that "for the most part, it's a diamond", with his primary complaint being the quality of the MIDI sound. He found the tracks to be "beautiful" and said that "One-Winged Angel" was "possibly the most innovative idea in the series' musical history". [1] Patrick Gann of RPGFan concurred and found all of the soundtrack's tunes to be "memorable" and the Original Soundtrack to be "very worth the purchase". [1] Philip of Square Enix Music Online, however, disliked the sound quality of the soundtrack and saw several tracks as "trivial", though he did note that Uematsu "has a flair for strong, memorable" pieces. [2] In 2006, IGN ranked the album as the best Final Fantasy soundtrack to date and cited the "gripping" character themes and "One-Winged Angel" in particular as contributing factors. [23] They also named "One-Winged Angel" as the best piece of music from the entire Final Fantasy series. [23]

The original CDs for both releases were only published in Japan and include only Japanese track names. The official English track names were later added to digital releases of the soundtrack.

Track listing [24]

Reunion Tracks

Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks is a single-disc album that comprises a selection of tracks from Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack. It was initially released through DigiCube on October 22, 1997 and later reissued by Square Enix on February 23, 2005. While the record was never published outside Japan, the music is available in the North American iTunes Store. All of the pieces are the same as on the Original Soundtrack except for "Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII", "One-Winged Angel", and "Aerith's Theme", which were re-recorded with an orchestra and choir. Some versions of the album also contain a hidden pregap track, which can be accessed by rewinding from the start of the album. This track is an instrumental version of "One-Winged Angel" without the choir. The new arrangements were created by Shirō Hamaguchi. The album spans 1:12:24 over 19 tracks. [25]

Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks reached #20 on the Japan Oricon charts, and sold over 25,600 copies. [26] [21] It received mixed reviews. Gann liked the newly orchestrated tracks, calling them "incredibly well-done orchestrations", and said that "depending on how willing you are to spend money" they made the album worth purchasing on their own, although he felt the other tracks offered nothing new to owners of the original soundtrack. [25] Chris of Square Enix Music Online, however, felt that while the orchestrated tracks were well-done, the selection of the other tracks was poor and that the album as a whole was "a lousy purchase for most who enjoyed Final Fantasy VII's score". [27]

Piano Collections

Piano Collections Final Fantasy VII is an album featuring piano arrangements of selected Final Fantasy VII pieces composed by Nobuo Uematsu, arranged by Shirō Hamaguchi, and performed by Seiji Honda. The album was released through DigiCube on December 3, 2003 and later reissued by Square Enix on May 10, 2004. It covers a duration of 47:37 over 13 tracks. [28] The album includes light-hearted tracks as well as slower, more emotional pieces, covering a variety of genres such as marches, new-age themes, and jazz. [28] Unlike previous and subsequent Final Fantasy piano albums, Piano Collections Final Fantasy VII was produced many years after the release of the original game. As three of the tracks from this album were reused in the soundtrack to Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children , it has been speculated that the album was produced with the intention to provide tunes for Advent Children. [29]

Piano Collections Final Fantasy VII reached #228 on the Japan Oricon charts, selling 1,200 copies, and was well received by reviewers, with Gann raving that the pieces were fun to listen to, the performer was "amazing", the choice of tracks was "excellent", and the album as a whole was a "spectacular CD". [28] [30] [31] Sophia of Soundtrack Central concurred and stated that the album was "quite fulfilling to listen to" and that it surpassed her expectations. [32]

