“Dancing Mad” is the final battle theme from the video game Final Fantasy VI. Comprised of four parts, it is one of Nobuo Uematsu’s longest compositions, and it is deliberately patterned after the works of 1970s progressive rock bands, a major, acknowledged influence on Uematsu. The four movements match the four tiers of the final battle; the game progresses through each movement after the player defeats all the enemies on each tier. The original soundtrack version is over seventeen and a half minutes long, although it plays each movement twice; most of the arranged versions, which do not employ the repetition, top out at around ten or twelve minutes.
The song has been rearranged several times, most notably by Uematsu’s bands The Black Mages and Earthbound Papas and for the Distant Worlds concerts. The Distant Worlds and Earthbound Papas versions both add vocals to the song. Uematsu has said it is one of the works he is proudest of having composed.
The Japanese name for the song, “妖星乱舞” (Romaji: Yōsei ranbu), is actually a bit more complicated than the commonly used “Dancing Mad”. A literal translation is “Calamity Star Wild Dance”, but a more accurate translation would likely be something like “Turbulent Dance of the Star of Calamity”.
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