A Night on Bald Mountain
"A Night on Bald Mountain", as it is called in the original Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, is a musical composition by Modest Mussorgsky, but has been rearranged by Yoko Shimomura. A different arrangement, known as "A Night on the Bare Mountain", has been arranged by Nobuko Toda for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. It is used throughout the Kingdom Hearts series primarily as the main battle theme against Chernabog.
"A Night on Bald Mountain" serves as the boss battle theme for Chernabog, and is also used in cutscenes.
The version of "A Night on the Bare Mountain" from Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance was edited to use in the Chernabog fight in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, and replaces the theme used in the original game.
"A Night on Bald Mountain" is approximately four minutes and seven seconds in the original Kingdom Hearts Final Mix. In the HD remake of the same game, the track is slightly reduced to four minutes and six seconds. In Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, the piece is approximately four minutes and eighteen seconds long. Regardless of the game, the piece has a time signature of 4/4. In the original Kingdom Hearts, the piece has a tempo of 123 beats per minute, but slightly increases as the piece approaches the climax, then returns to the original tempo. In Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX, the tempo starts at 98 beats per minute. For Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, the tempo starts at 99 beats per minute before following a similar tempo pattern as heard in Kingdom Hearts.
The instrumentation depends on the version of the game. For games such as Kingdom Hearts, some of the instrument voices are covered through electronic means- such as synthesizer. Also, the instrumentation slightly changes for specific games. The general instrumentation includes: a complete strings section- violin, viola, cello, and stringed bass, piccolo, flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, trumpet, French horn, trombone, tuba, snare drum, bass drum, crash cymbals, timpani, and synthesizer. The latter instrument is exclusive to the original Kingdom Hearts version.
In musical terms, this is a very Romantic period piece in that it requires a rather large number in the orchestra, focuses heavily on brass instruments, uses chromaticism and dissonance continuously, and has a wide range of dynamic contrast that constantly fluctuates. These factors combined create a very heavy and thick texture, one that easily characterizes a great evil or darkness. Many instrument-specific extended techniques are used throughout the composition, including: the plucked "pizzicato" style in the strings, and use of stopped horn in the French horns. The pounding and consistent bass drum and other percussion parts resemble that of an increased heartbeat rhythm one would have during such an intense battle. The very apparent, loud, and bold brass themes only add to the intensity and ominous tone. Meanwhile, the woodwinds and strings accompanying chromaticism and dissonant parts also increases the intensity, but also adds a layer of unexpectedness and stress. It is important to note that the versions played throughout the Kingdom Hearts series very closely resemble the original composition.
Night on Bald Mountain is a tone poem originally composed during the Romantic music period by Modest Mussorgsky as a musical representation of a gathering of witches. Over the years it has also been referred to as other names such as "Night on the Bare Mountain." The most popular English translation, "Night on Bald Mountain," intends the use of "bald" to mean a barren landscape or environment. Regardless of the name, the ominous and wicked atmosphere permeates the piece.