This week again, Nintendo published a blog post about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the official blog of the Legend of Zelda portal in Japan (3 days later than usual, though). This time, the post was written by Manaka Kataoka, who was in charge of the music, and is about the main theme specifically.
For her, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the world of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the true protagonist of the game. Sometimes, it’s really beautiful and delicate. At other times, it’s rough and ruthless…The natural beauty truly is one of the main appeals of the game, and that’s why she wanted the music to not just reflect, but also enhance that appeal.
With the main theme, she wanted the music to reflect the long History of Hyrule, but also the ordeals of the Link and Zelda of this particular entry.
One thing she thought hard about was what kind of instruments to use. In order to express the idea of a world in ruin, yet so vibrant, she decided to use traditional instruments such as the shinobue and the erhu, which are not commonly used in orchestras. Those were used in contrast to the synthetizer sounds of the ancient civilisation (think of the music from the Shrines).
What’s more, the main theme includes chord progressions which are not really suited to classical music.
On this page, you can listen to two excerpts from the main theme (so you can hear what each instrument sounds like on its own):
- the one with the shinobue
- the one with erhu
The blog post also feature this picture, that shows the recording of the strings section:
Also, at the beginning of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Link has just woken up from artificial sleep (a 100-year long one at that), and has lost his memory. She wanted to reflect that in the main theme, which is why there is this rather strange break (something that was immediately noticed by fans in the E3 2016 trailer, where it debuted).
She wanted to express that with this break, which represents Link taking a “new breath”, after 100 years in stasis. This break basically serves as the division between Zelda and the past (the part before the break), and Link and adventure in the present day (the part after the break).
Since BGM (Background Music) is, quite literally, music that plays in the background, she usually does not pay much attention to such details. She thinks that enjoying the game itself is more important. However, this time around, she had the opportunity to do so, so she decided to talk about the meaning of the main theme a little bit.
She ends the blog post by wishing that people will keep enjoying both the game and the music for a long time.
Previous blog posts:
- Post 1 (locations)
- Post 2 (outfits)
- Post 3 (animations)
- Post 4 (landscape)
- Post 5 (interiors)
- Post 6 (sound effects)