Dark Notes are a feature in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, accessed in the Chaos Shrine gameplay mode. They consist of a paired Field Music Sequence and Battle Music Sequence, generated at random with the creation of the Dark Note. The player's first Dark Note will be generated at some point during normal gameplay, unlocking the Chaos Shrine in the process. Thereafter, new Dark Notes are generated by clearing the player's newest Dark Note.
The classification (e.g. Round, Etude, etc.) and name of the Dark Note appear to be irrelevant; however, the other two properties attributed to Dark notes are meaningful. The Number ("No."), which is the average level of the party that created the Dark Note, determines its difficulty. Higher numbered Dark Notes have the triggers moving faster, and extremely high numbered Dark Notes even introduce rotating slide triggers. The Movement ("Mv.") is a two digit number that determines the two tracks that make up the Dark Note.
|First digit (FMS)||Second digit (BMS)|
|0||Mt. Gulg (FFI)||Battle Theme 2 (FFII)|
|1||Eternal Wind (FFIII)||Battle 1 (FFIV)|
|2||Within the Giant (FFIV)||Battle at the Big Bridge (FFV)|
|3||Mambo de Chocobo (FFV)||Battle to the Death (FFVI)|
|4||Terra's Theme (FFVI)||JENOVA (FFVII)|
|5||Judgment Day (FFVII)||The Man with the Machine Gun (FFVIII)|
|6||Blue Fields (FFVIII)||Something to Protect (FFIX)|
|7||Zanarkand (FFX)||Fight with Seymour (FFX)|
|8||Vana'diel March (FFXI)||Ending Movie (FFXII)|
|9||The Sunleth Waterscape (FFXIII)||Defiers of Fate (FFXIII)|
The construction of the scores is only partly random; each track is split into four segments, each of which is taken from one of four scores for that track: red, green, blue or yellow. Thus, there are a finite number of permutations – 44 = 256 per track, and thus (256×10)2 = 6,553,600 unique Dark Notes. The increased difficulty at higher numbered Dark Notes, therefore, comes not from more complicated scores, but from increased trigger scrolling speed, as well as the addition of rotating slide triggers at Nos. 90 to 99. Note also that while the Feature Zone and Feature Drive can begin or end at a segment split, they will never have a split within their duration, though it is possible for the boundary between them to be on a split.
In the BMS, the enemies faced by the player follow a simple loop of two fixed enemies, then one enemy that will differ depending on which Boss the player will be facing, then a boss enemy. After the boss, it repeats from the two fixed enemies. The bosses faced depend on the player's performance. Firstly, in the FMS, there is a sign which, if the player reaches it in the course of the FMS (by hitting triggers well and having high agility), they can encounter Boss Nos. 2 and 3 in the BMS; otherwise, they can encounter only Boss No. 1.
Should the player do well enough to obtain the ability to fight Boss Nos. 2 or 3, which boss is fought is determined by their party members' remaining amount of hit points. If the party's health is high (more than about 2/3 of their maximum total), then the player will fight Boss No. 3. If the player's health is lower than this, the player will fight Boss No. 2 instead. The player may fight more than one boss in the course of the BMS, depending on how many enemies they defeat, and the criteria are stipulated again with any fights beyond the first. For example, should a character use a curative ability to push the group after fighting Boss No. 2, the player may find himself fighting Boss No. 3 in the next round. Likewise, should the player lose a significant amount of HP after fighting Boss No. 3, they will fight Boss No. 2 instead. Bosses appear as every fourth enemy in the BMS, and should the player manage to qualify to fight Boss No. 3, its arrival is heralded when the battle begins against the enemy preceding them.
Chaos can appear as Boss No. 3 in Dark Notes numbered 90 or above. His presence can be identified if Libra reveals any of his drop items when the Dark Note is generated, or otherwise, if upon reaching the BMS, it is seen to have the Chaos Shrine as a backdrop instead of its usual background.
Aside from occasional Rhythmia rewards, Dark Notes are the main source of shards that contribute towards unlocking characters. Notably, Navy and Black shards can only be obtained from Dark Notes. Each Dark Note has three bosses in the BMS section, which each have three possible drop items. Boss No. 1 has one shard among its drops, Boss No. 2 has two, and Boss 3 has 3 possible shards, though not all drops are shards. Each shard color can only be obtained from boss enemies in certain Dark Note number ranges.
|Character||Shard color||No. range|
|Princess Sarah||Golden||26 to 99|
|Minwu||Silver||01 to 75|
|Cid Haze||Yellow||01 to 75|
|Rydia||Green||01 to 25|
|Kain||Navy||51 to 99|
|Faris||Crimson||01 to 75|
|Locke||Indigo||01 to 25|
|Aerith||Red||01 to 75|
|Sephiroth||Black||51 to 99|
|Seifer||Grey||26 to 99|
|Vivi||Orange||01 to 25|
|Yuna||Turquoise||01 to 75|
|Prishe||Purple||26 to 99|
|Ashe||Scarlet||01 to 25|
|Snow||White||26 to 99|
|Cosmos||Rainbow||26 to 99|