Jeremy Smith (Arizona State University)
“Wear People’s Faces”: Semiotic Awareness in Fan Adaptations of the Music from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
This presentation discusses fan adaptations of music from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, arguing that they maintain the semiotic meaning of the games’ original music while changing some structural features to place the original pieces into new stylistic contexts. The musical meaning of the works can be determined through a combination of semiotic and hermeneutic methods, and it is tied to the narrative context associated with the works in the game, which is often sad or anxious in emotional character. Remaking the music into adaptations helps fans of the game contextualize the meaning in new ways and understand how it relates to their own social and emotional circumstances. The adaptations help fans with “world building” and “organizing social life” (DeNora 2000, 44).
After an overview of Majora’s Mask that situates it within the Zelda series and its fandom, I will analyze adaptations of three pieces from the game: “Clock Town,” “Song of Healing,” and “Stone Tower Temple.” The adaptations discussed include amateur remixes and mashups, professional studio productions, covers in different genres, and a full-length opera by M. Bulteau, for which I have score excerpts obtained through online conversations. When making this content, creators “wear people’s faces” (like Link does with masks in the game) by taking on the emotional meaning of the works and putting it into new contexts. For example, the adaptation of “Song of Healing” by Rozen (2018) communicates the experience of being emotionally healed through a gradual crescendo, thickening of texture, and ascent in register.
Source: Bardic Knowledge