Posted on November 04 2018 by Simon Rayner
As Zelda grows and changes, aspects that seemed crucial slowly slip away, shift or change. Magic for example was once a big deal, but one aspect that seemed quintessentially Zelda was that of mystic melodies played on hallowed instruments. An ocarina, a conductor’s baton, even pan pipes and a few harps, divine musical instruments were once the bread and butter of a Zelda title. Players even went so far as to collect eight different kinds to wake up the Windfish in Link’s Awakening.
These instruments played songs that could bend time, alter reality, or warp Link to a specific destination. Link’s last true instrument to date was a baton for the winds in The Wind Waker — Skyward Sword’s harp could be strummed, but no song could be freely played, which I always thought was a missed opportunity. Key characters like the Skull Kids, as well as every mask transformation in Majora’s Mask, held some form of instrument, be it flutes, drums or even a hulking set of Deku Pipes. Makar and Medli used theirs to fully unlock the power of the Master Sword in The Wind Waker — such was their importance. There was once some kind of deep thematic pattern within Zelda, linking the epic and renown songs of the series to the inclusion of these instruments.
But what do you think? Are instruments really that crucial to Zelda? Do you miss having songs to discover and use? What instrument would you like to see appear in a new title? Let us know in the comments below!