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[Analysis] Joe Hisaishi – A Town With an Ocean View by Cateen かてぃん

Watching Ghibli movies is an adventure in itself, and the experience is not complete without the beautiful soundtrack that accompanies it. One such soundtrack is "A Town with an Ocean View," which as the name suggests, takes you on a journey through a scenic town. The contributions of both Joe Hisaishi and Cateen to this song are exceptional, and definitely worth checking out. Their work beautifully captures the essence of the town, making the song a perfect accompaniment to the visuals of a Ghibli movie.

Capturing Emotions Through Music: Joe Hisaishi's Gift to Film Scores

Joe Hisaishi is a Japanese composer and musician who has become famous for his work on the soundtracks of many of the films produced by Studio Ghibli, including My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle. He was born on December 6, 1950, in Nagano, Japan, and his real name is Mamoru Fujisawa.

A man in black leather Jacket sitting with one hand on table and other on the face, with blue and white background wall Joe Hisaishi MyMusicSheet
Joe Hisaishi

Hisaishi started playing music at a young age and went on to study music composition at the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo. After graduation, he started his career as a composer, working on various television dramas and commercials before eventually collaborating with Hayao Miyazaki on the film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

Since then, he has worked on the soundtracks of many other Studio Ghibli films and numerous other movies and television shows. Hisaishi's music is known for its emotional power and ability to capture the mood and atmosphere of the films it accompanies. He often blends classical orchestration with modern instruments and sounds to create unique and memorable musical landscapes. He has won the Japanese Academy Award for Best Music 7 times, with a recent being in 2011. In November 2009, he won a medal from the Government of Japan, the Medal of Honour with a purple ribbon; a purple ribbon means those who have contributed to academic and artistic accomplishments. His work has been recognized with numerous awards in Japan and internationally, and he is considered one of the greatest film composers of our time.

An Introduction to Kiki's Delivery Service: A Beloved Classic of the Anime Genre

A Town With an Ocean View is a song from the soundtrack of the Japanese animated film Kiki's Delivery Service released on July 29, 1989.

A girl on a broom waring a read bow flying over a city with white birds flying with her Kiki's Delivery Service Movie Poster MyMusicSheet
Kiki's Delivery Service Movie Poster

Kiki's Delivery Service is a 1989 Japanese animated film directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Eiko Kadono. The movie follows the story of a young witch named Kiki, who must leave her home and family at the age of 13 to spend a year in a new town, as part of her training to become a full-fledged witch. She takes with her only her broomstick and her cat, Jiji. In the new town, Kiki sets up a delivery service on her broomstick and meets a variety of interesting characters, including a baker, a painter, and a young boy named Tombo. Kiki's Delivery Service has been praised for its animation, music, and character development. It is considered a classic of the anime genre and has won numerous awards. Won the best film and best director at Japan Cinema Association Award, at Tokyo Metropolitan Cultural Honor won best film and many more.

The song was composed by Joe Hisaishi and performed by the singer Azumi Inoue. The song is a beautiful, calming melody that perfectly captures the mood and atmosphere of the film. It is often associated with the scenes in which Kiki is flying over the ocean, enjoying the freedom and exhilaration of flight. The lyrics are simple and evoke a sense of longing and nostalgia for a place where one can be at peace and feel connected to nature. A Town With an Ocean View has become a beloved song among fans of Studio Ghibli films and anime in general. Its popularity has led to numerous covers and arrangements by other musicians, as well as its inclusion in various concerts and events celebrating the music of Studio Ghibli.

Main Theme A Town with Ocean View


A Town With A Ocean View

from the movie Kiki's Delivery Service

a girl on a broom with white birds flying Kiki's Delivery Service - A Town with Ocean View MyMusicSheet
Kiki's Delivery Service - A Town with Ocean View

- Artist: Joe Hisaishi, Yumi Arai

- Released: August 10th,1989

- Album: Kiki's Delivery Service soundtrack collection

- Label: Joe Hisaishi

- Genre: Classical, Anime, J-Pop, Kayokyoku

- Key: G Major

- Length: 3'00"


Discover the Musical Talents of Hayato Sumino, aka Cateen かてぃん

Cateen かてぃん (jap. catin) or Hayato Saumino is a pianist from Japan who joined the YouTube platform on November 5th 2010.

Hayato Sumino, popularly known by his YouTube name "Cateen", is a well-known Japanese pianist and composer famous for his enchanting performances of Frédéric Chopin's music. Born in Tokyo on 14 July 1995, Sumino started playing the piano at the incredibly young age of just 3 years old. After completing his graduation in Science and Engineering from the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Sumino also pursued music information processing technology and artificial intelligence for six months at the French Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music.

A side face of Japanese man with long hair and wearing a black shirt Hayato Saumino or Cateen MyMusicSheet
Hayato Saumino or Cateen

His dedication to both academics and music culminated in Sumino receiving his Master's degree and the President's Award in March 2020. Sumino's musical talents have earned him much acclaim, and in August 2018, he won the Grand Prix at the prestigious 42nd PTNA Piano Competition in Japan. His skills as a

Photo Credit: MBS

pianist continued to impress the judges when he secured the third position at the Lyon International Piano Competition in July 2019. In 2021, Sumino participated in the XVIII International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, where he advanced to the semifinals after delivering an enthralling performance during the second round of the competition. His online performance was watched by an audience of 45,000, setting a record for the competition. Sumino had extensively prepared himself for the competition online, guided by his mentor Jean-Marc Luisada, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. credits: jp wiki

Hands playing piano while wearing black suit Cateen かてぃん's YouTube Channel Profile Picture MyMusicSheet
Cateen かてぃん's YouTube Channel Profile Picture

Apart from being an accomplished pianist, Sumino is also a popular YouTuber under the name "Cateen かてぃん," with over 1.21 million subscribers with more than 150 million total views and a total of 194 videos uploaded as of now in April 2023. His most viewed video is 'Mozart - Rondo Alla Turca (Turkish March) Medley on Toy Piano' posted in February 2020 which has more than 10 million views.

