Flute Boy’s Meadow – Snowpeak

JordanDecember 24th, 2012 by Jordan

Merry Christmas my Zelda Dungeon friends, and welcome to this week’s Flute Boy’s Meadow!

Considering tomorrow is Christmas and most of the world’s weather finally realized it’s December (we saw our first flurry of the year on Friday! Halt the presses!) I thought it would be appropriate to focus on one of Zelda’s colder, more icy songs. For today’s feature I have chosen to look at “Snowpeak” from the soundtrack of Twilight Princess. This song is a very quiet and subdued remix of the game’s “Hyrule Field” theme.

If you’re ready to read more about this frosty tune, then grab some hot chocolate and jump on in!

Setting the basic mood for an icy theme is not terribly difficult. All you need are tinkling instruments and a quiet tune and you can consider yourself set. Examples of this can be seen in dozens of great video game soundtracks, such as that of Metroid Prime. One could say the Zelda series helped pioneer such a musical archetype with the “Ice Cavern” and “Snowhead” themes. Despite the mastery of icy tunes over the years, it has been rare for games to perfectly capture the simple peace of snow. Sure, you can put an icy cave that wants to kill you into music, but a mountain muted by a never-melting blanket of snow? Not so simple. The song just could not be too much or it would spoil the peacefulness of snowfall. The minds at Nintendo had to add a little something special to the “cold place” archetype they mastered long ago in order to make Snowpeak’s music work.

The track starts with a choir softly holding a single note. Thanks to the magic of synthesizers, this note is held for a full minute into the song and only changes a little bit as the theme’s primary melody comes in. That melody is nothing more than a few echoing notes plucked upon strings. This chilling, simple recreation of the “Hyrule Field” theme players are already accustomed to is simply beautiful. No extreme complexity here. Just the choir and the strings, nothing else is heard in this song. And that makes it perfect.

The reason for the bare-minimum approach of the tune can be easily seen in snow itself. Unlike the cadence of rain or the whistling of wind, snow is arguably nature’s most quiet phenomenon. When you stand outside as the snow falls around you everything seems to stop. All the noise is sucked from your world. Snow mutes noise, and that is reflected in the quiet and simple peace of the Snowpeak theme. If you don’t believe me, wait for the next snow in your area. Play this song and simply watch the snow coming down. Better yet, walk through the frozen woodlands while listening to it. The combination is so perfectly surreal, you will not regret it.

If I had to pick out a flaw in this song, I would say it is too tied to its source. Sure, it makes an amazing compliment to snow, but I don’t see too many people listening to this on an average day. Folks aren’t exactly lining up to make covers of this song like they do for Gerudo Valley and Dragon Roost Island. It is limited to what it is good for. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing… it just makes it that much better for where it does excel.

In short I would have to say “Snowpeak” is the definitive soundtrack for snow, let alone an environment covered in it. Twilight Princess may have had its low points but this was certainly not one of them. There are very few songs in video games that contribute to a snowy atmosphere as beautifully and perfectly as this one, though Metroid Prime‘s “Phendrana Drifts” also holds a special place for me. Seriously, if you have yet to listen to that track, you owe it to yourself to do so.

How do you like this song? Do you think it fits its environment as perfectly as I do, or do you feel there was more that could have been done? What are some of your other favorite “snow songs” in video games? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments and come back the same time next week for another Flute Boy’s Meadow!

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  • wafflegoat

    I’m obsessed with Snowpeak, its 1 of the best areas in ALL of the Zelda series, in my opinion.

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

      I agree, it’s certainly got an amazing atmosphere. Of course, it gets extra points for being a snow area, which I find beautiful anyway.

  • linkypete

    I’m still not there in TP, and I got TP almost 1 year ago. I also first heard about zelda almost exactly 1 year ago.

    • error

      It’s a cool dungeon, or I should say mansion.

  • Darkgreyfire

    I liked the idea of snowpeak. It pulled away from the basic Zelda dungeon, and dropped you into a side story. It really made itself stand out by using that narative. I think it’s a good direction Nintendo should throw in all Zelda games. To give you a break from the story, and bring some unique play into the game. I also loved the snow, and would like to see a game with seasons, to make it come into play more.

    Merry Christmas Eve everyone.

    • error

      Seasons would be cool for the next game. I want to see Link in a parka.

      • linkypete

        ORACLE OF SEASONS, ERROR! you are error.

        • error

          I’m also 13 and have never played a gameboy.

          • Linkfan99

            Umm… so? it’s in the name…. Oracle of “Seasons”.

          • linkypete

            yes.

      • Lupine Hero

        Accidentally liked it twice, but, oh well, it was really funny.

  • RubyDragonCat

    I never noticed it was a play on the hyrule field theme!

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

      Most overworld themes in Twilight Princess are a remix of Hyrule Field. This includes Midna’s Desperate Hour and Snowpeak, and vaguely Lake Hylia among others.

  • Victoria

    Here in Brazil is very hot…… shit.

  • skywardocarina1

    i always thought that snowpeak was extremely creepy because of that song, is that just me?

  • The Hylian Monolith

    Actually, I regard this song as one of the best in TP. I loved it from the start. As an artist who tends to cover more obscure tunes, I would gladly cover this with One Voice. Already planning it, I’m just waiting until I get back home, where we’ve had snow since October. Not Canada, AK.

  • Linkfan99

    I would have liked this dungeon, but I was VERY sick with the flu when I played it, and I did it just to pass the time. I think that kind of ruined it for me, especially when you get the “good soup” or whatever, and it says it has cheese and stuff in it, and that made me throw up. Because, you know, food in general isn’t good when you’re sick.

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