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Nintendo music on the melodica

I love vintage children’s instruments, and I try to collect them. (It goes along with the edutainment thing, I guess.) I really like miniature accordions, toy pianos, and different types of glockenspiels.

Usually I troll YouTube for ukulele covers, but tonight I figured, hey. Ukulele is stale. I ought to listen to melodica covers instead.

Now, the melodica is an interesting instrument. It looks like a child’s instrument, like some common recorder or penny whistle, but it has a really warm, organic sound that hints at its relation to the accordion and harmonica. But it doesn’t sound quite like any other instrument—the melodica is inscrutable. With both the melodica and the accordion, you get the sound of breathing, of little air valves pumping, which lends these instruments a “voice” that you don’t usually get either with wind instruments or with keyboards.

And that is why I like the melodica.

With no more ado, here are a handful of classic Nintendo songs as played on the melodica.

This is the Super Mario Bros theme.

Just a snippet of the underwater theme from Super Mario Bros.

By no means the best of the Mario themes, but this guy wins for pure pizazz. (Nice hat.)

The music from Tetris is a popular choice for fledgling YouTube performers. Here’s one of the best, augmented by a truly odd comedic performance.

This rendition of the Zelda theme isn’t perfect, but it’s my favorite. Also, it looks like an awesome house party.

This cover of Zelda’s “Song of Storms” really benefits from its higher production values! (I’m also into the eye contact thing.)

You’re welcome.

7 responses to “Nintendo music on the melodica” »

  1. Jon Conley says:

    Why thank you.

    Your infatuation with things that I am also infatuated with makes me happy. Nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than people playing old Nintendo songs on odd instruments.

    I love these instruments. I do (especially the accordion). I just, love electric pianos and organs (especially pipe organs) a tiny bit more. That’s what I like to collect and play. And now, I’d like to share some of the greatness with you.

    1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZYzy4qg0hY
    2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNKqcTDm3io
    3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3FsQ7omxn0
    4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYMa3kux8Yk

    And then, there’s the theremin. And here, you can listen to the Super Mario Bros. theme, in the tune of the parents in the Peanuts cartoons:

    More of this, I say.

  2. Austin says:


    That house party did look awfully warm and happy, although any party involving a Zelda theme probably fits that description.

  3. Danny says:

    Thanks for sharing these. The Tetris performance is quite good, but I think my favorite out of the bunch is Song of Storms.

  4. Jenn Frank says:

    Yeah. I think I could have weighted the whole thing a little better, because the last three are really interesting, strong performances.

    (edit: Whoa, I just noticed that concluding with “you’re welcome” generated three thank-yous. Hee hee!)

  5. Tim says:

    haha, you posted my songs of storms vid.
    neato ;D

  6. Jenn Frank says:

    Dear Tim:

    I just realized that, in your YouTube videos, you play toy piano, glockenspiel, ukulele, and melodica, and that you have a lovely singing voice. I will be linking to you again for the Nintendo: Toy Piano post, whenever it happens.

    All my love,

  7. Jon Conley says:

    Hey Tim, I also wanted to say good job on the Song of Storms video. You guys should collaborate on more songs. Virtual YouTube bands are the future! Heed these words!

    Check this guy out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Iq_ak1M5Eg

    Homemade pipe organ! Pity a few of the notes are out of tune. Either way, extremely creative and useful for a stay on a deserted island. The BIC pen truly is a handy instrument. Good for homemade pipe organs. Great for an emergency tracheotomy.

    And now, more Zelda songs…

    Song of Time on a carrot ocarina!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y_CGB1GuoI

    Not game related, but obviously, YouTube video of the day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZemzIZF4IY

    [ This guy makes all kinds of vegetable instruments! Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/user/heita3 ]

    Also, Zelda Underworld Theme, played to damn near perfection: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDa_-JnucQc

    My favorite YouTube Gerudo Valley song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00w-P8aCZjU

    I love this song, so much.

    Honestly, it’s always kind of been my dream that I just catch some spontaneous street musicians playing this when I walk down to the market. I wish there were flashmob-style performances like that; where a band just randomly assembles in a public space, plays a video game song and then mysteriously leaves.

    Kind of like when you’re at a generic restaurant, where the whole staff comes out and sings Happy Birthday to your friend, because you wanted to take advantage of the free cake policy.

    And just as an aside, why isn’t there a Video Games Live kind of classical music show, dedicated solely to Castlevania songs?

    Wood Carving Partita: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DfIw0A3zQk
    Requiem for the Gods: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM3xTj1sY5E
    Bloody Tears: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MM_Q0nfaG0

    These are my demands, for future generations.

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