Compilation albums

Advent Children

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is the 2005 CGI film sequel to the original game, and the beginning of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII . Its soundtrack album, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Original Soundtrack, was released on September 28, 2005, containing new material created specifically for the movie, as well as arrangements of tunes from the Final Fantasy VII soundtrack. Both the original tracks and the arrangements cover a variety of musical styles, including orchestral, choral, classical piano, and rock music; Variety noted that the styles vary between "sparse piano noodlings, pop metal thrashings and cloying power ballads". [33] The tracks were composed by Nobuo Uematsu, Keiji Kawamori, Kenichiro Fukui, and Tsuyoshi Sekito, and arranged by Fukui, Sekito, Kawamori, Shirō Hamaguchi, and Kazuhiko Toyama. Upon hearing each track, Nomura would make some changes, and have the composers re-record the piece. [34] :88–90 The song "Calling" from 1989 by former Boøwy vocalist Kyosuke Himuro was used in the film's credits. Some of the piano tracks are longer than what was included in the movie. The album spans 26 tracks on two discs, covers a duration of 1:21:41. In addition to the regular release, a limited edition was produced with a foil slipcover and a booklet of credits and lyrics. [29] The soundtrack album reached position #15 on the Japanese Oricon music charts, and stayed on the charts for 10 weeks. [35]

A mini-album titled Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete Mini Album was released on April 10, 2009 to coincide with the release of the Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete version of the movie. [36] The new release of the movie included a new ending theme, "Safe and Sound", by Kyosuke Himuro and My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way, and replaced "Water" with a new song, "Anxious Heart". [37] The mini-album was five tracks and 29:17 long. The included tracks on the album were new versions of "The Chase of Highway", "Those Who Fight Further", "Sign", "Advent: One-Winged Angel", and "On the Way to a Smile", a piece from the Final Fantasy VII-based anime On the Way to a Smile. [38] A larger album, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete: Reunion Tracks, was released with 21 tracks on September 16, 2009. This album contains the tracks from the mini-album, as well as several pieces that were lengthened for the Complete film version but not rearranged. [39] Reunion Tracks appeared on the Oricon charts for a single week at position #108. [40]

Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Original Soundtrack sold over 38,900 copies, and was well received by critics. [31] Gann said that Final Fantasy fans have "no excuse" not to buy the album and noted that his only disappointments were that three of the tracks were the same as on the Piano Collections album, and that as a film score, some of the shifts in the pieces make less sense outside of the context of the visuals. [29] Chris Carle of IGN called it a "jagged but beautiful blend of opera, metal and electronica", and a "richly-layered, complex and utterly listenable soundtrack" while praising the variety of musical styles used and the quality of the pieces. In contrast to Gann, he felt that "divorced from the film, the score is still amazingly listenable". [41]

Track listing [24]

Dirge of Cerberus

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII was released for the PlayStation 2 in January 2006, and its soundtrack, Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack, was released a month later. The tracks were composed by Masashi Hamauzu and orchestrations were provided by Yoshihisa Hirano, making it the first Final Fantasy VII-related soundtrack to not include new material from Nobuo Uematsu. Koji Haishima conducted the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, which performed the music for around half of the album. The soundtrack also contains the songs "Longing" and "Redemption" by Japanese musician and actor Gackt, and was released through the artist's ex label, Nippon Crown. The album contains a mix of orchestral and rock tracks, with some orchestral performances of slow compositions and marches and both styles of music used for faster-paced "threatening" and "dynamic" tunes. [42] GameSpot describes the music as ranging from "quiet, almost nonexistent ambient tunes to dramatic, orchestrated tracks". [43] The album was launched on February 15, 2006, and spans 53 tracks over two discs, covering a duration of 2:14:22. The limited edition of the soundtrack includes a case which is designed to hold the soundtrack, along with the game disc and the limited edition of the "Redemption" single and associated DVD, although these other albums must be purchased separately. [42]

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack was given mixed reviews from critics. Gann called it "solid, [...], but not awe-inspiring" and dismissed the limited edition extras as not worth the purchase. [42] Eduardo of Square Enix Music Online, however, described it as "nearly perfect" and said that he "can, and will, run out of positive adjectives to describe the Dirge of Cerberus Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack. It's a work of genius". [44] The album reached position #19 on the Oricon charts, and sold over 14,300 copies; the "Redemption" single sold over 125,000 copies. [45] [31]

Track listing [42]

