Zelda Skyward Sword Music

Skyward Sword was Zelda’s first leap into an orchestrated soundtrack, and I’m positive that many of us who have played the game by now have been impressed by its music. The sheer size of the score is impressive, with one rip listing 241 tracks, and among those there are many standouts. The game goes above and beyond using music to create wonderful background pieces. The music will subtly change to reflect changes in the environment, or it will highlight key dramatic moments or emotions. Considering that the game doesn’t use voice acting, the role of the music is very important. Skyward Sword stood up to this challenge and delivered.

Kotaku are putting together a series of articles highlighting the best video game music of 2011. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Skyward Sword has been featured by them. Their praise centers around the fact that the game’s use of music is similar to a concert and the fact that the use of a live orchestra adds a far more human feel:

“[Skyward Sword] is a Video Game as Concert Piece, a work that is as much about its ever-shifting, ever-more-complex musical themes as it is about its puzzles, gameworld, or story.”

Their top four tracks from the soundtrack are the Goddess’ Theme, Fi’s Theme, Romance Theme and Loftwing Theme. Which were your favorite pieces? Discuss them in the comments below.

Source: Kotaku
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  • Nathan

    I don't get it. Why is everybody so enthousiastic about this soundtrack? I personally cannot recall almost any melody from this game (except for scrapper's theme and the godess song). They just don't stick in my mind. While al the songs from previous zelda games come up in my mind very often..
    Am I really the only one with this opinion??

    • the_voice

      Well across all 15 previous games there are hundreds of tracks. Try comparing Skyward Sword's music to just ONE past game. How many songs from Twilight Princess really stick in your mind? For me there are maybe 4. I don't remember any of the dungeon themes. I don't remember the Castle Town theme. I can't even recall the Ordon Village theme at the moment.

      But to me the quality of a soundtrack isn't in how many of the themes were "memorable," it's in how the music matched the mood of what was happening in the game. In my opinion, Link's Awakening has one of the best soundtracks in the series, even though only a few songs really stick in my mind. I can't recall most of the dungeon music, but I remember feeling that it was great while I played the game.

      • Nathan

        In TP it started with the memorable opening theme, which was just the hyrule theme, but played slower and in a very sad mood.. Midna's theme is used everytime the story is about midna and later on the theme is adjusted to the twilight princess. (Remember the majestical variation which is played when breaking the twilight mirror in the end?) Also the twilight temple has the same instruments as midna's theme, which makes everything fit together.
        The gods of light's theme, the hyrule field theme, death mountain, the boss battle themes, lake hylia, the western theme at the hidden town, the wolf songs at the howling statues,.. a lot of theme are stuck in my mind.. But of course there also are some terrible songs like kakariko village :p

        And a lot of times during SS I was wondering if there really was a difference between the orchestrated music and the music in previous games. On the other hand I hear a big difference between the SS soundtrack and the 25th anniversary concert.. :s I also rarely hear a choir, which can make music much more emotional. Especially for a game like zelda without voice-acting. Why is the songs from the three gods not really sung? I really liked the fact that zelda really sings the hero song.. I don't even mind it being in an unexistant language..

    • BlackOwlDog

      You must have a TERRIBLE memory to forget songs you've been hearing for over 40 hours.

  • Not all tracks are very beautiful, but there are some that stand out. I agree with the article.

  • Not all tracks are memorable, but a great number of them keep getting stuck in my head. In that respect they're mostly catchy if anything.

  • GuildedBlood

    All I have to say is Koloktos/Moldarach's Theme, Fi's Theme, Earth Temple, Faron Woods.

    The orchestral pieces are awesome as well. Lady in the Sealed Grounds (Destiny), Demise Phase 2, Song of the Hero, and of course the Romance Theme.

    Sure there aren't as many toe-tappers as 8-bit LoZ's or OoT, however you guys are missing the point that this is a live orchestra, something Zelda has never seen before. This was especially disappointing and sorely missed in TP, which if I remember correctly, a lot of people were hating on for the fact that it was all midi tracks.

    So you guys got your wish right? Yep, and I would say Koji did a stunning job.

    • joe

      but koji composed just one track for skyward sword.. the intro track..

      • GuildedBlood

        He still supervised it…or was that just the 25th anniversary cd?

    • the_voice

      How can there not be as many toe-tappers as the first game? TLOZ had FOUR SONGS. Five I guess if you count the title screen music as a different song from the overworld music. And those two were the only real "toe-tappers." The dungeon music was good, but not brilliant, and it got old quickly. Death Mountain was awful IMO. The credits music would have been fantastic…in a Mario game.

      • GuildedBlood

        I said 8-bit LOZ's, so I was referring to Oracle of Seasons/Oracle of Ages, Link's Awakening, Legend of Zelda, and The Adventure of Link.

        8-bit games incorporate 8 bit tunes. 8 notes only that can played in any manner you like. Because the music was rather simple it was easily toe-tapping, especially Tal Tal Heights from Link's Awakening, Hyrule Temple from TAoL, Dungeon theme from The Legend of Zelda (as you stated), Outside The Ancient Tomb from Oracle of Ages, and Skull Pirates from Oracle of Seasons…

        • the_voice

          Ahhh cause you just said LOZ I thought you just meant the first game. My mistake! Agreed that the GB games had excellent music.

