Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MIDI Week Singles: Song A - Gauntlet (NES)

"Song A" from Gauntlet on the Nintendo Entertainment System (1987).
No official soundtrack released.
Composer: Hal Canon
Game Developer: Tengen

Song A.  Unless you played Gauntlet either in the arcade or on the original NES back in and around 1987, your probably don't know which song I'm talking about.  Although what little music there was in Gauntlet II, it was, more-or-less, the only song included and a motif of the theme was briefly used in Gauntlet Legends during the character select, but as for other releases in the series (Gauntlet III, Gauntlet Dark LegacyGauntlet: Seven Sorrows) , I have not heard this theme, although it may have been used as a motif unnoticed by myself.

One thing that really impresses me about this song lasts about 1 minute 3 seconds before it starts to repeat.  Now, this is by no means a record for video game music of this era (Ultima: Exodus has some pretty long tracks), but even the "Above Ground BGM" from Super Mario Bros. (1985) clocks in at 40 seconds and the theme from stage 1 ("1st & 2nd BGM")in Ghosts 'n Goblins (1985) lasts 32 seconds.

The composer, Hal Canon is a mystery in itself.  The current? word is that the whereabouts of Mr. Canon are unknown so talking about his influences for "Song A" would be a bit difficult, although we are freely able to speculate since this is the Internet.  To me, I hear Baroque influences and could easily hear this song performed on a harpsichord, or the next best thing, the guitar (and the piano too I guess), which makes it sound a lot like the theme from Mystery! (composed by Norman Roger).  J.S. Bach would probably have other things to say about this comparison, but again, that's for the Internet to speculate on.

Alrighty, that's enough linkiness for one Wednesday.


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