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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shaw

Shaman Village | Golden Sun | Orchestral Arrangement

Not particularly shaman-y, but here is a new orchestral cover for this gorgeous little track that first appears in the Shaman Village of Golden Sun.

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:

"This theme first appears in the Shaman Village, but then, why does it not sound particularly shaman-like, similar to the percussively-driven Kibombo music? Unlike Kibombo, this theme is used in multiple locations: it also appears in the dwarven town of Loho, and also as the final track during the epilogue just before the ending credits. As a result, this final appearance is probably the most memorable use of the track, and so its association isn't really that of a Shaman Village, but more of a final emotional theme. But since it first appears there, here we are!

The original was scored for flutes, hi-hat, electric bass and some sort of plucked melodic instrument. To incorporate that here, I have similarly employed flutes, hi-hat, a softer upright bass, and acoustic guitar to take on the melodic role. To go further, I have added soft harp plucks to support the flutes, as well as a string ensemble (which we'll get to later).

The track opens in a C major tonality (C-E-G); no sharps, no flats - all peaceful and simple. Harmonically, we gradually float downward from C to G (in 1st inversion; B-D-G), to A minor - the relative minor (A-C-E) - and back to G in root position (G-B-D). We therefore have a pleasant step-wise descent through C-B-A-G.

During this progression, and perhaps the most unique element of this track, are the flutes. Nothing extreme; just a simple note puffing away, usually in 3rds or 4ths on every beat. The steadiness of this material, combined with the often syncopated melody creates a charming but soft little conflict that keeps the track in motion. Also, note the regular use of the dotted 8th notes rhythm, such as 0:07, which were often used to simulate triplets which were not easily possible on the existing hardware.

From here (0:13), the track takes a subtly darker tone with a B major augmented chord (B-D♯-G) - a rather extreme tertiary modulation from G major. This leads us into E minor, which can then pivot back down to C major via another tertiary modulation. Then we rest interestingly in D major (0:21), acting as an imperfect cadence on the dominant chord (presumably for G).

But no, it turns out to be an interrupted cadence (V-vi; D major to E minor), as we progress into the 2nd half of the phrase. For development, I have added a soft celesta to double the melody and provide some harmonic support through arpeggiated chords (similar to the harp). Here, the new strings also begin to fade in gradually.

The rest of the phrase remains largely simple, concluding with a gorgeous 4-3 suspended chord (D-G-A to D-F♯-A) on the dominant (0:40; D major - another imperfect cadence). As usual, we would expect this to resolve either via a perfect cadence (V-I; D to G) or an interrupted cadence (V-vi; D to E minor). Funnily enough, we get neither, instead receiving an inverted interrupted cadence (V-IV; D to C), which floats gently outward in contrary motion (e.g. the bass moves down while the melody moves up).

Originally, the track would loop here, but I have repeated the entire track once more with additional instrumental and harmonic development, including a more present string ensemble, violins doubling the melody, and extra piano warmth in the lower harmonies. A very gorgeous little track."


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