Commentary: Secret – Sea of Illusion

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In 2013, I was convinced by a friend to watch the anime Fruits Basket, because it was one of her all-time favorite anime. I must admit—and I apologize to the Fruits Basket fans—that I did not find it to be a particularly stellar anime, however, it was good enough that I was able to finish watching all of the episodes, and I can say that it has an interesting, memorable premise. Overall, I would give it a solid 3 out of 5 stars.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the anime, I did discover one particular song that captivated me. The track titled Secret plays during mysterious events, and the same melody occurs in the tracks Sea of Illusion and Sunlight Sifting Through the Trees. This melody, in my opinion, is simply beautiful. Yes, it is strange, but it has a powerful quality in its notes.

I was able to find another person’s piano arrangement of Secret on the Internet, which helped me to form the basis on my own arrangement; however, that sheet music did not incorporate elements from Sea of Illusion, which is ultimately my preferred version of the song. So, I expanded my arrangement to make it truer to Sea of Illusion. Someday, I would like to further expand my arrangement by including elements from Sunlight Sifting Through the Trees, but that is a project for another time.

Feel free to view the playback video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qu-kWk-6×0

As of today’s date (03-24-2017), the video has accumulated over 5,000 views since its original posting in 2014. That’s quite impressive, considering that I have done virtually no self-promotion since then!

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Commentary: Cats on Mars

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My history with the song Cats on Mars from the acclaimed anime Cowboy Bebop goes back to sometime around 2006 or 2007. At the time, I had never seen Cowboy Bebop, despite its accessibility on the Adult Swim segment of Cartoon Network. How, then, did I come across Cats on Mars?

The truth is that I had a boyfriend who was interested in anime, and he kept a copy of the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack in his truck. I have many fond memories of riding along, enjoying the jazzy and bluesy sounds of Cowboy Bebop, from composer Yoko Kanno. Two tracks in particular stood out to me, and those were Cats on Mars and Rain.

Years passed. My relationship ended, and the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack fell into the depths of my memory. I gave it little to no thought for 5 or 6 years. Then, one fine day, in 2012, I found myself casually sitting in my apartment with my then-roommate as a playlist of anime music shuffled in the background. Suddenly, a familiar sound entered my ears and the realization hit me: “I know that song! What is it? What is from?”

It was Cats on Mars from Cowboy Bebop.

I was struck with a sudden burst of inspiration. Over the next several days, I took to my keyboard with determination to learn how to play the song.

I would not say that the process was difficult, as Cats on Mars actually translates quite well to piano, however, it was time consuming. The most difficult aspect was the ending of the song, which adds some additional vocals. I was puzzled as to how to incorporate these into my arrangement. Eventually, I settled on something, although, to this day, I admit that it is somewhat difficult to play that portion of the arrangement. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with my work, and I am particularly proud because it appears to be one of the only piano arrangements of Cats on Mars floating around the Internet.

Here’s the playback video, if you’re curious: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUZQ9mPVrKY

As of today’s date (03-24-2017), the video has accumulated over 4,000 views since its original posting in 2014. That’s quite impressive, considering that I have done virtually no self-promotion since then!

Commentary: Eternity’s Moment

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In 2013, I heard a lot of buzz about an upcoming Nintendo 3DS game titled Bravely Default: Where the Fairy Flies, from renowned game publisher Square Enix. Previews described the game as a promising RPG with a robust job system. I am a fan of the RPG genre, so I was happy to pick up the game upon its North American release.

The game is very intriguing, so I found myself engrossed in it. The first half of the game tells an excellent story and allows you to steadily progress as you unlock new jobs. The ability to mix and match jobs and sub-jobs adds further strategy and customization. Plus, the character Ringabel particularly stands out as a fun addition to the cast.

For me, though, the game’s most defining feature is its beautiful soundtrack. It was composed by Revo, lead member of the Japanese fantasy band Sound Horizon. Truly, the soundtrack has a unique sound to it, utilizing a number of different instruments.

While there are many tracks from that game that I love, I became particularly attached to Eternity’s Moment, the short, simple song that plays on the menu screen. It is charming, but also mysterious in its tone.

Arranging the song for piano was actually a quick process, because it is not a particularly complex composition. I was able to pick it out by ear, practice it, and play it by memory in a matter of days.

Care to listen to the arrangement? Just click this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgTabgfFKCo

Notable YouTube Comments:

“An excellent arrangement of the song, and the most accurate one I’ve seen so far.”
-aquagon_drag

“I just pulled out my 3DS to compare your arrangement to the one in the game and I was astounded by how spot on you are. Plus, piano is just one of the most beautiful instruments. If I could play, I would definitely be interested in learning your arrangement!”
-guildmaster92

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