my journal
September 2016

Date: 2015-04-28 15:14
Security: Public
Tags:chrono trigger, midi, my music
Subject: Chrono Trigger MIDI Soundtrack: 20/69

For a while now I've been on a project to sequence the entire soundtrack from the original Chrono Trigger in General MIDI, with an emphasis on accuracy. By that, I mean that it should both be as close to the original source material as possible, but that it should also *sound* as close to the original source material as possible, within the limitations of General MIDI, without relying on or abusing the rendering of any given MIDI synthesizer, and attempting to have it be playable on any General MIDI synthesizer (within reason).

That's not as easy of a task as it sounds. For me, the thing that really differentiates most existing Chrono Trigger MIDI tunes from the original is the SNES' distinctive echo effect. General MIDI doesn't have an echo effect, so most of the existing MIDI conversions I've heard just don't have any echoes. To me, that's a great loss, because the Chrono Trigger soundtrack made superb use of it and to hear it without the echo takes a lot away from the experience.

Of course, the echo isn't the only thing good about the soundtrack; Yasunori Mitsuda managed to compose one of the greatest video game soundtracks I've heard (on the SNES or otherwise), as did Nobuo Uematsu and Noriko Matsueda on the songs they worked on. Unfortunately, most of the MIDI conversions I've heard don't do the originals justice.

So I'm currently working on doing a complete conversion of the entire Chrono Trigger soundtrack by hand, from as close to the original source material as I can reasonably get. In this case I'm using YK's SPC dump. I'm using JCOM-SPC to play the dumped music (which uses the SNESAmp core) and to listen to each channel individually. From there I sequence it by ear, using MIDI to achieve as close a representation as I can achieve while still being true to the original music. (Yes, including echoes!)

I've done this for 20 tunes from the soundtrack so far; the total number of tunes I'm converting will be 69, plus at least one 'bonus' track not included in that dump. (I am not converting the sound effect tracks, the two variants of People Without Hope, or the version of Underground Sewer that includes the water sound effects.) I started work on this six months ago, but I've just come out of a break of about four months, so only two months or so of that has been doing actual work on the project.

The reason I mention all this is because two days ago I did the conversion of Peaceful Days (the overworld music for 1000AD). Once I'm done with the whole project I'll release it all (and I have no idea when that'll be - sorry), but I think this tune is one of the most beautiful tunes in the soundtrack and I'd like to share the converted version with you now.

Here are the relevant download links for my conversion of "Peaceful Days":

(Please note that although the MP3 is rendered using an XG-capable synth, the MIDI uses only General MIDI; I simply prefer how the S-YXG2006LE synth sounds.)

And for comparison purposes, here's a YouTube link to a recording of the original music.

Enjoy. :)

[edit: YouTube link for the original music edited to a better version.]

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