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.