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Map Ballad (Lylat)
"Map Ballad (Lylat)" is a slow, imposing, ballad-like piece used in Star Fox 64, Star Fox Adventures, and Star Fox Assault. The piece is rooted in an F Octave 8th, however does not stay in the key of F major, instead primarily using a series of accidentals on a C major key for the A melody, rotating into a slightly darker sounding B melody, comprised of the different voices. It was composed by Hajime Wakai.
The intro of the piece begins on a Perfect 5th F-C, F on a bass instrument and C on a tenor instrument, and a repeating ostinato that plays throughout the piece shared between a soprano voice and a form of a snare drum. The F-C 5th, in the second measure, moves up 1-1/2 steps to a G#-D#. In the three measures that follow, the Perfect 5th falls back down onto the F-C 5th, holding on the fifth measure and releasing on Beat 3 of the sixth measure.
At this point, the leads, on the 5ths of an Alto instrument take over for another 6 measures, with an occasional answer from the Soprano voice on a variant of the Alto voice lead. This figure repeats once more, however it is rejoined by the F-C Perfect 5th from before. As the lead and the 5th figure cut out, the Soprano voice takes over a B figure dominated by 1 beat 8th-note triplets and a held figure, usually resolving on E, then F, then E, then High B, while the Alto voice simply holds 5ths. The Soprano voice is repeated again, this time adding on the upper 5th, making it another Perfect 5th melody akin to the opening of the piece. The piece then begins looping here.
In Star Fox 64, the piece was used as the primary map music and the background music for the opening background story scroll. This game is where the piece had the most use.
The actual piece was arranged on various synthesizers, similarly to the rest of the soundtrack. The Bass parts were on a string bass-sounding synthesizer. The Tenor voice was set to a cello-sounding synthesizer. The Soprano voice was set on a more synthesized instrument, deliberately sounding like a synthesizer. The Alto voice was placed on another synthesizer that sounded like a synthesizer. The snare drum was also synthesized. Arrangement was done directly by Hajime Wakai.
In Star Fox Adventures, since the soundtrack took a tribal-sounding turn, the piece was rearranged by David Wise to fit the bill. The ostinato was altered slightly to be centered around more 16th notes arranged in a tribal drum feel; tribal drums were also added in the intro to replace the ostinato. This trend in the piece held true throughout, as where the leads, now sounding like tribal horns in some sense, cut out, the ostinato would fill in the gaps left.
The piece also became slightly longer. Several measures of the altered ostinato pattern were added.
In Star Fox Assault, the piece became used as a Briefing screen backing track. In around 6 of the missions with briefing screens, the piece was utilized.
Much like the rest of the soundtrack, the piece was performed by the Tokyo New City Orchestra. Unlike previous arrangements, however, each part was performed by various instruments of the orchestra, creating a fuller sound to the piece. It was conducted by Yoshie Arakawa.
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