Intended for The Musician and Non-Musician Alike
Welcome, one and all, to tonight’s program. Performed by the one and only, Royal Marleybone Philharmonic Orchestra. We have a lovely selection prepared for you tonight: the four original Marleybone themes, as well as a few surprise delights from the Pirate101 edition of Marleybone. From Albion to Cheddarberg, only the finest musicians from all around Marleybone will play for you tonight. Special composer, Nelson Everhart, will conduct the ensemble tonight.
From the very first downbeat of the piece, we are entranced with the mood set. The clarinet plays the melody accompanied by the fluttering harp and chiming bells, adding a unique timbre to a proper magical Victorian era, Marleybone. The strings come out of nowhere, crescendoing into the main melody and taking over the pre-established sound of the ensemble.
A waltz begins from the climactic intrada. The melody is passed from the clarinet to the horns as the harpsichord adds to the timbre and keeps the timing of the piece. The call and response from the instruments switch faster, building tension to which 00:39 seconds in, the cymbals crash as the clarinet takes over once again. The horns keep the time, building on the atmosphere of the piece, giving the clarinet a more noble sound.
The theme passes again to the strings and then to the trumpets, building upon itself until a great resolution at time stamp 01:12. The strings maintain the melody as the chimes strike the most it has in the piece. The chimes are giving strength to the overall sound, adding light counterpoint in its differing rhythm with the strings.
In a serene moment, the Celesta adds to the sound of the ensemble, suspending the overall mysterious tone. The harps flutter and chimes strike again, mirroring the established sound from before. The mood shifts brightly as the horns begin the melody upon the cymbal crash. Wonderfully enchanting, I could see Mary Poppins fly down from the heavens.
With a strong strike on the bass drum and chimes, the piece begins. The Celesta keeps time as the piano adds flourishments before the cello begins the melody. We have kept the same waltz style as before – a common attribute to the tracks of Marleybone.
00:52 seconds in, a bell-tree plays, marking the start of a new mood and a key change to Ab harmonic minor. We are more solemn than before, relying on the higher woodwinds and strings to carry the melody rather than the hardier instruments. The chimes accent the melody’s downbeats. After this, the tuba fanfares in a climax at 00:57 seconds, with the higher instruments from before crescendoing in. Ending in high intensity, the last two measures, as written above, shift into Ab melodic minor.
We then enter a new section that includes a unique modal counterpoint between the flute and the bassoon. A motif from before, the bell-tree again marks a new mood. The flute continues playing the same melody as before, but now alongside the violin. The pizzicato strings continue the light waltz pattern, providing an upbeat vibe that the melody floats over.
Next, we crescendo into the most notable climax of the piece at timestamp 1:22. A classic V I chord progression brings us excitingly into the first melody on the violins. The celesta keeps time again, bringing back elements of what we’ve heard before to give the continuity.
Finally, we feel the piece giving its all before the final close. Time stamp 1:42 marks the point the low brass can give a good blow, giving the piece a nice touch of color. The melody plays over this, emoting triumph. The celesta comes in, adding a touch of mystery before the winds and strings arpeggiate to rejuvenate back to the top.
Rather familiar, this is nearly the same as the music played within the tower of Golem Court. Played on the Scotland Yard rooftop, the theme hints at what is to come. Swarming with golems, Katzenstein’s lab connects us back to our prior experiences. Regina Flametalon assigns us to go back and forth to each tier of the tower for a new golem part, establishing them as important in our minds.
Meowiarity eventually breaks out with Malistaire, who, in the tutorial, was inside the Golem Tower when we first met him. This is a clever leitmotif. Using a musical theme to connect characters to places, it is foreshadowed Malistaire will make an appearance at this part of the game when we hear this theme played.
At 00:49 seconds, the strings slow into harmonious counterpoint as the chimes strike, adding onto a common timbre displayed throughout the Wizard101 tracks of Marleybone. The woodwinds join in, fluttering between their notes, rocking back and forth to add to the layers of orchestral texture.
At time stamp 01:09, there is a modal interchange that adds brightness, taking us out of our current calming minor key, adding excitement, and resolves into a mysterious minor section, changing the mood.
The melody becomes more stately as before, reminding us of the beginning of this track. The rhythm begins to syncopate with the tempo, defining the pulse in a way unique to the other tracks. The melody from before plays again, but now in an upbeat tone and Major key. It too syncopates along the rhythm, adding odd accents on off-beats.
