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The Music of Final Fantasy has been, since the release of the initial game in the series, an integral part of the experience. Most of the games' original soundtracks have garnered critical praise ranging from video game magazines to professional music reviewers. Alongside the original soundtracks, many compilations and arranged albums have been produced over the years, to similar acclaim.

Until the release of Final Fantasy XII, the chief music composer of the main series was Nobuo Uematsu, who was the sole creative force from the original Final Fantasy up to Final Fantasy IX. Uematsu worked with Masashi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano in Final Fantasy X and with Naoshi Mizuta and Kumi Tanioka in Final Fantasy XI. His collaborations in Final Fantasy XII were limited to the game's theme song, "Kiss Me Good-Bye". Nobuo Uematsu returned to create the soundtrack for Final Fantasy XIV.

The music of the entries of the Ivalice Alliance, as well as the music of Vagrant Story, was handled mostly by Hitoshi Sakimoto. The music of the Crystal Chronicles series was composed by Kumi Tanioka.

Recurring themes

Within the body of musical works, there are certain themes that have made an appearance more than once associated with a character or a situation.

These themes have appeared in most of the original soundtracks of the main series under different lengths, arrangements and even variations.

The Prelude

The "Prelude" is the opening theme of the original Final Fantasy. Since then, it has become one of the most prominent musical pieces in the series, playing at many different stages throughout the games.

The main theme

The "Main Theme of Final Fantasy" (originally titled "Opening Theme" in Final Fantasy) has appeared in most of the main series, usually played during the opening sequence or during the ending. Not to be confused with the "Prelude," since, despite its title, the "Opening Theme" was in reality not the opening track of the game.

The victory fanfare

The "Victory Fanfare" plays in every instance of the main series when a battle encounter ends with victory. Although variations of the Fanfare have been used in some of games, the opening bars have remained unchanged since the original Final Fantasy until Final Fantasy XIII.

The chocobo theme

The "Chocobo Theme" plays when the party travels across the land by means of riding a chocobo, or when they enter a Chocobo forest or any place related to them. Since each entry of the main series includes at least one particular version of the "Chocobo Theme," numerous arrangements of this track exist.

Final Fantasy & Final Fantasy II

The original soundtrack of Final Fantasy introduced three of the musical themes that became a staple of the series, as well as some lasting fan favorites, such as "Matoya's Cave".

The music of the original Final Fantasy and that of Final Fantasy II was first released as a single compilation album, All Sounds of Final Fantasy I & II in 1989, to moderate critical acclaim. Following this release, the arranged album Symphonic Suite Final Fantasy. In 2002, for the release of Final Fantasy Origins, the soundtrack was rearranged by Uematsu and Tsuyoshi Sekito.

Final Fantasy III

The complete soundtrack of the original NES version was actually not the first compilation album of the game, having arrived to the music stores a year after the arranged album Final Fantasy III: Eternal Legend of the Wind was released.

The NES version of Final Fantasy III never made it to western shores, and therefore it was not until the DS version that the soundtrack was widely distributed in America and the rest of the world.

Final Fantasy IV

Final Fantasy IV was the first Final Fantasy to have a Piano Collections album, a practice that continued in the series afterwards. Another arranged album, Final Fantasy IV: Celtic Moon, was released as well, performed by Máire Breatnach in the style of Celtic music.

Uematsu noted that the production of the soundtrack was an arduous task, involving much trial and error. The reason stemmed from the then-recent transition phase between the Famicom and the Super Famicom hardwares.

Final Fantasy V

Final Fantasy V was originally designed to include more than a hundred themes. Nobuo Uematsu felt the number would make the album unpurchasable for the children in the audience, as it would require a two-disc release, and cut down the track list to 50 tunes. The soundtrack was nevertheless released as a two-disc set.

Reception for the soundtrack was lukewarm, with some critics stating the album did not live up to the Original soundtracks of Final Fantasy IV. However, some of its themes became popular among the Final Fantasy community, such as "Clash on the Big Bridge" and "Dear Friends".

Final Fantasy VI

The last of the soundtracks to be issued for the 16-bit generation of consoles, the soundtrack was the longest recorded for said generation of games. For Uematsu, the music marked the end of a stage in his career, which was well-grounded by then in the video game music industry.

Uematsu stated that this particular soundtrack was the most challenging Final Fantasy soundtrack he had worked on. Final Fantasy VI: Original Sound Version received raving reviews, some hailing it as one of the best soundtracks composed for a video game. The game was the first in the series to feature a leitmotif for every one of its main playable characters.

Preeminent among these are "Terra's Theme" and the Aria di Mezzo Carattere, which featured a synthesized voice in the original game, but was rerecorded with a full orchestra and singer. Another famous piece from this soundtrack is "Dancing Mad", a complex 14 minute piece which accompanies the final boss.

Final Fantasy VII

Called by Uematsu his "greatest harvest" in terms of creativity, the soundtrack, despite its length, was composed in a period of less than a year, as opposed to the bi-annual period of producing that had become the standard regarding the previous original soundtracks.

The soundtrack was the first in the series to include a track with digitized vocals, "One-Winged Angel", which has been described as Uematsu's "most recognizable contribution" to the music of the Final Fantasy series. Another one of Uematsu's best known compositions is "Aerith's Theme".

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII- & Last Order -Final Fantasy VII-

Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-

The game's music is a mix of the rock and orchestral genres. It is one of Takeharu Ishimoto's notable works and includes various versions of famous Final Fantasy VII songs composed by Nobuo Uematsu. It also includes a few tracks provided by Kazuhiko Toyama.

One of the notable themes is "The Price of Freedom", which plays when Sephiroth reminisces his days with Angeal and Genesis, as well as during Zack's final stand against the Shinra Army.

Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-

Final Fantasy VIII

Related singles

Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy X-2

Related singles

Final Fantasy XI

Final Fantasy XII

Final Fantasy XIII

Related singles

Final Fantasy XIII-2

Related singles

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Final Fantasy Type-0

The limited edition includes a DVD featuring a teaser movie, the game's trailers, two cinematics from the game, and a booklet.

Final Fantasy Type-0 Music Collection - First Campaign was released before the game and the soundtrack, as a preview. It contains five tracks.

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV/Legacy

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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

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Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy Tactics

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates

Final Fantasy: Unlimited

Other

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Chocobo Albums

Dissidia Final Fantasy

The soundtrack was composed by Takeharu Ishimoto, who also composed the soundtrack of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. It features remixes of different famous themes of the series, some original tracks composed by Ishimoto himself, some tracks sung by Your Favorite Enemies, and a bonus track—"The Messenger" by Your Favorite Enemies.

Some tracks that featured in the game weren't featured in the soundtrack, which were the original versions of some famous songs like the "Dancing Mad", and the "Mambo de Chocobo" and Final Fantasy V Victory Fanfare which was featured in the Data install feature.

Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy

The soundtrack was composed/arranged by Takeharu Ishimoto, responsible for the music from the first Dissidia. Like the first Dissidia, it features arrangements of the music from the series as well as some original versions.

The soundtrack's regular edition sports a white cover on the front with the Warriors of Cosmos, and a black cover on the back with the Warriors of Chaos.

The limited first run edition featured an album jacket box with the Cosmos side artwork on the front and Chaos side at the back. It also included a DVD featuring the game's trailers and promotional videos.

Arrangements & compilations

Concert recordings

Outside groups

The Black Mages

Project Majestic Mix

Alabaster and REDALiCE

OverClocked ReMix

Other

External links

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