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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shaw

Crossbone Isle | Golden Sun | Orchestral Cover

We've finally made it to the secret dungeon of Crossbone Isle... except I forgot to pickup the Cloak Ball D:

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 Patreon!


Arranger's Note:

We begin with 3 voices; melody (panpipes), harmony (flute & clarinet), and bass (bass guitar), all supported by a drum rhythm. They outline a very simple F♯ minor tonality (F♯-A-C♯) which quickly shifts into A minor via a tertiary modulation (F♯ to A - a 3rd away - 0:06). From here, we descend to E minor (E-G-B) via a plagal cadence (chord IV to I; here A minor to E minor). This then shifts up another tertiary modulation into G minor (E to G; 0:12), followed quickly by another plagal cadence into D minor (G to D; 0:15)... and you get the picture!

Such a pattern of modulations creates a wonderfully mysterious tonality that is ever-changing and unpredictable, much like the nature of this dungeon with its 9 floors of differing puzzles to solve. For further development, I added a subtle string harmony that creeps in and out (0:15), alongside additional marimba and celesta doubling the melody (0:26).

As we progress into the next section (0:28), we land firmly into A minor (A-C-E). Here, a new countermelody of running semiquavers (16ths) is added, which I placed in the violins, but also doubled in dove-tailing woodwind instruments (to enhance the colour). A chord of open 5ths (A-E) is delivered by the low strings, followed by the brass. This creates a strong tonal anchor for the melodies above while giving it a slightly darker, heavier sound from their relatively low-pitched placement.

By 0:40, we return to the opening material, now with a new countermelody placed in the extreme registers of the marimba (a very rare range of the instrument!). But it is this very deep range that creates such a unique undulating colour to the otherwise unchanged opening ostinato. Pizzicato strings further enhance this, followed by tremolandi strings for a more shivering tone.

At 1:06, we get something very interesting: a 1-bar transition. This is remarkably rare in the OST outside of combat themes, but is used to great effect here to provide us with an unexpected shift into a new section. And since the material in this 1-bar phrase is heard earlier (0:28), Sakuraba is essentially pranking us with a false repetition, further adding to the surprise of the following section (1:07).

Here, an oboe takes on the melodic role, playing material similar to that of the 1-bar transition we just had, now modulated into F♯ minor via (you guessed it) a tertiary modulation. To complement this oboe melody, I wrote small countermelodies in the flute & violins (1:13), as well as a small definitive conclusion to the track (2:37).

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