Musica Mundana

Musica Mundana — Victory Themes For Real This Time

So as a very brief, quick followup to last night’s post on battle music, I’m going to put up a little bit about the way victory fanfares are constructed (in my view) as well. It’s not a long post but many YouTube example links, so brave the cut… if you dare.

Alright. So victory themes. The Final Fantasy games probably give us the iconic example because back in the 8-bit NES days, most RPGs didn’t HAVE battle win themes — if you were lucky you get the “bling-bling-BLING!” 3 tone at the end of a Dragon Quest fight (that series still doesn’t have victory music, by the way). Then FF came along with this:

You probably instantly recognized it, right? And structurally it’s extremely simple: a few seconds of fanfare and then a very quickly looped followup. The formula repeats itself… a lot.

SaGa Frontier 2: “Showing Joy I”

Xenosaga: “Battle’s End”

Final Fantasy X-2: “Mission Complete” (Small note: This track pulls double duty in the game!)

Resonance of Fate: “Victory”

Tales of Graces: “Raise the Song of Victory”

And so on and so on. Structurally, this feels like it owes a lot to D&D, doesn’t it? You won! You want an immediate, gratifying burst of energetic sound that says “FUCK YEAH, TAKE THAT METAL SLIME” (while your characters rhythmically pump their fists up and down or whatever) but more importantly, victory usually comes with ~*loot*~ and other prizes like experience points and leveling up. So, the trailing sound, which is often short loops, quieter, repetitive: it plays under your mental math (and occasional inventory management) while you sort out what you won. And there you go! The simple but effective logic of the victory jingle.

There are a few variations that I also enjoy. Probably my favorite is the “two victory themes, one for ‘perfect’ victories,” which is most commonly found in the work of Noriyuki Iwadare. Consider these Grandia-series tracks:

They’re both victory themes, but that second one certainly seems… fancier, right? You only get that one if you win without taking any damage. It’s harder to do, so the resulting song is… you know, shinier. Follows the same logic, but more colorfully/brightly. Final Fantasy XIII-2 also does this with its fanfares, the latter of which you can only get by winning a 5-star battle (thus beating everything inside the target time limit) —

So, what are your favorite victory musics?

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