...or, as user m68030 at remix.overclocked.org put it, "The Amazing Arpeggio of Doom". =)

There are pieces of music video games that end up defining whole series of games. In case of Ultima series, this song is Stones, by Iolo... and in case of Final Fantasy, it's the piece of music commonly known as the Prelude, composed by the father of FF music, Nobuo Uematsu.

The Prelude begins quietly with the harp, slow arpeggio chords, very calmly, I have to say... then, the rest of the orchestra joins, keeping the same pace until the end. (The NES versions only have the arpeggio intro part, though - the melody itself is from SNES days, or so sayeth carraway)

...as a PC person, I have to say this just about the perfect game installation music (but then again, I've only played FFVII on PC =)

I'm under the impression that this song first appeared in original FF, and has since that appeared in all FF titles (correct me if I'm wrong). If this is true, it's indeed relatively speaking more long-lived than Stones, which came to the 9-part series as late as in the fifth part =)

(Oh, and as every game remix sites proves, it's obviously one of the most frequently covered songs of the series, too. =)

In music, a prelude is a short, inventive, often improv-like piece. To begin with, preludes were always preludes to something, as with Bach's groundbreaking organ preludes, which were often toccatas or fantasias preceding a more severely structured fugue (although, interestingly, many were conceived as independent pieces).

Later composers have titled as preludes both works which precede more complex pieces, and standalone flights of fancy. Some of Chopin's best piano music is a compilation of preludes spanning all major and minor keys (a Romantic's grand gesture in homage to Bach's similarly laid-out Well Tempered Clavier).


A brilliant double CD which interleaves Bach's and Chopin's preludes is Labor Records' Bach, Chopin, The Preludes, (piano, Joao Carlos Martins and Arthur Moreira-Lima). The notes by Eric Salzman provide a thoughtful look at Bach's influence on Chopin.

A rock instrumental by Billy Joel, intended to be played before and after his song Angry Young Man. What makes "Prelude" so fascinating is the blazingly fast repetition of the middle C on the piano. It's hard to believe that a single person is playing this hammering staccato on a single piano when you first hear it.

When I went about to learn to play "Prelude" myself, my father nearly laughed out loud. He was completely sure the Staccato From Hell was either some MIDI trick or the result of skillful dubbing.

Actually, it isn't all that hard. You just hit the middle C in rapid succession, using your right thumb and your left third finger in turn. The tierces interspersed between all those Cs are played with the right third and fifth finger. Now all you need is a piano with a good action that will repeat as fast as you strike that key. Allegedly, Billy Joel had an additional spring built into his middle C key so it would repeat faster. However, I can assure you it works on most pianos, though it gets tricky on digital pianos, whose actions are traditionally a bit on the mushier side.

The rest of "Prelude" is fairly easy to play, by the way. The problem is all in that C hammering -- and in the fact that a non-boring rendition of the rather repetitive, ostinating number requires a complete rock outfit, including harmonica, Hammond organ and synthesizer.

Pre"lude (?), n. [F. pr'elude (cf. It. preludio, LL. praeludium), fr. L. prae before + ludus play. See Prelude, v. t.]

An introductory performance, preceding and preparing for the principal matter; a preliminary part, movement, strain, etc.; especially Mus., a strain introducing the theme or chief subject; a movement introductory to a fugue, yet independent; -- with recent composers often synonymous with overture.

The last Georgic was a good prelude to the Aenis Addison.

The cause is more than the prelude, the effect is more than the sequel, of the fact. Whewell.

Syn. -- Preface; introduction; preliminary; preamble; forerunner; harbinger; precursor.

 

© Webster 1913.


Pre*lude" (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Preluded; p. pr. & vb. n. Preluding.] [L. praeludere, praelusum; prae before + ludere to play: cf. F. pr'eluder. See Ludicrous.]

To play an introduction or prelude; to give a prefatory performance; to serve as prelude.

The musicians preluded on their instruments. Sir. W. Scott.

We are preluding too largely, and must come at once to the point. Jeffrey.

 

© Webster 1913.


Pre*lude", v. t.

1.

To introduce with a previous performance; to play or perform a prelude to; as, to prelude a concert with a lively air.

2.

To serve as prelude to; to precede as introductory.

[Music] preluding some great tragedy. Longfellow

 

© Webster 1913.

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