Twilight Princess has numerous callbacks to Ocarina of Time: the presence of Epona, Hyrule Castle and the surrounding town, and hints of ocarina melodies hidden inside wolf howls. But to me, the most striking callback came when I traveled through North Faron Woods and found myself inside the Sacred Grove and the ruined Temple of Time. I didn’t fully realize what this area was until later in the game, but as soon as the ocarina joined in with the harp that had been playing in the background, I knew I’d found something special.
Medli’s Melodies is a series in which we choose our favorite songs from The Legend of Zelda franchise, or highlight a special piece of music from the perpetually creative fan community. Music has always such been such an integral component of Zelda games, and we’re here to celebrate that every week!
Music in video games is added for ambiance but is also capable of evoking emotion. For me, the Sacred Grove melody in Twilight Princess brings with it a feeling of extreme nostalgia for the first Zelda game that I became truly immersed in. I had played A Link To The Past and The Legend of Zelda as a child, but it wasn’t until Ocarina of Time and later console games that my appreciation for the series grew so deep that it became a part of who I was. Hearing the familiar strains of “Saria’s Song” blended with a soothing melody plucked on a harp created a familiar yet entirely unique track. It gave me a deeper appreciation for Twilight Princess not only for its story and gameplay, but also for the attention they put into its musical score.
It also seems that I’m not the only one who appreciates the music in the Sacred Grove for its unique composition and the nostalgia it brings. YouTube cover artist Samantha Ballard received a specific request to cover this song from one of her viewers. It isn‘t the first Legend of Zelda theme she’s covered, but in her description, she mentioned it had been a while since she’d done one and was excited to use both her harp and a recorder to compose the cover track. While a recorder calls to mind an image of children sitting around a classroom playing an off-key rendition of some lullaby, when put to proper use in this context it matches the ocarina tones in the original song perfectly.
In her cover, Ballard stays true to the original Twilight Princess score for the majority of the song, blending the subtle harp melody with dramatic recorder tones for the portion that replicates “Saria’s Song”. This combination makes for an enjoyable listen, but at roughly two minutes in, Ballard throws an additional treat for our ears: the title theme to Ocarina of Time. The addition of this melody flows so naturally it almost sounds as though it was a part of the Sacred Grove theme all along, which makes this cover stand out among the many you can find on the internet.
If you’re looking for some calming music and a bit of nostalgia, I’d highly suggest checking out this cover, as well as the other work available on her channel, which includes not only Zelda themes but remixes from other games, movies, and more.