This is Tyler (Mire) here. I handle all music related tasks involving our project “Shadows of Adam”. As the composer for the project, I try to use my craft of musical composition to help express the elements of the story and characters. A good musical score can help augment emotions or even subconsciously make the player feel a certain way.
The plan for these posts is to share with you various themes throughout the development of the game, showing off different stages of the process, from rough sketch, to sheet music, to the final product. In addition I hope to showÂ how it connects withÂ Tim’sÂ visuals and Luke’s script.
For my first post I will share the main theme I have composed for “Shadows of Adam”. Many other pieces will be based on similar melodic and harmonic elements. First, let’s listen:
Main Theme – “Destiny Awaits!”
Now that we’ve gotten a chance to listen, let’s delve into the musical analysis of this piece. (WARNING: Music Theory ahead!)
The main motif in this piece is stated in the opening two bars:
The staple of this melodic phrase is its use of a minor 7th interval in the first bar.
This interval is wide and open, giving it a flexibility to what sorts of tonalities it can be used in. For instance, the Main Theme is in A minor but the game’s Overworld Theme is in C Major. Both open with the same minor 7th interval (with some variation). The player will subconsciously connect the two phrases as the same melody, but the major and minor switch paints the melody with a different mood. What sorts of differences do you hear in the two different keys?
Overworld Theme – “Adventure Awaits”
The last part of the Main Theme I’d like to examine is the final 2 bars. I like to call this the “Adventure Tag”. A tag is a musical device that is used to delay the end of a phrase before returning back to the tonic chord. In the Main Theme, the last section modulates to C Major and ends with these two bars:
Observe how I used the chords Ab (bVI) – Bb (bVII) – Csus (Isus) – C (I):
This bVI – bVII – Isus – I chord sequence has an adventurous sound to my ear and I used it as a cohesive harmonic motif to connect several of the musical pieces. For instance, I use the “Adventure Tag” at the end of the Adam Village theme. Adam is the home village of our heroes Kellan and Asrael and even though it’s a soft, sleepy town nestled in the woods I used this tag at the end to hint at the coming adventure of our party. Listen below:
“Adam – Home Village”
As the player plays through the game, I hope they can pick up (subconsciously) these melodic and harmonic motifs and allow them to help better tell the story.