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If you haven’t already known, I have quite an affinity for the music of the Zelda series. Not only has it influenced my love for the muses, but it also has developed a desire to explore games and music that carry similar themes of grand adventures and fantasy. One fascination in particular that sets Zelda apart from other video games is its heavy use of music. Throughout the series, some element of song and melodies function as a key mechanic that is meant to assist you in various and even powerful ways. Whether it is used to alter the direction of the wind or even manipulate time, music has always been an important factor in the Zelda games.
As a musician, it is incredible how much contribution the Legend of Zelda series has made to the worlds of gaming and music; the two things that go together better than chocolate and peanut butter… well almost. I personally don’t think many video games have had a significant impact on two completely different mediums like LoZ. Ocarina sales sure took advantage of OoT’s popularity and its usage of an ocarina by including some of the game’s most well known tunes in the songbooks. Now we have orchestras traveling the world playing nothing but LoZ’s music! It brings the best of both worlds together to appreciate something one would not normally immerse themselves in. My parents for example, do not care much for video games. Quite a shocker, I know, but that doesn’t mean they can’t appreciate the music or the stories. I took them to the Symphony of the Goddesses concert this year and they loved it. They didn’t understand why concertgoers laughed as the projector showed Link gliding through the air with a cucco, nor did they know much about the other humorous subtitles that Zelda fans understood, but the music captivated them well enough to be a part of the fun. That’s what I take to heart about the Legend of Zelda, is its ability to appeal to those who don’t play the games or video games in general, but find enjoyment in the many melodies the series has.
So how does one expand on the inspiring power of Zelda’s music along with great games? How bout a video game music convention? Take what already goes well together and multiply it by whatever awesome combination you can think of, like a rocket powered t-rex shooting lasers from its eyes while fighting robot bears from space (copyright, dontstealzachsideas 2017). Here we meet Thomas Spargo, founder of the Minneapolis-based video game convention, Gamer’s Rhapsody. He breathed life into his convention in 2014, and since then has been host to panels, tournaments, charity speed run marathons, and of course, live music performances. I meet Thomas while attending Augsburg College, and we were acquainted with our fondness for the Legend of Zelda, which was an inspiring factor for Gamer’s Rhapsody. The way he became immersed in the Zelda series was, in his words, unconventional. Thomas didn’t start his adventure with the major titles like Ocarina of Time, a Link to the Past, or even Majora’s Mask. Nope. His quest began with Spirit Tracks! One of the few Zelda games I haven’t played, so I can’t really comment what my thoughts are on it. You’re not giving me much to work with here, Thomas!
Yet, he enjoyed the game so much so that he eventually played some of the older installments. The element of LoZ that drew him the most was, of course, the music. He cited that one of his favorite tunes to play is Gerudo Valley, and his favorite soundtrack being Skyward Sword; which I am totally supportive of because Skyward Sword has breathtaking music! Being a classical guitar player for eight years, Thomas held guitar lessons for a time, and used many themes and melodies from the Legend of Zelda as a teaching tool for his students. He stated that the music pushed his students to dedicated practice just to learn their favorite theme. Why learn to play Mary Had a Little Lamb or Louie Louie for a beginner’s lesson when you could learn Zelda’s Lullaby or the Song of Time? Unlike a handful of contemporary songs, Thomas felt that the music from LoZ had much more substance to it; something that lit the fires of memories once believed to be extinguished. For something as simple yet so complex as the Legend of Zelda, I find it remarkable that such a game and its music has ignited such a diverse fan base across major mediums, as well as something that can be applied to the simple things we can learn in our daily life.
Once again, I thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts! Has the Legend of Zelda, the games or the music, ever inspired you to do something fun and creative? You’re welcome to share your words in the comments! Also, please feel free to go to Gamer’s Rhapsody’s Facebook page and check out their awesome content. Cheers!