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Interview & Music Theory

jeremysmith

READ ME

Jeremy Smith, a PhD student in Music Theory, interviewed me some months ago for a paper he wrote as part of completing his Master's degree. The paper analyzes the music of Majora's Mask and how it is viewed and used by fans of the game, and it includes Majora as an example (p16), along with the full interview as an appendix (p42).

He was kind enough to send it to me and allow for its publication here. Thanks, Jeremy. :)

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Q&As, Interview, and Score Revisions

A little hardware problem has prevented me from recording Q&As, but Liam Greenough was kind to record and send me a new one, which will be uploaded soon.

Radio Hyrule has updated their playlist with the most recent demos from Majora, along with three of my non-Majora-related arrangements. They also interviewed me for the second time, wherein I happened to give away a status update that I will reiterate here:

The first draft of the opera's score will be finished in little more than a month, as Liam Greenough will be flying to my location in February. He, Miguel Jesus, and I will then be revising the entire first draft for the duration of that month, hopefully reaching its final form before Liam has to leave.

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On the Next Demos and Q&A #26

After several months, we finally have set dates to record with the singer we wanted for Kafei for the Clock Town Choir and Quartet demos. The first half of September will be dedicated to those recordings (as the choir part has been recorded for well over a year), along with the remaining footage for the Clock Town Choir demo. The completion of that demo will then depend on the time it takes to finish resampling the old instrumental and edit the video.

As for the Majora's Aria demo, singers are still being evaluated, and submissions are still welcome. We prefer to take the time we can to make sure we have as many entries as possible so we can choose from a wider pool.

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And now, to your questions:

Collin V.Just wondering… when you finish the opera, will you make the libretto available to the public? I love reading movie/play/opera scripts in my free time, and since Majora’s Mask is my favorite Zelda game, I’m very interested in reading this.

It's something I would like to do, yes, at least with the score (which includes the libretto). I even considered making an annotated version.

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MaraHi Miguel, I was just wondering. I made a fan poster of sorts for your opera. How can I get it to you? I will post it soon on deviantart, but I would like for you to see it very much. (Also, do you answer all these questions yourself? Or did you take the monkey from the Deku King, and now he answers all your questions?) xD

That's cool! :) You can e-mail it to me at mbulteau@gmail.com or just include the link in a comment here.

I do answer these questions myself, and as for the monkey, he's right next to me sipping on a coke. He's on a break from bursting out of closets and pointing menacingly at people.

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Chris JohnsonIs that Jesus in the background of the team photo?

We already have one Jesus, and that's the third guy in the photo. The guy in the far back is Liam Greenough, 4th member of the team, mentioned here. From front to back, you have me, Aaron Kline, Miguel Jesus and Liam Greenough. There is another photo with better focus on Liam, and I should probably post it around here. The latest interview has a black and white photo of us (at 15:14, if your browser doesn't like my timed link).

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PUSHSTART Magazine and Q&A #20

Although this will only interest the Portuguese speakers, due to the obvious language barrier, it is nevertheless important to mention another interview by Portuguese online video game magazine PUSHSTART.

Thank you very much, Luís!

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We're slowly emerging from the wasteland of activity that August was. The animation for the Giant's Aria is proceeding slowly but steadily, much like a Giant, really.

Personal stuff stood in the way of my intended development, so I wasn't able to advance as much as I expected. As if that's new.

If I'm correct, the next days will vary between scarce updates and the eventual release of the Giant's Aria as demo #6.

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Now it's time for a Q&A:

Technotheif: A question for your Q&A: Will we see the Postman write the letter to himself? I feel that is a powerful and valuable scene that can stand alone, and the postman is already introduced.

Most definitely! I love that scene. It crept me out so much when I was little, yet I only understood the underlying neurosis years later. OCD at its darkest. The last day will have some snippets of the insanity that sweeps through the few that remain in Clock Town.

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Commander Majora: Will there be some way to incorporate time into the final stage product? When i imagine the on stage product, i think that above the stage there would be a clock. I’m just wondering if that will be important?

Time is definitely important, but it moves rather irregularly in the narrative. Sometimes faster, sometimes slower. My approach to time is that, besides each act being a day, you can hear the Clock Tower's bell announcing nightfall and sunrise. So each act is divided into day and night as well, but unlike the division into acts, this day/night division isn't proportional. It instead depends on the flow of the narrative.

