Let's get a little technical for a second: the definition of “melody” is a succession of musical tones which is perceived as a single entity. A melody, in its most basic form, is made up of two things: pitch and rhythm. So let's look at the first part of the Palace Theme's melody, just the pitches for a moment.
Ah-hah, the rhythm! That's just as important to the melody as the pitches—so let's look at the Palace Theme's rhythm for a moment. Right away, in the second bar, we see the rhythmic pattern that will drive the entire piece: dotted quarter, dotted quarter (represented by an eighth tied to a quarter), then quarter.
You see additive rhythm most often in asymmetrical meters like 5/8, 7/8—any meter that doesn't divide the beats equally. But as we see in the Palace Theme, additive rhythm can be applied to any type of meter, including the symmetrics. Contemporary composers sometimes notate additive rhythms in the time signatures themselves; in this case, it would be 3+3+2/8.
So why didn't I notate it as such in my sheet music? Because there are sections of the piece that do not use additive rhythm. The B section starting at m. 27 is a fluid triplet feel on top of the sweeping 16th arpeggios, which is a really awesome part of the piece as well—by setting up such a strong additive pattern for A section, the B section's more straightforward, divisive rhythmic pattern becomes more noticeable and is a welcome break. Not only that, but the contour of the melody suddenly blows up, it starts a climbing scalar pattern; the rhythm has clearly become secondary to the pitches of the melody. Pretty cool right? In the first half of the piece, the rhythm is the driving force; in the second half, the pitches are the driving force. In this short piece, the composer has highlighted and featured each part of what makes up a strong melody: pitch and rhythm. Bam! Two points for Nakatsuka-san!
Enjoy this week's transcriptions of the Main Titles, Overworld and Palace themes from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. More on the way!