The Rainforest” (World Wildlife Fund)

TV Commercial


The Rainforest is a 59" TV commercial for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). When presented with The Rainforest video, my first impression was that whole clip was in slow-motion. Perhaps the director tried to respond to the issue of slow disappearance of the rainforest with a slow-motion video to draw more attention.

‘Applied to the flight of a bird, for example, slow-motion reveals the hitherto unseen sequence of the many separate strains and small movements of which it is compounded’

To assist the compositional process, reference material on composition and more specifically material pertaining to rainforest sounds and instruments have been researched and studied as in the bibliography. This has enabled me to express myself more easily and accurately. 'The beauty, majesty, and timelessness of a primary rainforest are indescribable. It is impossible to capture on film, to describe in words, or to explain to those who have never had the awe-inspiring experience of standing in the heart of a primary rainforest.' footnote or reference needed eg Moss, 2005’’

The message from The Rainforest commercial is to make people aware of deforestation and its devastating impact on nature, coupled with WWF’s efforts to prevent deforestation from happening a positive image. Examining the commercial suggests the music score should consist of two contrasting moods which naturally define the form of the music. As a result, the score is in Binary form (ABA') , with a repeated main theme at the end that creates a sense of unity. In fact, my main goal was to compose a wall to wall score that organically connects these two sections and should also stand up as a piece of music on its own.

Like the form, the tempo and the choice of instrumentation play an important role. The varied tempo which is driven by the slow motion and fading images aim to hit some scenes and text messages. By doing this the score blends more to into the picture and boosts the message of the video.

The nature of the narrative suggests the use of primitive instruments in the score and inspires me to compose fusion music. In terms of musical style, Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy - who is regarded as leading role in the fusion of music and drama - is a good example to explore. Prominent Piano part and Bansuri (Indian Flute) carry the thematic materials to respond to the narrative of the video. However, the Piano is also harmonically serving to emphasize the two contrasting moods of the delicate subject and evokes our point of view. The Bass Clarinet represents the hunting images (the man and the tiger) while the motifs of the Bansuri addresses the Rainforest itself. These simple and interesting contrast instrumentation match the video and help to translate our emotions to the music.

The piece opens with bass clarinet and continues with the simple piano theme which brings a proximity to the wild life of the forest (section A). Then Bansuri's motif responds to the piano with its sadness. Slowly moving camera blends with the exotic eastern quality and leads us to softly played arpeggios on the piano. In section B, between 00:36:23 to 00:54:13, the Piano provides a forward motion, emotional response to the narrative. A brief change of tonality at 00:48:21 - from G minor to C minor - helps to emphasize the benefits of rainforests. In here, the harmonic language is very effective which serves a genuine continuity while keeping in synchronize with the text.

‘The music needed to develop as the story developed and move the plot along’

The return of Bansuri accompanies the text message 'this is the rainforest' provides a fine balance to the form of the score. In parallel to the video ending the music also fades away with the slightly altered opening theme (Section A') and accomplishes its mission by leaving a permanent mark on one's mind.