Title BGM - The Legend of Zelda (NES)

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Title BGM
Composer Koji Kondo
Released 1986-02-21
Title Origin Official
Loops Yes
This page is for The Legend of Zelda song, for more titles see Title BGM.

Title BGM is the first song you'll hear when you play The Legend of Zelda, which is the first game in the series. The song was originally for The Hyrule Fantasy: The Legend of Zelda (FDS) released only in Japan in 1986 on the Famicom Disk System. A different version was later heard in 1987 in The Legend of Zelda (NES) on the Nintendo Entertainment System for the American and European markets. Two versions of the song were necessary because the NES audio hardware is different than that of the Famicom Disk System, so the song would not sound correct without the rearrangement. Due to the popularity of the Zelda series, the song has since become an iconic track to the 1980s gamer.

Title

For eight years the song remained untitled, as no official release of the music had ever been made. Then, in 1994, Nintendo released the very first album to contain this song, The Legend of Zelda: Sound & Drama. On that album the title is listed as "タイトル" which translates to, "Title." However, 10 years later, in 2004, the song was released on the Famicom 20th Anniversary - Original Sound Tracks, Vol.1 as "タイトルBGM" or "Title BGM." Later that same year, the song was released again on the game's official Nintendo soundtrack, Game Sound Museum ~Famicom Edition~ 10: The Legend of Zelda, with the same title, confirming the song's title as "Title BGM."

Composition

Title BGM was composed by Koji Kondo probably somewhere around late 1985 to early 1986 in order to be finished in time for the Japanese release of The Legend of Zelda on the Famicom Disk System. Kondo most likely composed his music on a keyboard and then converted it into a series of hexadecimal values to work with Nintendo's RP2C33 audio driver. After the FDS version was made, the music had to be rearranged for the NES release in July of 1987. The rearrangement had to remove the FDS's additional audio channel and use the capabilities of the original RP2A03. Kondo may have made these two versions of the song at the same time anticipating an American release. Finally, a European release was made for PAL systems, and the audio's tempo had to be modified. Though, this may have been done by the localization team rather than Kondo.

The two versions of the song have roughly the same structure, though there are exceptions. The original Famicom Disk System version of the song has the additional wavetable channel of the FDS. The channel is used to play the song's initial opening. Once the percussion kicks in, the wavetable channel plays bells as the harmony, then switches over to play the melody for the second part. The wavetable gives the song a warmer sound and makes it sound closer to real instruments than the NES version.

The NES version begins with two voices playing the same notes creating a mild echo sound. They are accompanied by a quieter bass. From there, the tempo increases and percussion kicks in. The two voice begin responding to each other as a melody and harmony. Lacking the FDS wavetable channel gives the NES version a colder, more hollow sound, but also more consistent since the channels don't compete with each other.

The game's sequel features a titular song that is noticeably different, but features a similar structure to this song.

Games

The Hyrule Fantasy: The Legend of Zelda (FDS)

Platform - FDS.png
The Hyrule Fantasy: The Legend of Zelda (FDS)
Legend of Zelda - FDS - Title.png
Arranger Koji Kondo
Released 1986-02-21
Length 2:10.44
Format NSF

This is the original Famicom Disk System version of the song which few Americans heard until the advent of the Internet and emulators. The song is rendered on the Famicom Disk System's audio chip, the RP2C33.

Currently, there is no rip of this version of the game.

The Legend of Zelda (NES)

Platform - NES.png
The Legend of Zelda (NES)
Output - NES.svg
Legend of Zelda - NES - Title.png
Arranger Koji Kondo
Released 1987-07-??
Length 1:19.89
Format NSF

The Famicom Disk System release of the song uses an additional audio channel, but the cartridge release had to use the older audio chip. Because of this, the song had to be rearranged to function without it. Cartridges were released everywhere outside of Japan, as Japan was the only region with the FDS, but much later a cartridge version was even released in Japan. For cartridge releases, the audio is rendered on the RP2A03 in NTSC regions and the RP2A07 in PAL regions. The tempo has been adjusted to compensate for the slower PAL clock speed, so both versions sound identical.

In the cartridge version of the song, the first square wave channel is used mostly for harmony, although both it and the second square wave channel play the opening lead with a slight offset which gives it a hollow sound. The second square wave performs the majority of the song's melody, but also plays a small amount of the harmony at certain points. The triangle wave is used for bass throughout the song, the noise channel is used solely for percussion, and the DPCM channel is not used by this song.

The NES version exists in both NSF and NSFE formats; the song is track 1 in both files. The majority of NSF rips on the Internet do not contain all of the game's songs. The NSF rip from the VGMPF has them all, though the NSFE does not. VGM rips of the game have yet to be made.

The Legend of Zelda (GBA)

Platform - GBA.png
The Legend of Zelda (GBA)
Legend of Zelda - GBA - Title.png
Arranger Koji Kondo
Released 2004-06-07
Format GSF

The Game Boy Advance port emulated the NES version of the game, but since the GBA featured a different audio chip, the music sounds slightly different.

The Legend of Zelda (WII) / (3DS) / (WIIU)

The ports for the Wii, 3DS, and Wii U use an emulator that processes the game's audio exactly as the original game did, so there is no need to record them.

Albums

Released Album Version Title Track
1986-05-25 Famicom Music FDS version ZERUDA NO DENSETSU (The Legend of Zelda) 11
1994-06-22 The Legend of Zelda: Sound & Drama FDS version タイトル (Title) 3
2004-01-07 Famicom 20th Anniversary - Original Sound Tracks, Vol.1 FDS version タイトルBGM (Title BGM) 56
2004-04-04 Zelda Sound Collection  ? タイトル (Title) 1
2004-04-28 Game Sound Museum ~Famicom Edition~ 10 The Legend of Zelda  ? タイトルBGM (Title BGM) 2
2004-12-22 Nintendo Sound History Series - Zelda the Music FDS version タイトルBGM (Title BGM) 2
2010-07-18 The Legend of Zelda: Series For Guitar  ? タイトルBGM (Title BGM) 1

Sheet Music

Links