Dirge of Cerberus Multiplayer Mode

The Japanese version of Dirge of Cerberus included a multiplayer mode absent from other releases, which contained music tracks not used in the single-player game. Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Multiplayer Mode Original Sound Collections is a download-only soundtrack album for the multiplayer tracks released through the Japanese iTunes Store and the Square Enix Music Download website on August 22, 2006. It spans 1:07:07 over 27 tracks. The soundtrack includes all the music from the multiplayer mode and some music from the single-player game which did not appear on the previous soundtrack album, including two tracks composed by Ryo Yamazaki for the North American release of the game. [46]

Eduardo of Square Enix Music Online also appreciated Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Multiplayer Mode Original Sound Collections, saying that it accented the Original Soundtrack well and that "Hamauzu and Yamazaki have delivered strongly and, with a decent mix of electronica, orchestral music, and rock, the entirety of the Dirge of Cerberus musical experience cannot be missed". [47]

Crisis Core

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack is the soundtrack of the game Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII . It was released on October 10, 2007 by Warner Music Japan and covers 55 tracks over two discs with a total duration of 2:20:59. The music was primarily composed by Takeharu Ishimoto, with a few tracks provided by Kazuhiko Toyama. It was Ishimoto's second major work, after the soundtrack to The World Ends with You ; the only titles he had composed for previously were World Fantasista, a little-known soccer game for which he was a co-composer, and the cell phone game Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII . The tracks composed by Ishimoto cover a range of moods, from "harsh and in-your-face" to "stunning and lovely", but were primarily used as ambient background music. [48] The soundtrack also includes a large number of arrangements of tunes from the original Final Fantasy VII score, as well as a theme song entitled "Why", performed by Ayaka. A variety of musical instruments were used for the soundtrack, including piano and synthesizers, but critics noted that Ishimoto used guitars, both electronic and acoustic, more and better than any previous Final Fantasy soundtrack. [48]

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack sold over 13,300 copies, while "Why" sold 60,000 copies. [31] It received mixed reviews by critics, with Don of Square Enix Music Online stating that while some of Ishimoto's and all of Toyama's arrangements were excellent, the original pieces that made up the bulk of the album offered "very little that is actually worth a listen". [49] Gann was more lenient, praising Ishimoto for writing "an excellent soundtrack" and being especially happy with the quality of the arrangements of Uematsu's pieces. Gann did, however, note that because Ishimoto's original works were more ambient, his arrangements, and by extension Uematsu's work, far outshone his own new contributions. [48] He also felt that the theme song "Why" was "generic" and "bland". Sophia Tong of IGN described the album as a "mixed bag", stating that some of the arrangements and new tracks were "fantastic" while others were "not all that compelling", and lamented the overuse of a few themes throughout the soundtrack. [50]

Track listing [24]

Before Crisis and Last Order

Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII & Last Order: Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack is the combined soundtrack album of the original video animation Last Order: Final Fantasy VII and the game Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII. Before Crisis serves as a prequel to Final Fantasy VII while Last Order is a side story to Final Fantasy VII, showing some of the same story elements from Crisis Core and Final Fantasy VII from an alternate viewpoint. The album spans 27 tracks, of which the first 12 are from the game and the remainder are from the animation. The album was released on December 19, 2007 by Square Enix, and was mainly composed by Ishimoto, with some tunes based on works from Final Fantasy VII by Uematsu. Many of the pieces composed for the two works were used either directly or in an arranged form in Crisis Core. As this soundtrack album was released after the soundtrack to Crisis Core, these pieces were generally not included in the Before Crisis album. The album covers a duration of 63:48. [51]

Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII & Last Order: Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack was poorly received by critics. Gann said that "the whole album is a flop compared to the quality composition of Crisis Core" and that the contents of the album were "the leftovers, B-Sides, and less-impressive tracks from Ishimoto's arsenal of FFVII music", especially as many tracks were used in the Crisis Core soundtrack and not repeated in this album. [51] Chris (also known as "Dark Cloud") of Square Enix Music Online agreed, saying that the album "is probably one of the worst I've heard in a very long time" and recommended it only for listeners who like "loud music without much creativity". [52]