  • Ashmic

    I haven't played the game yet, but FI's theme, is so freakin amazing, it almost makes u cry

  • Juan

    The music is awesome. I loved a lot of tracks: Moldarach’s and Stone Tablet, specially.

  • Alimaer

    The final battle theme, the Lanayru Mining Facility theme (past) and the Moldarach/Koloktos songs are AWESOME, always in my head! 😀

  • bob

    i liked the ballad of the goddess that like the awesome

  • ITSASECRETOEVERYBODY

    I couldn't have told the difference if it was midi. Digitally faking orchestral music has evolved to a point where the differences are hard to tell if you're not listening closely. In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, I could just barely tell it was midi instead of a real orchestra. On an old CRT television, you probably can't tell the difference if you're using the onboard speakers, and the only people who use external speakers have HDTVs. Skyward is 480p, HD ranges from 720p to 1080p.

    Background music in video games serves the purposes of creating atmosphere and keeping you stimulated during the quiet parts of the game. You're usually going to be thinking about other things in the game than trying to figure out if the soundtrack is orchestrated. Does that mean they shouldn't try to make it sound good? Absolutely not! But unless you're playing a music game, it doesn't matter that much if the instruments are real or not, as long as they are expertly faked (i. e. Ocarina, Majora's Mask, StarFox64, FE:SD).

  • Paul

    how come all of the songs sound so good?

  • Link and Cuccos

    At first, I was wondering how memorable was the music in the game (except for the obvious Goddess theme which is ingrained in our heads). One of the things I wished they had done better was the harp – I was hoping to pluck strings or something, not just strum. Not to mention it wasn't used as much as I would've liked, so I ended up not being able to recall some of the harp songs. I can only remember the Hero's one and the Goddess one.

    But then I listen to the rest of the tracks on YouTube, and I realized I recognize more than I expected. Groose's theme is funny and memorable as well. I loved the main Goddess theme, Fi's theme, the final battle theme, Ghirahim's theme, romance theme, and the ending credits theme (which has my favorite ending credits of all time–epic orchestra). And the Silent Realm theme and infamous Guardians theme–everytime I hear the latter, my heart starts pounding! Man, the stress from doing those silent realms.

    The only music I couldn't really remember were two of the Harp songs. Other then that, the orchestrated music in the game is memorable, and I absolutely loved it. I'm listening to the songs on YouTube right now after having completed the game.

  • Chris

    Is a Hyrule theme available in this game, the traditional Zelda song?

    • eliot

      yes it is, in a medley.

  • A_LINK_IN_TIME

    The music in Skyward Sword moved me like in no other game.

  • sophia

    Ballad of the Goddess is Zelda's Lullaby in reverse, vice versa. Just look at the sheet music. I found it mind blowing LOL

  • Roonil_wazib

    Personally, I think they could have used the familiar themes more often. Sure, the pieces belonging to Kakariko Village or Zora's Domain wouldn't fit for obvious reasons. But what about Keapora Geabora's Theme for Ocarina of Time? Perhaps a variation of the Kokiri Theme from OoT of Faron Woods from Twilight Princess. Heck, they even didn't use the Temple of Time Theme, the Triforce Theme or the Creation of Hyrule Theme! That's a great loss since time, the Triforce and the Gods are such an integral parts of the storyline. Heck, they could have even used a subtle hint of the Hyrule Castle Theme for Geapora for crying out loud!

    • Nathan

      You're totally right. That's what makes the soundtrack in movies like Lord of the Rings so memorable. In those movies (more then 11hours of unique music) every main character, every town has his own theme and the composer manages to use the same (recognizable) themes over and over, but always in another mood. (with for example a climax when rohan and edoras join forces and both their themes gzt mixed together)

      This is something I really liked in previous zelda games: themes you remember are used in new ways that sound fresh, but still are very recognizable.. It makes me believe that they really tought about a background for the characters and races and that they don't just said: "Hey we still need another character in this place" "I know, let's put a goron over there" "Ok good idea!" "But we'll need another background theme for the encounter with this character.." "No problem, I've still got an awesome theme we couldn't use anywhere else in the game yet!"..

  • prada

    I love Zelda and all but a majority of the music was forgettable in SS, Koji Kondo get back to work

    • prada

      no never mind, I take that back… I was just listening & I like them a lot, they just arn't as catchy or suiting as MM and Oot

  • I absolutely loved the music for Skyward Sword. A lot of them are catchy, some of them are sad, and quite a few of them are epic. They've made me feel a broad range of emotions, which is exactly what music should do. It's really quite fantastic.

    • Name

      Exactly

  • Jonas

    I aswell cannot understand why everybody is so enthousiastic about this soundtrack. The soundtracks of past zelda games were waaay more memorable even though they were in midi,

  • Name

    They aren't all memorable but when you listen to them you get chills.

  • Peter Subramanian

    I really like the Romance Theme!! It stands alone very well as it’s own song. I hope that Nintendo releases a Skyward Sword soundtrack album, unlike with Twilight Princess… 🙁

  • KickItNinja

    I really liked Ghirahim’s Theme. I kept playing the battles over and over again in The Thunder Dragon’s minigame