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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shaw

New Transcription: "5PM" from Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2020)

A new full sheet music transcription of the laid-back 5PM track from "Animal Crossing: New Horizons", premiering on this 5th day at... uh... 5PM.

If you're after the sheet music or score for "5PM" from Animal Crossing New Horizons, you can find it here!

This includes individual part scores for:

  • Full Score

  • Drum Set

  • Electric Guitar I

  • Electric Guitar II

  • Bass Guitar

  • Piano

  • Electric Organ

  • Synthesizer I

  • Synthesizer II

If you are one of my Patrons, you can now find the MIDI, XML and SIB files I created for this transcription now available to download from your Patreon Google Drive folder!


Arranger's Note:

"Animal Crossing - a care-free simulation game where you can do anything and everything at your own pace. It then makes sense for a good chunk of the soundtrack to sound as if a group of performers got together and started jamming away with some jazz - a genre built heavily on improvisation.

"5PM" here is no exception: the instrumentation is very band-centric with electric guitars, bass, drums, piano and synths; there is a plethora of added note chords; and the semiquaver 16th-note rhythms are swung throughout. Together, this evokes a calm, chill, casual and care-free aesthetic, as if you've just finished work and are heading home, looking forward to a relaxing evening.

The track instantly opens with an added note chord - a B-minor 7th (B-D-F#-A; 0:02) - and nearly every bar that follows will contain one of these added note chords (a common characteristic of jazz music): such as a major 7th (0:48; B-D#-F#-A#); a major 9th (0:08; A-C#-E-G#-B); and a minor 11th (or "Gospel Chord") (0:05; E-G-B-D-F#-A). These added note chords include notes outside of the more familiar triad (e.g. in the last example above, E-G-B is the familiar triad, but D-F#-A lay outside of this), again contributing to a casual, laid-back aesthetic.

Although the track opens with a B-minor 7th chord, the tonal center is actually A major (0:08), namely as the opening harmonic phrase climaxes in the 3rd measure - A major - and when the first melodic instrument enters (the synthesizer at 0:16), it opens with the "New Horizons" melody (or "motif") in the key of A major (sitting above a B-minor 7th). Of course, the abundance of added-note chords does well to blur this tonality!

At 0:39, the instruments ascend through 7th chords and we modulate into what is most likely B major, again, as the harmony climaxes in the 3rd measure with B major; 0:49) and the synthesizer plays the "New Horizons" motif in B major (although, sitting above a C#-minor 7th).

By 1:07, we get a juicy added note chord - a C#-major over A# chord (A#-C#-E#-G# - or a Bb minor 7th in disguise - Bb-Db-F-Ab) with the A# functioning as the leading note to return us back to the original tonal center of A major (1:09, with A major being reached by 1:15). All of these notes slip up a semitone (A#-C#-E#-G# slip up to B-D-F#-A), an excellent demonstration of smooth voice leading allowing a rather extreme tonal shift.

At the end of the track, and similar to the ending of the "Main Theme" (check out my other transcription), we get a series of ascending added note chords. We start with a B-minor 9th at 1:21 (B-D-F#-A-C#), stepping up to a C#-minor 7th (C#-E-G#-B), and then a D-major 7th (D-F#-A-C#), followed by a perfect cadence into G dominant 7th add 6 (G-B-E-F; the dominant "D" is missing). This entire passage is skewered with syncopation - but a safe, functional syncopation as the rhythms still add up to fit inside a 4/4 meter.

To conclude the track (1:27), we get another rather juicy jazz added chord that I don't actually have a name for - F#-A#-D-E in the piano and bass suggest an F# dominant 7th chord (which would function as the dominant chord to create a perfect cadence back to the opening B-minor 7th chord). But combined with this we get an electric organ playing in A minor above (with A-C-E) - an A/A# false relation clash! It is quite bizarre, but still works perfectly and without distraction.

I suppose this final measure best demonstrates the track's success at creating a casual aesthetic untethered from rules and conventions. And that is just the sort of track we need as we clock out from work."


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