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Sound Test - 02.24.02
02.24.02 - Victory ~Summer's Cry~

All I can say today is 'WOW'. The entries to the Variations competition were all well made, and although it took a few more days than I had hoped, here are the results! These are all the entries that were in my inbox when I got up in the morning on the 9th, and thus the ones that got in under the deadline.

A word of note: The winners were chosen by Popular Vote. Which means, all the marks are added up and the total mark decides the winner. It was not chosen by who has the most 1st place ordinals....reminds me of the Olympics somehow...

The closeness between the first and second place entries is crazy! Winners, watch your email! You have a week to reply!

Scarmiglion
Rob 'Scarmiglion' Parton

Music Submissions - music@rpgamer.com

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Variations Entries!
»First Prize
Game - The Bard's Sorrow by Trptcox.
Total Judge 1 Judge 2 Judge 3
263 83 90 90
Judges' Comments
  • A very nice variation, with some well-chosen instrumentation to illustrate the general mood of the piece. The sustained high strings, especially, were a nice touch. However, I thought there could have been a little more motion and development throughout the midsection, and a little more change between the intro and the end of the piece.
  • Slow and steady without much going on, it pulls you into the song.
  • The composer has taken the original melody, contorted it every which way, and then buried it under a haunting, heavy dirge. The dirge is beautiful, and would seem an original piece - but each theme/motif that comes up in this arrangement has the original melody buried in it somewhere.
»Second Prize
Prelude,   Fuga,   and Chaconne on Kefka's Theme
by Wings over Dagenham.
Total Judge 1 Judge 2 Judge 3
262 93 70 97
Judges' Comments
  • The main theme is very well represented throughout all three movements, and all three are very soundly composed. Having heard the original song is definitely not a prerequisite for enjoying this variation.
  • The piece has been rearranged in three seperate ways, all of which are rather untraditional for fan remixes and arrangements. It also stands out quite sharply when put up against the typical techno-ish arrangements of game music which pervade.
  • Amazing, simply amazing. The only reason it was scored down was because of the live recording dulled the song in some places. That's it. The creativity on this is great, you can hear the original theme at times, and it still has a voice of its own.
  • I want to hear future works by this entrant. Though I don't believe this particular arrangement quite works, it shows great talent. Frankly, I think the real problem is the choice of original pieces. While Kefka's Theme works well on the piano (hence its use in the "Grand Finale" collection), but it doesn't make a good basis for this kind of theme-and-variation arrangement. The reason is this: through most of your arrangement, the only portion of Kefka's theme that's really recognizeable is the rhythm. Unfortunately, Kefka's theme doesn't have much of a rhythm. This makes a piece that could have sounded stately and grand instead sound repetitive. If you're going to play with it in this manner, you probably should have embellished the rhythm (the theme has all kinds of room for extra trills and things). Again, a noble and worthy effort, but one which is brought down by problems inherent in the concept.
»Other Entries
Valley of the Fallen Star by Jeffery Tipps.
Total Judge 1 Judge 2 Judge 3
255 85 85 85
Judges' Comments
  • An entertaining variation, placing the theme into three very distinct styles, all of which do justice to it and present their own unique take. However, the lack of transitions hurt the flow of the piece, as well as making it not stand on its own solidly, as did the amusing but very abrupt ending.
  • This is a great mix, I love it. The major problems though are the transitions are really jarring, especially the middle one, it just pulls you out of the midi completely.
  • This arrangement covers all bases! It opens with a grand, expansive arrangement of the original work, and ends with a square dance! The original melody is very strongly stated and examined, and the instrumentation works very well for most of the piece. The MIDI work is quite good; the instruments are clear and balanced, at least on my MIDI card. I know it's hard to have that many instruments playing so, well, loudly in a MIDI and not have it sound like crap.
Matoya's Cave by Mark Lewis.
Total Judge 1 Judge 2 Judge 3
170 25 60 85
Judges' Comments
