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  #1  
Old Mar 22, 2010, 12:37 PM
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Default Composed vs. Arranged

Can someone explain to me what arranged means? Looking at the FFXIII soundtrack, I see that Hamauzu composed everything, but others did some of the arranging. Does this mean Hamauzu wrote the music, but the others chose the instrumentation? or they did the actual synth programming? I'm just not clear on what arranging means. Thanks.
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 02:36 PM
kyubihanyou kyubihanyou is offline
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Composing is the bare minimum; creating the melody and all that.

Arranging is taking it to the next level; fine-tuning it beyond it's original form by incorporating different instruments (more than just one audio source) and sometimes different artists (someone working on a single track/melody after the original composition is created). It's been utilized in original soundtracks since the early 90s, when VGM evolved beyond just 8-bits.

Furthermore, composers can also be their own arrangers, as the music that succeeds the 8-bit generation goes beyond just a melody (by incorporating instruments and all that), and are otherwise basically put there if no one else contributed to the track's arrangement, as the two fields are basically inseparable nowadays.

Those who play instruments are the performers; I wouldn't know if instruments "choosers" are technically arrangers, though arranges are generally played with instruments that may or may not exceed the capabilities of the original soundtrack. I guess arrangers are those who actually do the work of remaking the track with the new instruments in mind, whom may or may not be the same people who chose the instruments.

To simplify things, I only put the arranger in the artist box if the composed melody was previously credited either before or within the soundtrack.
(ex.) "Family," the final track from Super Mario Galaxy, is composed by Koji Kondo (since it's the same melody as the Observatory theme) but arranged by Mahito Yokota, so I leave out Kondo, as his melody was already displayed in the three variations of the Observatory theme (its original form).

There are times, however, when including both a composer and an arranger are unavoidable
(ex.) Ocean Palace and Mystic Mansion (both composed by Naofumi and arranged by Jun; completely unrelated compositions), and Emerald Challenge (co-composed AND co-arranged by Jun and Fumie; Fumie's sole contribution) from Sonic Heroes.

Finally, there's the ridiculously easy case
(ex.) Mahito Yokota arranged many classic Mario tunes composed by Koji Kondo for Super Mario Galaxy.
This also applies to full game remakes, including Rockman EXE 5DS, Mother 1+2, and Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, where the original artist is always reduced to composer whilst the arranger, as a result, becomes the new primary artist, which is usually the case.

In simpler terms, "arranged" means anything that is not just the original sound (not the OST). Medleys and remixes are the exception here, as medleys are the original sound, but ordered/connected together in a new way (the key is looking between the tracks), and remixes are the same as above except with a little more intervention within the track(s). It's tough to decide whether an "original music medley" should primarily credit the original composer or not, and if remixes should even be considered arrangements, so go with your own personal categorization from there for your own exploits.

**Oh, and the arrangers for FFXIII end at Sin. Everyone else below is a performer, so it's not that big a mess to work through.

Last edited by kyubihanyou; Mar 26, 2010 at 09:20 PM.
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 06:34 PM
Cedille Cedille is offline
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Originally Posted by mrnutz View Post
Can someone explain to me what arranged means? Looking at the FFXIII soundtrack, I see that Hamauzu composed everything, but others did some of the arranging. Does this mean Hamauzu wrote the music, but the others chose the instrumentation? or they did the actual synth programming?
As far as FFXIII goes, it depends on each case. The track-by-track commentaries on the Japanese official site (ten of which are translated in the EU promo album, but I think a couple translations are at least partially wrong, by the way) imply the role of those arrangers varies from the instrumental elaborations, the adjustments for the live instruments/orchestra, to the creations of almost a new track based on Hamauzu's original composition, like Hamauzu's own responsibility also varies from writing simple MIDI sequence date with only piano patches and letting others rearranging it (Hope's Theme") to the orchestration (2-18 "To Hunt L'Cie" which Hamauzu himself orchestrated and even wrote the score of). The tracks which seemingly have arrangers' greater responsibilities are "Chocobos of Cocoon - Chasing Dreams" which Yamazaki arranged based on the 23rd track of Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon Original Soundtrack and "Start Your Engines" which Toshiyuki Omori throughly arranged based on "Eidolons", but I think it's dangerous to judge their involvements only with those comments.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 12:43 AM
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from my experience it can mean multiple things. it can either be somewhat synonymous with remixing ("arrange" albums), it can just mean the guy who programmed the music to fit in a console (like sakimoto did for some of matsuo's early soundtracks, and what matsuo often does for sugiyama's music now, for instance), it can also refer to orchestrators too... etc. it's a bit of a wooly term but arranger from my experience loosely means the person who was responsible for putting the notes down in the way they're heard.

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Old Mar 23, 2010, 10:02 AM
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Found a wiki link: Arrangement. I'm an fan of music, not a student, so a lot of this is over my head. It sounds like the arranger uses the original composition as a basis for development in a variety of directions. Is that a good general description? I'm trying to figure out who to credit for music that I really like. I tend to consider the composer the end-all-be-all but it sounds like the arranger can have a significant impact on the final piece.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 10:12 AM
kyubihanyou kyubihanyou is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrnutz View Post
It sounds like the arranger uses the original composition as a basis for development in a variety of directions. Is that a good general description? I'm trying to figure out who to credit for music that I really like. I tend to consider the composer the end-all-be-all but it sounds like the arranger can have a significant impact on the final piece.
Your description is solid, and you can put more than one artist for a track name (aka all of them) if you can't eliminate any of them; it happens quite often, actually.

I'd say the best ones to classify with the arrangers only are pure remakes, like on an arrangement album or an actual game remake OST. When different names are used for composition and arrangement, it's usually (in my experience) either both or just the arranger. Still, your call in the end.

