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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shaw

New Arrangement: "Tolbi" from Golden Sun (2001)

It's time to bring out your lucky medals, we've now arrived in the bustling festival city of "Tolbi" from the classic JRPG, "Golden Sun" (2001). Feel free to check it out my new orchestral arrangement!

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:

"A rather simple, little tune, but nevertheless just as memorable as any other. This track starts in E major (E-G#-B; 0:03), shifting in the 2nd measure to the subdominant over a 2nd inversion tonic pedal (A major; A-C#-E over an E), then to the dominant by the 3rd measure (B major; B-D#-F#) and finally resolving via a perfect cadence back to the tonic of E major (0:05).

In this remarkably short little phrase, we effectively have a I-IV-V-I progression - one of the most common Western progressions ever used - and the entire track swims solely between these 3 chords.

The next 4-bar phrase is similar (0:06-0:09) - I-IV-V-V - concluding with an imperfect cadence in the dominant (V; B major; 0:09), which is resolved as expected to the tonic (I). Together, this 8-bar phrase is repeated (0:09 - 0:15).

Then we modulate to the subdominant (IV; A major; 0:15), with the oboe taking the lead as we alternate between IV and V (A major and B major) - already preparing us for the eventual return to the tonic via a perfect cadence (0:29).

Here, the opening 8 measures are repeated (0:29 - 0:42). So that it is not an exact repeat, I have added a decorated piccolo doubling the panpipe melody an octave above, as well as additional attack from the marimbas doubling the celesta.

We reach the final section at 0:42. Here, the celesta takes the melody in Sakuraba's original, which I have doubled with the piccolo (and later, glockenspiel) here. Harmonically, there is a functional dissonance created as a result of pitting a tonic pedal (E; see upright bass) against a dominant chord (B-D#-F#; 0:44). This creates a semitonal clash of D#-E, but it is a soft dissonance since the D# is resolved up to the E as our ears would expect it to.

Due to the simplicity of the overall harmony, and the soft instruments of Sakuraba's original, I deduced this little track to be a festive one that represented a bustling market town of festivities (e.g. Colosso and all the good old gambling minigames). As such, my orchestration ties into this rustic, unperturbed aesthetic, using almost entirely woodwinds and percussion as if the villagers themselves were colloquially performing the track.

I did experiment with retaining the beefy bass guitar from Sakuraba's original, but it didn't quite complement this aesthetic and was too out of place - at least for this arrangement!"


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