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kram1032: Heh, I figured almost every stage work has optional stuff but the way you wrote about difficult staging and stuff felt like you’re concerned to make it work on pretty much any stage. – The whole thing. “Director’s Cut”, so to speak. Most likely, after a while it will be reinterpreted anyway, right? At least that’s what seems to be the fate of most staging works out there (Though what do I really know. I’m not exactly an expert on operas).

Everything gets reinterpreted. As long as I get a last say in terms of control, I'm fine with that. Improvements are infinite.

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Conman21100: I assume you will be using the Clocktown theme for the “Clocktown choir” in Act I (I believe you had mentioned that at one point), but I’m curious if you will be using all three variants of the Clocktown theme (a.k.a.-the Day 1 theme, the Day 2 theme, and the Day 3 theme) throughout the opera. Will each act have a scene in which the people of Clocktown are shown singing (using that day’s Clocktown theme) to express how they are changing in terms of their fears about the moon falling?

In a nutshell, without much detail, yes, that's the general idea. All three variants will be used, albeit not necessarily on the same people all the time. They will portray the emotions of the town as the moon nears, just like the original. Personally, I think it's a brilliantly simple move by Kondo that shouldn't go unused.

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PurplePeachXD: I was wondering, will Tingle be in this opera? Because unlike most people, I actually really like this character and I would find it so awesome if he would make an appearance! =D

I can't remember if I said this already, but since the Clock Town choir is its inhabitants, he will appear as part of it. He has no purpose in the story as a standalone character. Also, I exceptionally chose to use Purlo's clothes for Tingle, because DAMN.

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EponaHat: I realise you’ve answered many, many questions about Romani and Cremia, but I’m curious: have you considered including them in the ending where everyone takes shelter in the ranch (although I guess you may not be able to considering Anju stays in Clocktown)?

I love questions that answer themselves.

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A week of rest, Link's Hideaway podcast and Q&A #19

The people over at Link's Hideaway were kind to invite me to a podcast to answer some more questions. Some are probably repeated from previous interviews, but I still managed to go on for an hour... So, for anyone interested, here it is, available for download.

Thanks to Ryan and Austin for the opportunity!

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The audio for the Giant's Aria has been recorded, and now all that is left to do is finish the video.

I am taking a week off to rest my mind, as my writing speed has been decreasing dramatically. I am in need of some time to rest.

Here is a long Q&A for your enjoyment, and I'll see you all in about a week!

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kram1032: Will you have “optional” parts in the opera aswell? Stuff that won’t work on every stage or with every cast but given certain opportunities, it could be added?

I'll let you in on a secret: Almost every stage production in the world has those.

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Joseph Murse: Oh yes a quick question for the Q&A, will Kaepora Gaebora be showing up at all? He’s the only character in the game to say that the fate of Termina is to fade and he may work as a great foreshadowing device. Of course, the problem is that he is… well an Owl. Kind of difficult to show that on stage.

He does work great as a foreshadowing device, but as he appears mostly to Link and has no relation to the rest of Termina I chose to leave him out. The fact that he is an owl doesn't help, obviously. Instead, the Happy Mask Salesman kinda takes his role as a narrator, albeit a bit mad. That helps to bring about a sense of instability.

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YourFriendlyNeigbourhoodGerudo: I know someone has asked about child singers, but what about child dancers? Is your answer the same?

A child dancer is way easier to include, in my opinion. Although I don't really see where that could apply. It would look strange for the Deku soldiers that battle Odolwa to be smaller than the "civilian" Deku from the choir, for example.

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Zul: Are you planning on releasing MP3s of the demos at some point (free or otherwise)?

That has been thought of, and it's very likely. If they do, the way they will be released depends on the definitive road this project takes.

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BlackBelt002Will this opera be available on Youtube? Or will it be in a particular state?

If you hadn't asked about the location, this would have been identical to a previous question and subsequently ignored, as I have said before. Location-wise, I am from Portugal, and this is still too early a stage to know when, how or where anything might happen.

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PieStealer: Silly question of the day: What are some of the craziest things your actors have used for their 'costumes'? Since I'm sure there are liberties, considering everything is behind a curtain for the time being.

Liberties aplenty: Pillows to enhance body size, paper for hats and even duct-taped wrapping paper and cardboard hair!

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TOMBRAIDERLARA36: Hello I love what you've done but saying this wouldn't talking about Pamela and her father also be considered a tangent? I have a feeling I've missed something and I also feel that not including Romani and Cremia would be a shame.

