New Arrangement: "An Enemy Appears" from Golden Sun: The Lost Age (2002)
A villainous theme from the Golden Sun, now orchestrated in all its sinister fanfare.
Feel free to check out the landing page with links to the recording, sheet music and more!
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"One of the many menacing themes of Golden Sun, appearing during our first encounter with Karst, and before our final battle with the Wise One.
The original opened with a dissonant male choir trudging atop several bass instruments pivoting between a tritone (the "Diabolus in Musica" / "Devil in Music"). To expand upon this devilish sound, I've encompassed a full SATB choir - now with relevant Latin text - as well as a church organ at full throttle to complement the menacing aesthetic.
The track is largely littered with these tritone intervals, which are one of the quickest compositional methods to create evil music (e.g follow the bass instruments throughout).
As this opening choir & organ section concludes, we shift into a more orchestral segment (0:25). Here, the brass are all equipped with mutes ("con sord." / "with mute"), while the strings all play with the technique "sul ponticello" / "on the bridge" for a scratchier timbre. Together, these techniques create an unsettlingly harsher sound than if they were played normally - fitting for a villainous theme!
Note how the melody here descends chromatically (0:25). Chromaticism is another excellent technique for achieving dissonance and gives you the possibility to modulate anywhere with complete freedom (more or less). As this phrase ends (0:35), we get another tritone clash in the choir and organ, suggesting elements of the Lydian mode (F-G-A-B-C-D-E).
Moving into the next section (0:37), the choir goes off on a seemingly random chromatic phrase (now doubled in a muted trombone), while the bass instruments repeat the tritone pivot found in the opening. To complement this dread, I inserted a reference to a dissonant melody from another sinister Golden Sun track (bonus brownie points to anyone that can figure it out), as well as quivering muted horns growing and fading.
As this section continues its 2nd half (0:50), we jump up a minor 3rd to G. The melody becomes doubled in violin harmonics for an additional eerie aesthetic, while the sul ponticello strings make an early return. It is also worth mentioning the extreme dissonances Sakuraba employs here (note the minor 9th - C# & D - in the bass and choir; 0:57), and numerous false relation clashes (see 0:52; the G-natural in the bass clashing against the G# in the choir).
As this section closes (1:00), we get a nearly identical repeat of early material (0:25), now with additional choir and organ dissonance spelling out an insane chord that I can't even name in this harmonic context (C#-D-G over a C#, so some sort of sus-4 minor 9th). Really heavy stuff! :O"