If you want, I can help you. Just send a private message with a song list and I'll help you with finding/determining appropriate credits, 'cause I got nothin' but a lot of time on my hands.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitz Lunar View Post
...it can either be somewhat synonymous with remixing ("arrange" albums)
Remixing is not arranging. A remix makes use of the original recorded track and builds upon it, an arrangement does not.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 11:23 AM
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regardless of whether arrangement is truly synonymous with remixing or not (I know it isn't), there's countless "arranged" albums which include material that's clearly been reinterpreted. "arrangement" as a definition doesn't mean much without context. you need to look at what it means on a case-per-case basis.

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Old Mar 23, 2010, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Blitz Lunar View Post
regardless of whether arrangement is truly synonymous with remixing or not (I know it isn't), there's countless "arranged" albums which include material that's clearly been reinterpreted. "arrangement" as a definition doesn't mean much without context. you need to look at what it means on a case-per-case basis.

Sure, I never suggested that there were no remixes on arranges album (that's why we have classifications for both.) However, most arrange albums are just that, arrange albums. It's misleading to try and make the term synonymous with remixes somehow since the [remix] classification is already used improperly often enough.

indeed.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 02:18 PM
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Not to start drama, but I think much of the confusion between game remixes and arrangements is drawn up by OverClocked ReMix. It's worth noting that all of the music tracks there are actually arrangements (as noted here). djp merely chose the "ReMix" title for stylistic reasons.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 02:27 PM
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Regardless of whether the album is an OST or arranged album, the arranger is the person who is responsible for how any given track sounds, and should always be credited in place of the composer. It's more accurate that way (plus it keeps my iPod nice and tidy ). Just as an example, you wouldn't credit Uematsu for the bulk of the Crisis Core soundtrack just because they're based on his compositions. You would credit Ishimoto, because he actually worked on it, whereas Uematsu wasn't even around.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitz Lunar View Post
"arrangement" as a definition doesn't mean much without context. you need to look at what it means on a case-per-case basis.
^This right here.

Quote:
It sounds like the arranger uses the original composition as a basis for development in a variety of directions. Is that a good general description?
It's OK for a general description. But as others have mentioned above, arrangement may just refer to the preparation of MIDI data for recording by live performers.

I haven't read the commentaries on FFXIII, but I'll make a conjecture anyway. I'll just pick a few tracks for an example. Chances are, Hamauzu's composition (all the data) was already perfectly in place for "Sazh's Theme" and the arranger needed only to put the MIDI data to paper for the chamber group that performed it. "Afro Blues", on the other hand, is more difficult to discern because it sounds mostly like improvisation from the harmonica player. Where Hamauzu would have probably needed the help arranging is in special cases like this where scoring for particular instruments (like harmonica) and a particular style of playing, like the bluegrass guitar, requires someone experienced with said specialized scoring.

As for the live orchestral tracks... I doubt much had to be contributed by the orchestrators. Hamauzu knows orchestration backwards and forwards, and has since he started at Square years and years ago.

Then there's those pesky synth tracks that are credited with an arranger attached. Well, I'd put down money that most only needed an arranger for some live instruments and perhaps some extra mixing; but some tracks could be more the work of the arranger just as Hamauzu and Nakano's work in FFX were almost always highly derivative of (and superior to) Uematsu's original themes. As for FFXIII, take "Tension"--I'm willing to bet that track belongs mostly to Nakano, with a brief appearance by a Hamauzu melody toward the end. Otherwise, the track is stylistically identical to Nakano's own style.

(Cedille, I'd be very interested in a complete and accurate translation of those track-by-track commentaries... does one exist yet?)
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 07:43 PM
Cedille Cedille is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jormungand View Post
"Afro Blues", on the other hand, is more difficult to discern because it sounds mostly like improvisation from the harmonica player.
I think you're right here. That track was mostly improvised by the harpist.
Quote:
この曲は、元々はイベント専用曲として尺に合わせて細かくデモを作っていたものでしたが、ブルースハープの 演奏者には伸び伸びやってもらおうと、特に譜面を渡すことも無くイメージだけを伝え、根本から作り替えるこ とにしました。
Rough translation:
This track was originally intended to be exclusive to the event sequence and I composed the demo version in depth to fit the scene. However, as I wanted to let the blue harp performer go freely, I decide to redesign this track drastically and gave him only the image without the musical score.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jormungand View Post
take "Tension"--I'm willing to bet that track belongs mostly to Nakano, with a brief appearance by a Hamauzu melody toward the end. Otherwise, the track is stylistically identical to Nakano's own style.
Indeed, that track was such interesting case that I intended to mention in my latest post because Hamauzu apparently tried to imitate Nanako.
Quote:
曲の発注で「緊迫曲」と聞いて頭に浮かんだのが「仲野節」でした。それ以外が頭に浮かばない!・・・という ことで、「仲野さんが作るような曲をやってみよう」と取り組み、そして最後は本人に仕上げてもらった曲です (笑)。
Rough translation:
It was "Nakano" once I heard about the order of "a tension theme". Nothing else came to my head...! So I tried to compose something Nakano would do, and the final touch was done by himself (laugh).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jormungand View Post
(Cedille, I'd be very interested in a complete and accurate translation of those track-by-track commentaries... does one exist yet?)
Not know of such things yet. I'm not in a good position to make a comment upon others' translations, but I'd say those in the promo album are mostly fine, with a couple questionable points; for "The Hanging Edge", how can the track with only 3:26 length have 16 minute piano pieces? In the original comment, it was just "sixteenth notes of piano". I'm also not sure if "wow factor" of "Lake Bresha" can ever mean something negative as in the original text.
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