• Jonathan Shaw

New Arrangement: "Linked Battle Theme" from Golden Sun (2001)

The battle music for Golden Sun's multiplayer link battles (or perhaps more recognizable as the final sounds heard by those crushed by giant boulders), now for orchestra.

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:

"From the start, we are thrust into combat with a cluster of parallel tritones - our favourite interval, the "diabolus in musica" ("devil in music"). This is complemented by intense polyrhythms, pitting a syncopated simple meter against triplets. This opening measure concludes with a nearly universal collapse, as nearly every instrument is instructed to fall ad lib. ("freely").


Then our main material begins. The melody, here in the trumpets (0:04), is very reminiscent of "Sea of Karagol's" iconic opening melody (https://youtu.be/AL5QD0__QYE), as well as Sakuraba's battle theme for "Tales of Destiny 2" (https://youtu.be/pvXrsqi7Ggc). I suspect when having to devise thousands of RPG tracks, one will undoubtedly begin to repeat their material.


Nevertheless, our track continues in an Aeolian modality (A-B-C-D-E-F-G), pivoting between A, G and F chords. To support the melody, I have added a new countermelody in the horns, strengthened by aggressive tremolandi strings. Further, the pivotal arpeggios (which Sakuraba originally placed in the harp), have additional support from a celesta and glockenspiel, conjuring an extra dazzling sparkle to their rapid arcs.


As the section ends (0:17), we get a nearly identical repeat. To offer some development, the melody is now additionally doubled in the winds, and we now have some extra brass harmonic and rhythmic interest. As we near the end of the section (0:28), the material changes slightly as the strings begin to take over the melodic role.


We thus shift to the subdominant (D minor; 0:30) as we begin our next section with a violin melody. To support this, the winds and trumpets exchange a series of alternating 16th note sputters. Harmonically, we climb from D minor to E minor, allowing a quick return to A minor (0:33). The choice of using E minor as the dominant pivot is quite unusual (it would usually be E major for a true perfect cadence), but it is nevertheless a very functional choice that offers a welcome change to harmony.


As we enter the 2nd half of this section (0:37), the flutes join in with an extra countermelody soaring high above, before concluding with some double-tonguing descents (0:41). After their 4 measures, the winds and strings re-enter with a rhythmically diminished response to the trumpets major 9th call (0:48).


For these final 4 measures, the prior material partially repeats, now in the winds and strings and trumpets for a final climb up into the relative major (C major; 0:52), followed by a seamless tertiary shift from G into E major (E-F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#; 0:54), allowing for a true perfect cadence back to our opening tonality of A. To reflect this loop point, several of the instruments fall freely once more, akin to the opening measure."

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