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Monday Music: Music Parallelism

I've been thinking about music parallelism lately - using different versions of the same song for different moments (or using two different but similar sounding songs). When a familiar melody from a past important moment starts playing again, different yet still immediately recognizable, players will immediately think back to that moment, and also wonder what the musical change entails.

The dual nature of using parallel songs lets you achieve a number of different effects. You can show how something has evolved or changed, maybe due to the players' actions, maybe IN SPITE of their actions; you can have a slow/fast-paced combination to use as foreshadowing/eventual reveal; or even something that is literally parallel like a mirror universe or a "dark world" alternate reality.

Tristram Village

I recently used the Tristram Village theme in a Monday Music post, but I've since discovered a track on the Death Note (anime) soundtrack that sounds remarkable similar. You could use the second song to represent the same village, only years later, or after some significant event - showing that while things in the village have changed (like the song), at heart it's still the same place (the music sounding very similar).

Ave Satani

This is the song that original made me want to start using parallel audio cues. The first, original version of this song would be perfect for an evil god's plane, lair, temple or whatever. Something that firmly associates the god with the song. The second song, fast-paced and rocking guitar, would be great for the inevitable epic battle with said evil god.

Those Who Fight

One of the best sources of roleplaying music ever, the Final Fantasy series is also awesome because there are different versions of so many of its songs. Whether it be fanmade, from a movie inspired by one of the games, or even a spinoff game, there are countless FF renditions to pick from. The following songs are all version of the Final Fantasy 7 battle music "Those Who Fight." The second song is a great modernized version of the original, and the third is something completely different - a discordant yet beautiful piano version.

One Winged Angel

Probably one of the most famous Final Fantasy songs, this one actually worked on me via parallelism - I was familiar with the original version, I heard it again in Final Fantasy spinoff game Kingdom Hearts and instantly went "Oh shit!" upon hearing it, which is EXACTLY what I believe DMs can achieve with good music selection in their campaigns. The third version is the mind-blowing version that was in the Final Fantasy 7 movie, Advent Children. Listen to the first two and picture those songs playing as the party fought a villain during Heroic and Paragon tiers - enough so that they associate the villain to the song. Then listen to the third video and picture the terror on their faces as they realize just who's back for revenge.


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