Posted on December 11 2014 by Legacy Staff
Until the premiere of
Skyward Sword, The Legend of Zelda games consistently have featured a synthesized musical soundscape to accompany Link on his adventures. Music either synthesized or generated from computer-software programs represented to some a welcomed tradition, a sort of trademark of the game. To others it was old-fashioned and not in a good way. As far as dissenters were concerned, a game of such scope and epic proportions required comparable music, e.g. acoustic or electro-acoustic instruments. Notwithstanding events like the “Symphony of the Goddess” tour, if we want to hear the music of Zelda, then we have to download midi-audio files where we can find them (if you haven’t checked out the Legend of Zelda Music and Soundtracks from ZeldaUniverse.com, then I highly encourage you to set aside a few hours and become the figurative kid in a candy store).
Every so often—while traversing YouTube—I stumble upon an arrangement of a
Zelda theme by a creative fan. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Hyrule themes of the games like
Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. I particularly enjoy the latter’s “Hyrule Field at Night,” which, in my opinion, ranks up there with the “Forest Temple” theme from Ocarina of Time in its beauty and slightly unsettling mood. Although I am planning an editorial series on why the music of the Zelda series writ large is so effective and memorable, I wanted to share with you YouTube user DJ A-BOMB’s take on one of the most atmospheric pieces of Twilight Princess—a track that I believe is underrated, sadly.
I can only assume that at least some fans have have seen this clip before. Perhaps they’ll know more about it than I, and I welcome their thoughts in the comment section. Nonetheless, from what I have gathered, the arranger’s sister has provided the vocal melody, which immediately distinguishes the sound quality from that of the
Original “Hyrule Field by Night” Soundtrack. Also, the string and percussion accompaniment sounds “thicker” to me, as if there is more sound inundating the ear as compared to the original. These qualities could be good or bad, depending on one’s perspective. While I am not suggesting that one is definitively better than the other, I find this arrangement of “Hyrule Field at Night” to be among the most beautiful examples of music from the game.
DJ A-BOMB’s arrangement raises the question: which is preferable, the original or the revision? On the one hand, this revision answers some of the criticisms that have been leveled against pre-Skyward Sword games; it provides some of the authentic instrumentation that computer-software programs cannot duplicate exactly (like the vocal melody). On the other hand, the arrangement is not the original and therefore is less likely to have with it the associations of, say, galloping atop Epona at night with Gamecube or Wii controls in hand. Moreover, this example raises an even more difficult question to answer: can an arrangement or revision be “better” than the original?
Thankfully, that discussion is for another day when we call expend the time and several keystrokes in aesthetic argument. But, for now, I leave you with “Hyrule Field at Night.” Enjoy!