Masashi Hamauzu

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Masashi Hamauzu
Masashi Hamauzu Jan 2012.jpg
Masashi Hamauzu in 2012
Background information
Born (1971-09-20) September 20, 1971 (age 43)
Munich, Germany
Genres Classical, ambient, electronic
Occupation(s) Composer, lyricist
Instruments Piano, vocals
Years active 1996–present
Labels NTT Publishing
DigiCube
Square Enix
Nippon Crown
Associated acts Masashi Hamauzu Chorus, Kaoru Wada, Yoko Shimomura, G.Y.A

Masashi Hamauzu (浜渦 正志 Hamauzu Masashi?, born September 20, 1971) is a Japanese video game composer who was employed at Square Enix from 1996 to 2010. He is best known for his work on the Final Fantasy and SaGa series. Born into a musical family in Germany, Hamauzu was raised in Japan. He became interested in music while in kindergarten, and took piano lessons from his parents.

Hamauzu was hired by Square (now Square Enix) as a trainee, and his debut as a solo composer came the following year when he scored Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon. He has collaborated with his friend and fellow composer Junya Nakano on several games, and has worked closely with synthesizer programmer Ryo Yamazaki on most titles since SaGa Frontier 2.

After Nobuo Uematsu left Square Enix in 2004, Hamauzu took over as the leading composer of the company's music team. He was the sole composer for Final Fantasy XIII. He has also become a renowned piano arranger, and has arranged a number of albums, including Yasunori Mitsuda's Sailing to the World piano score in 2006. His music incorporates various styles, although he mostly uses classical and ambient music in his pieces. In 2010, Hamauzu left Square Enix to start his own studio, Monomusik.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Born in Munich, Germany, Masashi Hamauzu's mother was a piano teacher and his father, Akimori Hamauzu, an opera singer.[1][2] He developed an interest in music while in kindergarten.[1] Growing up in Germany, Hamauzu received piano and singing lessons from his parents and created his first original compositions during high school. After his brother (Hiroshi) was born, the family moved to Osaka, Japan. He enrolled in the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, where he joined a student ensemble as a pianist. Hamauzu met his wife, Matsue Hamauzu (née Fukushi), at the university, and they have two children. Matsue worked alongside Hamauzu on the soundtrack to Final Fantasy VII as a soprano and Sigma Harmonics as a scat singer; she was also a soprano for the score to Final Fantasy VIII & a lead vocalist in Final Fantasy XIII. After graduating from the university, he thought about becoming a classical musician, but he eventually found out that he wanted to work with game music instead.[1]

Career[edit]

A Japanese man with graying hair stands behind a piano keyboard.
Masashi Hamauzu in 2012

A fan of the Final Fantasy games,[3] Hamauzu decided to apply for a job at Square. Nobuo Uematsu was impressed with his résumé, and employed Hamauzu as a trainee in 1996.[1] His debut came with the 1996 title Front Mission: Gun Hazard, with Uematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda, and Junya Nakano.[4] Later the same year, he created four tracks for another multi-composer game, Tobal No. 1.[5] Working with Nakano on these games, Hamauzu admired his musical style, and they became friends; they have later collaborated on several titles.[1] Hamauzu's first solo project came in 1997 with Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon.[1] Shortly after the title's release, Hamauzu and Yasuo Sako created Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon Coi Vanni Gialli, an arranged album containing orchestral tracks from the game's music.[6] Both the soundtrack and Coi Vanni Gialli were praised. For Final Fantasy VII, Hamauzu was the synthesizer programmer for the rendition of Joseph Haydn's "The Creation", and provided bass vocals in the eight-person chorus for "One-Winged Angel".[1]

In 1999, Hamauzu was assigned with scoring SaGa Frontier 2, replacing the SaGa series' long-time composer Kenji Ito.[7] He spent some time conforming to the music Ito had established for the series, but eventually realized that he wanted to use his own unique style. The project introduced him to synthesizer programmer Ryo Yamazaki, whom he has worked with on most of his subsequent soundtracks.[1] Hamauzu also released Piano Pieces "SF2" ~ Rhapsody on a Theme of SaGa Frontier 2, an arranged album featuring piano pieces of the game's music.[8] In 2001, Hamauzu and Nakano were chosen to assist Uematsu in the production of the score for the critically acclaimed Final Fantasy X,[9][10] based on their ability to create music that was different from Uematsu's style.[11] Hamauzu also contributed the Piano Collections arranged album of the game, which he described as his most challenging work, and the track named "feel", an arrangement of "Hymn of the Fayth", from the EP feel/Go dream: Yuna & Tidus.[1]

