Playing the Ocarina

Posted By at 12:52 PM on Saturday June 2, 2007

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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time news, direct from the production area! The Zelda team chosen by Shigeru Miyamoto created Zelda 64 with surprising stubbornness! One part of that stubbornness was to do a stubborn interview. We’ll pass on a small part of that interview from the top of 1101’s nearby tree.

(1-4) Looks Like You Can Play an Ocarina in This Zelda

Koji Kondo (Music Director): The original orders from the director were “For the dungeons, try to create music that doesn’t really have a melody, nothing to latch on to”. However, he also requested pretty melodies for pleasant places like the Market, so I had two patterns to follow.

In all, there are 12 ocarina melodies, each corresponding with a theme. I had only 5 notes to use for the ocarina tunes (because of button limitations), be they upbeat major or sad minor songs, making composing difficult.

In dungeons when enemies draw near, the battle music will steadily grow louder. If you come to a standstill in Hyrule Field, the music will have slow phrasing. Should an enemy appear, the music will change to percussion.

Miyamoto: I like international music such as Inca or Latin. I really wanted to put in an ocarina, it seemed really Zelda-esque. Playing an instrument is a much more enjoyable way to accomplish things than just casting a spell.

The music-making process was totally different from Ito’s MOTHER. But even if people say “oh, didn’t you copy him?”, that’s okay.

Absolutely, there were people suggesting “playing the ocarina is too tiresome, let’s make it automatic.” I was undecided as well, but when I went to examine the situation, I found the complainers were happily playing the ocarina too.

So, let’s see. Who here can do a scale on the ocarina? How about playing your favorite song? Ah, I see… well, I’ll tell you how! If you press R on the controller, the key will shift to a semitone. You can change the pitch by holding up or down on the control stick. That’s how you play B flat, for example. It’s fun! Even though you’re using an ocarina, you can do things similiar to a guitar.

It’s also possible to call the horse with the ocarina. In the beginning you used a reed pipe, but it was too much trouble so we eventually changed it to the ocarina.

I’ve always been a fan of country music, including people like Emmylou Harris so I insisted on having a songstress in the game.I changed the ranch girl Malon into a songstress, so the horses were attracted to her because of her song. However, this didn’t really suit her dialogue at the time. Originally we had her singing alone in the middle of the ranch, but halfway through we changed it so she went to the castle, but then she didn’t sing anymore. It was kind of fun to consider those kinds of things. So, that was mostly my part in creating the music.

Kondo: All in all, I ended up writing about 70-80 songs for Ocarina of Time. Don’t tell, but I’m a really slow worker. After one month, I hadn’t even completed 40 songs. *laughs*

Compared to Mario, the world of Zelda has everything. It’s difficult to create a world in which the atmosphere is constantly changing. For when you’re shopping, for example… what sort of music do you need? Think of the shop music in Zelda.

I made the Lost Woods theme using TV-CF. I did an orchestral version, but then I thought “oh, there’re already so many arrangements like this”.

Actually, I arranged songs from all the Zeldas up to now in the score to Hyrule Field. It looks like not many people have recognized them! In fact, there were even people on staff who didn’t notice! *laughs*

After, I worked on the surround-sound function, so you could hear the music from behind as well. If you’re playing on normal television and Link throws a bomb behind him, the sound of the explosion will come from the back. If you go swimming, the sound distortion will make it seem like you’re actually underwater. I hope you’ll enjoy listening!

“(1-4) Looks Like You Can Play an Ocarina in This Zelda” has ended. The interview continues from here, so please check back for updates!

1998-11-21-SAT

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3 Responses

  1. Danilo says:

    Please, What is the source of the interview ?

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