Legacy

The Black Mages, a now defunct band led by Nobuo Uematsu that arranged music from the Final Fantasy series into a rock music style, has arranged four pieces from Final Fantasy VII. These are "J-E-N-O-V-A" and "Those Who Fight Further" from The Black Mages , published in 2003, "Advent One-Winged Angel" from Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Original Soundtrack and "Opening ~ Bombing Mission" from Darkness and Starlight , published in 2008. [53] [54] Music from Final Fantasy VII has also been used in other games, such as the fighting game Ehrgeiz , [55] and the Kingdom Hearts series. [56]

Uematsu continues to perform certain pieces in the Dear Friends -Music from Final Fantasy- concert series. [57] The music of Final Fantasy VII has also appeared in various official concerts and live albums, such as 20020220 Music from Final Fantasy , a live recording of an orchestra performing music from the series including "Aerith's Theme" and "One-Winged Angel". [58] Additionally, several pieces from the game were performed by the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in the Tour de Japon: Music from Final Fantasy concert series, [59] and in the Video Games Live international concert series. [60] The Advent Children version of "One-Winged Angel" was performed at the Press Start -Symphony of Games- 2007 concerts in Yokohama and Osaka, Japan, while The Black Mages performed "Those Who Fight Further" at the Extra: Hyper Game Music Event 2007 concert in Tokyo on July 7, 2007. [61] [62] Independent but officially licensed releases of Final Fantasy VII music have been composed by such groups as Project Majestic Mix, which focuses on arranging video game music. [63] Selections also appear on Japanese remix albums, called dōjin music, and on English remixing websites, such as OverClocked ReMix. [64] On September 14, 2007, the OverClocked ReMix community released an unofficial tribute album titled Voices of the Lifestream , a compilation containing 45 arrangements of Final Fantasy VII music. [65] "Aerith's Theme" was voted into Classic FM's 2012 HOF in 16th place out of 300 compositions. [66]

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Masashi Hamauzu is a Japanese composer, arranger, pianist, and lyricist. Hamauzu, who was employed at Square Enix from 1996 to 2010, was best known during that time for his work on the Final Fantasy and SaGa video game series. Born into a musical family in Germany, Hamauzu was raised in Japan. He became interested in music while in kindergarten, and took piano lessons from his parents.

Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi and owned by Square Enix that includes video games, motion pictures, and other merchandise. The series began in 1987 as an eponymous role-playing video game developed by Square, spawning a video game series that became the central focus of the franchise. The music of the Final Fantasy series refers to the soundtracks of the Final Fantasy series of video games, as well as the surrounding medley of soundtrack, arranged, and compilation albums. The series' music ranges from very light background music to emotionally intense interweavings of character and situation leitmotifs.

The Black Mages were a Japanese instrumental rock band formed in 2002 by Nobuo Uematsu, Kenichiro Fukui and Tsuyoshi Sekito, who were three video game composers for Square Enix. The band arranged Uematsu's Final Fantasy video game series-based compositions in a hard rock style often similar to progressive metal, achieved with the additional use of synthesizers. Since its inception, the band had expanded to six members with the addition of Keiji Kawamori, Michio Okamiya and Arata Hanyuda. In August 2010, Uematsu announced the band had been disbanded, but he would continue to perform rock arrangements of his music as a part of another similar band, known as the Earthbound Papas.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy X was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu, along with Masashi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano. It was the first title in the main Final Fantasy series in which Uematsu was not the sole composer. The Final Fantasy X Original Soundtrack was released on four Compact Discs in 2001 by DigiCube, and was re-released in 2004 by Square Enix. Prior to the album's North American release, a reduced version entitled Final Fantasy X Original Soundtrack was released on a single disk by Tokyopop in 2002. An EP entitled feel/Go dream: Yuna & Tidus containing additional singles not present in the game was released by DigiCube in 2001. Piano Collections Final Fantasy X, a collection of piano arrangements of the original soundtracks by Masashi Hamauzu and performed by Aki Kuroda, was released by DigiCube in 2002 and re-released by Square EA in 2004. A collection of vocal arrangements of pieces from the game arranged by Katsumi Suyama along with radio drama tracks was released as Final Fantasy X Vocal Collection in 2002 by DigiCube.