In 2002, Hamauzu composed the music for Unlimited Saga, a game that would be received negatively by critics due to a variety of gameplay issues.[12][13] He became the leading composer of Square Enix's music team in October 2004, following Uematsu's departure from the company. In 2005, Hamauzu, Nakano, and the duo Wavelink Zeal (Takayuki and Yuki Iwai) scored Musashi: Samurai Legend, the sequel to the 1998 title Brave Fencer Musashi.[14] Hamauzu composed the highly anticipated but critically unsuccessful Final Fantasy VII follow-up, Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, in 2006.[15][16] Later the same year, he arranged the Sailing to the World Piano Score at the request of Mitsuda;[17] the album was well received by pianists and confirmed Hamauzu's position as the leading piano arranger of game music.[1]

Hamauzu released a solo album, Vielen Dank, in 2007 after recording it in Munich, Germany. The album includes eleven piano pieces that he composed for personal pleasure after the creation of Piano Pieces "SF2" ~ Rhapsody on a Theme of SaGa Frontier 2 as well as 14 arrangements of his game compositions.[18] Two tracks from the album were performed at the 2007 Symphonic Game Music Concert in Leipzig.[19] In 2008, he composed the soundtrack to Sigma Harmonics,[20] with synthesizer programming by Mitsuto Suzuki rather than Yamazaki.[1] At the 2006 E3 event, a Square Enix press conference revealed that Hamauzu would be returning to the Final Fantasy series, scoring Final Fantasy XIII.[21] He left Square Enix on January 19, 2010.[22] He went on to form his own studio, Monomusik, which he describes as a personal studio that does not include any other composers.[23] He has since gone on to score Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, while also rearranging his old compositions for the high definition version of Final Fantasy X.

Musical style and influences[edit]

Hamauzu composes music in a wide variety of styles, often using multiple styles throughout the various pieces of a soundtrack. He mostly creates classical and ambient music, and uses the piano predominantly as an instrument. He frequently uses dissonance to provide an atmospheric effect.[24] In Unlimited Saga, for example, the style of his compositions mix classical marches, tango music, electronic ambiance, instrumental solos, Bossa nova, and jazz.[25]

He cites animation composers Hiroshi Miyagawa and Ryuichi Sakamoto of Yellow Magic Orchestra, impressionist composers Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, and his father as major musical influences.[1] During his adolescence, he enjoyed listening to the works of Sakamoto and Miyagawa. While attending university, he developed an appreciation for classical impressionist music, especially the compositions of Ravel and Debussy.[1] His usual employment of dissonance and modern harmony, evident in many of his works, may as well earn him the label of "impressionist". Some of his works, such as Vielen Dank (2007) and Opus 4 Piano and Chamber Music Works (2014) can be considered very "classical", for they follow said method of composition, style and song entitling.

Discography[edit]

