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  • [Intro]

  • [Remix of The Legend of Zelda's overworld theme plays]

  • Everybody knows the overworld theme from the original Legend of Zelda.

  • It's iconic and it perfectly captures the sense of epic adventure you get from exploring Hyrule.

  • As the series progresses, each new entry maintains the same core gameplay elements...

  • while contrasting them with different styles, settings and stories.

  • In this video, I want to show you how the overworld theme of each game does the exact same thing

  • and what the differences between them say about their game.

  • First, let's talk about the original overworld theme.

  • This theme is constructed using just a handful of motifs so let's quickly look at what those are.

  • First, we have the I-♭VII-♭VI-V [1 - flat 7 - flat 6 - 5] chord progression.

  • This song is built around this descending chord progression and it's established clearly in the first four bars of the piece.

  • What's interesting about it is that it's in a major key (B♭),

  • but borrows theVII andVI chords (A♭ and G♭) from the parallel minor key of B♭ minor.

  • This is called "mode mixture" and is a common technique found in music,

  • but this specific kind of mode mixturewhere you borrow major chords from the minor keyis used primarily in adventure, fantasy or superhero music.

  • Secondly, the rhythmic dissonance between the triplet and straight sixteenth note rhythms.

  • These rhythms don't line up in a satisfying way and yet the theme constantly throws them on top of each other, which creates a really distinct flavor.

  • Lastly, we have the three melodic motifs:

  • the opening leap down of a fourth,

  • [The circled notes are played]

  • the scalar run up of a fifth,

  • [The circled notes are played]

  • and the bridge's 1 to ♭3 - 2 - 7 melody.

  • [The notes shown are played]

  • The whole melody of the tune is based on these three motifs (mostly the second one),

  • and this gives it a cohesiveness that makes it so compelling and memorable.

  • So, now that we're aware of these, let's look at how the overworld themes of the other console Zelda games compare.

  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is kind of a bad theme to start off with because, like the game itself,

  • the overworld theme probably shares the least in common with its fellow entries.

  • but for chronological sake, here we go!

  • The intro to the theme is the same as in the first game,

  • except for the fact that it's in the key of F instead of B♭.

  • After this four-bar intro, however,

  • the game totally subverts your expectations and goes somewhere completely different

  • which is a pretty apt metaphor for the game itself.

  • Some characteristics are kept: the marching triplet rhythms, the counter melody...

  • pretty much just those things.

  • The whole theme is a lot brighter than the original.

  • Where the original borrowed more and more from the key's parallel minor scale as the piece went on,

  • this song stays pretty bright and chipper all the way through.

  • It moves to the G minor chord for the latter half, but there aren't any out of key notes to really strengthen this resolution so it doesn't feel that dark.

  • It does feature the first theme's brand of rhythmic dissonance in this one amazing arpeggiated riff that I just can't get enough of.

  • [The notes on screen are played]

  • Overall, I'd say this theme perfectly encapsulates just how much of a black sheep in the series this game is.

  • Not only is it very different from the others,

  • but no one really knows this theme that well because no one really plays this game anymore.

  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past's overworld theme takes the original theme everyone knows and loves

  • and updates it with MIDI brass and string sounds replacing the old square and triangle waves to breath some new life and character into the piece.

  • For the game that really defined the basic formula the series has held onto for last 25 years,

  • it seems appropriate for the overworld theme to rearrange this classic theme,

  • making full use of the Super Nintendo's hardware and bringing it up to a modern standard.

  • The existence of the Dark World in the game, of course, facilitates the existence of the Dark World theme.

  • Besides the obvious compositional choice to write this theme in a minor key (to reflect the Light World theme's major key),

  • this piece uses the original in a couple cool ways.

  • One of the main motifs is a leap down from 5 to 1 where the original featured an iconic leap down from 1 to 5.

  • Where the main theme takes a major key and immediately adds notes from the minor key to add some flavor,

  • the Dark World theme starts in a minor key and borrows from the parallel major key to keep it from getting too dark.

  • The chord progression features a walk-up fromVI-♭VII-I,

  • whereas the original had the reversal: a walk-down from I-♭VII-♭VI.

  • If you haven't already, I'd definitely check out the soundtrack for A Link Between Worlds for an excellent orchestration of these two themes.

  • You can see just how good instrument samples have gotten since 1991.

  • [Dark World theme fades out]

  • [The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's Hyrule Field theme starts playing, with the Sun's Song introduction]

  • Now here's a really big one: the Ocarina of Time Hyrule Field theme.

  • This game also featured a new field theme,

  • but, unlike Zelda II, it borrowed heavily from the original theme, both harmonically and melodically, as well as just in general tone.

  • Just like how the game added many ideas that have become must-have staples of the series,

  • the Hyrule Field theme added a bunch of ideas to the original music that have been used plenty in the series' subsequent games.

  • First thing you'll notice when listening to this theme is the morning intro that has been used in basically every console Zelda since this game

  • to represent the sun rising and the start of a new day.

