You could say that video game music is becoming much more epic as the years go by.

A growing number of MIDI possibilities are at the disposal of game composers, and the number of streaming, fully orchestrated soundtracks is continually increasing. There are those that say newer game soundtracks are less memorable, because soundtracks for sequels and franchises seemingly rehash old music, while soundtracks for new IPs seem to be very contemporary, ambiguous, and often only ambient. However, I would disagree with anyone that says new video game soundtracks can't be just as memorable or even better than the soundtracks of old, as I'm going to turn to a recent adventure of everyone's favorite plumber to help demonstrate my case.

The music from the first *Super Mario Galaxy* takes some of the best traits in *Mario* music, which are then redefined and augmented in a process that ups the presentation to a level unparalleled by any other Nintendo game currently available. There are no doubts in my mind that many of you consider the music of *Super Mario Galaxy* to be one of the most impressive and memorable video game soundtracks in recent years. Today, we're going to look at the music a little more objectively, revisiting a concept I used over three years ago to illustrate a musical phenomenon that seemed to pop up in music from the *Zelda* series. I hope it both boggles your mind and challenges you to listen to video game music in new ways. Read on, my friends!

For those that weren't around last time, here's a brief summary of what the Golden Ratio (a.k.a *Phi*), the natural and mathematical phenomenon behind this article, is and why it has significance. If you think of the length of a line segment as being equal to 1.0, there lies a point at approximately 0.618 where the ratio of the smaller segment to the larger segment is equal to the ratio of the larger segment to the whole, as illustrated above. For clarification, *Phi* is actually approximated at 1.618 (where the relationship of .618 to 1.0 is the same as 1 to 1.618), but I'll be using its reciprocal of 0.618 because I find it easier to multiply by 0.618 rather than to divide the whole by 1.618. As long as the proper number is used with the proper operation, either can be used, as Phi is merely representative of a relationship between two numbers.

Why the big fuss? Well, it's a mathematical phenomenon, as demonstrated by the Fibonacci Series of Numbers above, that seems to be found in many aspects of nature such as the structures of plants, animals, and even chemical compounds. In addition, it has been applied to visual artwork such as paintings and architecture, and many believe that the human mind subconsciously perceives anything that exhibits the Golden Ratio in any notable fashion as an object of beauty. It's considered natural symmetry. In music, the theory lingers that compositions designed (both intentionally and unintentionally) with forms that stress the Golden Ratio are aurally more pleasing to the ear and mind. The most significant example is Béla Bartók's *"Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta,"* which lacks hard proof that Bartók consciously used the Golden Ratio, but nonetheless is littered with chord, rhythms, and structures echoing the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Series of Numbers.

That should do it for a crash course on the Golden Ratio, though remember that this is all just theory. *Mario* composer Koji Kondo doesn't consciously use the phenomenon in his compositions, though it continues to pop up in his work. We've already seen some prime examples of the ratio in music from *The Legend of Zelda* and other games from tha franchise, so let's turn around and launch right into the music (YouTube recordings from Artictoc) that helped propel our favorite plumber out into the heavens.