Video games
Year Title Role Co-worker
1996 Front Mission: Gun Hazard Composition/arrangement Nobuo Uematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda, and Junya Nakano
Tobal No. 1 Composition many others
1997 Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon Composition/arrangement
1999 SaGa Frontier 2 Composition/arrangement
2001 Final Fantasy X Composition/arrangement Nobuo Uematsu and Junya Nakano
2002 Unlimited Saga Composition/arrangement
2005 Musashi: Samurai Legend Composition/arrangement Junya Nakano, Takayuki Iwai, and Yuki Iwai
2006 Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Composition/arrangement Ryo Yamazaki
2008 Oolong Tea Story ~Searching for Delicious Tea~ Composition/arrangement
Sigma Harmonics Composition/arrangement
2009 Final Fantasy XIII Composition/arrangement
2011 Music GunGun! 2 Composition/arrangement many others
Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection Arrangement Junya Nakano and Kenichiro Fukui
Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming Composition/arrangement many others
Final Fantasy XIII-2 Composition/arrangement Naoshi Mizuta, Mitsuto Suzuki and Yoshitaka Suzuki
2013 Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Composition/arrangement Naoshi Mizuta and Mitsuto Suzuki
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Arrangement Junya Nakano, Tsutomu Narita, and Ryo Yamazaki
2014 Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Arrangement many others
Groove Coaster Composition/arrangement many others
2015 The Legend of Legacy Composition/arrangement
Other works
Year Title Role Co-worker
1998 Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon Coi Vanni Gialli Arrangement
1999 Piano Pieces "SF2" Rhapsody on a Theme of SaGa Frontier 2 Arrangement
2001 feel/Go dream: Yuna & Tidus Arrangement Tsuyoshi Sekito and Masayoshi Kikuchi
2002 Piano Collections Final Fantasy X Arrangement
20020220 Music from Final Fantasy Arrangement Shiro Hamaguchi
2006 Sailing to the World Piano Score Arrangement
2007 Vielen Dank - Masashi Hamauzu Composition/arrangement
2009 SQUARE ENIX MUSIC Presents Music for Art Composition/arrangement many others
2010 W/F:Music from FINAL FANTASY XIII Composition/arrangement
Final Fantasy XIII -PLUS-[26] Composition/arrangement
W/F:Music from FINAL FANTASY XIII -Gentle Reveries- Composition/arrangement
Piano Collections Final Fantasy XIII Composition/arrangement
Symphonic Legends Arrangement many others
2011 Akumajo Dracula Tribute Vol.2 Arrangement many others
Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY Returning Home Arrangement many others
LEGENDS Arrangement many others
Imeruat Composition/arrangement
Symphonic Odysseys TRIBUTE TO NOBUO UEMATSU Arrangement Jonne Valtonen, Roger Wanamo and Jani Laaksonen
2012 Black Ocean / IMERUAT Composition/arrangement Toru Tabei and Mitsuto Suzuki
Exotica Composition/arrangement many others
Sekaiju no MeiQ⁴ *denshou no kyoshin* Super Arrange Version Arrangement many others
Binbō-gami ga! Composition/arrangement
Sony "α" CLOCK Composition/arrangement
Flute, Violin & Piano Trio Composition/arrangement
Flute & Violin Duo "1957" Composition/arrangement
2013 Mobage "The Knights of Avalon" Composition/arrangement
DVD IMERUAT Composition/arrangement Toru Tabei and Mitsuto Suzuki
Final Symphony Composition/arrangement Jonne Valtonen and Roger Wanamo
Masashi Hamauzu Piano Works δ・ε・ T_Comp1 Composition/arrangement
X'mas Collections II music from SQUARE ENIX Arrangement many others
2014 Propelled Life / IMERUAT Composition/arrangement
Paulette's Chair Original Soundtrack & Piano Arrangements Composition/arrangement
MASASHI HAMAUZU Opus 4 Piano and Chamber Music Works Composition/arrangement Ayane Hamauzu
"Aikatsu!" 2nd Season Mini Album 2 Cute Look Composition/arrangement
("Dancing☆Baby")
many others

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Chris Greening. "Masashi Hamauzu Profile". Game Music Online. Retrieved 2014-09-21. 
  2. ^ http://www.d8.dion.ne.jp/~r.beet/profile.html
  3. ^ Uematsu, Nobuo; Hamauzu, Masashi; Nakano, Junya. Final Fantasy X Original Soundtrack liner notes. DigiCube. August 1, 2001. SQEX-10013. transcript. Retrieved on December 16, 2008.
  4. ^ "Front Mission Gun Hazard Tech Info". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  5. ^ "Tobal No. 1 Tech Info". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  6. ^ Thomas, Damian. "Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon ~Coi Vanni Gialli~". RPGFan. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  7. ^ "SaGa Frontier 2 Tech Info". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  8. ^ Gann, Patrick. "Piano Pieces "SF2" ~ Rhapsody on a Theme of SaGa Frontier 2". RPGFan. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  9. ^ Smith, David (2001-12-18). "Final Fantasy X Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  10. ^ "Final Fantasy X (ps2: 2001): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  11. ^ "Interview by RocketBaby.net". nobuouematsu.com. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  12. ^ Shoemaker, Brad (2003-06-17). "Unlimited Saga Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  13. ^ "Unlimited SaGa (ps2: 2003): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  14. ^ "Musashi: Samurai Legend Tech Info". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  15. ^ "Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Tech Info". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  16. ^ "Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (ps2: 2006): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  17. ^ Gann, Patrick. "Sailing to the World Piano Score". RPGFan. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  18. ^ Gann, Patrick. "Vielen Dank - Masashi Hamauzu". RPGFan. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  19. ^ "Masashi Hamauzu's music to be performed in Leipzig". VGMConcerts.com. 2007-04-30. Retrieved 2008-12-14. [dead link]
  20. ^ "Sigma Harmonics Tech Info". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  21. ^ Gantayat, Anoop (2006-05-09). "E3 2006: FFXIII Staff Check". IGN. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  22. ^ Chris (2010-01-19). "FFXIII's Masashi Hamauzu Leaves Square Enix". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  23. ^ Napolitano, Jayson (2010-09-28). "Masashi Hamauzu Talks Final Fantasy XIII and MONOMUSIK". Original Sound Version. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  24. ^ Schweitzer, Ben; Gaan, Patrick. "Final Fantasy X OST". RPGFan. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  25. ^ Tittsworth, Jeff; McCawley, James. "UNLIMITED:SaGa OST". RPGFan. Retrieved 2008-12-17. 
  26. ^ http://monomusik.com/works.html

External links[edit]