By Athena Veta
May 12, 2017

Covering songs from video games is not an altogether new phenomenon, but with the advent of an increased interest in acapella singing, suddenly songs from video games are being represented in new and exciting ways. This video by Youtuber Smooth McGroove showcases one man singing eight-part harmony to produce the “Sacred Grove” theme from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. One particularly fascinating aspect of this rendition is that each of McGroove’s iterations is responsible for a single part, and most often that is one note of a sequence. While this might not seem particularly interesting, when the actual feat is considered, McGroove’s talent becomes quite apparent.

It might be easy to sing one note, but let’s say that note falls “off the beat”. (For the less musically-inclined, the beat is each time your toe taps on the floor. “Off the beat” is all the time in between toe-taps.) This is hard enough when you are able to hear the other parts of the music and figure out where your note “fits”, but when recording, McGroove appears to only have his music to read from and take his musical cues from. A musical feat, indeed! Take a listen below.

And of course, how he electronically alters his voice to imitate the harp from the original game soundtrack adds to the whimsical feel of the song.

So I’ve gotten this far and realized I never introduced myself. Athena Veta from AmbiGaming, and over there it’s never a complete post without a little bit of deeper analysis into our topics. Don’t worry, we won’t be getting too crazy today!

Twilight Princess is one of my favorite Zelda titles, and one of the reasons I love it so much is its music. It’s not a secret that Twilight Princess was intended as a spiritual successor to Ocarina of Time, and many familiar ocarina tunes (as well as tunes from other titles in the series) can be found throughout. But what strikes me as so interesting about the “Sacred Grove” theme is how it blends themes from the two games, accentuating their connection.

In the background of “Sacred Grove” (i.e., the parts sung by the McGrooves on the sides and bottom of the video) we hear a certain galloping and ascending theme, called an arpeggio. If we were to then listen to McGroove’s arrangement of “Midna’s Lament,” we would hear a very similar-sounding arpeggio. See below.

The arpeggio in the “Sacred Grove” piece is actually a variation of the one in “Midna’s Lament.” Additionally, the “Sacred Grove” plays the Lost Wood’s theme/Saria’s Song from Ocarina of Time.

So what does this mean? Two songs have the Twilight Princess’s iconic arpeggio style included in them, and one has the Lost Woods theme superimposed over it. The symbolism seems to suggest that the Sacred Grove is a twilit – or darker – version of the Lost Woods in Ocarina of Time. While by itself it may not seem like much, this clever link between games is another wonderful detail added by the developers to subtly suggest how the two games were connected.