Cateen cover of the song A Town with Ocean View

The song

This is one of the most popular songs in the history of Ghibli films and with the whole orchestra, Joe Hisaishi has yet to create another masterpiece and is still one of the iconic pieces of cinematic history. There are many piano, violin, guitar, oboe and other covers made but the combination of piano and melodica is done by this amazing artist Cateen かてぃん who will be referred to as Cateen in the following analysis.

Cateen's cover was posted on YouTube on May 14th 2020, which now has almost 5.5 million views. The original song has a tempo of 107 BPM and Cateen’s has Moderato which means moderately which is around 86 to 97 BPM. The key signature is G major and the time signature is 4/4.

Intro and prelude

The song starts with the intro with the orchestra playing for ten seconds and then after that there is the prelude for twenty seconds from the initial ten seconds there is a pizzicato or plucking of string instruments like violin and then the same is played in the next ten seconds and in that time other instruments like wind instruments are joined. This score represents a town view which is located next to an ocean. Cateen has expressed this emotion very well through his cover as well. He starts off by playing a piano piece in the starting loudly and there will be arpeggiated. Then this loud music is bought to slow down and is played very softly. There is a slight pause and then the music again begins. This time he adds on harmonica as well. He plays the piano with his left hand and melodica with his right hand, along with amazing breathing techniques. He plays this tone two times and it exactly captures the essence and atmosphere that Hisaishi is trying to build through the orchestra.

Main theme

Then comes the main theme of the song. Where the whole orchestra plays the song. It is played a bit softly. This sounds like the bustling and happy noises in the market where people are selling and buying things. There is a happy and chirpy environment to it. This is played two times which is about the additional twenty seconds to the prelude. Cateen as well plays this part two times, there is a slight increase in force and this ends at fifty-one seconds on his video. This, as it sounds, is difficult to play as he has to put his concentration on two different instruments, their sizes are different, one needs a berating control and the other requires pedal movement as well so his right leg is also operating.


There is a part where the instruments are played very slowly. It is a magical aspect of the song. It is building up to have a bit mysterious. This is for a good twenty seconds after which the main theme is repeated. This again brings the sound which is again joyous and happy. This part is faster than the previous slower part which is again played for around twenty seconds till we reach a minute and thirty seconds into the song. Cateen doesn’t slow down as originally. He keeps it a bit fast, with melodica there is a magical element in it. The piano part is where there is chords are being played and the notes are played by the melodica. There is a slight decrease in the tempo towards the end, but it is again picked up. Around a minute and thirteen seconds where there is again a repeat of the main theme and it is played two times. He plays a bit faster than the original song.

Secondary theme

Then there is another theme that is first played a bit slower and by violins for two times and then other harmonicas and wind instruments are played for the next two times. This is the whole atmosphere built is of curiosity again adding a mysterious aura to the song. Then with the oboe and other wind instruments joining it again becomes a joyous joie de vivre; meaning it shows the enjoyment of life. This shows Kiki’s lively and enthusiastic. Cateen starts off playing this part very quickly on the piano. His finger movements are very quick and sharp. It sounds like people are hopping in the joy of this piece. Similar to hinds which are jumping from one to another key. Then at a minute and forty-seven seconds he adds melodica to the piece. Where the left hand on the piano is playing the chords and the left hand is playing the keys. Again, the finger movement is faster and it gives the whole market vibe. One can even imagine being in a market like in Sicily and the atmosphere built similarly.


After that, there is a small transition in the song for around thirteen seconds, which is like the bridge of the song. Here Cateen starts by just tapping the piano and melodica.

Final Theme

Then comes something like post-chorus. It is played by the whole orchestra. It is the highlight of the song. It is like fireworks, feels like there are all colours in this section. Then finally there is the addition of the main theme again playing, but it is slightly played differently. Cateen plays this part by playing both instruments with both hands. He plays the piano in the video and later he adds the melodica part to the video and merges the two instruments. This is such a beautiful where there is time, where the piano is only being played and there is an enhanced layer of melodica which gives depth to the song. Then he glides through the keys to play the next part of the song. He plays this part in melodica and the piano is playing the keys and the synchronization of the instruments is absolutely stunning.


As an outro, there is a final chord that is played, after there is a pause in the song from the final theme. Cateen again ends the song on a final note. Joe Hisaishi’s music is so much inspired by Debussy and he as well uses the small notes of three rather than the traditional notes of seven in an octave.

The particular song in question is not an easy one to play, but it holds a special place in the hearts of many as a piece of nostalgia. Joe Hisaishi's work on this song is undoubtedly phenomenal, capturing the emotions of the listener in a way that is truly awe-inspiring. Cateen's cover of this piece is equally impressive, with its unique take on the song that can be listened to over and over again. In fact, listeners may want to check out the orchestra version of this song as well, which adds a whole new level of depth to an already stunning composition. All in all, it is clear that this song and its various interpretations have left a lasting impression on music lovers everywhere.

The orchestra is being led by Joe Hisaishi

If you love this arrangement, you can check the arrangement here. There are other Cateen かてぃん arrangements which are definitely worth checking out.

If you like this song or any other song, there are many more sheet music you can find on MyMusicSheet or

Until next time, Happy Music!

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