Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Map Music: SMB3 – World 7

As we continue with our series on Super Mario Bros. 3 Map Music objects, we come to this lovely tune.  Though its written rather straight here, the tune is heavily swung in reality.


So this is a great little object.  Makes you feel like you are in a smooth jazz club sipping on a drink, enjoying the combo playing on stage.  At first I looked at this and did not see anything terribly interesting.  The object is a lot of open fifths.  So I set out to look at key and harmony.

By looking at the bass line, you can discern that the object is in the key of F.  C moving up to F is a great fifth motion to imply a dominant-tonic relationship.  The addition of the Eb seems natural for this music as often as we have seen the use of the bVIII functioning as a dominant harmony.  I tried looking at the pitches between the two lines, but there is nothing really to note.  At the core, it’s a feeling of F major with a lot of jazz color thrown in the mix.

So I set about harmonizing the piece with chords of my own.  I’m still playing around with some different options, because the object lends itself to be heard with some different options.

The harmonic rhythm of this melody, as I hear it is:


With the bass dropping out in measure two, our hears continue to hear the F ringing underneath the ornamental figure in the upper two voices.  I like to hear this object as rocking back and forth between a dominant and tonic sound.  It’s the dominant sound that I am having difficulty deciding on.  There are three dominant areas and two tonic areas in this object.  Two of the three dominant areas could be heard with either a V, bVII (add6), or v7.  However, the final dominant area is most certainly a v7, so I have extracted that backwards to the other two.  The fact that the object loops over and over again will force the ear to hear it this way as well. Listen to the object with this harmony superimposed upon it.


Nice simple back beat to the object, but a rather syncopated harmonic rhythm.

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