Phils Game/Pop Music Similarities #155 - A Dance of the Roses


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Sep 3, 2019
Featuring Final Fantasy IX and british/irish folk music.

Greetings fellow game music lovers,

another sunday, another Final Fantasy season day. This time featuring one of the poster songs of Final Fantasy IX (2000), "Rose of May" by Nobuo Uematsu. It is also known as the theme of notoriously invincible boss Beatrix (at least until she bothers to join you ;) ):

As several people have noticed, the song is likely based on a jig, a british/irish folk dance in 6/8 time from at least the 17th century. Let me give you some examples of what I mean:

Dribbles of Brandy ( before 1788):

Lilliburlero (17th century):

Funnyly, I don't know a jig yet that has the same tone and curvature as Roses of May. Nevertheless, I found several songs in early 20th century pop culture that might be based on irish jigs and whose curvature comes closer to the folk songs from above:

There is a song from 1915, originally called "Nola" by Felix Arndt that sounds like a happy folksy remix of Roses of May (I use the 1950 version by Les Paul because it's easier to hear):

Then we have Lionel Monckton with the titular song to the musical "The Quaker Girl" from 1910:

And some stuff from not so early 20th century pop:

Mike Oldfield - The Song of the Sun (1996):

John Renbourn - The Orphan (1973):

At the finish, a song from 1920 called "Oh! by Jingo" by Frank Crumit from 1920 which might include something resembling the later part of the song starting at 0:45 although this might very well be from rennaissance music:

Next week, in the wake of christmas, I'll be shooting at something people might consider insolent.

Phil out.


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Again, sorry I’m so late. I’m working through these.

I can definitely hear a similar folky style in Beatrix’s theme / Roses of May. Out of the more contemporary ones, Mike Oldfield’s Song of the Sun seems like a good match for the style.

Why though? The title Roses of May is taken to be a reference to the Red Rose ship which she commands. But considering its musical relevance, aside from the general folky feel of many tracks in this game, maybe there's a special relevance also. It could relate to the May Day celebrations (a popular aspect of the folk scene).
Notice how Beatrix herself appears in scenes such as the theatrical performance of Lord Avon’s (essentially Shakespeare’s) I Want To Be Your Canary, the attacks on Burmecia and Cleyra (where Beatrix launches a surprise attack after the Burmecians complete a jig-style folk dance).

And then there is the connection between May and romance, thanks to Shakespeare and others, and how this might tie in with the plot of Beatrix x Steiner.