Originally Posted by Asdraguuhl
I find it strange that many people claim that the music gives them a Victorian feel. The game is set in the late 19th century and the music does not sound as if it came from that era. In fact, the composer himself has stated that the composition was based on earlier styles.
A quote from the composer Ben Houge:
The first thing I was told about Arcanum was the central conflict of the game: magic versus technology. This idea was so interesting and unique that I considered carefully how to best reflect it in the music. I presented a couple of ideas to the guys at Troika, and we finally settled on a sort of musical anachronism: a score centered around the styles and textures of Renaissance, medieval, and early music, but performed by a characteristic ensemble of the Victorian era, the string quartet. This dichotomy is most evident in the main Arcanum theme, but it shows up more obliquely in the chant-like melodies and motives that recur throughout the score, as well as in the texture and motion of the individual parts. (For example, notice the main theme of "The Caladon Catacombs" and the "Towns" music.) In my writing, I've avoided the virtuosic ornamentation and extremes of tessitura that characterize much Romantic-era string quartet literature, turning instead to the counterpoint and phrasing of early polyphony. Obviously, some of the pieces stray from this original conception, usually for dramatic reasons, but it served as a fruitful point of departure.