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Noriko Matsueda
Born December 18, 1971 (1971-12-18) (age 38)
Tochigi, Japan
Genres Jazz
Occupations Composer
Instruments Piano
Years active 1995–2004
Labels NTT Publishing
Avex Group
Associated acts Takahito Eguchi

Noriko Matsueda (松枝 賀子 Matsueda Noriko ?, born December 18, 1971) is a Japanese former video game composer. She is best known for her work on the Front Mission series, The Bouncer, and Final Fantasy X-2. Matsueda collaborated with fellow composer Takahito Eguchi on several games. Composing music at an early age, she began studying the piano and electronic organ when she was three years old. She graduated from the Tokyo Conservatoire Shobi, where she met Eguchi.

She joined Square (now Square Enix) in 1994, where she created music for nine games. Due to a number of health issues and a harsh panning of the Final Fantasy X-2 soundtrack, Matsueda decided to leave the gaming industry in 2004, although she still follows her former co-workers' careers. She composed mostly jazz music for the scores she worked on.



Born in Tochigi, Japan, Noriko Matsueda began creating music at an early age. She received a scholarship in music at the age of three and went on to study the piano and electronic organ. Matsueda took various composition and performance courses at the Tokyo Conservatoire Shobi, where she also met long-term collaborator Takahito Eguchi. She joined Square in 1994,[1] where her first assignment was to score the 1995 title Front Mission alongside Yoko Shimomura.[2] She subsequently contributed the track "Boss Battle 1" to Chrono Trigger,[3] arranged by Nobuo Uematsu.[4] Matsueda's first solo work was Bahamut Lagoon,[5] which also represented her first collaboration with Eguchi, who arranged and orchestrated "Theme of Bahamut Lagoon ~ Opening" for the bonus disc of its original soundtrack.[6] In 1996, she created the composition "Tower Block" for the multi-composer game Tobal No. 1.[7] The following year, she created the soundtrack to Front Mission 2.[8]

In 1999, Matsueda and Eguchi made their first major collaboration by scoring the RPG racing game Racing Lagoon, with synthesizer programmer Ryo Yamazaki providing three tracks.[9] Matsueda was responsible for all the music except the battle, opening, and ending themes.[1] They collaborated again on the soundtrack to the PlayStation 2 title The Bouncer in 2000,[10] whereas the two took a more equal share of the music. A large amount of the compositions produced was not used in the game and there were also many post-production demands. Afterward, Matsueda created 25 pieces of background music for Square's PlayOnline viewer used for Final Fantasy XI and Tetra Master.[1]

She reunited with Eguchi to create the soundtrack to Final Fantasy X-2 in 2003,[11] with Matsueda contributing most of the setting themes. Having replaced Final Fantasy's regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu to create a work entirely different from the predecessor Final Fantasy X, their score has become one of the most criticized soundtracks in the series. However, despite the negative response and a low budget, it was commercially successful.[1] The following year, she worked on Final Fantasy X-2's international version Final Fantasy X-2 International + Last Mission[12] and provided three arrangements to the Final Fantasy X-2 Piano Collection album.[13]

Musical style and influences

Matsueda is noted for her jazzy style, which she often incorporated into the soundtracks she worked on; she also touched on genres like jazz fusion, lounge, and ambient.[14][8] For the scores that she collaborated with Eguchi on, she was responsible for most of the jazzy tracks, while Eguchi provided the majority of the electronic music.[15] Matsueda has said that the best qualities of a composer are their curiosity and sensitivity, and that watching many things, listening, touching, and feeling are important factors in composition. When asked why she creates music, Matsueda replied that she feels it is a appropriate way to express herself.[16]

She cites George Gershwin, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Igor Stravinsky, and Gustav Mahler as musical influences.[1] When composing music for games, Matsueda draws inspiration from all parts of the game, including the story, the world view, the personality of the characters, the graphics, and the tone of color. She has stated that she makes the music thinking about the goal of the sounds for the game and its total balance.[16]


Video games
Year Title Role Co-worker
1995 Front Mission Composition/arrangement Yoko Shimomura
Chrono Trigger Composition Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobuo Uematsu
1996 Bahamut Lagoon Composition/arrangement
Tobal No. 1 Composition/arrangement Yasunori Mitsuda, Masashi Hamauzu, Junya Nakano, Ryuji Sasai, Yasuhiro Kawakami, Kenji Ito, and Yoko Shimomura
1997 Front Mission 2 Composition/arrangement
1999 Racing Lagoon Composition/arrangement Takahito Eguchi and Ryo Yamazaki
2000 The Bouncer Composition/arrangement Takahito Eguchi
2003 Final Fantasy X-2 Composition/arrangement Takahito Eguchi
2004 Final Fantasy X-2 International + Last Mission Composition/arrangement Takahito Eguchi
Other works
Year Title Role Co-worker
2002 Final Fantasy X Vocal Collection Composition Takahito Eguchi, Yoko Shimomura, Naoki Masumoto, Takeharu Ishimoto, and Nobuo Uematsu
2004 Final Fantasy X-2 Piano Collection Arrangement Takahito Eguchi, Hiroko Kokubu, Masahiro Sayama, and Febian Reza Pane


  1. ^ a b c d e Chris. "Noriko Matsueda :: Biography". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2009-11-08.  
  2. ^ "Front Mission Release Information". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2009-11-18.  
  3. ^ "Chrono Trigger Release Information". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2009-11-18.  
  4. ^ "Chrono Trigger Original Sound Version". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2009-11-18.  
  5. ^ "Bahamut Lagoon Release Information". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2009-11-18.  
  6. ^ "Bahamut Lagoon Original Soundtrack". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2009-11-18.  
  7. ^ "Tobal No. 1 Release Information". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2009-11-18.  
  8. ^ a b Dragon God. "Front Mission 2 OST". RPGFan. Retrieved 2009-11-18.  
  9. ^ "Racing Lagoon Original Soundtrack". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2009-11-18.  
  10. ^ "The Bouncer Release Information". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2009-11-18.  
  11. ^ "Final Fantasy X-2 Release Information". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2009-11-18.  
  12. ^ Gann, Patrick. "Final Fantasy X-2 International + Last Mission OST". RPGFan. Retrieved 2009-11-18.  
  13. ^ Gann, Patrick. "Final Fantasy X-2 Piano Collection". RPGFan. Retrieved 2009-11-18.  
  14. ^ Kalabakov, Daniel; Dragon God. "Bahamut Lagoon OST". RPGFan. Retrieved 2009-11-18.  
  15. ^ Chris. "The Bouncer Original Soundtrack (Japan) :: Review by Chris". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2009-11-17.  
  16. ^ a b "Interview with Noriko Matsueda (RocketBaby – June 2001)". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2009-11-17.  


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