Is Zelda music becoming too western?

  • Is Zelda music becoming too western? 11

    1. Ugh, yes. (1) 9%
    2. No, don't be stupid. (5) 45%
    3. Hmmm..... *ponders* (3) 27%
    4. Yes, and it's better. (0) 0%
    5. I want to feel like I'm voting but have no opinion. (2) 18%

    So, one of the things I loved about OoT and MM (my first Zelda games) was that the music was slightly odd. Brilliant, and so perfect for the mood and setting, but just a bit unusual. And that made it seem like a unique place with a strong identity. But, as the series progresses, the music gets more and more hollywood theme-y. Like the Skyward Sword theme - beautiful, BUT... it isn't quite Zelda, know what I mean? It sounds too much like any other western game or movie - where's that quaint oddness that makes it what it is?

  • Hmmm...



    I never really stopped to think about it. It could just be our tastes change or it could be a change of music composer in some of the themes. It also could be the limited assets of the first games made the music be so unique and as limited storage for the music files became less of a concern, they could add the whistles and bells they wanted.


    I like the ballad of the Goddesses. I never really stopped to think just how much it sounds like other music with its up and downs but considering that they arranged that piece from Zelda's Lullaby's inverted notes, I found it like a brilliant way to represent old and new.


    Maybe more details and comparisons might help us out. My ear is not as trained and frankly I probably lack more knowledge on what makes western and easter music style.


    this thread however, reminds me of Aonuma's quote about Zelda getting a surprise that could be like changing from eastern to Western dish, so you might really be onto something here. maybe the past games have been some sort of transition to western elements, music included.

  • No, I think Zelda has always been a little westernised. Since the idea of a young hero with a sword (knight style) going after the big bad monster and saving the princess is pretty western. Some people think Twilight Princess has too much 'anime' in it. I don't really give a toss to be honest, I like Twilight Princess. People are so critical of things now, everyone is a game designer without a qualification.


    It's always had a western feel to it, that's why it's done so well in the western market. If it was Final Fantasy like, then it'd be way too eastern for some people's tastes and they wouldn't be interested in Zelda. It has still some eastern stuff in the animations and such, but the games are still phenomenal.


    I voted "No" but I don't think it's stupid to think either way.


  • I like the ballad of the Goddesses. I never really stopped to think just how much it sounds like other music with its up and downs but considering that they arranged that piece from Zelda's Lullaby's inverted notes, I found it like a brilliant way to represent old and new.


    I had no idea. that's actually awesome.


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    Maybe more details and comparisons might help us out. My ear is not as trained and frankly I probably lack more knowledge on what makes western and easter music style.


    So this is a little tricky because I don't actually have much knowledge of Eastern music, I guess I just meant odd music. This might take a bit of waffling, so I'll stick it in a spoiler.



    I gotta have food, I might come back to this :/

  • No, I think Zelda has always been a little westernised. Since the idea of a young hero with a sword (knight style) going after the big bad monster and saving the princess is pretty western. Some people think Twilight Princess has too much 'anime' in it. I don't really give a toss to be honest, I like Twilight Princess. People are so critical of things now, everyone is a game designer without a qualification.


    It's always had a western feel to it, that's why it's done so well in the western market. If it was Final Fantasy like, then it'd be way too eastern for some people's tastes and they wouldn't be interested in Zelda. It has still some eastern stuff in the animations and such, but the games are still phenomenal.


    I voted "No" but I don't think it's stupid to think either way.


    I take your point, but I think "Western" is the wrong way to think about this. The Zelda series has always been a love letter to Western fantasy tropes. From its very inception, the series has been as European as a group of Japanese people can manage to make it. =P


    All very true. As far as the change in music style goes (if indeed there is one and it's not in my head), it seems to be a result of what Kaynil said about limited console memory in the past and maybe because as any composer or musical enterprise ages it tends to become more generic.


    I must admit, I quite liked the epic LOTR-y feel of TP, and the Ballad IS beautiful.
    Ok then, putting it aside for a moment, can I ask a new question - would you like to hear future Zelda music becoming a little more exotic, or staying the way it is?

  • would you like to hear future Zelda music becoming a little more exotic, or staying the way it is?


    I don't mind variety on the music. I think part of the charm in Zelda tracks is that some games they can really change. Think Gerudo Valley then switch to the Forest Temple music.
    I don't care how exotic it is, so long it fits well the location, situation and whatever it is trying to convey. I think being flashy just because could backfire but I can appreciate the need to make the music stand on its own instead of just being something that sounds like the base formula for adventure-game music Track #22.