  • [The morning intro (AKA the "Sun's Song") plays]

  • It starts off with a synth flute playing a quick sun song before we hear the strings and a horn trading statements of a completely new melodic motif

  • over a descending chord progression.

  • Well, I say completely new, but the original theme's leap down of a fourth has been preserved, just in a totally new way.

  • The descending harmony calls back to the original theme's intro without totally succumbing to it.

  • Instead of a G-F-E♭-D progression,

  • we get a slow G-F-E minor-E♭ major7(♯5)-Dsus[4]-D7

  • That extra VI chord, as well as the augmentedVI and the sustain on the V chord,

  • immediately make this much less musically straightforward and a little more emotional.

  • There's more nuance here than we've seen in past Zelda music.

  • [Hyrule Field theme plays]

  • Once the melody starts you'll notice that descending harmony from the original theme has been shortened to a punchy I-♭VII vamp.

  • Loping off the last two chords of that iconic progression keeps the adventurous spirit while making it more quick and light-hearted.

  • We keep the sense of adventure,

  • but lose a little bit of the drama present in the first theme in exchange for a more energetic and upbeat feel.

  • We do hear the whole chord progression at certain points in the Hyrule Field theme, usually when we're moving to a new section,

  • and this strengthens even more solidly the bond between this theme and the original.

  • We hear this bond melodically as early as the first bar of the melody, which takes that opening 1 to 5 leitmotif and runs with it.

  • [Hyrule Field theme plays, shown here on screen]

  • The original theme used this leap effectively as a hook to draw us in,

  • but left it completely undeveloped over the theme's runtime.

  • Ocarina of Time's Hyrule Field theme takes this idea and develops it, showing us the full potential of a small motif,

  • much like the way Ocarina of Time shows the potential to bring Zelda into a 3D world

  • and give us a close rendition of the vision Shigeru Miyamoto had when constructing the original Legend of Zelda.

  • Something important that is easy to overlook from the splendor of our futuristic society is the sheer length of this overworld theme.

  • This game blew away audiences at the time with the size of its world alone.

  • Hyrule Field may not compare nowadays to Skyrim or Lordran or even the overworld of newer Zelda games, but for the time it was huge.

  • The music reflects this.

  • This is the first overworld theme in the series that isn't a simple AB form that endlessly repeats.

  • This theme has over 10 melodic sections taking us from adventurous to calm to scared and everywhere in between.

  • I think the plethora of new ideas the music brings as well, as the sheer size and scope,

  • reflects what Ocarina of Time did for the series itself.

  • [Ocarina of Time Hyrule Field theme fades out]

  • Majora's Mask's Termina Field theme parallels the tone of the game so perfectly it's kind of hilarious.

  • Starting out with the exact same intro as the Ocarina of Time field theme parallels the fact that

  • the two games were made with the exact same engine and assets.

  • The game uses the melody and harmony from the original Zelda theme because, well,

  • on the surface, Majora's Mask is just another Zelda game.

  • But the accompaniment is surprisingly dissonant, featuring these upbeat stabs of semi-tonal clusters that just kind of sound gross but in a perfect way.

  • The first bar the melody even has a B♮ sounding right over a G A B♭ cluster in the accompaniment.

  • So a typical Zelda melody with surprisingly dark undertones, eh?

  • Seems pretty Majora's Mask to me.

  • The theme, much like the game itself,

  • introduces this creeping dark feeling to our otherwise bright and cheery world during the repetition.

  • Towards the end of the A section, we linger on this dominant II7 chord as it morphs into a II7(♭9)...

  • [Termina Field theme plays, with the circled parts being played in the music]

  • ...then to a III diminished chord...

  • ...then to a IV diminshed chord...

  • ...before bringing us back to the beginning.

  • Such a weird, dissonant, and unsatisfying ending that pulls us out of the melody halfway through

  • and sends us back to the beginning is a perfect parallel to the Groundhog Day mechanic found in the game.

  • Now for my personal favorite game in the series: Wind Waker.

  • The ocean theme for Wind Waker is not just a gorgeous piece of music,

  • but it continues the Zelda trend of perfectly capturing the tone of the adventure at hand.

  • The cello's big, open Dsus2 arpeggio feels like the sea stretching in front of you

  • and the lush string chords shifting over top feel like the variety of Islands you come across on your journey.

  • Despite the departure from the typical Zelda style, both musically and visually in the game,

  • Wind Waker retains enough core elements of the franchise to make sure it still feels and sounds like a Zelda game.

  • The melody functions in a much similar way to the original, outlining chords as big strong melodic statements that evoke that heroic mood,

  • but the statements are much more spread out than in previous entries.

  • Looking at the music, there's, like, one beat of melody every two bars,

  • with the space filled in by the rhythmic accompaniment

  • and later a call-and-response-type counter melody.

  • This contributes to how wide open the music feels, which in turn contributes to how vast the ocean feels in the game.

  • We also see that mode mixture that Zelda music is known for, but a slightly different way.

