This article discusses fan adaptations of music from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000), arguing that the creators of these adaptations pick up on semiotic meaning in the game’s original music and maintain this meaning while changing some structural features of the music to place the original pieces into new stylistic and generic contexts. The musical meaning in the works is sometimes subtle, but it can be determined through a combination of semiotic and hermeneutic methods. In both the original soundtrack and the adaptations, the meaning of the music is also tied to the in-game narrative context associated with it, 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.”1
After an overview of Majora’s Mask that situates it within Nintendo’s corpus, the Zelda series and its fandom, and composer Koji Kondo’s oeuvre, the article discusses and analyzes multiple adaptations of three specific 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 composer M. Bulteau. When making this new content, creators “wear people’s faces” (like the protagonist Link does with masks in the game) by taking on the emotional meaning of the works and putting it into new contexts that imitate, but do not replicate, the original music.