We feel the tension the moment the strings glissando downward. The mystery beckons us forward with the ostinato in the harp. The flute dances eerily like a fiend in the shadows. This is a unique theme, as it is the only one of the original Marleybone themes that aren’t a waltz. We hear this melody pass to the cellos as it develops the material, ornamenting it with the violin glissandos. This continues until the strings and flute enter counterpoint with each other.
At 00:33 seconds, the beat pulses in the background as the theme is placed on a violin, changing the mood. We are driven forward until the climax point at 0:40 seconds, bringing back our familiar melody from the previous tracks.
The chimes join in, adding continuity to the dynamic timbre from the other tracks.
The mood drastically changes again, 00:52 seconds in, changing the pulse from quarter notes to eighth notes. This causes the tone to be upbeat, although its use in a minor chord causes this bittersweet emotion, where it’s dark and joyous at the same time.
The march continues onward, layering the woodwinds on top with the main melody. We next mix up this emotion as the orchestration spirals deep through the ensemble, leading us into an unstable development section where the meter changes back into a waltz feeling at time stamp 1:11. There is heavy counterpoint between the strings and woodwinds; each playing their melody the moment they have the chance.
We calm down as the cello takes over the melody, slowing down into true majesty. The woodwinds add in, adding a high-pitched color before we settle into the horns. We are taken back to the main melody in the same Mary Poppins style from the “Main Theme” track. The brass come in heavy, preparing for a final close, leaving with a big final hit, representing our close on the Marleybone story.
This piece alone gives Marleybone such great depth. In Wizard101, we are only exposed to the aristocratic life, where people’s greatest worry is the Policeman’s ball, whereas, in Pirate101, we get to see Marleybone as a whole society. From Marleybone’s navy to the orphans that run the streets, our wizard’s head is up on the rooftops.
So much lies beneath the rooftops of this world that this piece begins to scratches the surface of. It isn’t as posh nor elegant as the others, but the syncopated percussion and the deep and swift bassoon gives us character and the feeling of tension. There is danger out there and making it out alive is a part of life.
We are met with this repetitive figure as the main melody of this piece. The overall essence of this piece is unique in its own right. Unlike the previous tracks, it does not feel orchestral, and it does not organically flow. The repetition is dark and soothing in a dark way. If you were to play this sheet music, you would find it sounds out-of-tune. This entire piece did not fit to a single key of the twelve. This is an absolutely unique feature of this piece, considering most synthetic compositions are in-tune.
To be human is to feel. We feel grief, failure, and remorse, but also joy and melancholy. There is no more specific way to feel emotion than through music. Words can often be vague, but music is something we all feel, even when we can’t describe it.
“The Isle of The Dogs“
Second to the Aquila Journey and Cool Ranch Santo Pollo themes, this track is within my top 3 favorite tracks across both games. We begin with a timpani strike, followed by a silent ostinato in the upper strings, setting the tempo and meter of what’s to come. Arpeggios from the flute, harp, and cello ornament to the texture, giving us a taste of the layers the piece offers. The oboe hints at the main melody before the flute and harp continue. The oboe plays again, leading us to a new section 00:16 seconds in.
The chords uniquely progress in a modal tonality until a climax 00:40 seconds in. In a waltz style, the tambourine strikes on beat two and three, reflecting the original tracks.
The bassoon takes the main melody, giving a romanticized European texture we can associate with Tchaikovsky’s Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy or works by Danny Elfman, such as The Nightmare Before Christmas. The lower reed’s focus perfectly associates with the dark and magical mood Marleybone so excellently presents.
At time stamp 1:06, we introduce new musical content. The three beats we were comfortable with now divides into three again, clearly dividing our waltz into 9/8. We can still hear the lower instruments pulsing away in the bass line of our waltz, keeping time.
The lower voices take over the melody, giving our arpeggios of awe and wonder to darkness. We climax by the time stamp 1:39. We hear the same melody as before, but now in the choir and woodwinds. This is the most magical point of the piece, as we recapitulate the various goings-on. The woodwinds flutter the 9/8 arpeggios above the main melody as the lower voice sustain chords, thickening the texture. We diminuendo until the piece begins again.
Thank you, Starlights, for venturing through my tour of The Royal Marleybone Philharmonic Orchestra. Have a wonderful night.
Please note: I transcribed the music from the original/classic mode music scrolls. Not all of my transcriptions are 100% accurate, but they are close and the rhythm is properly notated.