Music and Ambience in Final Fantasy IX


I love to read and discuss pretty much anything!
Jul 17, 2006
United Kingdom.
Although we have a thread for the music, I want to dedicate another to the ambience certain pieces in Final Fantasy IX create. This came up in one of my posts yesterday and I wanted to explore the topic in more depth - and to see what others see when they listen to the music.

Listen to the following pieces and cast your mind back to the setting. What does the music tell you about the place? How does it make you feel? Is the city friendly? What is life like there? Who lives there?

Border Village ~ Dali
Kingdom of Bulmecia
Sleepless City ~ Treno
Secret Library ~ Daguerreo
Souless Village ~ Branbul

Try to avoid looking at any other posts before you create yours.

I shall put my comments in a spoiler. I don't want to influence anyone else. ;)

Border Village ~ Dali
The music tells me that Dali is a very quiet place, friendly and serene. It is populated by young and old souls, all of them living in harmony. An old man sits alone in a shop somewhere dreaming about his love Maria, the woman he never did ask to marry him; another tends to his garden, pondering over how to keep each plant healthy; children play in a group, sharing their imaginary world. The air is still. The temperature and light of the sun is perfect.

Kingdom of Bulmecia
This is the theme of a place that was once prosperous, but now lost. The halls are still grand and statues and relics still decorate the halls, but no one lives here. There is splendour, there is history, but the slightest sound creates an echo, highlighting the emptiness and the tragedy of a lost civilisation.

Sleepless City ~ Treno
A lot of mischief goes on here! The music makes me think of kids chasing one another through the streets, teasing one another, running rings around Garnet. :lew: Jesters and gluttons walk about, enjoying extravagance. Splendid buildings filled with splendid things lie in the city. The golden glow from its lights cause those who pass to stop and look, pondering over how they might buy the place. Theatre groups live and perform in small zones, making others laugh. Some of their jokes are clever, some aren't - some men laugh because they are drunk; not because they understand what's actually going on! Around 1 minute 50 seconds in, where the volume of the piano increases, I see a man playing the piano. He's a jolly fellow and performs at a restaurant where women and men lavish in good food and wine. The women all wear lovely dresses and lean over the tables flirtatiously. The piano player is in a world of his own, lost within his music. He has perfected the piano, and he takes pleasure in that, but it's not about being a good performer - it's about feeling jolly whilst doing it. He bops his head enthusiastically. :lew:

Secret Library ~ Daguerreo
The music makes Daguerreo feel like a very friendly place, filled with quiet scholars who read avidly, gathering tidbits of information. Occasionally, one finds a new fact and marvels at it, jumping quietly, reservedly, in a secret corner. A few people walk around, visiting one shelf, then another, getting a feel for the books.
(I haven't actually been to this place in the game, so it would be interesting to know how accurate that is!)

Souless Village ~ Branbul
A very mysterious place, I sense. There is sadness here. Everything is still. There's beauty, perhaps a few tall sculptural towers or trees, but very few people; any people who may exist here are lifeless. They don't speak, don't meet your eyes. They go about their lives mechanically, lost in some sort of dream, lifeless.
(I haven't been here yet either!)
This is the one of the greatest aspects of FF's (up to 10 anyway) in that the music was in perfect harmony with the area and the situation. Nobuo Uematsu is a pure genius!

In Dali, the music made you feel like you were in a quiet but pleasant and friendly town. Daily life would be pretty relaxed, you wouldn't get up early in the morning and you wouldn't be late to bed at night. The weather would always be mild and at Christmas they'd be a few inches of snow on the ground just like you see on seasonal greetings cards.

Burmecia's music just gave you a great sense of tragedy. It was very somber and sad and even if you had never visited Burmecia, you'd just know that it would be raining. Even so, the music was so powerful that you'd find yourself just listening to it for a long time before you realised you needed to be making headway.

Treno's just gave the feeling that wherever you were was going to be quite sleazy. You could almost picture yourself in the casino or at the bar with the Treno music playing in your head. The night time entertainment would always last until dawn was breaking the next morning and a lot of people would be getting very rich via illegal activities.

In Daguerreo, the music feels like you'd reached somewhere after a very difficult quest. All the hard work and difficult battles you've gone through have been worth it because you can go and rest in a nice comfy bed. It makes you feel safe and reminds me of the music you found around towns in FF4 and 5. The people you meet would be happy to see you and you got the feeling that many other travellers would maybe visit this place too.

With the music for Branbal, in my mind I can see myself in a place that's almost identical to Macalania Woods from FF10. Somewhere that is very peaceful but maybe with a sad past and is hiding a few magical secrets. It does remind me of the Crystal rooms from FF5 so that's maybe why I'm getting a feeling of magic in the air. I can't picture people living in this place but instead mystical creatures like unicorns and the like.
Border Village - Dali - A new life beginning.
Kingdom of Burmecia - This piece is very similiar to Freya's theme so I associate it strongly with that. It's kind of a sad love story. Also when you get to Burmecia its basically destroyed so that's another reason the music seems so forlorn.
Sleepless City Treno - one of my FAVORITE songs ever. So fun to play on piano. This song speaks of mischief and excitement in the air. It reminds me almost of a classical New York City. With nobles running around watching plays and all kinds of things happening in the city at night. Great song.
Secret Library - Daugerro - Don't believe I ever went there...
Soulless Village - Branbal - Kind of a mysterious song, mixed with sadness, like alot of FF songs.