Skyward Swords music is not as Skyward as we had hoped

Home > Skyward Swords music is not as Skyward as we had hoped

When you listen to some tunes from the old Zelda games, you hear a distinct and loveable tune. You find yourself humming along to the songs later on, and then whistling them. Some of the most memorable parts of the game come from the music alone. The End Credits themes are always fantastic and memorable, and the over-world themes are always full of life, and buzzing with excitement. However, not all of this is true in Skyward Sword. The over-world theme from Skyward Sword sounded like it should have been some kind of opening to a Star Trek movie, or some other movie about space. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice tune, it's just not fit to be the grand over-world theme. Just take the Stalfos min-boss theme. It sounds like a waltz more than a boss theme. It clearly doesn't fit being a battle song. This was true with a lot of other songs as well, just not the fact that they sounded like waltzes.

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Remember a few E3's ago when we got the first trailer of the game, and it had a tune that was a bonus track on the Twilight Princess Soundtrack? Now that tune wasn't exactly something you could run around, or in this case fly around a field in, but then the next year we got another tune. The Ballad of the Goddess. No one said exactly where this tune would fit in with the game, but it was clear it would be important nonetheless. A lot of people could envision themselves flying along to that theme, because it was full of life and sound. It was a memorable tune, and it was certainly much better than the composition for the over-world.

I'm not saying that the whole soundtrack for Skyward Sword sucked, I'm just saying some of the themes could have been better. There were some really nice tunes in there, like the End Credits theme. That was fantastic. Also, Groose's theme is definitely a memorable one, and there are many others. Some more memorable or better than others. When you look at the soundtrack for Ocarina of Time, or Twilight Princess, even Minish Cap, all of the these have a distinct sound, and reflect the place you're in. I feel that in Skyward Sword, a lot of this reflection was lost. Take the cloud tops theme from Minish Cap. You can hear a really nice bass line, some really original chords, which makes it a great tune overall. Then, if you take theme from Inside The Sandship, it seems void of a lot of instruments. This same thing happened with a lot of other tunes too. If you take the skyloft theme, it's nice, slow, and relaxing, but it feels like a market theme. It doesn't have the excitement of what a theme for a city should be. You can take the Hyrule Town theme from Ocarina of Time, and it has this speed and excitement of being in a big city, whereas it does not have that feel in Skyward Sword.

I can understand that some challenges with this came from using an orchestra. It's difficult to create unique memorable pieces with an orchestra, because a lot of what you can do has already been done. If they had done it the traditional way, and used sound-fonts, and MIDI files to create the soundtrack, it might have been better and more original. For example, the final boss fight theme. If you haven't beaten the game yet, just skip to the next paragraph. Demise was a tough boss, and he meant business. The final boss theme for Super Mario Galaxy 2 was fantastic, so why wasn't this one as good?  Demise's theme did not do him justice, as it was done by the lower toned orchestral instruments to create the feeling of despair, but was also probably slow to create more despair, but it just didn't work.

In the next Zelda game, no one knows yet if they'll continue using a real orchestra, or just advanced sound-fonts. It certainly could be interesting, given the current rumours that are floating around as to what they would do. My guess is that, since this is speculated to be their largest project ever, they would go for the orchestra. I would also guess, that since there was a lot of negative feedback on Skyward Sword's soundtrack, that they might get more people involved in making it, and give Koji Kondo a larger role for the soundtrack. Maybe he didn't do too much on the Skyward Sword soundtrack, because he was currently working on the majority of the soundtrack for this new game? I guess we'll have to wait to find that out.

About the Author: Christopher Weil

The 2006 Time Magazine person of the year, born in Toronto, Canada, Christopher developed a passion for gaming at a young age. His favorite franchise has always been The Legend of Zelda, but he can also usually be found playing SimRacing games such as iRacing. He's in university studying mechanical engineering and looking to start his own 3D printing business.

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