  • Instead of descending through the minor mode until we hit a big strong V,

  • the intro uses that borrowedVII andVI scale degrees to move seamlessly throught different chords over that pedaled bassline.

  • What we get is this progression:

  • [The ocean theme plays, as shown on screen]

  • The A minor-G-D [NB: actually D-A-A minor-G♭] features a smooth, chromatically descending line in the inner voices,

  • and the last two chords mirror the I-♭VII-♭VI of the original, albeit the tonic pedal gives it a distinctly different flavor.

  • Also, I don't think I've ever seen a ♭VII-I cadence over a I pedal before.

  • [Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" plays]

  • Uh, never mind. I... I guess I have.

  • Anyway, the melody itself is expertly crafted of just a small handful motifs that are taken from or closely based off motifs from the original melody.

  • Just look at those rising sixteenth note scale figures.

  • ["Those rising sixteenth note scale figures" play]

  • Most of the melody is diatonic and happens of our diatonic chord progression, which means no mode mixture.

  • This keeps things bright and sunny as we sail around New Hyrule,

  • but we do get to hear a ♭VI-♭VII-I cadence as a throwback to the original theme.

  • Overall, 10 out of 10, [echoing] would sail again.

  • [The ocean theme fades out]

  • [The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess' Hyrule Field theme plays]

  • Now, while Wind Waker is my favorite Zelda game of all time,

  • I can't deny that Twilight Princess has my favorite Zelda soundtrack.

  • They seem to wring every section of music possible out of a select few themes and motifs.

  • Just listen to the way that they rearranged the Hyrule Field melody for Midna's Lament, the Gerudo Desert theme, and the Snowpeak theme

  • Also, fun fact, if you take the first melodic statement and isolate just the strong beats, you get the main motif used in Midna's theme

  • [Midna's Theme plays]

  • This stuff just blows my mind.

  • Anyways, the main Hyrule theme not only pays homage to all the previous Zelda themes,

  • but the way that it sets itself apart says a lot about the ideology behind the game's development.

  • This is the first Hyrule Field theme to be written in a minor key,

  • and not only that, it's written in E minor, which is the relative minor to G major, the key that Ocarina of Time's Hyrule Field theme is written in.

  • This symbolizes Twilight Princess' desire to give the fans the darker, more serious version

  • of the Ocarina of Time Zelda world that they were craving, after the bright, cartoony visuals and tone of Wind Waker.

  • The main melodic theme is totally original and, as I mentioned before, runs through the very backbone of the game.

  • This is the identity of Twilight Princess.

  • Decorating this core, however, are several references to the past games' music.

  • The intro has a minor key version of that famous rising scale motif; the upbeat stabs of harmony are taken straight from Majora's Mask;

  • the use of the ♮6 scale degree in the minor key evokes the mood of the Dark World theme from A Link to the Past;

  • we have falling sixteenth-note arpeggios, just like Ocarina of Time; and the original theme's galloping rising, scalar figure comes back in a big way;

  • not to mention the same motif featured in the intro comes in right at the climax of the piece again in a minor key,

  • as if to triumphantly say "Yes, this is a Zelda game, and yes, this is a serious game."

  • Where Majora's Mask's dark tone crept in underneath the childish surface,

  • Twilight Princess proudly wears its mature nature on its sleeve or Hylian Shield, as it were.

  • [Twilight Princess' Hyrule Field theme fades out]

  • [The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword's Sky theme plays]

  • Finally, we come to our last console game in the series: Skyward Sword.

  • I'm gonna be honest here: there's basically nothing in common with this Sky theme and the original Zelda theme.

  • The music seems a lot more American classical to me, a lot more "cinematic," for lack of a better term.

  • And while I love me some movie music, the music in this game just didn't feel like Zelda to me.

  • Everyone probably knows by now that the melody to the "Ballad of the Goddess" theme is just "Zelda's Lullaby" backwards,

  • but the overworld theme didn't have anything in common I could see with the series' musical history.

  • With Breath of the Wild coming out so soon, I'm really excited to see how the music turns out.

  • From the little that we've heard it looks like they're taking it in a new direction.

  • A less American classic and a little more Studio Ghibli, maybe.

  • From the E3 demo, it seemed that the music was going to be a lot more sparse, which

  • honestly, with such a huge overworld, I can why they'd want to do that.

  • Hopefully the game's music has enough rooted in the series tradition to feel like Zelda music.

  • Or maybe they'll specifically avoid that traiditon to emphasize the new, big step forward for the series that this game represents.

  • Let me know what your favorite Zelda overworld theme is in the comments below, and thanks for watching.

  • [The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild E3 trailer theme plays]

  • [Remix of The Legend of Zelda's overworld theme plays]

[Intro]

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薩爾達傳說--歷代音樂分析與回顧(The Music of Zelda's Overworld: a Historical Retrospective and Analysis)

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    Daniel Lung 發佈於 2021 年 05 月 06 日
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