  • This is a decent sequencing of the original piece... but there's not much variation to it. The arranger has made it somewhat more jubilant than the original piece - but it's still essentially the same piece. The instrumentation is good, but it makes me wince here and there. I'm sorry; it is a worthwhile sequencing of the original piece - but it's not much more than that.
  • Too much, you tried too much with it, and it overwhelms the listener. For me the horns almost completely drowned out the drums, I don't know if that was intentional or not, but that was my major problem with it.
  • This song stands very well on its own, and also represents the original very well. However, it doesn't seem to be a variation at all. Had Final Fantasy I been released on a more sophisticated console, I have a feeling it would sound very similar to this.
Freya's Theme by Dagger G.
Total Judge 1 Judge 2 Judge 3
215 75 80 60
Judges' Comments
  • This variation, in my opinion, does not do a very good job of representing the original piece. I do not find it to fit in well with the mood of the original and the character, nor do I think the original is adequately represented. However, it is a very good recording, with interesting and quality samples.
  • My first thought when listening to this was that it was a Mega Man song, I love it. Though I like the beat, I didn't like the constant beat, it just was too much. It got repetitive. which is what brought the scores down.
  • Such potential! The use of the original melody as, essentially, the "riff" for the remix can sink a piece if done badly, but it's done extremely well here. The sampling and sequencing are strong; I find no fault there. However, I believe the overall arrangement needs work: each section sounds good, but there's no logical progression or arc to the piece - it just sorta goes 'till it stops. But that can be fixed without having to produce or discard much of what you've got - and what you've got here is great.
Zero Abomination (Zeromus Battle) by Steve Elsom.
Total Judge 1 Judge 2 Judge 3
215 85 30 40
Judges' Comments
  • A very solid arrangement which manages to convey the dread of the fight while varying the style. The melody of the original was also worked in very well, and sometimes not as one would expect. I enjoyed the more sinister feel, I think it works just as well as the more adrenaline pumping original.
  • The Quality of the midi when I played it was bad, it hurt my ears just to listen to it. So the other categories got scored down because of this. I think it was the midi itself, not my player, since all the others sounded fine. What I could listen to though I did like.
  • I frankly can't say much good about this arrangement. I'm sorry... but it it takes an okay sequencing of the original piece, strips it of most of it's energy, and adds some alterations that just make it more awkward than anything. The MIDI instruments clash together viciously, and I spent most of the piece wincing.
The Bells of Baron by DJ Eldeel.
Total Judge 1 Judge 2 Judge 3
225 75 75 75
Judges' Comments
  • I very much liked the basic ideas of this variation: A happier, less somber Baron, with bells ringing. However, I don't think this piece stands as well on its own as it could have- although I understand the use of repetetiveness in the song form, another slight variation of the melody would have been nice, as would a few changes of the drums' ostinato. Finally, the choice for the ending is... strange and sudden, especially the odd modulation up a step in the final seconds.
  • The Drums, THE DRUMS. It was fine the first listen, but after the second time they just got on my nerves. Otherwise though, the rest is good.
  • I quite enjoyed listening to this entry. It's very professional sounding, and it very strongly reflects the original piece. However, I believe the variation needs work. The instrumentation chosen is creative and well executed, but I think the decision to sequence and enhance the accompaniment while *omitting the melody* is misguided. While it's cool to listen to as it's own piece, it's maddening to have your mind mentally filling in the melody all the way through.
Via Purifico (Those Who Come Closer) by Jonathan Agley.
Total Judge 1 Judge 2 Judge 3
249 84 70 95
Judges' Comments
  • Very well varied off the original theme. The drum work is well done, and the sampling is great. The echos of the piano really stand out well.
  • In general, the piece is done well. The sampling is good, and the whole piece is relatively nice on the ear.
  • The piece is very embellished, and sounds great. The instrument choices are original and well executed. The piano trio in the middle is very nice.

 

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