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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shaw

Royal Palace | Golden Sun | Orchestral Arrangement

Next we step into Kalay and the palace of Master Hammet for a regal meeting. Enjoy this royal theme, now orchestrated!

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:

"How can we convey regality through music?

A common stereotype to signify royalty is to employ stylistic elements from Baroque and Classical musics. This use has been largely consistent in all forms of media (film, games, musical theatre, etc.).

The reason for this strong association could well be historically due to this music often being reserved for royal courts and upper class patrons (think court music, or musicians employed by kings, or sponsored by wealthy patrons). Or it could even be simply due to Baroque and Classical musics being more often listened to by older generations, creating a passive association that these musics are only consumed by the older and (arguably) wiser generations. Or it could simply be the decades of use in film that have solidified this association.

Either way, these elements appear here.

The track opens in the triumphant royal key of D major (D-F♯-A), progressing quickly through a circle of 5ths to G major (G-B-D) followed by C major (C-E-G). The "circle of 5ths" was a harmonic technique commonly found in the Baroque era, whereby we (confusingly) travel up in 4ths (D to G to C to F to Bb to Eb etc. etc.). We largely continue with circle of 5ths progressions, as well as shifts to the relative minor through to 0:29.

Interestingly, we conclude the opening phrase in E major (rather distant from D major), acting as the dominant key in a perfect cadence to lead us into A major (V - I; E major to A major).

For instrumentation, Sakuraba used a string ensemble with some synthesized flutes. To evoke more of a regal atmosphere, I added in a harpsichord doubling for harmonic support with improvisatory ornaments (and I could have gone further with figured bass), as well as brass fanfares (0:29). Additionally, I used chamber virtual instruments (so instruments with fewer performers than normal) to simulate a smaller ensemble of musicians playing in a kingly court.

When our brass ensemble appears at 0:29, we get a short pedal on A, sitting underneath the chords of A major, D major, and E major (the last of which causing a nice semitonal clash of G♯ & A). This section only lasts a mere 8 bars, giving the melodic role to the trumpet (a trumpet in D; better suited for D major), after which the flute appears to take over the melodic role of the trumpet (0:41).

All this time the meter has been consistently blurred; are we in a 3/4 or 6/8 meter? This is a common style of Sakuraba's music used to create further rhythmic interest by dividing the 6 beats of the bar into either 3 groups of 2 (3/4) or 2 groups of 3 (6/8).

Nevertheless, as we enter the final section (0:43), we continue in A major (A-C♯-E), with a tertiary modulation (0:46; D major to B major) for added excitement. To complement this, we abruptly step down a tone from E major to D major (0:48), creating this wonderful chromatic voice leading of suspended 4th progressions (E-A-B to E-G♯-B, then D-G-A to D-F♯-A; note the smooth step-wise voice leading of A-G♯-G-F♯ - beautifully smooth stuff).

To finish off, we are gifted with many more circle of 5ths (0:51; E to A to D to G) and tertiary modulations (0:56; G major to E major), which is repeated, now with the trumpet returning and doubling the melody an octave lower, as we reach our loop point with another chromatic voice leading descent."


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