<i>Compilation of Final Fantasy VII</i> media franchise

The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII is a metaseries produced by Square Enix. A subseries stemming from the main Final Fantasy series, it is a collection of video games, animated features and short stories based in the world and continuity of Final Fantasy VII. Officially announced in 2003 with the reveal of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the series' core products are three video games and one movie release. Alongside these are tie-in products and spin-offs including books, mobile games and an original video animation. Advent Children and the mobile title Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII are a sequel and prequel to VII, respectively focusing on Cloud Strife, the original game's main protagonist, and covert operatives known as the Turks. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII follows the story of Zack Fair, an important major character in VII, while Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, which acts as a sequel to Advent Children, follows Vincent Valentine, one of the original's optional characters.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy VI was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version, a compilation of all the music in the game, was released in Japan by NTT Publishing in 1994 and re-released by Square Enix in 2004. The album was released by Square Co./NTT Publishing in North America in 1994 under the name Kefka's Domain. Selected tracks from the official soundtrack were later released as part of the Music From FFV and FFVI Video Games album that was included with the release of Final Fantasy Anthology, and two EPs were produced containing character theme tracks entitled Final Fantasy VI Stars Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. A special orchestral arrangement of selected tracks from the game, arranged by Shiro Sagisu and Tsuneyoshi Saito, and performed by the Milan Symphony Orchestra, was released under the title Final Fantasy VI Grand Finale by NTT Publishing in 1994 and 2004, and a collection of piano arrangements, arranged by Shirou Satou and performed by Reiko Nomura, was released under the title Piano Collections Final Fantasy VI by Square/NTT Publishing in 1994 and by NTT Publishing in 2001. Additionally, a single containing unused and remixed tracks from the game was released as Final Fantasy VI Special Tracks by NTT Publishing in 1994.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy XII was composed primarily by Hitoshi Sakimoto. Additional music was provided by Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo, who also orchestrated the opening and ending themes. Former regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu's only work for this game was "Kiss Me Good-Bye", the theme song sung by Angela Aki. The Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack was released on four Compact Discs in 2006 by Aniplex. A sampling of tracks from the soundtrack was released as an album entitled Selections from Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack, and was released in 2006 by Tofu Records. Additionally, a promotional digital album titled The Best of Final Fantasy XII was released on the Japanese localization of iTunes for download only in 2006. "Kiss Me Good-Bye" was released by Epic Records as a single in 2006, and Symphonic Poem "Hope", the complete music from the game's end credits, was released by Hats Unlimited in 2006. An abridged version of the latter piece, which originally accompanied a promotional video for the game, was included in the official soundtrack album. An album of piano arrangements, titled Piano Collections Final Fantasy XII, was released by Square Enix in 2012.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy V was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The Final Fantasy V Original Sound Version, a compilation of almost all of the music in the game, was released by Square Co./NTT Publishing, and subsequently re-released by NTT Publishing after the game was brought to North America as part of the Final Fantasy Anthology. An arranged album entitled Final Fantasy V Dear Friends, containing a selection of musical tracks from the game arranged in multiple styles, including live and vocal versions, was released by Square/NTT Publishing and later re-released by NTT Publishing. Additionally, a collection of piano arrangements composed by Nobuo Uematsu, arranged by Shirou Satou and played by Toshiyuki Mori titled Piano Collections Final Fantasy V was released by Square/NTT Publishing, and re-released by NTT Publishing.

