[QUOTE="Marilink, post: 1627822, member: 23215"]If you don't mind some pushback, AJ, I'm pretty sure this is just a prototypical waltz chord progression.[/QUOTE]
HEYYYYY IT'S ME, UR PAL AJ, WITH AN UNNECESSARILY RIGOROUS AMOUNT OF PREPARATION TO RESPOND TO THIS
this got significantly longer than expected so for a tl;dr just look at the spoiler'd picture and click on the soundcloud link below it for a visual and audio demonstration of my point
So, you may be right about the commonality of the chord progression. However, there is a very very specific and iconic
harmonic technique that is shared by both. More on that later, because most importantly, when transposed to the same key, literally every single note of the SMB Underwater melody is found, in order, in the melody of New Pork City -- INCLUDING identical musical runs between phrases.
I took the time to illustrate my point. SMB is transposed here to the same key as New Pork. Didn't bother with key signatures because this ****'s chromatic as **** anyway. New Pork is on top, SMB is in the middle, and the bottom is literally just New Pork copied and pasted and I removed everything that isn't just the notes from the SMB theme. And lo- they're all there:
You'll notice the first run is descending in the Mother 3 track whereas the SMB theme it's ascending, but if you flip one around, the runs are exactly the same. Identical notes.
It's not just a visual, though. I exported a quick sound file of the notes from New Pork City that emphasizes those taken from the melody of the SMB track to help you hear how the SMB melody is hidden but absolutely present in New Pork:
Listening to this first, then going back to the New Pork City track, makes it clear to me that Mother 3's composition is an intentional embellishment of not just the chord progression, but this *specific* melody. The melodic rhythm isn't identical because New Pork takes a lot of liberties and does a lot of interesting chromaticisms, but what is of note here - to me - is that none of the notes that correspond to the SMB melody are just passing tones or unimportant notes; they feel like intentional parts of the melody. For example, many are the last note in a measure. It doesn't seem like a coincidence to me, they sound like the same song. It's practically a Theme and Variations.
Now, back on the harmony - ran out of juice for fleshing this out so long story short, the 3-measure sets are a very specific use of a diminished seventh chord with a shared root used as a passing chord between two of the same chord. So the first 3 measures are Chord - diminished seventh chord with the same root as previous chord - back to chord again. And the next 3 measures [after the runs] are New Chord - diminished seventh chord with the same root as previous chord - back to New Chord.
It's a technique I learned about in harmony class, and we specifically used the SMB Underwater theme as an example because it's a very iconic use of this technique, that is certainly found elsewhere but is - to the extent of my knowledge - not all that common in waltz composition. In fact the other example given in lecture was Carnival of the Animals ~ Aquarium, and my professor implied that the use of the same technique from Aquarium in SMB for an underwater
level may have been intentional. Dunno if I buy that, but hey. Anyway. I'm not about to go listen to every waltz ever written and see how many of them have this harmonic technique present, though, so it may or may not be prevalent elsewhere. But it's uncommon enough that my professor thought its existence in SMB was a reference to a specific classical music piece, at any rate.
For example....... the Music Box House in Majora's Mask has a similar
melody and chord progression, but it lacks this harmonic technique and the notes to the melody are not perfectly present in New Pork City. Whereas SMB's melody and chord progression are literally identical to NPC's, AND this very specific technique is present. They're the same composition, just one with embellishments.
(((The Music Box House **IS**, however, practically identical to the Merry-Go-Round in SM64. But everyone already discovered that one years ago.))
To sum, the fact that a) BOTH songs have an IDENTICAL harmonic progression (in different keys), including the use of a very specific harmonic technique, and b) BOTH songs have an ESSENTIALLY IDENTICAL melody (key word being essentially), and c) they're both Ninty and Mother 3 is one self-aware ****, leads me to believe that this is not a coincidence but an intentional reference in song form. It would be hard to accidentally and unintentionally YET PERFECTLY re-create every note in the melody of an existing song.
ok that took longer than strictly necessary anyway that about sums it up