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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shaw

"The Golden Sun Rises" | Golden Sun | #GoldenSun20

Happy Golden Sunday! :D

August 1st 2021 marks 20 years after the release of the first Golden Sun game, and what better track to celebrate with than the glorious ending credits music, "The Golden Sun Rises".

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:

"We've finally made it - the long and epic quest to save Weyard has finally come to its conclusion. And for a special treat, Sakuraba gives us one of his most triumphant fanfares to date. The material itself is remarkably simple, but simplicity often leads to fantastic music ("less is more", as they say).

We open in C minor (C-E♭-G) - a sad tonality, yes, but the harmonic journey we take afterwards is what evokes our feeling of triumph and victory. We fall down to the 7th (0:07; B♭-D-F), and once more to the 6th (0:09; A♭-C-E♭) with some wonderful contrary motion (two parts either moving away or towards one another) in the brass and bass to spell out a victorious major 7th chord (A♭-C-E♭-G). This chord quickly climbs back to B♭ before dropping down (unusually) to the dominant minor (0:11; G-B♭-D).

This harmonic journey is accompanied by a wondrous brass fanfare in octave unison, all the while the strings provide a countermelody, and the winds and mallets offer the iconic Sakuraba arpeggios.

Continuing onward, we step upward to A♭ and progress back to our tonic of C minor (0:15), where the winds and strings ascend and descend up and down. We then progress to F minor (the subdominant; F-A♭-C), back to the dominant minor (G-B♭-D), and rest safe and sound in our tonic, C minor.

This 8-bar phrase is then repeated, now with even more fanfare and grandeur provided by additional string unisons, wind melodic support, and choir.

By 0:37, we get a brief development section. We modulate into the subdominant (F minor), but interestingly with a minor 9th added-note chord (F-A♭-C-E♭-G). This chord resolves inward via contrary motion, creating a gorgeous minor 7th (G-B♭-D-F) which quickly takes us back to C minor. But we quickly fall back to F minor (0:41) and commence an upward ascent (F - G - A♭ - B♭). This ascension could very well be a signifier for the rising of the Golden Sun - or, at the least, it holds the emotional power to convey as such.

This 4-bar phrase is repeated once more (0:45), now with additional forces as we climb towards the final climax (0:53). I consider this next 8-bar phrase to be the most glorious of the entire Golden Sun OST.

We start in the tonic (C minor). The bass steps down to B♭ while the melody remains on the 3rd (E♭) creating an absolutely magical suspended 4th chord (B♭-E♭-F) which resolves as we would expect to B♭ major (B♭-D-F). Then we get some contrary motion as the bass steps down to A♭ while the melody climbs back up to E♭, creating an exhilarating opportunity for a major 7th chord (A♭-C-E♭-G) which resolves inward via even more contrary motion to B♭, before finally dropping down to the dominant minor, G minor.

For the final 4-bars (1:01), we climb upward to A♭, B♭ and reach our tonic of C minor, before one final journey into F minor, G minor and back to C minor.

For a track that only explores 5 chords, there is a significant power here that few other ending tracks have been able to achieve. The use of simple harmonies decorated with contrary motion and added-note chords creates an unforgettable fanfare that I shall look forward to hearing one day when I finish playing through Golden Sun HD on the Switch."


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