For this week’s edition of Flute Boy’s Meadow, I decided to go with an older Zelda tune that remains popular even today. Almost every time someone mentions the music of Link’s Awakening, the song Tal Tal Heights is bound to enter the conversation at some point. It’s just that kind of song.
I remember enjoying this tune thoroughly when I first played through Link’s Awakening, and while it isn’t quite my favorite song from the game (that goes to Ballad of the Wind Fish) I still love Tal Tal Heights in its way.
So what makes this Zelda tune so popular? What is it about this tune that allows it to remain so popular despite the limited hardware it was produced on? Jump inside to see my thoughts!
Track: Tal Tal Heights
Game: Link’s Awakening (GB, GBC)
Tal Tal Heights is a track that plays when Link reaches the highest point of the Tal Tal mountain range. It is here that the Wind Fish’s egg rests, and therein the end of Link’s quest. Journeying to this peak, you always know that it will be the place where you finish the game even if you come at an earlier time. There is a certain weight to this area, but also a sense of excitement. It is a place of anticipation.
Upon coming to the point in the game where it is finally time to awaken the Wind Fish, entering the egg bears a certain iconic feeling to it as well. As with every game in the series, entering the final arena is a momentous and exciting point. Sometimes it is tense, other times rousing; entering Link’s Awakening‘s final scenes is both.
The song begins on a low note with a steady staccato. It builds for a few seconds, then we are greeted with the beginnings of the song’s melody. Something I always enjoyed about Tal Tal Heights’ melody is its reference to the main overworld theme of the series. This game released at just the right point in the series’ life span that the main theme was beginning to feel iconic and classic. As a result, the allusion this song makes to that theme allows for it to draw on the familiarity in players’ minds.
After our pulses are roused by that sample of classic Zelda music, the melody continues into its own creation. The notes it hits become higher, climbing to musical peaks that help it to hit home all the more. This is where the song really begins to gain some strength. The music’s soaring points give the usual sense of adventure that can be expected of most Zelda overworld tunes, but there is also a sense of some tension there as well. It’s an excellent combination, and the result is an epic tune that defies its 8-bit recording software.
I mentioned before that there is a mixture of excitement and tension in visiting Tal Tal Heights, whether it be for a short trip long before the end of the game or as preparation for your final battle. The musical piece that accompanies the area suits this attitude perfectly. Its rousing homage to the main theme mixed with its steady, rapid beat give the song that classic adventurous Zelda feel. On the other hand, there’s also something in that main refrain that feels a bit more tense and to-the-point. These sounds work together to create one awesome tune.
So what are your thoughts on Tal Tal Heights? How does it stack up to your favorite Zelda overworld themes? How does it compare to other tracks from Link’s Awakening? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! And, as always, I am open to requests!