Apossium's Game Music Picks #2: The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past ArrangementssteemCreated with Sketch.

in music •  3 years ago 

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is definitely my favorite Zelda game and one of my all time favorite games. I've played it through it many times and listened to the OST for tens of hours, but never got bored of them. The low-resolution 2D graphics are timeless, the fantasy environment charming and the wonderful music composed by Koji Kondo iconic even with the crappy 16-bit sounds. No modern Zelda game can beat that even with much better graphics and audio fidelity.

I had some trouble finding arrangements that meet my quality standards, so if you know any good ones, please let me know too.

Prologue: a cappella adaptation by Smooth McGroove

Beginning with my favorite theme from the game. I have always been fond of maj7 chords, and this theme has plenty of them. The arrangement itself is nothing special as it's pretty much a copy-paste adaptation, however Mr. Beardman is rock-solid with his a cappella performances.

Kakariko Village: piano arrangement by Kyle Landry

While Kyle Landry is admittedly a very skilled pianist and a very entertaining performer during his Twitch streams, I have mixed feelings about his arrangements. His arranging style seems to be very improvisation-based judging by the sheet music he's using; they aren't written in full and serve as a framework for improvisation.

This is isn't necessarily bad of course, but can sometimes lead to less than desirable results: too loud, too much show-off or too much the kind of "emotion" which makes me want to puke. I'm not saying all of his arrangements are like this however, often quite the opposite. This arrangement encapsulates the peaceful atmosphere present in Kakariko Village, in a pianistic way and in good taste.

Dark World: a cappella adaptation by Smooth McGroove

Another one by team Smooth & Charl. Again, not much to say here; the adaptation stays true to the original but it's very well made.

Great Fairy Fountain: orchestral arrangement by The Synthetic Orchestra

All praise the beauty of good use of high-quality sample libraries. No harp solos for you today, but incredibly realistically sounding piano works too. Add some strings, a few woodwinds, a couple horns, a celesta and a suspended cymbal and you've got a wonderfully flowing piece of music.

There is also a making video of the arrangement if you're interested.

Light World Dungeon (A Link Between Worlds): orchestral arrangement by The Synthetic Orchestra

The Synthetic Orchestra strikes back. The theme is originally in A Link to the Past, but I also like the newer version in the remake. When I first listened to this arrangement I thought the trumpet passages were played by a human, but no, it's all made with FL Studio. Blake Robinson's trademark overuse of celesta can sometimes sound not in place, but here it really adds to the haunting atmosphere. Love that chilling solo cello too.

"The Legend of Zelda Main Theme Medley" by Chad Seiter & Kousuke Yamashita, played by Orchestra Nova San Diego

What comes to medleys in general, I'm pretty skeptical about them as they tend to be bloated patchworks with no coherence between the themes whatsoever. I have even made a couple myself, and I'm not proud of them. What I learned from them though, is that a good medley is all about transitions: you either make them abrupt to a comical extent or use only a couple themes and focus on smooth transitions and thematic variation. This arrangement represents the latter category, and is my favorite track of The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Special Orchestra CD album.

The previous Game Music Picks entry (Chrono Trigger) can be found here.


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