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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Song of the Week! 2 June 2018

Today is the Italian Republic Day; as an Italian myself, I wanted to honor the recurring celebration with something that is republic-related!...

...problem is, Taiko lore doesn't feature any track that is relatable to such an occasion. so I'm afraid I'll have to settle down to the song with the closest name analogy...

 Republic Praise (リパブリック産科)
All arcade, Taiko PSP 2x3 (134)x4 (173)x6 (367)x8 (492)
Taiko Wii 1x3 (134)x4 (173)x6 (330)x8 (492)
Taiko 3DS 2x3 (134)x3 (173)x6 (367)x7 (492)
 Taiko 12, 12.5, Taiko PSP 2, Taiko Wii 1, Taiko 3DS 2, CD Full Combo

There have been many tracks from Italian artists in Taiko gaming thus far, as well as songs that are tied in with its nation of origin as a national hymn; however, as the two tropes are not to be found at the same time in a Taiko song, the best I can do to praise the republic and stay on topic today is spotlighting an arrangement whose title does the praising for me! I mean, it's totally the same, right?...

The Taiko track that goes by the title of 'Republic Praise' is actually an arrangement of a popular lyric from American folklore: the Battle Hymn of the Republic (also known as 'Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory' outside of the U.S.). The foundation of this composition finds its roots in the early 19th century, as a result of the oral tramandation of another hymn, originally known as 'Canaan's Happy Shore'. Sometime in 1856, it was chronicled that said hymn was edited in what we know nowadays as the 'Glory, Hallelujah' hymn, by the hands of Philadelphia bookeeper and insurance agent William Steffe. The lyric body of 'Glory, Hallelujah' was later used with the musical base of the folk song 'Oh! Brothers' as the base of the abolitionism marching song John Brown's Body, coined about one month after the American Civil War's beginning on May 12th, 1861. One year later, it was advanced the request of writing new words to John Brown's Body to the American poet Julia Ward Howe, ultimately resulting in the lyrics text/music combo of the definitive Battle Hymn of the Republic. The Battle Hymn was first published in the February 1862 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, becoming one of the most popular American folklore songs since then.

The popularity of the Battle Hymn has transcended its patriotic/political vestiges of its early beginnings, finding numerous usages in modern times and pop culture as well. It was the final track to be played at the funeral of many illustrious personalities like Winston Churchill and Walt Disney, it's been adopted for many public recordings and arrangements across the years and it even found some niche applications overseas! For an example of the latter category that is also related to the Republic Praise, the Battle Hymn has become the theme song of the Japanese electronics chain Yodobashi Camera, a fact that has also been referenced in the Taiko arrangement's own SongID (clsyod).

The Republic Praise's composer is Bandai Namco musician Yoshie Arakawa (荒川美恵), in activity since the early NES years under a number of nicknames, with 'strong yoshie' being the most recurring one. Most of the artist's best known works are coming from the Cosmo Gang: The Video arcade game and the first two entries of the Tekken series. While Taiko gaming's Republic Praise is his only composing credit for the series to date, he's also one of the background voices featured in the Classic Medley (Home Party Ver.)/Foster Medley (as it's known in Taiko Drum Master).

Oh and before you ask, 産科 (sanka, lit. obstetrics) in the Taiko no Tatsujin-arrangement title is not a conversion error; it is an intentional spoof of the "correct" homophone 賛歌/讃歌 (sanka, lit. hymn/praise-song). The announcement for its PSP2 DLC inclusion confirms this fact explicitly. In fact, the song list for 3DS2 had it initially "wrongly put" as 讃歌 before soon changing back to 産科.

Multiple compound cluster sections is what this song's Oni mode is made of, a blend which was more than enough to warrant an 8th rating star for its debut but that was rectified with its latest release in a Taiko game under the current rating standard.

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