The music of the video games Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu, who would go on to be the exclusive composer for the next seven Final Fantasy games. Although they were composed separately, music from the two games has only been released together. All Sounds of Final Fantasy I•II, a compilation of almost all of the music in the games, was released by DataM/Polystar in 1989, and subsequently re-released by NTT Publishing in 1994. Symphonic Suite Final Fantasy, an arranged album of music from the two games by Katsuhisa Hattori and his son Takayuki Hattori was released by DataM in 1989, and re-released by NTT Publishing/Polystar in 1994. Final Fantasy & Final Fantasy II Original Soundtrack, another arranged album, this time by Nobuo Uematsu and Tsuyoshi Sekito, was released in 2002 by DigiCube and again in 2004 by Square Enix.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy X-2 was composed by Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi. Regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu did not contribute any of the music, despite having composed the majority of the soundtrack for the first game, Final Fantasy X. The Final Fantasy X-2 Original Soundtrack was released on two Compact Discs in 2003 by Avex. After the release of Final Fantasy X-2 International + Last Mission, an album entitled Final Fantasy X-2 International + Last Mission Original Soundtrack composed of the songs added to the soundtrack for that game was released in 2003 by Avex. Final Fantasy X-2 Piano Collection, a collection of piano arrangements of the original soundtracks by Noriko Matsueda, Takahito Eguchi, Hiroko Kokubu, Masahiro Sayama, and Febian Reza Pane, was released by Avex in 2004.

The music of the Final Fantasy Tactics series, composed of Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift, and Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, was primarily composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto. He was assisted by Masaharu Iwata in composing the music for Final Fantasy Tactics. The Final Fantasy Tactics Original Soundtrack, a compilation of almost all of the music in the game, was released by DigiCube in 1997, and re-released by Square Enix in 2006. No separate soundtrack has been released for Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. The soundtrack was well received by critics, who found it to be astounding and one of the best video game music soundtracks in existence at the time of its release.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy VIII was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack, a compilation of all music in the game, was released on four Compact Discs by DigiCube in Japan, and by Square EA in North America. A special orchestral arrangement of selected tracks from the game—arranged by Shirō Hamaguchi—was released under the title Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Final Fantasy VIII, and a collection of piano arrangements—performed by Shinko Ogata—was released under the title Piano Collections Final Fantasy VIII.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy IV was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The Final Fantasy IV Original Sound Version, a compilation of almost all of the music in the game, was released by Square Co./NTT Publishing, and subsequently re-released by NTT Publishing. It was released in North America by Tokyopop as Final Fantasy IV Official Soundtrack: Music from Final Fantasy Chronicles, with one additional track. It has since been re-released multiple times with slight changes as part of the Final Fantasy Finest Box and as Final Fantasy IV DS OST. An arranged album entitled Final Fantasy IV Celtic Moon, containing a selection of musical tracks from the game performed in the style of Celtic music by Máire Breatnach, was released by Square and later re-released by NTT Publishing. Additionally, a collection of piano arrangements composed by Nobuo Uematsu and played by Toshiyuki Mori titled Piano Collections Final Fantasy IV was released by NTT Publishing.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy III was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. Final Fantasy III Original Sound Version, a compilation of almost all of the music in the game, was released by Square Co./NTT Publishing in 1991, and subsequently re-released by NTT Publishing in 1994 and 2004. The soundtrack to the remake of Final Fantasy III for the Nintendo DS, Final Fantasy III Original Soundtrack was released by NTT Publishing in 2006, with revamped versions of the tracks and additional tracks. A vocal arrangement album entitled Final Fantasy III Yūkyū no Kaze Densetsu, or literally Final Fantasy III Legend of the Eternal Wind, contained a selection of musical tracks from the game. The tracks were performed by Nobuo Uematsu and Dido, a duo composed of Michiaki Kato and Shizuru Ohtaka. The album was released by Data M in 1990 and by Polystar in 1994.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy IX was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. It was his last exclusive Final Fantasy score. The Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack, a compilation of all music in the game, was originally released on four Compact Discs by DigiCube in 2000, and was re-released by Square Enix in 2004. A Best Of and arranged soundtrack album of musical tracks from the game entitled Final Fantasy IX: Uematsu's Best Selection was released in 2000 by Tokyopop Soundtrax. Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack PLUS, an album of music from the game's full motion videos and extra tracks, was released by DigiCube in 2000 and re-released in 2004, and a collection of piano arrangements of pieces from the original soundtrack arranged by Shirō Hamaguchi and performed by Louis Leerink was released as Piano Collections Final Fantasy IX in 2001.

