The Musical Box #18: Music for Shopping

The Musical Box features 30 articles focusing on game music production and implementation. Edition #18: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is indeed a game full of musical surprises. It was already featured in the 5th edition of the musical box, but since the Nintendo sound team basically used every possible trick of dynamic music composition in the game, there's still more to explore. One moment is particularly memorable, and perhaps unseen in other games: the dynamic transition of musical themes in the bazaar.

Game: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Released: 2011
Platform: Wii
Developer: Nintendo
Composers: Hajime Wakai, Shiho Fujii, Mahito Yokota, Takeshi Hama, and Koji Kondo

The Set-Up

Located at Skyloft, the main hub of Skyward Sword is the bazaar, where Link satisfies his shopping needs. Once there, it is possible to upgrade equipment, brew several kinds of potions, and even hire the services of a clairvoyant to become better prepared for the battles to come.

The musical theme of the bazaar is the main attraction for those interested in dynamic music transitions. This catchy and memorable tune changes dynamically depending on how close you are to a certain seller. In some cases, the whole arrangement changes to reflect the personality of the seller you’re talking to.

The Moment

Check out the video below to see the different arrangements for the bazaar theme.


The Impact

When I first played this game, I was astonished by the amazing musical content and its clever implementation throughout the experience. The bazaar was another great surprise, mainly because the transition is very subtle, but each version of the theme sounds very unique. To achieve this result, the composers created different versions using similar harmonic and melodic content, but played with instrumentation and tempo to shape the version and make it sound consistent in the context, though still diverse. Thank you, Nintendo composers!

Special thanks: Gilliard Lopes, Rafael Kuhnen, Fernando Secco, and Sandro Tomasetti.

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