Anne’s Theme was the first one I started working on when I composed the music for the very first teaser trailer back in 2014. The theme has evolved with the game but the essential elements are the same. It consists of 2 fragments which symbolize different emotions.
The A-section of Anne's Theme is used to describe a feeling that is shared by most inhabitants of the Forgotten Lands: the feeling of longing. Longing to be remembered and to return to the real world. Because that’s a universal emotion, the melodic fragment doesn’t change much during the game. It’s a constant which lies underneath everything that happens in the Forgotten Lands.
The B-section is heard in many different variations throughout the game and is closely connected to Anne and her voyage through the Forgotten Lands. It changes with Anne as she experiences new things and follows her personal development. The theme is characterized by the step-wise upward movement followed by a fall, which gives a feeling of optimism and release.
The full theme is only heard in a few key scenes. Listen to it here.
Using the Theme in Different Emotional Contexts
The score is composed like a classical film score in which the themes follow the emotional development and actions of the characters. Because Forgotton Anne is a game, however, the music is also dynamic and must follow the player’s choices. This additional compositional challenge will be covered in another blog.
I use two basic compositional tools to transform Anne’s Theme as she progresses in the game: Transformation of the surroundings of the theme and transformation of the theme itself. Combinations are of course also an option.
Transformation of the Surroundings of the Theme
A very effective way of changing the feeling is to change the chords and accompaniment texture surrounding the theme. In the example below, the piano theme (B-section) is surrounded by a dark orchestral texture. Not only is the innocent theme drowning in darkness, it’s also in another tonality and time signature than the orchestra.
Transformation of the Theme Itself
Another method I used to transform the theme is to change the parameters of the theme itself. It could be the rhythm, intervals, tempo and so on. In the first example the B-section of the theme is transformed into a duet between 2 flutes (in an irregular 5/4 time signature) followed by a variation in harp and celesta – the signature sound of Anne.
In the second example, the theme (B-section) is again played by the piano, but this time in a faster, more lively version.
In the last example, a solo violin plays a sad but hopeful variation of the theme. The chords and the orchestral accompaniment surrounding the theme are also changed and help create a new feeling that corresponds with Anne’s emotional state.
The function of the theme is to help tell the story and to understand the characters. It’s a recognizable marker that can identify and follow a character through any journey or emotion. It can inform about a present influence, of an absent character, as well as things about the characters of which they are not yet aware. What does it mean when we hear Anne’s Theme interwoven with the Bonku Theme (Example 4) or the Rebel Theme (Example 7)? The possibilities are endless.