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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shaw

New Arrangement: "Ankohl Ruins" from Golden Sun (2001)

The exotic and foreign ruins of the Ankohl Ruins, now for ethnic and orchestral instruments.

Feel free to check out the landing page with links to the recording, sheet music and more!

If you are one of my Patrons, you can now find the MIDI, XML and SIB files I created for this arrangement now available to download from your Patreon Google Drive folder!


Arranger's Note:

"One of the trident towers, alongside "Tundaria Tower" and the "Shrine of the Sea God", the "Ankohl Ruins" is a dungeon containing one piece of the 3-part trident used to defeat Poseidon.

Where Tundaria Tower was themed around ice and Shrine of the Sea God around water, the Ankohl Ruins are themed around Earth, in particular, sand. The ruins themselves are based off the real-world Angkor Ruins, Cambodia - notably the ruins of Bayon which themselves are famous for their numerous large stone faces (faces of which similarly appear in the Ankohl Ruins here).

Due to this close relation to a world location (sick rhyme, I know), I tried to orchestrate as closely to the culture of Cambodia as I had access to. That includes numerous mallet instruments (Byeon, Katana, Pamade, etc.) as well as gongs and their close neighbour, gamelan. But to keep this orchestration as a ... you know ... orchestration, all of these parts are alternatively playable on more familiar Western instruments (xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, tubular bell, etc.), which is what I have scored here, with optional exotic percussion if available doubling at free will. Plus the usual string ensemble helps retain that orchestral aesthetic.

To analyse the track, we open in an exotic pentatonic tonality (also a great rhyme) - only using 5 notes; E, G, A, B & D. For further interest, this is pitted against a simple polymeter of 3/4 & 6/8 (two time signatures playing at once), creating the duality of simple and compound time.

As we grow to our 2nd section (0:23), we break out of our pentatonic tonality and progress into a loose E Aeolian mode (E-F#-G-A-B-C-D) - the modality of which helps to convey the atmosphere of an ancient culture due to its old heritage. To play with this idea of modality, I slipped in the occasional Dorian note to enhance this exotic modal flair (C#; 0:37 in violins).

Melodically, we remain very simple in Aeolian, though with some parallel 4ths and 5ths adding to the ancient aesthetic due to their association with drones and plainchant. Harmonically, we also remain simple - pivoting between an E & D root note.

By 0:43, we shift back into pentatonicism (E, G, A, B, D) as the mallet percussion takes over the melodic role. At 0:53, this is complemented by the rest of the ensemble in a final 4-measure phrase of Aeolian modality before we loop."


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