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For over twenty years now I've been confused by the final chord in one of the most famous video-game openings of all time.

For a piece that bounces around between A and D with a bit of E♭ and D♭ thrown in, the piece suddenly ends on an unexpected Fsus4 chord.

How does this Fsus4 relate to the rest of the piece? I'm sure part of it is to end ambiguously as a dramatic transition into the game proper, but I somehow sense something deeper.

I would especially love to hear analyses from those that have never heard the piece before. When I first heard it in the 90s, the chord was unexpected; now, having heard it hundreds of times, I can't even remember what chord I originally wanted to hear.

Here is a recording timed to begin on the final two pages of the score, shown below. The full arrangement is available here.

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  • The 2nd last chord looks like a plain old Bdim-no5/F, so smooth voice leading might be involved.
    – Dekkadeci
    Jul 29, 2022 at 5:59
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    'I would especially love to hear opinions' - is that not flying in the face of our rules..?
    – Tim
    Jul 29, 2022 at 7:56
  • @Tim Perhaps that was a poor choice of words. Analysis is always subjective, so there's always some element of opinion in an example like this one. But my questions certainly aren't immune to being closed!
    – Richard
    Jul 29, 2022 at 20:31

3 Answers 3

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The last part seems to first modulate to Ebm, but then it twists it so that it sounds like iv of Bbm, and the F chord is therefore V of Bbm.

The function of the Fsus chord would therefore be to leave you waiting for something. It does that in two ways: first you'd like the suspension to resolve to a third, and then you'd like the whole chord to resolve to Bb something.

To test this hypothesis, try playing a Bbm or Bb chord after ending chord.

How does it relate to the rest of the piece? The piece modulates here and there many times, and the last modulation is to Bb, although the tonic isn't given. Does there need to be any deeper relationship?

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    That the ending sounds like a V chord was my first impression as well.
    – Aaron
    Jul 29, 2022 at 16:36
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It's not particularly functional, unless 'leave it hanging...' is a function.

A favourite trick in sitcom and cartoon scene-link music.

Listen to the first few seconds of this 'Family Guy' clip.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0182576/

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  • Not to mention the Muppet Show ending (where, after the final chord, the sax plays the leading note — something which, having seen the show as a child, I'm always tempted to do after a big finish!).
    – gidds
    Jul 31, 2022 at 20:46
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I’d say: The part before is definitely centered on a D minor tonality, we have an ostinato on D minor, A maj7, F major, G major which we can interpret as I V7 I7 IV# in D minor. Then we get some sort of "phrigian domininant" in that Eb major chord, which would then resolve back into D minor. But instead of doing this he actually resolves into an implied D diminished 7, which at the same time acts as Bb7 b9. So he ends the whole thing with an implied dominant to Eb minor.

Then we get this F chord, which I do not interpret as part of the actual piece, but rather as a jingle for the FF logo at the end. If we interpret it as part of the piece we could interpret this in two ways: As Fsus4, implying a dominant on F and a modulation to the previous hanging dominant of Bb, or as an inversion of a Bb chord and thus a prolongation of the previous hanging dominant. Of course it is not sensible to attribute a specific function to such a chord, but it tells us what our mind might expect to get there.

The nice thing here is that this chord does not hang in one specific way, but in multiple ways. Is not clear what function this chord should have, if it has any.

But again, this is only if you actually take that F chord as part of the piece.

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