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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shaw

Midnight Theme | Pokémon Legends: Arceus | Orchestral Cover

Here is an orchestral cover for the serene night theme from Pokemon Legends Arceus, complete with licensed sheet music and individual part scores 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 Patreon!


Arranger's Note:

"We begin in E♭ minor, commencing with a delicate phrase echoing in the piano and celesta; two particularly twinkling instruments when played high in their register. Harmonically, we get a surprising Dorian slip, noted by the C♮ (0:14) - the raised 6th that defines the Dorian mode (E♭-F-G♭-A♭-B♭-C-D♭).

As we seamlessly transition from a 4/4 meter into a 3/4 meter, an off-stage ethereal choir is added, complementing the twilight aesthetic invoked by the opening piano and celesta. By placing this off-stage, you can strongly enhance this effect (see Gustav Holst's "Neptune, the mystic").

Here (0:18), we have a gorgeous phrase that travels to the subdominant (A♭ minor; A♭-C♭-E♭) with the added 7th (G♭), creating wonderful soft dissonances so much that we can't quite discern the true tonality of the music (something E♭). This is doubled by a new harp delicately plucking, and a glockenspiel played with softer mallets. I also added solo violin harmonics to decorate the top of this ethereal harmony.

By 0:33, we return to material referencing the opening piano and celesta material, although now with added harp harmonics and vibraphone to develop the timbre. Muted strings also emerge, playing with the "flautando" technique ("like a flute"; airy) to create a softer lift in their sound.

A great deal of this music is untethered to meter, and as such, I instruct the clarinets to play "accelerando and decelerando ad lib." ("accelerating and decelerating freely"), to further blur this constant change of meter. The fluttertonguing flute arriving off-the-beat also complements this.

At 0:48, we get a surprising shift to something louder (an interesting choice, for "Midnight"). Here, we receive a great chiming of ancient gongs as if distant tribes are ringing bells in ritualistic dance. As such, I incorporated various bell and mallet instruments; plate bells, tubular bells, glockenspiel, vibraphone, and antique cymbals (also known as crotales).

These strong chimes are accompanied by a rather free descending pentatonic ostinato in the harp, piano and celesta. The pentatonic nature of this ostinato - using only 5 notes; G♭, E♭, D♭, B♭ & A♭ - enhances the exotic otherness of the sound. This is further strengthened by accenting the bare 5th interval (E♭-B♭) - invoking influences of old Gregorian chant.

As if the meter were not blurred enough, we get a metric modulation at 1:18. This is where a previous rhythmic value becomes a new rhythmic value (e.g. a triplet 16th note now equals a regular 16th note), but this shift is only in writing - the previous rhythm continues at the same speed as it were before. A rather complex technique, but incredibly powerful when used effectively to blur the pulse.

To complement this, I added scalic runs ascending in various instruments. These are to be played freely, to create a rushing wisp of sound floating upward in the distance.

By 1:34, the metric modulation is reversed and we get a closing phrase of ambiguity with a suspended 4th chord that never truly resolves (E♭-A♭-B♭). And slowly, instruments fade themselves out until we are left with only the crotales, glockenspiel, piano and harp to drift off into the silence.

Then to finish (2:06), we get a rather abrupt shift into some soft jazz. Personally, I think this shift was the wrong direction by the original composers; it compromises what is an otherwise ethereal and mystical track with a sudden club-like casualness. But that's probably just me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . And then the piece ends in E♭ major (the tonic major), which would act as a "Tierce de Picardie" (ending in a major chord in a minor piece)."


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