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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shaw

New Arrangement: "Battle Tower Battle Theme" from Pokemon Sword and Shield (2019)

An epic orchestral cover of Toby Fox's glorious battle music found during battles in the Battle Tower of the recently released "Pokemon Sword and Shield" (2019).

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:

"In true Fox fashion, we begin with an excitedly energetic syncopated rhythm (0:03) which forms the underlying ostinato pattern to be found throughout most of the track. This pattern is placed in the E Aeolian mode (E-F#-G-A-B-C-D-E) through the presence of a C-natural. This opening ostinato is expanded upon (0:10), now melodically doubled a perfect 4th lower.

By 0:17, we get a new melody outlined here in the trumpet and horn. Rather than being in E Aeolian, the tonality has now shifted to E Dorian (E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D-E) with the presence of a C-sharp, allowing the common Dorian progression of i - IV (E minor - A major), which occurs here at 0:19.

However, this Dorian progression is quickly broken by the imminent C-natural that follows in the next bar (0:21), marking a return to Aeolian. We would expect the end of this 4-bar phrase to conclude in the dominant key (B major; B-D#-F#), but instead, we are given a modal cadence in B minor, which then returns to the tonic of E. This tonic however contains a surprising G#, making the tonality major rather than minor. However, we are then immediately thrust back into E minor with the return of the G-natural (0:24).

When this phrase repeats in the following 4 bars, the conclusion twists this harmony further by use of false relations (D# against D-natural; 0:30). Normally, this dissonance would be extremely harsh, but due to the swift-paced energy of the track, this fleeting dissonance is softened and only further serves to enhance the intensity of the track.

By 0:32, the strings take over the melody, re-purposing the opening rhythmic ostinato into a new melodic passage now in the submediant key of C major. Interestingly, instead of returning as expected to E minor, we return instead to E major (0:34), but quickly fall back to C major - a tertiary modulation known for creating a triumphant aesthetic.

At the end of this phrase, the strings introduce a new melody (0:43). This is picked up by the brass in the following phrase (0:47) for their moment of glory. Here I added a steady string pattern to grind against the syncopated brass rhythms to add further intensity and excitement.

The conclusion of this phrase is interrupted, breaking the expected 4-bar phrase down to a 3-bar phrase, and at 0:59 we abruptly modulate into E Phrygian (E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E) as we juxtapose between E and F with material played in predominantly perfect 4ths. This juxtaposition is enhanced with additional syncopation at 1:07.

At 1:14, we get a repeat of the opening sections. Rather than repeat these exactly, I added an additional violin melody (1:14), followed by celesta and glockenspiel material (1:30).

By 1:44, we get new quieter material. Originally performed with a synthesizer, I have placed the material in the upper woodwinds accompanied by fluttering violin tremolos, allowing a momentary respite from the otherwise heated track. The remaining strings join in at 1:52 for a lovely passage juxtaposing C major, D major and E major.

This quieter material is slowly expanded upon 1:59, now with many instruments returning. The 1st violins play a passage reminiscent of their opening top pedal (0:03), while the bassoon and cello fly off on a fleeting passage of semiquavers. We reach the climax at 2:14 as the remaining brass enter with syncopated trumpets and xylophone, trilling woodwinds, and relentless tubular bells. Altogether the vast combination of material should pack quite the punch!"


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