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Concerning the work of Sugiyama


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Yay! A music discussion! Here are my thoughts/opinions.....

 

  • Dragon Quest 5 has the best symphonic suite in terms of combining and arranging all the various themes of the game together. Very smooth, very natural.
  • Dragon Quest 8's symphonic suite is the biggest improvement over the OST of the game. And in this situation I am referring to the synthesized OSTs (Japan PS2 release, iOS/Android release, 3DS release). For me, this is probably easiest to identify the improvement because in North America we got used to the symphonic suite being used as the OST for PS2 so then going back to the synth is pretty jarring.
  • Probably in the minority here, but I think Dragon Quest 6 has the best music overall in the series. OST and symphonic suite. Sugi's best, most thematic, most creative work IMO.
  • I really enjoy the string quartet arrangements for DQ1 & 2 because they were smaller games with simpler themes, and they translate well to that arrangement.

 

(Not sure what you mean by LPO, TPO, NHK  >.< )

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I also agree that VI has the best music overall. It really is the most "symphonic" one, with a harmonious structural thematic recurrence, while also combining the baroque counterpoint of the Alefgard trilogy and the more Romantic tonalities of V.

 

IV really marks for me Sugiyama's experimental period, when he breaks away from his Bachist technique and into more modern composition.

 

(By that I meant the different recording with the London Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic and NHK Radio Orchestra. I prefer the London one...but it's also one of the most prestigious ensembles in the world.)

 

 

Is cringe a vital human necessity?

I think the string quartet arrangement for IV's gypsy dance is also quite phenomenal. Very smooth, virtuoso and enhancing. Sounds like something Smetana would compose.

 

 

Is cringe a vital human necessity?

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I can't really speak for Symphonic Suites, but Dragon Quest V, despite being only my 6th favorite main series title as of right now, has always had the best overall soundtrack in my opinion. It's a relatively small soundtrack, compared to say IV, VI, VII, IX or X, but each tune (with the exception of Nizmo's battle music) is pleasing to me- and that is a rare feet, considering that I normally find some songs great in an ost, and some not so. Take Dragon Quest II; I like the prologue, castle theme, town theme, lonely youth overworld, dungeon song, shrine, sailing theme, and sorrow theme. I dislike, however, the battle theme, the tower theme, Sidoh's theme, and that annoying overworld tune that you are forced into having assembled 3 characters together. Compared to V? I dislike only the fairy world theme, Nizmo's battle music, and perhaps the underworld theme. Particularly the ratio between dungeon song/tower song, as far as quality. Only Dragon Quests V and VII manage to have both a dungeon theme and a tower theme that I enjoy both of (since they tend to be so alien from one another sound-wise).

You know what else bothers me? When a Dragon Quest has an excellent overworld piece that I love (like all of them, actually), yet the song is hardly even used in the game! This phenomenon is rare, and occurs only in Dragon Quests II and IV in large part, thankfully (there are multiple overworld themes in III, V, VI, and VII, aslo, though they give at least equal time to the main themes). In dragon quest II, the moving "Lonely Youth" plays only until you assemble all three party members, at which time it is replaced by that quaint, vaguely grating happy traveling theme... even if multiple characters are killed in battle! Even when you are marching in the frozen wastelands of Rhone, doorstep to the evil lord! The only time it switches back (Alefgard theme notwithstanding), briefly, is when the Prince of Cannock is removed from your group by the vile Hargon's curse. Short, but sweet, I'd say. "Lonely Youth", despite it's name, should have stayed the definitive theme for the entirety of the game.

Dragon Quest IV? My third favorite Dragon Quest, with a large, marvelous soundtrack. With more overworld themes than any other titles, each belonging to a separate set of lead characters, one would think you's find one you liked enough to keep that character in the lead once all of the characters have assembled. My favorite was the Protagonist's, called "Homeland", which is often considered to be the central theme. Tragically, however, while the other 8 characters all retain possession of their themes while in the lead, my protagonist (who is always in the lead anyway), with my favorite theme, get's their theme replaced by that awful Wagon's-Wheel-march or whatever-it-is; there's just no excuse for that! Especially when you consider that it is the default theme for the underworld, DESPITE which ever character leads! Luckily however, unlike II, Homeland can again be heard... if the only current character in your party is Mr. or Ms. Protagonist! Total hogwash, I say. Luckily, Dragon Quest V retain's it's main theme for much of the game, understandably changing only when you proceed to another world altogether.

Oh, but I do go on; sorry about the ranting. :3 It is great fun do discuss the magnificent tunes crafted by Master Sugiyama in all of their facets, I must say!!! ^_^

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Emotionally, my preference might go to the Impressionism in V. But I'm trying to retain an objective musicological view here. Something that never appears in V is the counterpoint that sets Sugiayama apart from all those other video game composers.

 

 

Is cringe a vital human necessity?

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  • 2 weeks later...

If we are just going off games, 6 or 7 was his high point. I think IX is seriously underrated by our fanbase though. It has my favorite battle themes and castle themes in the series.

 

His best work overall is his work on Space Runaway Ideon, particularly Be Invoked

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