New Arrangement: "Aqua Rock" from Golden Sun: The Lost Age (2002)
The votes are in... and the winner is... the brilliant "Aqua Rock" from the classic JRPG, "Golden Sun: The Lost Age" (2001). Feel free to check it out!
Feel free to download the score and recording here!
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!
"As opposed to "Magma Rock", which is fiery and aggressive with thick brass and heavy percussion, "Aqua Rock" is calm and twinkling with bright percussion and generally high melodies.
There was a lot of "Sakuraba echoes" in the original, and I've kept them all (and even added some in the harp and celesta at 0:50).
Sakuraba employs some post-tonal harmonic techniques, for example, the "Neo-Riemannian Tonnetz" commonly used in film scoring to instantly modulate from one key to another via a related pitch (e.g. B Major to F# Minor at 0:55).
At the risk of drowning out a middle melodic line at 0:28, I moved it down a few octaves into the bassoon and clarinet so that it would be audible and not further congest the upper frequencies. I think it worked rather well.
The time signature was tricky to decide; whether it should be 3/4 or 6/4, or even 6/8. I eventually rested on 6/4 as the long, stretching melodies in the violins creates longer phrasing (0:06), and so I felt it better to use 6/4 to reflect this (otherwise there would be a lot of tied notes, interrupting the look of the melody on the score).
To add a little more interest, I "hocketed" the bright percussion, having it play both in straight crotchets, but also in compound dotted crotchets, creating a 2-against-3 pattern, again reinforcing Sakuraba's echoing."