I would have liked to include the ranch as well, but it is a location that does not make sense in the story's progression, nor does it fit well in the way the sets are programmed to flow.

Pamela and her father are definitely not a tangent, since Ikana Valley is a climactic location for the opera's plot. After all, Sakon's hideout is in the valley, and that is just part of the events that will unfold in that part of Termina.

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f(x)=12/x: While revising the opera, do you plan to add “translation tips”, or even a Portuguese version to start from? I mean, I’m sure you know Romance languages have longer words (among the rest) and sometimes don’t allow a  faithful translation.

I am horribly picky with translations and dislike most. I think that when something is designed to fit a certain language it never sounds or reads 100% well in any other.

I am, however, very inclined towards the subtitle solution. It's not invasive, it doesn't replace content and it serves as a support, even for English speakers themselves, since operatic singing rarely comes with perfect pronunciation.

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BowserTheSecond: Just a quick question, will the seahorses be in the play at all?

Seeing as I want to keep this as humanoid as possible to avoid puppetry and to enhance immersion, they do not. Also, they would probably have no purpose in the story.

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Mischifer6: Also, will other characters in Ikana be in this opera? (Garo, Stalchildren, Keeta, etc.?)

I have said before that King Igos du Ikana is an important character, and I can tell you that the Garo Master does appear as well, as he plays a vital role.

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thedivinity24136: Do you plan on actually making this an opera?

No, this is clearly a bowl of soup.

 

 

 

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Windmill Hut Interview

For those who missed yesterday's broadcast of the interview, here's the recording.

Also, the audio for the trio, demo #5, is officially recorded. As soon as the video is done, it will be finally released. We still don't have a definitive date for the video, but we expect to record it next week.

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Updates, another (audio) interview and Q&A #17

Once again we meet in this shady corner of the internet!

I have been interviewed again, with other questions. This time in audio format, and it will be broadcast over at the Windmill Hut at 7:00 PM PST on Wednesday the 25th of July. Thanks to Nova Amalak!

(Do not use the main flash stream, for it is buggy. Use the multi-player tune-in on the top left, or just directly choose a player below that.)

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Apart from that, here's what has been going on, for those who care to read:

The audio for the Clock Town Choir demo has been completely recorded, and is currently being mixed. We are still working around a way to make the video.

We're one day short of finally completing the audio for the Trio (Anju, the Postman and Anju's Mother), and I expect the video to be recorded as soon as possible. Although the date for that has not been specified yet, it will definitely be the next demo.

The recordings for another demo, a quartet between Kafei, the Monkey, the Deku King and the Deku Princess, have already begun.

The animation for the Giant's Aria is going well, as is the recording of its audio.

The video for Majora's Aria has also been recorded, yet the audio is not final. It might be the very last demo to come out, as the definitive audio is only expected to be ready at the end of August.

Those were the news on all five remaining demos.

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Now it's time for another short Q&A:

LinkinaMask: [referring to Demo #4]: The animation is good but how do you expect to take that to the stage?

The Deku would enter the swamp set, where Kafei has already been before this. The king would be the center of that sort of parade, while two stronger Deku would bring the squirming Monkey in and tie him to a pole like in the game. The planned sets allow for the cauldron to come in, although the Monkey would instead remain tied to the pole, as it is near impossible to sing well while upside down. As I have already said, the monkey doesn't die, so he is first left to "marinate" in the steam coming from the cauldron, while tied to the pole. They don't get to execute him due to the chain of events that follows.

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f(x)=12/x: Will Anju and Kafei have multiple musical themes, or a single one like Sakon? And, if you can tell, which are those? I know I could wait for the next demo with Anju, yet I couldn’t help asking.

Anju has an indirect connection to the Song of Storms, while they both share the theme of their marriage, which plays in the game in the end credits.

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f(x)=12/xWhat’s the name of the metallic-bongo-ish instrument that plays for more than half the demo (especially from 4:30 onward)?

You mean in Kafei's Dream, the instrumental? They're literally metallic pipes, of the sort you would find in sewers. Anything can be used as a percussion instrument, really.

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animesquirt: So for Kafei's Dream, is it JUST going to be a dance, or are lyrics eventually going to be added?

It is just a dance, yes. It's one of the opera's instrumental dance numbers, the longest, in fact. Another dance number has been uploaded a long time ago, the battle between Odolwa and the Deku. Each act is supposed to have one of these numbers.

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