Awesome Video Game Music: Terra's Theme

Final Fantasy VI is certainly one of my favorite games ever, and one of its best features is undoubtedly its all encompassing soundtrack. There are numerous standout songs, and the awesomely epic Terra’s Theme is easily among them.
  

 
Terra’s Theme has two purposes in Final Fantasy VI. As the name suggests, this is the “character theme” for Terra, but it also doubles as the overworld theme. It functions wonderfully in both roles, and I’ll focus on the “character theme” idea first. For the majority of Final Fantasy VI, Terra is very uncertain of her place in the world. She knows she has the power to make a difference, but has no idea how to go about doing so. At the same time, even though she carries this uncertainty throughout much of the game, there’s still a silent determination about Terra that makes her very endearing. She desperately wants to use her power, and to use it for good. I see these same traits in Terra’s Theme as well. Something about it seems simultaneously lost and determined. A lot of the instrumentation has kind of a wispy, “airy” quality to it that makes it seem fragile and unsure of itself. Yet behind it all, providing the foundation for the entire song, is a strong, steady beat. It’s the driving force that keeps things moving forward, making the song feel very determined even as it’s searching for answers.

I feel like this description carries over to the world itself, and is why Terra’s Theme works so well in doubling as the overworld theme. I’ve always thought that the world of Final Fantasy VI is, in a way, its biggest “character”, and I get a sense that it’s struggling to find some sort of balance. Whether it’s Magic vs Machines or the Empire vs the Returners, there are numerous forces at work that are pulling it in different directions, and you can see the adverse effects it all has on the world’s downtrodden citizens. And yet, through all of this, there seems to be a global determination budding in every corner of the world- life is determined to find a way. This goes hand in hand with the traits I expounded above with regards to Terra herself, which is why I think Terra’s Theme works so well as both a “character theme” and as the overworld theme.

The word “terra” comes from Latin, essentially meaning “earth” or “land”. I can’t imagine it’s pure coincidence that the theme for a character named Terra is also the theme you hear when you are wandering about the overworld. The two are fairly interchangeable in Final Fantasy VI, and the way that Terra’s Theme fits both so well to become such a central part of the entire game is just fantastic.

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Posted by MajorMitch

Final Fantasy VI is certainly one of my favorite games ever, and one of its best features is undoubtedly its all encompassing soundtrack. There are numerous standout songs, and the awesomely epic Terra’s Theme is easily among them.
  

 
Terra’s Theme has two purposes in Final Fantasy VI. As the name suggests, this is the “character theme” for Terra, but it also doubles as the overworld theme. It functions wonderfully in both roles, and I’ll focus on the “character theme” idea first. For the majority of Final Fantasy VI, Terra is very uncertain of her place in the world. She knows she has the power to make a difference, but has no idea how to go about doing so. At the same time, even though she carries this uncertainty throughout much of the game, there’s still a silent determination about Terra that makes her very endearing. She desperately wants to use her power, and to use it for good. I see these same traits in Terra’s Theme as well. Something about it seems simultaneously lost and determined. A lot of the instrumentation has kind of a wispy, “airy” quality to it that makes it seem fragile and unsure of itself. Yet behind it all, providing the foundation for the entire song, is a strong, steady beat. It’s the driving force that keeps things moving forward, making the song feel very determined even as it’s searching for answers.

I feel like this description carries over to the world itself, and is why Terra’s Theme works so well in doubling as the overworld theme. I’ve always thought that the world of Final Fantasy VI is, in a way, its biggest “character”, and I get a sense that it’s struggling to find some sort of balance. Whether it’s Magic vs Machines or the Empire vs the Returners, there are numerous forces at work that are pulling it in different directions, and you can see the adverse effects it all has on the world’s downtrodden citizens. And yet, through all of this, there seems to be a global determination budding in every corner of the world- life is determined to find a way. This goes hand in hand with the traits I expounded above with regards to Terra herself, which is why I think Terra’s Theme works so well as both a “character theme” and as the overworld theme.

The word “terra” comes from Latin, essentially meaning “earth” or “land”. I can’t imagine it’s pure coincidence that the theme for a character named Terra is also the theme you hear when you are wandering about the overworld. The two are fairly interchangeable in Final Fantasy VI, and the way that Terra’s Theme fits both so well to become such a central part of the entire game is just fantastic.

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Posted by Kyreo

Final Fantasy music has always been pretty great.  What I love most is the menu music.

Edited by Valkyr

This is indeed one of the most beautiful pieces of music in general, not only video game music, God bless Nobuo Uematsu

Posted by ahoodedfigure

The overworld themes in FF have tended to be my favorite tracks for the respective games. There's something in this particular theme, though, that's strikingly melancholy rather than simply adventurous. Given the mid-game twist this has good thematic grounding.
 
It's been a long time since I played this game, but hearing this brings a lot of memories back. Nobuo Uematsu really knows what he's doing. What's odd is that I find the chiptunes somehow feel more pure than the fully orchestrated versions, so it's those I tend to seek out. Maybe because I know that, if you want, you are more likely to find a version you can seamlessly repeat, as if it were in the game itself.

Posted by MajorMitch

@ahoodedfigure: I've noticed there seems to be a melancholy element to a lot of different Final Fantasy themes, even the more adventurous ones like this. I don't know how Uematsu does it, but I love it. I like a lot of orchestrated versions of these songs as well, but the originals always tickle my nostalgia, which can be a powerful thing. It probably makes the song sound better to me than it probably should.