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Hylian Highlights: Celebrating The Legend of Zelda | Memorable Music

Hylian Highlights Memorable Music Featured

You know your series has winning compositions when you can rearrange, remix, reorchestrate, and re-release themes composed 30 years ago, and still make them sound fresh and exciting. We don’t need to introduce anyone to the main theme song of Zelda, but from the NES titles to Breath of the Wild, there’s plenty of other notable musical stylings worth discussing.

Ballad of the Goddess (Skyward Sword)

By Stephanie Sybydlo

Skyward Sword was released a whole 6 years after the last major Zelda console release, but it didn’t take long for folks with a keen ear for Zelda music (or dumb luck and audio editing software) to realize that this installment of the game gave a second life to one of the series’ most recognizable songs. Indeed, Skyward Sword‘s “Ballad of the Goddess” takes the classic tune for the series’ eponymous princess and reverses it. The Legend of Zelda‘s sixteenth mainline entry bases a large portion of its premise on being the earliest tale in its complicated chronology. How fitting that an origin story would offer a unique spin on the legendary princess’ theme, and who would have guessed it would sound equally beautiful (heroic even) when played in reverse?

Gerudo Valley (Ocarina of Time)

By Patrick Gann

Since the series’ inception, Koji Kondo has written nearly every Zelda soundtrack, and there is no question or doubt that he was operating with certain sounds and templates in mind with each game. The number of templates, however, seemed to explode on the N64 instant-classic Ocarina of Time. One particularly unique song is “Gerudo Valley.” To date, it stands as one of the most memorable pieces of BGM for that game, for the N64 as a console, and perhaps for the entire Zelda franchise. The first time you hear it, it totally takes you by surprise. Spanish guitar? Rhythmic clapping? Where am I, what is this, and what have you done with Koji Kondo? No: in fact, Kondo wrote the piece himself, further demonstrating his prowess as a versatile composer.

Song of Healing (Majora’s Mask)

By Stephanie Sybydlo

Video game music often has to serve many settings and situations; the “Song of Healing” is not only a calming and mysterious melody, but often fits into strange situations. It’s often played around a character’s death. In addition, this beautiful and haunting piece, as with a number of N64-era Zelda tracks, was limited in complexity so it would be playable on the Ocarina‘s limited 5-note input.

Breath of the Wild – Silence and Ambiance

By Alana Hagues

There’s something to be said about a game which uses silence to its advantage. Usually, the lack of sound fits a horror game, or a scene where the main character is trapped, alone and frightened. Breath of the Wild‘s soundtrack is full to the brim with gorgeous soundscapes and beautiful songs, but what really blows me away is that this huge game fills much of its world with long silences. Every piece of music in this game plays with silence and soft music wonderfully — there are moments where Link is climbing mountains while a gentle piano will fade in, and it’s truly breathtaking to bask in the surroundings with minimal background noise. BotW‘s version of Hyrule is so expansive that these quiet interludes — whether you’re stuck atop a mountain or walking through a blizzard — make you appreciate the world all the more for it. These moments make you realise just how alone you are, and with the serene music, it’s just what you want after a tough battle with a Lynel. Breath of the Wild‘s soundtrack is a stunning tribute to the entire series and an exercise in atmosphere and silence.

Zora’s Domain (Series)

By Stephanie Sybydlo

There is no way you can hear this song and not feel like you’re in some sort of beach resort. The Zelda series has made “Zora’s Domain” an incredibly pleasant theme that matches the crystal clear waters you’re splashing in, or the giant waterfall you’re about to dive off.

Palace Theme (Zelda II: The Adventure of Link)

By Patrick Gann

Though you may know the name Koji Kondo, you probably don’t know the name Akito Nakatsuka. His contributions to Nintendo were few and all around the same period of time (Excitebike, Ice Climber, Clu Clu Land). There is no doubt, however, that his work on Zelda II will be remembered for generations to come. One of his most memorable pieces for that game is the Temple music, which has been reused time and again by Nintendo, most notably in the Smash Bros. franchise. And it’s a good thing that music was so catchy, considering sometimes it was the only thing keeping us sane while digging through Zelda II‘s temples, with their complex passages and forced back-tracking!

Stephanie Sybydlo

Stephanie Sybydlo

Stephanie joined RPGFan late 2016. Feeling under-equipped to be a full-fledged writer, she opted for short informative blurbs, picking out pretty pictures, and chatting with our community via Social Media. Tracking likes during the day and drawing by night; she works hard on the side as a professional artist (definitely go see!).