Flute Boy’s Meadow – The Dark World

JordanNovember 12th, 2012 by Jordan

Hello Zelda Dungeoners, and welcome to another Flute Boy’s Meadow!

I have been talking with my fellow Music Feature writer Alexander, and we have decided to shake things up with our weekly features. After writing last week’s tribute to Kōji Kondō I realized just how much I enjoy the original game scores from the series rather than just fan covers. So, I have decided to change the focus of Flute Boy’s Meadow; from now on this feature will bring the spotlight to the original compositions from the series, exactly the way we always remember them. Alexander will still be focusing on the talents of our fellow Zelda fans every Wednesday with his Windmill Hut feature, so be sure to check in with him for your weekly dose of fan-covers.

From now on my goal is to look at what makes each piece from the games special, how some of them have changed over the years, and how well they fit their respective in-game places. Jump on in to get started!

For the first week of our new focus, I have opted for one of the most loved and well-known pieces from the classic Zelda games: The Dark World theme from A Link to the Past. Before I go any further let’s have a listen.

Track: The Dark World
Game: A Link to the Past (SNES)
Purpose: Overworld
Composer: Koji Kondo

Anyone who has played A Link to the Past knows this tune. It is classic 16-bit, but nonetheless the sounds being emulated are pretty easy to spell. The song begins with a rapid march theme struck upon snare drums and outlined by brass instruments, leading into mournful strings that spell out the theme’s sadder tunes. All of this is outlined and put into play within the first twenty seconds.

The purpose of “The Dark World” is to form a background overworld theme while Link makes his way through the corrupted Sacred Realm. For such a purpose, the song is perfect. The previously mentioned tones practically tell the story of where you are: you have stumbled into this dangerous world, and without even having to look at the dark and twisted scenery you know that things are not right. Gone are the familiar, soaring marches of Hyrule’s Overworld Theme. Now you are assaulted by rapid, lower tones that put you on edge.

Then the strings kick in. Moving up and down in a moving theme, the melody of this song brings to mind what has happened. This was once the Sacred Realm, a beautiful place, but it is now twisted and dark. Things are not all right. Now, moved by the still-pulsing march theme, you know it is your duty to save this world.

Few video game songs have the power of the Dark World theme. To be able to express urgency, duty, fear, unfamiliarity, loss, and more all in two minutes of 16-bit simulated music is an admirable feat few are capable of. This ranks among my favorite video game music of all time, and I hope that I was able to do this song justice today.

So, thus concludes this week’s Flute Boy’s Meadow, but I’d love to hear your thoughts! How do you like this music? What are some of your fondest memories of adventuring through A Link to the Past‘s Dark World? What are some other Zelda songs you would like to see picked apart here? Do you like the new direction of Flute Boy’s Meadow, or would you prefer I stick with presenting fan covers? Let us know in the comments!

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  • Captain Falcon

    This is one of my favorites but Nintendo hasn’t realized its full potential. It should have been rearranged for Skyward Sword with an orchestra. Oh well, hopefully they will remake it for Zelda WII U.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jordan.dipalma Jordan DiPalma

      I would have loved to see it in Skyward Sword, but I don’t really know where they’d fit it in… maybe if more time was spent in Demise’s realm.

    • Midnafan

      They could have done it, but it might not have fit SS’s overall theme. It is orchestrated on the anniversary CD. I would never have even heard this song before if it wasn’t. and to be honest, this and the CD sound virtually the same. goes to show Nintendo’s had it right right from the start :)

      • Captain Falcon

        Yeah, perhaps it wouldn’t fit but I won’t forgive Nintendo for not doing more remixes/remakes of other Zelda songs for Skyward Sword. I mean, they did remake Zelda’s Lullaby, Fairy Fountain and the house theme but that’s not enough. They should have remade the more epic songs since they fit really well orchestrated. They remade the original Zelda theme, but why just in the credits? It would have been awesome to hear it in the actual gameplay.

        • Midnafan

          they didn’t just redo Zelda’s lullaby, they freakin’ played it backwards into an original song!!! as for the main theme. it was epic that way, playing it through the rest of the game would have made the credits anticlimactic :P

  • Midnafan

    It’s definintely a great song. But I’ve never even been to the Dark World, what little i did get of ALttP was difficult and confusing because of the immense overworld and me being spoiled by motion and touch screen controls. -_- I’m not much of a fan of the older games, so i can’t really name any other songs that go along with your “mission statement”. :/ I probably prefer you doing this over fan covers, cause fans tend to cover alot of the same stuff due to popularity. It seems that what i though was the Dark World Theme (because i have a very stupid friend who thinks he knows everything about games he’s never even played -_-) was actually Ganon’s Castle o_o I really like that one though :P

    • Wendy

      You know, I almost gave up on ALTTP at first too, because I found it so difficult and outdated, I too was used to new games with are easier. And Zelda wasn’t part of my childhood, so the old games aren’t nostalgic. But, I just used a walk through so I wouldn’t miss anything, and it really is a wonderful game and completing it felt extremely rewarding. I even bought a used GBA version just so I could play on my DS Lite. :)

      • Midnafan

        finally, someone who hasn’t been doing this since birth! i thought i was all alone… :'(

  • young fellow

    dude u stoned

    • http://www.facebook.com/jordan.dipalma Jordan DiPalma

      Thank you for that well-thought, meaningful comment. You really helped give me an idea of your feelings toward my writing. I appreciate your words, and hope that you continue to give such wonderful comments. [/sarcasm]

  • http://medlismessages.blogspot.com/ Heroine of Time

    I really love this song. It makes me want to play A Link to the Past. And I don’t even like A Link to the Past as much as other games in the series. XD I agree completely: it really captures the mood of the moment. Such an excellent song.

  • The Hylian Monolith

    …Y’know…I’d love this song if I didn’t hear it so much. Now I hate it because it’s so…I don’t know. I just feel like I’ve heard it a million times. I’m sorry, but this is the one Zelda song that really annoys me.

    And trust me, if I found out that my love for this song was being held by a demon, even if for no reason at all, I would draw the Master Sword from its pedestal and go get it back.

    • Ninty

      hehe I remember those Zelda Flipnote videos shown during Zelda’s 25th anniversary on the Nintendo Channel on the Wii. Almost every video had this song as their music. It got annoying after a while. It’s been a while since then though, so I can still enjoy this.

  • baileygirl99

    I like this theme.

  • Noswad/Dawson

    Nice piece, I love the mix of Fire Emblem that is put into this! :D

  • Marklar

    Sheiks theme

  • BlackRaven6695

    I like the new direction this series is taking. Can I suggest that you include all the official (that is, not fan-made) remixes of each song you cover. For example, including all of the official remixes of the Dark World in this post would mean also talking about Frozen Hyrule from Four Swords Adventures and The Dark World from Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

  • Terry

    A Link to the Past is one of my favourite Zelda games. This theme is one of my favourite of the Zelda games. I admire the theme because of the way it accentuates the evil part of the Dark World.

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