This post was originally intended to be an analytical look at the Title music from The Legend of Zelda: The Adventures of Link, but in doing the analysis, there is just too much to discuss when looking at these two objects together. As a refresher, here is the Title Music from The Legend of Zelda:
… and the title music from The Legend of Zelda: The Adventures of Link:
The LoZ title music is structured in the following format:
4 measure intro | 6 measure bridge | 8 measure Phrase A | 12 measure Phrase B
In contrast, the LoZ:AL title music breaks down as follows:
4 measure lead in | 8 measure intro | 4 measure bridge | 8 measure Phrase A | 8 measure Phase B
There are some similarities here. Each object contains two primary phrases of music, with an introduction and a bridge from the intro into the main melodic statement. On first listen, these two objects appear to have very little in common…
If you look at the harmonies implied in the introduction phrases, you get the following (harmonic rhythm is one chord per measure):
LOZ – Bb | Ab | Gb | F
LOZ:AL – G | F | Eb | D | G | F | Eb | D
Roman Numerals: I – bVII – bVI – V (– I – bVII – bVI – V)
Each of these objects is built on this descending sequence of chords through a modally mixed scale.
Each object uses this progression differently. In LOZ, the pattern is used again at the beginnings of both Phrase A and B, but then moves to different related harmonies.
LOZ:AL is entirely based on this progression. Phrase A emphasizes I, using bVII as a dominant functioning chord, and Phrase B alternates between bVI and V.
These harmonies are ingrained in the harmonic language of music written by or inspired by Koji Kondo. I could reference other examples here, but I’ll save it for another day.
Now listen to the two objects again. Can you here the remarkable similarities?