Farewell Song (the full version - the shorter ones are quite different, so I guess I’ll finish them next time) is done.
So before I go on to the more pertinent stuff, here’s some backstory.
Farewell Song is actually the first track I began transcribing, but that was many years ago, and it seemed like too much to put down for solo piano back then, so I had to give up and improve my technique (play more piano). Then my hard drive crashed, wiping all my efforts - and it was then that I started practicing intensely, hoping one day to avenge myself and finish this transcription.
There will be notes on this piece in particular, but they will mostly be interpretive in nature.
Farewell song is easily one of the densest, if not the densest, tracks that Key has thus far produced. It’s chock full of little bells, chimes, bass rings, and other nuances, that are all quite deliberate and add up to form a colossal soundscape. This transcription tried to capture as much as it could - no mercy, as usual for this set of transcriptions.
Perhaps one of the most unique things about Farewell song is that there is no resolution in the song (I can argue that even the ending stanzas of the lyrics are ambiguous). While Tori No Uta achieves this as well, by navigating through multiple keys and bouncing melodies around, Farewell song is overwhelmingly dominated by a chorus line that repeats itself umpteen times, only swelling in intensity each time. It both starts and ends on a G note for the melody, and a G chord at both points as well. But despite ‘hitting’ home so many times, the chord progression never allows a cadential resolution, and the melody keeps on springing back to the dominant - effectively, diminishing any sense of resolution from approaching the home key. In essence, the home key does not feel like a home key - a clever move befitting of the title of the song.
In the original song, to accompany this sort of never-ending motif recurrent throughout Air, the song fades out, like Tori No Uta. But where Tori No Uta fades out on “new” material, that is simply rehashed from earlier portions, and effectively defuses tension by way of a long coda passage - ending the song on an uneasy sobering tone, Farewell song does the exact opposite. It begins fading out in the middle of a ‘farewell’ section that’s been repeated for a good minute or two, but it ends right before yet another flying melodic motif kicks in, and ultimately nothing gets resolved. But if every phrase practically ends in a grounded G, is there a need for a resolution?
But I digress. If you don’t really get the song, perhaps the best way is to sing it out, including that wailing bit at the end. Back to the transcription, I’d like to highlight the importance of proper preparation and avoiding injury.
To prepare for it, it’s advisable to tackle the other Air transcriptions, especially the ones marked Advanced along with Mizutamari and Tori No Uta, since Farewell song utilizes techniques covered by the others in the set. Don’t play through the pain; you’re not working out. Also, for Farewell song, it is especially important to train your arms and back, lest you wear out in the middle of the piece.
Next up is cleaning up the set. I might consider simplifying some of the widest leaps in Farewell song, but that remains to be seen. Tori No Uta gets a revamp. Kannagi will be completely overhauled. Tentoumushi will be slightly simplified. The final section of Niji will be slightly changed. The beginning of Esoragato will be changed too. Tsukiwarawa might be changed. All others will be edited a bit, and cleaned up. Not to mention, the 6 unused tracks. Additionally, I’ll try to post videos of the transcriptions, just to give a better clue of how they can be played.