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Old Jul 8, 2020, 10:18 AM
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Zanasea Zanasea is offline
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The thing is, at the start of his career, Uematsu was very hung up about his abilities as a composer, mostly because he is self-taught and it certainly wasn't easy to get a job within the music industry when other aspiring composers and musicians have a classical background. He said yes to Sakaguchi because he really had no other choice, and originally thought game music would simply help him kickstart his career. So during the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was still yound and unsure. The reason why he grew a mustache is because, during the recordings of the FFIII Legend of the Eternal Wind, he felt the musicians didn't take him seriously, and he thought this would make him appear older. Of course it's just an anecdote but it still says a lot. It's because he wasn't ready to assert his individuality that he considers FFVI Grand Finale a disaster; it really was an existential crisis, and he vowed this would never happen again.

So, this is why when he started working with Hamaguchi, he was extremely demanding and specific. It wasn't simply handing off MIDI files and asking him to orchestrate from that. He required him to have the exact same equipment (especially a Roland SC-88 sound module), so Hamaguchi would hear the exact same sounds and know what effects Uematsu wanted to feature.

While FFVI Grand Finale was arranged by Shiro Sagisu and Tsuneyoshi Saito, FFVIII Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec was arranged by Uematsu but orchestrated by Hamaguchi. This is why the FFVIII orchestra album sounds so much like Uematsu but with live instruments. Then, you can feel how he started to trust Hamaguchi more and more, because he was finally satisfied with this relationship. Finally, he had a full control of his music. As I mentioned above, this is because he started working with arrangers he could trust that he started to consider himself a composer first and foremost. (Recently, about FFVII Remake's "Hollow", he said he chose Kenichiro Fukui because he knows what he is capable of—but, at the same time, he also said he couldn't just handle him the melody and chords, so he started writing parts of the arrangement himself!)

So yeah, of course he cares about arrangement, but since he really wants to compose first and foremost, he's simply satisfied with being able to hand his music off to arrangers he can trust, so they do a better job than he would be able to. (Never forget he's also a very modest person, so of course he's very able himself, but he just knows an arranger can help him achieve his ideas.)

It's a bit sad that Square Enix doesn't release the FFXIV Fan Festival developer panels on YouTube or such, because the one where Nobuo Uematsu had a chat with Masayoshi Soken was really interesting in that respect. Uematsu specifically said he handled arrangement himself for a long time, when the Final Fantasy music only used the console's sound chip, but decided to ask for the help of arrangers when they started using live recordings. The metaphor he then used was that, his compositions are like a baby without clothes. Because he wants his baby to wear fancy clothes, he asks people who are proficient in the genre he's trying to feature.

When you think about his past experiences, I think it shows how he's at peace with himself. It's quite touching, to be honest.

Last edited by Zanasea; Jul 8, 2020 at 10:21 AM.
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