"The Legend of Zelda Theme", also known as the "Overworld Theme", is a recurring song in the Legend of Zelda series. It serves as the main theme for most games in the series. It was composed by the now famous Kōji Kondō for use in the original game, The Legend of Zelda. Originally, the song appeared as a simple 8-bit music track used whenever Link entered the game's overworld. The song continued to appear in later games in the series, often being given re-instrumentation as computer game music technology developed. Since then, the song has grown in popularity and fame to become the official theme song for the franchise and among the most recognizable video game music of all time.

"The Legend of Zelda Theme" can be found in some form in every game in the series; whether used as the main theme, mixed in with another song, or having certain phrases briefly appear for cameo purposes. "The Legend of Zelda Theme" can also be heard outside of the series. It has appeared in Zelda-related games such as Soulcalibur II and the Super Smash Bros. series. The music has even been conducted in real life at full paying symphony orchestras.

The song was created by accident. Originally, the theme for the series was intended to be a rearranged version of the orchestral piece Bolero, but he then learned that he legally was not allowed to use it since the song was still under copyright. He then created the current theme song as part of an all-nighter.[1]


The Legend of Zelda

The theme appears twice in the game. One version is used as the music for the game's title screen and subsequent prologue. Another version is prominently featured as the game's overworld theme. The title screen for the Famicom version had slightly different music to that of the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

The only appearance of the theme is its often-used introduction, which plays at the beginning of the game's overworld music before transitioning into a new melody.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

A Link to the Past again uses the theme as the main overworld music, though only in the Light World. It also plays during the end credits.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

The theme first appears subtly during the intro sequence, then fully as the title screen music, with another version playing on the file select screen. If 'ZELDA' is typed as the name during this screen, a samba-style version is played. Another version of the theme is used as the overworld music, which begins playing after Link reclaims his sword on Toronbo Shores. In this version of the theme, the second part is replaced with a new melody. Parts of the theme also appear in the game's music for Tal Tal Heights.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The full form of the theme is notably absent from Ocarina of Time. The only use of the theme is a single phrase repeated twice in the Hyrule Field music. Outside of this, it does not play at any point in the game. Because of the cameo-like nature of its appearance, some fans do not count this as a true appearance. However, in the the 3DS remake of the game, the theme appears in its full form in the end credits music.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

The theme returns in Majora's Mask, where it appears in its full form as the game's Termina Field music.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons

Due to the similar sound capabilities of the Game Boy and Game Boy Color systems, the same title screen, file select, and overworld tracks are played in both Link's Awakening and the Oracle games. However, Oracle of Ages also contains a separate remix of the theme which plays on the overworld in the past. The two Oracle games also feature the theme in both their standard ending and Linked Game ending music as well as the the Game Over screen.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords

The theme appears as the game's main title music. Another mix based off of The Legend of Zelda's title screen version serves as the game select screen's music when choosing between A Link to the Past and Four Swords.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

The theme makes several appearances in The Wind Waker. The first of these is in the game's prologue, where it play as the prologue mentions the Hero of Time. A remix of The Legend of Zelda's title screen version of the theme plays during the Epilogue, when Link has assembled the full Triforce of Courage and prepares to descend into Hyrule. Parts of the game's overworld theme, which plays while Link is on the Great Sea, and the Yacht Game and while the Great Sea is Cursed and are also loosely based on "The Legend of Zelda Theme".

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

A calmer, more subdued version of the theme serves as the title screen music for the game. A more conventional take on the theme plays during certain overworld segments of gameplay. Parts of the theme also appear in the game's end credits music.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

The theme again appears as the overworld music of the game. Parts of it are also included in the Cloud Tops music and the game's end credits theme.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Throughout most of the game, the full theme does not appear. Notably, in the few times it does, it appears as a supporting melody line to the main Twilight Princess theme. A very small part from the start of theme appears in Courage, Save Ilia, Hyrule Field theme, Title Screen Intro Sequence, Master Sword, Thundering Herd, and Hero Chosen by the Gods. The theme does not appear in its full form until the end credits music.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Remix heard in full in 'The Hero of the Winds -- The Storyteller's Memories'. Short phrase heard towards the end of 'Off to the Seas! - The Storyteller's Memories'. Loosely heard in 'The Virtue of a Hero'. Theme also plays when Tetra boards the Ghost Ship. As with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, 'The Great Sea' is loosely based on the theme. 'A Battle Across the World' contains a mixture of the Hyrule Field music from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (which contains a single phrase from the theme) and The Legend of Zelda Theme.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

The theme appears, in part, twice. The beginning of the Legend of Zelda title sequence is heard during the introduction to the Final Battle, and a single phrase of the theme is used several times in the game's end credits music.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The theme does not appear for most of the game. The first use of the theme is in the Song of the Hero, the beginning of which resembles part of the theme. It appears in its full form in the game's credits theme, and the main phrase appears in the game's closing scenes, both before and after the credits.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

The theme is heard in full in the Overworld music (1 and 2) and in the Main Theme (Milk Bar). A remix can be heard in Beginning Field. A similar phrase to the theme can also be heard during a mini-game. Finally, it is heard during the Staff Roll.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

The theme is one of the songs that can come out of the music ball that Link can hit in the multiplayer lobby.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.

