Jun 26, 2013
11:00 AM
Steve Says:
Projection from Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses

The Internet is Neat. So is Zelda Music.

I grew up with the occasional subscription to magazines such as Game Pro, Game Players, and Nintendo Power. None of those are in print anymore… and as much as I’m nostalgic for the world of print… I’m also happy that I’m able to get information much more easily and spontaneously this millennium.


I happened to be catching up on all the Facebook goings ons when I saw (in response to this article) the following update from Jeremy Soule (composer for Skyrim):

Zelda developers, it is nice to hear that you like Skyrim. Given my experience, let me reinforce the idea that an emotionally rich game requires a carefully constructed musical architecture… This represents more than just “cool” music. There is a science that can be utilized. And, as I am a fan of the Zelda series, I would like to enjoy your creative spin on aspects of Skyrim, so here are a few suggestions…


1. Please, avoid chip tunes or chip-sounding tunes. I know this is a Nintendo “trademark” at this point, but it won’t hurt the franchise to utilize more complex textures.


2. Intonation – I did more work on intonation than perhaps any other aspect of Skyrim’s score. This work goes beyond the capabilities of onboard synthesizers–again, this is why chip tunes should be abandoned. Tuning really is as critical as the music composition itself. My schematics were always highly complex… But as a simple illustration, is Skyrim running at 440 Hz? You decide!


3. Implement a unified atmospheric and thematic approach to composition. Context of inner-space emotion is also critical beyond the obvious narratives. This is a different approach, but it works.


4. Psychoacoustics. Recording techniques beyond instrumentation need to be considered at every stage of engineering.


Looking forward to the new game!

Little comments like this from industry folk were much less likely to find their way into print back in the day. Now, they will occasionally get picked up on today’s gaming blogs, but I’m thankful that we have sites like Facebook and Twitter where we can gain insight directly from the humans themselves in real time.


I’m of course split between chiptunes and orchestra. I love them both, but I think I agree with Jeremy on this one. If the Symphony of the Goddesses tour has  proved anything, it’s that Zelda sounds great with real instruments. I love the way orchestra sounds in games. That said, Skyward Sword did use orchestra… so I’m not completely sure why he assumes that they might go back to chiptunes for their next one.


I’d really love to see chiptunes combined as just another instrument within the orchestra.  That would be hawt.


On a semi-related note, here are a couple of timelapses I recorded at the latest round of the Symphony of the Goddesses tour, here in sunny San Francisco. I tried for a few days to do a custom Vine upload from Android to no avail, but here’s a Youtube version that behaves practically the same as Vine.