If this musician had died a month earlier, the mythical Zelda song would have been a 1928 work inspired by the Spanish bolero

Imagine that one of the most famous topics in the video game industry did not exist. Think of a setting where, instead of its mythical tune, the main theme of The Legend of Zelda it was actually a song by classical music created in 1928.

Now consider that, far from being an unimportant occurrence, all this could have happened if not for a small detail: the composer of that song had died a month later than they thought. Nintendo. This is the surreal story behind the main theme of The Legend of Zelda.

From Paris to Japan

We are on November 22, 1928 and we have front row tickets at the Paris Opera. In front of us an orchestra about to dazzle the world with one of the most famous musical works in history.

In the background a scene that represents a dark cafe in Barcelona. In front, the corps de ballet of the Russian dancer Ida Rubinstein. Sounding, the iconic Bolero by Maurice Ravel.

Inspired by the Spanish bolero, that composition would go on to become one of the most prolific in the history of music years later. It has had dozens of musical adaptations, has adorned sports shows, has given names to films, and has become the common denominator of television series as far apart as Dragon Ball and tell me how it happened.

65 years after that presentation in style, the work still held the first position in the world ranking of French copyright. An important fact to take into account because, as expected with such a trajectory, the Ravel’s bolero It also had its place in the world of video games.

A tribute to the Spanish bolero in Japanese lands

Of all the curious facts that surround the Bolero de Rave, that of its copyright is the one that interests us the most for the development of this story. If not for that, the main theme of The Legend of Zelda it would have looked a lot like this.

We are in 1986 and the launch of The Legend of Zelda for the NES is right around the corner. The game is about to be finished and composer Koji Kondo makes the final arrangements on a soundtrack that promises to bring you as much joy as your work on Super Mario Bros.

In addition to the original tracks, there is an arrangement the team is particularly proud of, an adaptation of the mythical Ravel’s bolero that, adjusted to the technical possibilities of the NES, will be the theme that will open the game to become the main song of the next bombshell of Nintendo.

A month of difference that changed everything

However, shortly before going into production, someone has a curious idea and wonders if this very old issue is really free of any hint of Copyright.

Unlike in other territories, in Japan the rights prescribe 50 years after the death of the author and, unfortunately for the team, Maurice Ravel he’s only been dead 49 years and 11 months.

What in any other situation would have meant delaying the launch a little more to reach the market with the main theme they wanted, in the case of The Legend of Zelda the logistics of the launch in Japan and on the other side of the globe months later made any change of dates impossible.

The only solution was to create a new theme From overnight And in the absence of time, Kondo took one of the themes from the game and fixed it to make it sound different.

He was not him Ravel’s bolero, but he was happy with the epicity he had managed to convey with a few changes. That theme would become the main song of the saga The Legend of Zelda and with it, in a composition almost as famous as the one that Kondo aspired to honor.

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If this musician had died a month earlier, the mythical Zelda song would have been a 1928 work inspired by the Spanish bolero