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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shaw

New Arrangement: "Prologue (Book One)" from Golden Sun (2001)

The longest Golden Sun track - the extended main theme, "Prologue (Book One)" - now orchestrated with the glorious fanfare it deserves.

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:

"The full main theme for Golden Sun, and its longest track (clocking in at over 3 minutes!), how does Sakuraba present a memorable theme for the grand quest we are about to take?

We open with a cohort of strings assisted by timpani and bass drum, treading 4 crotchets to invoke march-like elements as it expands outward in contrary motion, as if we finally set foot in the overworld as the land opens before us.

This is the main theme ("motif") for Golden Sun, beginning quite traditionally in A major. By the 3rd measure, we get a fascinating expansion of the meter from 4/4 to 6/4 as well as a Mixolydian shift down to G (0:06; not typically found in A major). This is followed by a triumphant-sounding tertiary shift from G to E major (0:10), preparing us for a brief perfect cadential return to the tonic (0:12).

But this quickly modulates to the relative minor - F# (0:12) - along with more expanding contrary motion, as the bass moves downward while the melody soars upward. Then, a descending sequence occurs, now doubled in the oboe and clarinet for additional support and counter-material, as well as additional strength from a tuba.

As the full motif ends at 0:21, it then repeats. I have added additional brass fanfare doublings, as well as extra drums to enforce the march-like qualities further, and at 0:31, the winds join in for added excitement as the theme progresses to its relative minor segment.

This time, the motif is extended with an additional repeat of the relative minor segment (0:39). To reflect this, I added a glockenspiel to double the melody so that it is not an exact repeat.

At 0:48, an A Mixolydian / D major section begins: the violins play a delicate ostinato outlining a suspended 4-3 chord; the bass descends in Mixolydian fashion from A-G-F#; and the melody swims proudly around A major, creating some major 9th chords (0:52). This 4-bar phrase repeats again (0:56), with a new melody in the oboe, doubled by a celesta and now with additional brass swellings.

At 1:04, we get a gorgeous modulation into F major from A (another exciting tertiary shift) as the strings take center stage, following a straightforward progression of F - Dm - Bb - C, with added-note decorative 7ths and 9ths throughout for some scrumptious color. I enhanced this section with a subtle choir and exaggerated the swellings of 1:16 with additional instruments.

A new section begins at 1:20, now modulated into C minor. The oboe sings a doleful tune, as a countermelody is intriguingly placed in the bass instruments. A new ostinato appears in the strings - a crunching minor 9th dissonance - which I have doubled with piano and muted trumpets to round off this new color. Even as the melodies modulate through different chords, this ostinato remains unchanged, creating significant clashes to further signify the new woeful aesthetic.

This 8-bar phrase is repeated at 1:37, now in the violins and doubled up an octave in the winds. The minor 9th ostinato has jumped down an octave. I decided to exaggerate the initial 2-crotchet rhythm in the ostinato in order to add more interest to an otherwise unchanged 16-bar ostinato.

By 1:53, an interrupted cadence brings us back to our tonic of A major as the main theme returns. Here, I decided on giving the material to a brass quintet, and then shifting this with seamless dove-tailing to a wind quintet (2:02), supported by pizzicato strings and with an additional countermelody.

At 2:11, we begin building towards the climax with an 8-bar tonic pedal as the violins outline a Mixolydian phrase. This pedal pays off at 2:27 as the main theme returns with the full orchestra.

As the theme finishes, we get some new material (even as the theme nears its end!), giving us one last glorious tertiary modulation into F Lydian for one final hurrah as the track triumphantly returns to A major to finish with a bang (3:00)."


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