  • Haven't really noticed anything like this. Barring maybe the obvious ones:




    But really, as people have said, most of the series has a 'western' vibe to it. You've got the standard sword and shield wielding hero fighting through a kingdom with a medieval european aesthetic and monsters from typical fantasy stories. Okay, it's less traditional in that sense than Castlevania, but come on, Zelda 1 up to Link to the Past have that feel down to a tee. Doesn't this bring to mind something akin to Lord of the Rings?





    Heck, in the older games, they even had references to Christianity with the 'Book of Magic' and the cross on Link's shield. So that sort of music fit the feel of the games perfectly.


    Either way, I'd say it's more likely the opposite. The games started with a very western feel, and have become a bit less so in recent generations, with a more mixed soundtrack feel in the likes of Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, etc.

  • Quote


    Either way, I'd say it's more likely the opposite. The games started with a very western feel, and have become a bit less so in recent generations, with a more mixed soundtrack feel in the likes of Wind Waker


    That decision to make the Wind Waker's title theme Celtic inspired was genius. I love that theme.

  • Must've switched off notifications for this thread somehow.


    All very good points. I guess I'm looking at it from the narrow viewpoint of someone who's first Zelda games where OoT and MM. It would seem that only the N64 games had that exotic feel, and it's something nostalgic that belongs to that generation, but nothing more.
    @Sardonic Pickle I think WW had some of the best music of the whole series. Loved every second of it.

  • So, one of the things I loved about OoT and MM (my first Zelda games) was that the music was slightly odd. Brilliant, and so perfect for the mood and setting, but just a bit unusual. And that made it seem like a unique place with a strong identity. But, as the series progresses, the music gets more and more hollywood theme-y. Like the Skyward Sword theme - beautiful, BUT... it isn't quite Zelda, know what I mean? It sounds too much like any other western game or movie - where's that quaint oddness that makes it what it is?


    Not quite sure what you mean by this one. Orchestrations and greater music variation has nothing to do with western culture. Majora's Mask and OoT's music sounded the way it did because the limited hardware of the N64 only had so much space. And they allocated that space beautifully. The games weren't much to look at, but the strange bit-tunes had an eerie atmosphere that complimented it. Honestly, playing the remakes with the same music isn't the same. Back then, it worked.
    But... Zelda never moved on. As a matter of fact, the rest of the world, Japan included, moved on. But no, not Zelda. But there is no excuse for Twilight Princess and Windwaker not to have at least SOME orchestrated tracks or real insruments. Which is infuriating because the songs are so delightfully composed.
    The sound effects don't hold up much better... But that really only matters in the case of TP. Zelda is Nintendo's huge money maker, right next to mario. First party. There should be no expense spared. And honestly, the sound design on these last few games feels lazy to me. Skyward Sword notwithstanding. (The last shot before the credits should have orchestrated music playing, and unless a bunch of guys were sitting on a stage with their computers... I'm not impressed.)


    Phew... Sorry. That's been welling up for a while now.

  • So, one of the things I loved about OoT and MM (my first Zelda games) was that the music was slightly odd. Brilliant, and so perfect for the mood and setting, but just a bit unusual. And that made it seem like a unique place with a strong identity. But, as the series progresses, the music gets more and more hollywood theme-y. Like the Skyward Sword theme - beautiful, BUT... it isn't quite Zelda, know what I mean? It sounds too much like any other western game or movie - where's that quaint oddness that makes it what it is?


    I understand what you mean by the quaintness of the music. Often times in in Oot and Majora's Mask there was this eerie, almost uneasy feeling I got playing the game. But a lot of that comes down to system limitations. The N64 could only handle so much. The system's storage was pretty low, but they allocated the space they were given brilliantly. And while people complain about the graphics today, the uncanny weirdness of the chiptunes compliment them fine. For example, I don't get the same feeling playing the remakes with that same music as I do in it's original state.
    But since then, every country (including Japan) has long since moved on. And there is no excuse for a first party developer to treat their golden Cucoo with such disrespect. Almost every piece of music (while beautifully composed) is still moreorless thrown together on a computer. Those songs deserved to be orchestrated, and there's no reason (at least that I can think of) not to use real instruments.
    This song plays in the overworld in a game that came out about the same time as Windwaker with a much smaller team of developers and about a quarter of the budget.


    And I don't understand why Nintendo gets away with it. Because it's easier to loop in case the player never presses A to continue the dialogue? ...sigh... But no, the music has nothing to do with western culture rubbing off on the series. It's more likely that the series just got stagnent, and possibly a little lazy in the execution of the sound department. With that said, I would love to hear them raise the bar, use some real instruments, but keep the integrity.