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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shaw

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

As decided by the viewers, here is an orchestral arrangement of "Lalivero Ruins" (or "Tunnel Ruins") from the classic JRPG, "Golden Sun" (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!


Arranger's Note:

"Although titled "Lalivero Ruins" by the players, this track appears several times before reaching this end-game location, such as the post-Saturos encounter with Alex atop Mercury Lighthouse and Atmiller Cave.

However, I suspect the track came to be known as "Lalivero Ruins" since it is used as the precursor theme to the iconic "Venus Lighthouse" theme, thus making the track fixed in memory as the "track that comes before Venus Lighthouse" near Lalivero. Funnily enough, there is actually no location in Golden Sun known as the "Lalivero Ruins" - it should really be called the "Tunnel Ruins". But alas, I did not come up with the titles! ;)

The track, although sounding rather neutral in the original, has a surprising amount of dissonance. Foremost, the track opens in a loose E-Phrygian tonality (E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E) - loose due to the chromatic appearance of Bb's and Ab's in the 2nd measure (0:07).

At the same time, the metre is skewed between either a grouping of 2/4, 3/4 or 6/4. I decided on transcribing it as 6/4 due to the flutes and bass instruments moving every 3 beats, with the choir melody rising and falling across 6 beats. Ultimately, it could also be scored in 3/4.

To add to the dissonance, there is a plethora of tritone intervals (the "Diabolus in Musica" - the Devil in Music), notably the F-B found often in the flutes and the choir (0:03), again highlighting that Phrygian tonality.

As the opening 4-bar phrase repeats at 0:15, I expand upon the material with additional brass, new string and harp doublings, and an ancient-sounding crotale/antique cymbals on the choir melody.

By 0:28 we progress via a loose perfect cadence (V-I; E-A) into a 4/4 passage in A minor that is relatively consonant, albeit still referencing Phrygian through the progression to Bb (0:30). Here, the violins take the melodic lead surrounded by an octave shuffling bassline and pulsing choir (which I have expanded upon with some additional string ostinati).

At 0:37, we get a remarkable shift. Tonally, we are progressing from G major into C minor (another perfect cadence), but it is decorated harshly with the presence of an F# (see trombones, choir, etc.). This creates and F#/G semitonal false relation clash - quite a cruel dissonance! - yet the passage remains largely unperturbed to our ears. Sakuraba is once again flexing his harmonic palette.

Next, we return to a triple metric grouping - this time 3/4 - in our home tonality of E Phrygian (0:45). Here, a crunching 2nd violin melody reinforces the Phrygian character tones (the flattened 2nd and 7th; here, F and D), and I have built up the timbre of this melody through use of a guiro, muted trumpet and consecutive violin down-bowing for added crunch.

Harmonically, we get a demonstration of another Sakuraba trait - chromatically ascending harmony. Note here the choir (and also the horns) rising chromatically by semitone in parallel 5ths (E-F-F#-G) on top of an E-Phrygian pedal ostinato in the bass instruments (contrabassoon, piano, contrabass).

At the same time, we get a return to the opening rapid flutes (0:46), intriguingly playing passages with G#s - conflicting harshly against the ascending parallel 5ths underneath (G# vs G; 0:49). Altogether these create quite a menacing and intensifying passage.

At 0:57, we return to consonance with a 4/4 passage, now unusually in F# minor (F#-A-C#; very distant to E Phrygian). And then we progress via a backwards tertiary modulation into A minor (C#-A; 1:12). This passage is akin to the previous A minor passage; the string melody returns, now with an additional countermelody in the oboes soaring high above as we conclude with an imperfect cadence in G major for a tertiary shift back to E Phrygian for the loop."


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