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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Namco Taiko Blog (22 June 2017) - Behind the Notechart: Geki-un! Shichifuku Happy Crew



Notechart talk is back at the Taiko Team's official blog, but rather than making a new charter-focused feature post like in the past few instances of the previous months/years, a tangent of chart features is introduced instead, in which single songs' charting process is discussed by its own creator.

Today marks the beginning of this feature cycle, starting with the Yellow Version songs from the Summer Rewards Shop. Hear Marimo Institute talk about her work on the latest IOSYS original!

For the sake of an easier-to-digest explanation primer, Marimo Institute started today's feature by introducing the two major methods that are used by Taiko Team members in order to place notes for their notecharts. The general disclosures around this topic is that many kinds of exceptions and sub-techniques may sprung out from these two charting methods; not to mention that selected Notechart Sentai members may follow their own style that diverges from both approaches! All these variables are temporarily put aside in order to discuss what is most commonly recollected about these two main "charting direction" schools.

Musical Arrangement (音楽的な配置)

The easier charting trend to spot, the Musical Arrangement notation consists of a simple rule: place notes according to the timing of the played track's instruments and the voice of the singing lead/s. For a music series revolving around huge toy drums, it's important for the people put in charge of the playable charts to make for an intense music-playing experience with each song, and the Musical Arrangement method is usually the foreground primer for a notechart's sketch.

According to many different variables such as the song chosen for charting, the intended difficulty direction and the person put in charge for the notechart itself, the Musical Arrangement interpretation for a song may be interpreted in a lot of different ways, both by the same charter and by other individuals. Marimo Institute's angle on this topic tends to be in the middle lane of song-based and Taiko-based MA approach.

Game-like Arrangement (ゲーム的な配置)

While the Musical Arrangement approach may be already enough for songs that are ripe with a variable instrumental accompaniment on all difficulty range, applying the same method being applied alone to the tracks sporting a more "orthodox" overall rhythm will often result in mediocre charts; for such instances, the charter may opt to follow a more videogame-y approach to the notechart by artificially making up their own rhythm in certain passages of the song by the use of the Taiko note markers' sounding.

This Game-like Arrangement approach puts a certain degree of freedom for the charter to stray away from the base song's rhythm, as long as it jams well with the rest of the charting patterns used and it doesn't diverge too much from the song itself. Pondering when this style of chart-making mindset is more suitable for the difficulty range in mind is one of the trickiest riddles for a charter; to better illustrate a typical thought process behind an original chart, Marimo Institute illustrates some of her most relevant points to make in the Namco Original track Geki-un! Shichifuku Happy Crew, complete with textual/visual remarks to each of the note stanzas being mentioned.

-) Stanzas No. 24-26-28
Right after the first drumroll, there's a synth-based instrumental portion which is mostly charted under the Musical Arrangement general rule; however, the three stanzas mentioned here are beginning with a Kat note being placed where the base track doesn't play any new sounds (starting by the one shown in the picture above)... why is a note being put there, you may then ask?

Although this may sound nothing more than a charge-inspiring statement, there's actually a 'general policy' for happy-sounding song's charting, which exerts their charters to "Keep up with the momentum by continuing to knock out short gaps. Don't be afraid!". What Marimo means by that, essentially, is to metaphorically 'drag out' the sound of certain longer audio cues with a single note by the same color of the previous one.

For a better understanding of this point, here's how the same notechart portion would have been played under a pure Musical Arrangement notation:

As you can see, a small gap would have been made at the stanza's beginning; this pause, however, invalidates the policy clause by 'resetting' the feel of a continuous note flow in the mind of the player, thus leading the charter to splice in a Game-like Arrangement vibe to keep the portion's 'nonstop play' feeling intact.

-) Stanzas No. 35-36-37-38
In one of the song's few Go-Go Time-less zones we have a quick raw call of the Seven Lucky Gods, which is being punctuated by the Taiko notechart with a Game-like Arrangement-based charting trope known as the "Four Striking". In short, a notation of two single notes followed by a quick couple of the same single notes is being charted and repeated in order to better follow the bass drum accompaniment of the song.

The Four Striking approach is best suited with songs featuring a "short shout" repeated segment and for the case of Geki-un! Shichifuku Happy Crew, this formula has received a couple of changes to make it suiting with the shouts: the 2nd single note for each repetition is a Big one in order to follow the accented pronunciation in a ( -  - ) fashion, with only the one note at the 36th stanza's beginning being red due to the calling of Benten, which was also called upon at the song's beginning.

Once again, this charting idea has been adopted after discharging a more Musical Arrangement approach for the same reason of the previously-analyzed case: the notechart momentum. A more score-accurate charting, in fact, may have lead to something like this...


Not only a note continuity of sorts wouldn't have been sustained, but even dropping the accent sound-play with the notechart would have compromised the playing feel of the portion, with some un-intuitive handswitching when framed in the context of the song itself being charted as a whole... For those reasons, Marimo discharged the Musical Arrangement approach on this portion.

-) Stanzas No. 53-54
These two note stanzas are the last pre-Go-Go Time ones where the excitement picks up again before the final chorus. According to its charter herself, it's also the one part where the Game-like Arrangement style is the most notable!

To better understand why is that sentiment being expressed, here's how a pure Musical Arrangement notation for this portion should  be sounding like:

Basically, the long cluster would have been broken apart in smaller Kat-based clusters to better match the singing voice. While following a general idea of musical notation, however, Marimo Institute opted for a different approach that would have brought out a more 'game-y' feel to it, by making the content of Stanza 53 being played again in the very next stanza... only as a part of a single cluster!

As you can see, each of Stanza 53's single notes is brought back in the same order as part of Stanza 54's cluster, while a feeble feeling of Musical Notation is still present with the three Don notes from the aforementioned example of a pure Musical Arrangement rendition. Many other modes in Taiko no Tatsujin follow this particular trend (such as Ultraman X's Ura Oni beginning/end, also charted by Marimo Institute), so see if you can spot some of these in advance next time!

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This ends the bulk of today's feature, but Yamaguchi's blog entry is ended by a small list of other recent songs in Taiko no Tatsujin that have been charted by Marimo Institute as well:

Battle -Denkousekka-
Blood Circulator
Ryuu to Kokuen no Himegimi (+ Ura Oni)
Swan
Pokemon Sun & Moon Medley
Zenryoku Batankyu
GO
Road Movie

See you next week!

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