The Rainforest” (World Wildlife Fund)

TV Commercial


The present analysis pertains to a 59-second television commercial for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) entitled "The Rainforest". The commercial, when viewed, elicits the impression of being presented in slow motion, a stylistic choice likely intended to draw attention to the gradual disappearance of rainforests. In order to enhance the compositional process, the composer of the score for the commercial availed themselves of reference materials pertaining to both composition in general and, more specifically, rainforest sounds and instruments. This enabled the composer to express themselves with greater ease and accuracy.

The commercial serves to raise awareness of the issue of deforestation and its devastating impact on the natural world, while also highlighting the efforts of the WWF to prevent such destruction. The music score, in turn, is composed in binary form (ABA'), featuring a repeated main theme at the end that creates a sense of unity. The score is intended to stand as a piece of music in its own right, while also organically connecting the two sections of the commercial.

The tempo and instrumentation play critical roles in the score, with the varied tempo, driven by the slow motion and fading images, designed to align with specific scenes and text messages. This serves to blend the score more seamlessly into the visuals, thereby reinforcing the message of the commercial. The nature of the narrative suggests the use of primitive instruments in the score, which has led the composer to incorporate elements of fusion music.

In terms of musical style, the composition draws inspiration from "Clair de Lune" by Claude Debussy, who is widely considered to have played a leading role in the fusion of music and drama. The prominent piano part and bansuri (Indian flute) carry the thematic materials, responding to the narrative of the video. The piano serves to harmonically emphasize the two contrasting moods of the subject matter and evokes the viewer's perspective. The bass clarinet represents the hunting images, while the motifs of the bansuri address the rainforest itself. These simple but contrasting instrumentations match the visuals and aid in translating the emotions conveyed by the commercial to the music.

The piece opens with the bass clarinet and continues with a simple piano theme, which brings a sense of proximity to the wild life of the forest (section A). The motifs of the bansuri then respond to the piano, conveying a sense of sadness. The slowly moving camera blends with the exotic eastern quality, leading to softly played arpeggios on the piano. In section B, the piano provides a forward motion, emotional response to the narrative. A brief change in tonality at 00:48:21, from G minor to C minor, serves to emphasize the benefits of rainforests and the harmonic language employed is effective in providing continuity while remaining synchronized with the text.

The music develops in tandem with the progression of the story, moving the plot along. The return of the bansuri, accompanying the text message 'this is the rainforest', provides a suitable balance to the form of the score. In parallel to the conclusion of the video, the music also fades away with a slightly altered opening theme (Section A'), thus fulfilling its intended purpose by leaving a lasting impression on the viewer.