A hundred years of mahou shoujo

One of the characteristics of Touhou music is that you almost never find a “V” chord or a “V-i” cadence. I.e., if a passage is in D# minor, there probably won’t be a A# chord. Chord roots move by seconds or thirds, rather than fourths or fifths. This gives the music an unmoored, floating sound. Tunes often don’t actually seem to go anywhere, no matter how fast and furious they are or how often they modulate. This works well for game music, where a tune might be endlessly repeated, but it can get tiresome to those who like their music to progress to destinations. In other words, ZUN is not much like Mozart or Beethoven. ((The only discussion of Touhou harmony I could find with a quick search is here. Should you be a musicologist with excess spare time, there’s a project for you.))

I was curious how a Touhou piece would sound reharmonized in a more western manner. Here is an arrangement of “The Centennial Festival for Magical Girls.”

Update: I’ve uploaded the score to MuseScore.

Compare that with the version that was my starting point, DMBN’s “easy” arrangement of the tune.

You can download DMBN’s score here if you want to follow along.

As usual, the performer is my computer. I’m not entirely happy with my arrangement, and I might revisit it sometime.

Update: Uploaded better-sounding recording.