So as most of you probably know, I’m finishing my third play-through of Breath of the Wild. I just need to finish the Champions’ Ballad, go destroy Calamity Ganon, and do that whole saving-the-world thing. NBD.
Lately as I’ve been making my way through this play-through, I’ve been a lot more interested in the Champions and their Divine Beasts, especially the music. I even created a playlist on YouTube with all the Divine Beasts’ tracks, which has actually turned out to be my go-to music at work.
I know a lot of players commented on BoTW’s sparse soundtrack. But the music is definitely there, and it’s crafted beautifully and cleverly, especially when it comes to the Divine Beasts.
Here are some interesting things I’ve picked up along my travels:
So, I’m pretty late to the party on paying any sorts of attention to the music in these dungeons. During my first two play-throughs, I had the volume down pretty low, so I didn’t notice much of anything, and the music didn’t resonate with me till now. As soon as you start your quest in the dungeon, jarring, discordant music fills the air, along with faint beeping sounds. These beeps might sound completely random at first, but listen to their syncopation and you’ll see that they’re actually S.O.S. distress signals.
In Vah Ruta, Vah Naboris, and Vah Rudania, the S.O.S. signals are noticeable within seconds, if not right away. It’s only in Vah Medoh that the signals are delayed – up to 15 seconds. The signals also carry over for the most part after you begin activating terminals – except in Vah Medoh where they disappear completely. Why? Perhaps it’s a reflection of Champion Revali’s sense of pride in asking for help.
Layers, Layers, Layers
After you activate the first terminal, you’re greeted with a completely different soundtrack. As you continue activating terminals, you will notice mostly subtle changes to the soundtrack. Bongos and a brazen French horn play in Vah Rudania. An organ and percussion accompany the haunting music-box melody in Vah Ruta. Maracas and glockenspiel-like synth dance around the string section that flutters about in Vah Medoh. Additional sitar notes, along with an extra line of melody, weave with Vah Naboris’s theme to create an epic, somber piece of music. Listening to these soundtracks is so entertaining for me because I feel like I can always pick out melodies and instruments that were added as you progressed, giving you the sense of both accomplishment and urgency.
Nods to Themes
Within these soundtracks, you can probably pick out parts of various themes. For instance, a more melancholic Gerudo Town’s theme flits in and out of Vah Naboris after you activate the 4th terminal. A more broken version of Mipha’s theme, shackled by overlapping S.O.S. signals, plays in Vah Ruta. Heck, even part of the shrines’ theme can be heard when you board Vah Medoh. These songs were woven with great care, and their somber tones really help capture both the Champions’ diverse personalities and the anguish they feel in being trapped within the tainted Divine Beasts.
What do you think of the Divine Beasts and their music? Do you have a favorite? Feel free to discuss them with me in the comments below – I’d love to hear what you think! ^_^