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Update 3/20/15 - Stretched out the ritardandos, added an extra measure before the Zelda Lullaby theme, fixed some instrument articulations, and readjusted sound levels
This is the last track in the album. I did this first before the ending track because I knew this would take much longer.
I thought long and hard on how to do a full arrangement of Ballad of the Wind Fish. In fact, I spent more time fiddling on the piano and writing notes than I did actually producing it in the software. There are a myriad of versions floating around online, and it would only be worth doing for me if I could bring in something new. Most “orchestrated” arrangements consist of a solo instrument playing soulfully while being accompanied by a piano or whatever instruments playing harmony. Then, you have the real live Symphony of the Goddesses version which while grand and epic, seems to have strayed too far from the spirit of the original. The interpretation I like the most appears in the Hyrule Symphony album, as part of the medley track. It was way too brief, and deserves a fuller arrangement.
My version is constructed as a narrative about the end of Link’s relationship with Marin. It describes what Link may possibly be thinking during the ending as the credits are rolling.
1. Link never got a chance to say goodbye to Marin, but with her utterly occupying his consciousness, he has to let her go. The main melody starts out softly.
2. It’s too painful Link to drum up memories of Marin. How could someone just moments ago he could see, hear, and feel, suddenly be gone? The next portion of the melody is filled with discord, as feelings of disbelief flood his mind.
3. Link is in denial and wants to believe Marin is still alive and breathing somewhere on Koholint Island. Here the music becomes flighty with the woodwinds climbing up and down the scale. Link is fleeing the truth, while the reality is trying to chase him down. Ironically, the song we associate with Marin is also the the Song of Awakening, used to make her disappear.
4. In frustration, Link directs his anger at the Wind Fish. Here, I used the Mabe Village melody in a minor key, anchored by the Boss Theme as the baseline. The five-note motif of the Zelda main theme, also Link’s theme, is also used to show that Link is almost turning bad. In his rage, he wishes that the nightmares returns to trap the Wind Fish into another deep sleep, so the island, the village, and Marin, can come back.
5. Link releases his tension. All his willpower cannot undo what he chose to do. In his despair, the Zelda Lullaby plays softly. Link remembers that the true most important person in his life is Zelda, and not Marin. I placed it directly after the brief Mabe Village phrase, and hopefully you can see how the opening phrases of both melodies are very similar. This suggests that Marin is actually based on memories of Zelda that were projected by Link’s subconscious while he was on the island.
6. The memory of Zelda has brought Link to his senses, so once again he can start to say farewell to Marin. The Ballad melody starts again and plays solemnly to the end. I spent a lot of time tweaking the strings to give it lots of crescendos and decrescendos. Link celebrates the experience he shared with Marin while also mourning her loss. His face is completely drenched in tears as he endures the whole process.
7. Finally, for the end, I reversed the opening three notes of the Ballad melody to use as a punctuation for this piece as well as the soundtrack in general. It’s the end of this story, but something new beckons beyond the horizon. The final note is played in a major chord to signify this.
And there you go. This demonstrates how meaningful the music can get when a true fan who is passionate about Zelda arranges the music. Passion and creativity always trumps technical skill! Hope you enjoyed the album!
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