Perceiving Reflection

The exercise I did a few days ago on perceiving has left me thinking about how it is an important tool that affects creativity and individualistic thinking. Perceiving, to me, is interconnected with re-imaging, and is the ability to use our five senses to “study” an idea or concept that can be re-imaged with our unique perspective. Perceiving can be brief or it can be something that takes some time, depending on the individual and the subject matter; re-imaging comes next, a tool where one can use their imagination to re-create the perceived subject.

That is what I did with the “Rune of Punishment” song — for years I had listened to the song, but I had never listened to it in a way that allowed me to analyse the song. My analysis revealed to me a hidden instrument (the viola) and an interlude that emitted a hopeful mood instead of a melancholic one. I took the next step to re-image the song and thought about how the song would be if it were slower, or if the song would sound different if the instrumentation had changed. That led me to remember the second piece that featured the melody, and I also remembered that I had arranged the song on the piano a few years ago.

Rune of Punishment Midi File | Rune of Punishment Sheet Music

My arrangement is really simple because that is the level I can play at. I arranged the piece at a faster tempo because it gives the song a more frantic feel, and because it is a tempo I prefer playing at because the slower tempo would put me to sleep! When I did the perceiving exercise, I came to the realisation that my arrangement of the song is a form of “fanmix”. I also realised that fanmix should not be limited to fan-made soundtracks, but fan-made arrangements could also fall under this category. Music arrangers are taking pieces they know and are “re-creating” the pieces with new elements that make the piece familiar, yet different.

This “epiphany” of mine also reminded me of a very famous video game remix/fanmix site called OverClocked ReMix. This site and community have over 2,000 fan-made remixes from more than 500 fans. Fans who love video game music arranged and remixed their favourite songs to something of their “own” — their own tribute, so to say. For these fans, the music made an impact on them, and it helped their creative juice flow after they perceived these songs.

My own arrangement is nothing on the level of those on OC Remix. I will be the first to say that my piano skills are mediocre. However, that does not stop me from loving music, and there are just some songs that affect me to the point of wanting to learn how to play it on the piano, and figure out how to play it at my own level. My perceived notion of the song is “I love it, love it, love it — must learn it now on the piano so I can play it!”, and I then re-imaged it. Perceiving is a key to the door of creativity; if the individual feels something with their perceiving, they will unlock new ideas and concept that will contribute something similar or new to an existing idea. And that is the essence of fanworks.

Perceiving a Familiar Song

A couple of years ago, one of my online friends couldn’t get into a sad mood for a fanfic she’d decided to write. She asked her LiveJournal friends for some song recommendations. I recommended “Rune of Punishment ~ Meeting the Cursed Rune” from a video game called Suikoden Tactics or Rhapsodia, a song that’s actually remixed from the original version in Suikoden IV.

Later, she told me that this song had her sobbing, and it had done the job of getting her in a very melancholy mood to write her fanfic. It pleased me to know that the song had the right effect on her, and that alone intrigued me because, unlike me, she didn’t know the whole story of the song’s origin, on what the whole “Rune of Punishment” was, and how it was cursed.

I re-listened to the song today, and this time I really “listened” to it, and I picked up a lot of different things this time. Sure, I knew the melody and the harmony, I knew that the piano opened up the song, but I somehow missed the fact all these years on how a viola comes in next, not the violin. I picked up other things like how the viola, the violin, and the piano all play the main melody in different parts of the song, and I picked up how the interlude actually sounds like it is in a major key instead of a minor one.

With these thoughts in mind, I begin to re-image the song differently in mind. I thought about how it’d sound if different instruments played the piece, wondered how much more depth it could have, whether the mood will still be the same or not, or even if the tempo change will affect the piece. I re-image the song where it was a duet with a piano and a cello or a string bass, and I pondered on whether it being too “gravelly” sounding, but still sounds haunting compared to it being played on a flute or a clarinet.

After I re-imaged the song, I then remembered another song on the soundtrack that reuses the melody, and the song’s called “Epilogue for the 108 Stars” from Suikoden IV.

The melody comes in at 3:00, and I listened to it featuring a much slower tempo and a more diverse instrumentation, while still keeping the spirit of the other version, still maintaining its haunted, melancholic mood. I cannot say which version I like better — I like both versions, each with their subtle differences.