The theme appears multiple times during the game, however, almost exclusively the first half is heard in all of its appearances. An organ and choral version appears in Impa's retelling of what happened ten thousands years prior to the game. An orchestral version briefly is heard during the melody that plays outside of Hyrule Castle. A soft piano remix plays in the opening of the Staff Roll and in the memory where Link rescues Zelda from the Yiga Clan. A slowed down version of it played by a violin is heard when riding a horse at night. When combining all of the little melodies Kass plays in the DLC Champion's Ballad, The full theme formed. A part of it is also present in Kass' full theme. In Link's last memory, where Zelda's power awaken and Link is dying, the theme plays softly as Zelda holds Link in her arms. After Link recalls his final memory, an emotional version of the theme is played on piano. Lastly, a flute and orchestral variation is heard during the true ending cutscene of the game.

Spoiler warning: Spoilers end here.

Other appearances

Subseries warning: This article or section contains information on a subseries within the Legend of Zelda series and should be considered part of its own separate canon.

BS The Legend of Zelda

As in The Legend of Zelda, The Legend of Zelda Theme is heard during the Title sequence and as the overworld track.

BS The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets

The Legend of Zelda Theme can be heard as the overworld track for the game.

Hyrule Warriors

The theme is first heard in the opening title accompanied by Skyward Sword's Ballad of the Goddess, the Hyrule Field theme from Ocarina of Time and the main theme of Twilight Princess. It is also heard as an upbeat remix in Hyrule Field, a short arrangement during the final scenario, a rock remix in the ending credits and as a mix of 8-bit and orchestrated version in Adventure Mode. Lana will hum the theme when using her Summoning Gate moveset.

Subseries warning: Subseries information ends here.

Non-canonical appearances

Non-canon warning: This article or section contains non-canonical information that is not considered to be an official part of the Legend of Zelda series and should not be considered part of the overall storyline.

The Legend of Zelda theme has made a cameo appearance in the song The Arcade by Hyper Crush. The Arcade also makes references to Duck Hunt and the Mario franchise.

The Legend of Zelda animated series

The theme appears in the opening (marking the first time it is orchestrated) of the cartoon, and variations are heard during the episodes to match the mood of the scene.

Super Smash Bros. series

The full theme is heard during the Hyrule Castle stage and when Link wins a match.

Super Smash Bros. Melee

The theme is one of two songs that can play on the Termina: Great Bay stage; the other is Saria's Song. A short remix of the theme also plays whenever Link, Zelda, Sheik, Young Link or Ganondorf win a match.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

The Legend of Zelda Theme is used on a variety of tracks that play on the Bridge of Eldin and Pirate Ship stages. It is also heard after Link, Zelda, Ganondorf, or Toon Link win a multiplayer fight, and appears as an option for background music in the stage builder mode.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U

On the Wii U version, the theme plays on a variety of tracks that play on Skyloft, and the returning stages of Bridge of Eldin, Pirate Ship, Temple, and Hyrule Castle. On the 3DS version, this plays on the Spirit Train and Hyrule Castle stages.

Donkey Konga

The Legend of Zelda Theme is a playable track in the game.

Soul Calibur II

The theme is present in Link's Profile Viewer, Destined Battle stage (Ostrheinsburg Chapel) and alternate stage, Eurydice Shrine Gallery (if playing as Link).

Tetris DS

A remix of the NES Overworld theme plays during the puzzles featuring The Legend of Zelda in the background.

The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest

The theme is heard in full in the mini-game The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest. The beginning of the theme is heard as the Intro. A short phrase is heard at the beginning of Time Attack and briefly in the Victory Fanfare.

Sonic Lost Word

The Legend of Zelda Zone DLC features a remix of the main theme in the overworld portion of the level.

Super Mario 3D World

An arrangement of the main theme can be heard when revealing the 8-bit Link sprite for a puzzle in Rainbow Run.

Mario Kart 8

An upbeat version of the theme appears during the Hyrule Circuit track.

Non-canon warning: Non-canonical information ends here.

Notes and references

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