Music has always played an integral role in the Zelda series. Since its very first installment, Link has stumbled upon magical instruments that were vital to his journeys across Hyrule, and that’s nothing to say of the series’ soundtracks. Beautiful and varied, few video game franchises can claim to have music that is as influential and iconic as the Legend of Zelda’s. With 30 years’ worth of music to reminisce on, the staff have gathered together to discuss some of their personal favorite tunes from Zelda’s history.
How do you pick your favorite piece of music from a series like Zelda? I mean, outside of Mario and Final Fantasy, has any other franchise had music as iconic and enduring? The franchise just has so many wonderful works, but for my money, Ocarina of Time still has some of the best that’s ever been composed. Right from the title screen, we’re introduced to a track that has such an epic, “calm before the storm” feel.
One of the tracks I’m most partial to is the Gerudo Valley remix from Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U. The essence of the original track is maintained, but there’s a bit of a Spanish music infusion, that’s just unlike anything else we’ve ever heard from the franchise. Catchy would be an understatement!
Favorite Zelda music? Well, I could select quite a few from The Wind Waker, but since I just wrote about that game, I’ll let other titles take the spotlight. Majora’s Mask in particular has some of the most haunting tracks ever heard in video games, not the least of which is the Song of Healing. My favorite rendition is the first one you hear, when Deku Link and Tatl stumble into Clock Town’s clock tower. The song itself is so chillingly beautiful that I still get shivers, but even listening to it on YouTube doesn’t fully do it justice. When accompanied by waterwheel churnings and the slow flood of sewage, it forges the perfect beginning for Link’s grimmest journey.
By the way, have I ever mentioned how much I love SNES music? A Link to the Past is no exception, and I’m always sucked into the warm embrace of nostalgia whenever I hear the Lost Woods theme. For a song with such a short loop, that’s quite the accomplishment!
One Zelda song above all others is my hands-down favorite, and it’s the title theme from The Wind Waker. Even though Skyward Sword boasted a fully orchestrated score, and even though Ocarina of Time’s is arguably the most iconic, The Wind Waker, to me, trumps it and nearly any other soundtrack in the series with its beautiful, Gaelic sound.
The title theme, though, is the perfect track of them all. It has a wonderful balance between the classic Zelda “sound” that we’re all so familiar with and the fusion of Gaelic qualities, which makes it a stirring piece of music. I’m especially fond of the 13-minute-long version from the Japanese soundtrack CD of the game; it’s a much richer take because it lasts so long.
I once read someone say that they’d played this piece of music on their wedding day, and that their family members all remarked what a “pretty Scottish song” it was. Fate willing, I’ll be rocking the same tune as I trek down the aisle, whether anyone knows what it is or not!
Man, it’s really quite difficult to pick the best Zelda song. I’ve been wracking my brain for hours. However, there are two pieces that have really stuck with me since I’ve played said games.
The first one that always stuck out to me is from The Wind Waker. That song is Grandma’s Theme. You’d hear it whenever you went to visit your grandma and man, does it really nail that feeling of home. My heart broke when Link’s grandma got sick and I wanted nothing more than to get that fairy and heal her the moment I saw her so ill. Also, that chicken soup she makes? Hands down the best item of the game. Well worth going back to Outset Island several times to get. Plus, you get to see Grandma!
The other song that always stuck with me is actually a very short ditty that always gets overlooked when people talk about the music from Ocarina of Time. It’s Sheik’s Theme. That little leitmotif that plays whenever Sheik appears. Something about that theme is very comforting and poignant. Maybe it’s also what Sheik says whenever the themes come up, going on about time and friendship and growth…it’s really thought provoking. The song always stuck with me for that reason.
I really don’t need to think long at all about my favorite Zelda song, as the same one comes to mind whenever I think of my favorites– the Dark World theme from A Link to the Past. It just has a timeless feel and is introduced at a part of the game where you’re basically finding out that you haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of this quest. I can’t quite say for sure why the Dark World theme is the best, but it just is. I love the new rendition of the theme for Lorule in A Link Between Worlds as well. The Symphony of the Goddesses had a huge build up to the tune when I went to the show, and it was incredible.
My other favorites are the therapeutic Zora’s Domain theme, Temple of Droplets, Twilight Princess Hyrule Field, Dragon Roost Island, and, of course, Malo Mart.
This was a very easy decision for me: hands down, my favorite piece of music from any Zelda title is the Stone Tower Temple theme from Majora’s Mask, both the normal and inverted versions. In fact, I may even like the inverted version better than the standard.
Ikana Canyon was my favorite part of Majora’s Mask and of any Zelda game, so it may only be natural that the theme of the temple from that region would be the most appealing piece of music for me. It’s eerie but beautiful, evoking the former grandeur of a place now haunted by the dead. It sounds very medieval, which plays into the fact that Ikana Canyon is all that remains of a kingdom long gone.
A beautiful piece of music that is quiet, haunting, but powerful. Of all of the Zelda music I know and love, songs have risen to the ranks of being in my top ten favorites, like Midna’s Lament (Twilight Princess) or the Pirate’s Fortress (Majora’s Mask) for example, but nothing has taken the number one spot that Stone Tower Temple still resides at (and such a fun temple, too!).
I can’t say I was the biggest fan of Skyward Sword, but one aspect of the game I unequivocally loved was its soundtrack. So many of its themes have lodged themselves into my memory, from the beautifully haunting Follow Fi to the game’s sprightly rendition of Faron Woods, but I think my favorite piece of music would have to be the one that accompanies the Lanayru Sand Sea.
Few video game themes so perfectly evoke their setting as the Sand Sea theme. Centuries before the game took place, the Sand Sea was a vibrant sea port, but it was soon engulfed by sand and became an inhospitable wasteland, with only a few remnants of its former glory peaking out from the choking, arid dunes that now blanket the port. You can feel the sense of dusty desolation that lingers over the Sand Sea in its sparse, melancholy theme, which is why it remains one of the most poignant moments in the entire game.
What are some of your favorite Zelda tunes? Share them with us in the comments!