Not only does The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom simulate wind, electricity, aerodynamics, and inertia, it also simulates the phenomenon of pressure waves detected by our ears: i.e. sound. As players have been slowly realizing, when stuck in the ground to various depths, Zonai Stakes vibrate at different frequencies when struck. Line a bunch of these up and yep, you can play melodies. What can’t this game do?
Tears of the Kingdom has an abundance of playful opportunities for players looking to mix and match different items, all with simulated physics that’ll let you build all sorts of useful and not-so-useful inventions out of Zonai Devices. Named after the game’s ancient civilization, Zonai Devices are like individual gadget components and have all sorts of potential uses. That’s lead players to construct some unique things, like the fundamental operations of a calculator. Now fans are discovering that you can create music with these objects. And though it’s very basic, that hasn’t stopped people from basically covering some well-known songs.
As composer bran demonstrates on Twitter, using a Beam Emitter contraption and a series of Zonai Stakes, you can play familiar tunes.
Here’s another example with a cover of Haddaway’s “What is Love.”
As Zonai Stakes are really only capable of sustaining notes similar to a wind chime, some melodies are harder to coax out than others. But here is a pretty good example of the Among Us theme.
Okay, so you’re ready to uninstall Reaper or Pro Tools or whatever it is you use in your audio-producing sidegig and dedicate yourself to being a full-time Zonai Stake player? Here’s how it works.
To start making music in Tears of the Kingdom, you’ll need some Zonai Stakes. One place you can get them from is the Zonai Dispenser on Sokkala Sky Archipelago, near the Natak Shrine. The easiest way to get there is to launch out of the Ulri Mountain Skyview Tower and use this Zonai Wing trick (or Air Bike) to cross the distance. (The crystal for the Natak Shrine is in the big Traveller-lookin’ sphere to the right.) Other Zonai Dispenser locations include the Gerudo Canyon and Southern Hyrule Sky.
As a note, this particular Zonai Dispenser is kinda stingy. I’ve had others give me way more devices with five regular-sized Zonai charges. One of the best ways to farm more charges is to take down a few Flux Constructs.
Now that you’ve got some Zonai Stakes, it’s time to get to work, Mozart. TotK doesn’t make this easy, as the ever-present soundtrack tends to come and go as you’re working on tuning your stakes (its gentle melody goes back and forth between some Cs, Fs, and B-flats, which can be a little distracting).
When struck (even when laying on its side) a Zonai Stake will produce a tone. The further it’s jammed into the ground, the higher the pitch will sound. I found that placed in the ground at its tallest position produces what, to my ear anyway, sounds like a C*. Laying it on its side, I found the Zonai Stakes to produce what sounded like a B flat. (It sounds to me like the stake’s chime sound has a very present third harmonic, which sort of messed with what note I thought I was hearing for various stake depths. As such, the “C” I was hearing could’ve really been an F, and so on.)
If you Ultrahand Stakes together to produce longer stakes, the pitch will lower. To my ear, two stacked on top of each other was capable of producing a low F, while three brought it back to a C.
You can strike these with a weapon to produce a sound, but the more effective way involves a Beam Emitter, either mounted to a spinning wheel, or held up to the stake with Ultrahand or even Recall.
As with the very basic Zonai-built calculator, the ability to make in-game music is only very rudimentary at best. And you can’t really hold notes for longer than what would amount to a quarter or an eighth note, depending on the tempo. That said, as shown by the videos above, you can crank out some recognizable melodies if you take the time to tune them.