The music of the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI was composed by Naoshi Mizuta along with regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu and Kumi Tanioka. The Final Fantasy XI Original Soundtrack, a compilation of almost all of the music in the game, was released by DigiCube in 2002, and subsequently re-released by Square Enix in 2004. Final Fantasy XI Rise of the Zilart Original Soundtrack was released by DigiCube in 2003 after the release of the Rise of the Zilart expansion for Final Fantasy XI, and re-released by Square Enix in 2004. Final Fantasy XI Chains of Promathia Original Soundtrack was produced by Square Enix in 2004 after the release of the Chains of Promathia expansion, and in 2005 Square Enix published Music from the Other Side of Vana'diel, a collection of arranged tracks from the game performed by The Star Onions, a group composed of Square Enix composers including Naoshi Mizuta, Kumi Tanioka and Hidenori Iwasaki. Final Fantasy XI Treasures of Aht Urhgan Original Soundtrack was released by Square Enix in 2006 for the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion.

The Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles video game series consists of Crystal Chronicles, a spin-off of the main Final Fantasy series, its sequels My Life as a King and My Life as a Darklord, and their spin-offs, Ring of Fates, Echoes of Time and The Crystal Bearers. Crystal Chronicles, Ring of Fates, and Echoes of Time have had released soundtrack albums to date, and Crystal Chronicles and Ring of Fates each have an associated single. Kumi Tanioka is the main composer for the series, having composed the three released soundtracks as well as the music for My Life as a King and My Life as a Darklord. Hidenori Iwasaki is filling that role for The Crystal Bearers. Nobuo Uematsu, the main composer for the regular Final Fantasy series, contributed one track to the Ring of Fates soundtrack. Yae and Donna Burke sang the Japanese and English versions of the theme song for Crystal Chronicles, respectively, while Aiko sang the theme song for Ring of Fates.

Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi and owned by Square Enix that includes video games, motion pictures, and other merchandise. The original Final Fantasy video game, published in 1987, is a role-playing video game developed by Square, spawning a video game series that became the central focus of the franchise. The primary composer of music for the main series was Nobuo Uematsu, who single-handedly composed the soundtracks for the first nine games, as well as directing the production of many of the soundtrack albums. Music for the spin-off series and main series games beginning with Final Fantasy X was created by a variety of composers including Masashi Hamauzu, Naoshi Mizuta, Hitoshi Sakimoto, and Kumi Tanioka, as well as many others.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy XIII was composed by Masashi Hamauzu. Former regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu did not contribute any pieces to the soundtrack. Music from the game has been released in several albums. The main soundtrack album, Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack, was released on four Compact Discs in 2010 by Square Enix, the developers and producers of the game. Selections from the soundtrack have been released on two gramophone record albums, W/F: Music from Final Fantasy XIII and W/F: Music from Final Fantasy XIII Gentle Reveries, both in 2010 by Square Enix. An album of arranged pieces from the soundtrack, Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack -PLUS-, was also released by Square Enix in 2010, as was an album of piano arrangements, Piano Collection Final Fantasy XIII. The theme song for the Japanese version of the game, "Kimi ga Iru Kara", was released as a single by For Life Music in 2009.

The music for the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, a regular contributor to the music of the Final Fantasy series. Several other composers including Masayoshi Soken and Naoshi Mizuta contributed music for updates to the game. The music for the game's reboot, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, was primarily composed by Soken, who was the sound director for both releases of the game. Music from both releases of the game has been released in several albums, though no album contains music from both XIV and A Realm Reborn. A pair of mini-albums containing a handful of selected tracks from XIV, Final Fantasy XIV: Battle Tracks and Final Fantasy XIV: Field Tracks, were released by Square Enix in 2010 when XIV first launched. A soundtrack album titled Final Fantasy XIV - Eorzean Frontiers, containing most of the music that had been released by that point for XIV, was digitally released in 2012. A final soundtrack album for the original release of the game, Before Meteor: Final Fantasy XIV Original Soundtrack, was released in 2013 just before the launch of A Realm Reborn, and contains all of the music that was composed for XIV throughout its lifetime. The latest soundtrack album, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Original Soundtrack, was released in 2014, and contains all of the music for A Realm Reborn released up to that point.

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