Monday, September 6, 2010

Scoring with the Human Voice

One of my favorite score elements is the use of the human voice.  Voice is used in scores in many ways including as a chorus or choir (Exultate Justi from John Williams' Empire of the Sun), solo voice (Charlotte Church in James Horner's A Beautiful Mind), chanting (Assassination from Cliff Eidelman's Star Trek VI) or as more of a background texture, element, or accent (How Could You Leave Us from John Ottman's Superman Returns).  One of my first experiences with voice in a score came in 1989's Batman by Danny Elfman.  I still remember marveling at the mystery and power of the track "Descent into Mystery," a cue, which scores Batman's decent into his hidden lair with a somewhat worried Vicki Vale.  The cue begins softly, builds, and then ends with a climactic crash of Batman's theme, all along the chorus gives added mystery and excitement.  That same year I heard James Horner's Glory featuring the Boys Choir of Harlem.  Glory is a veritable powerhouse of choral excellence.  Cues like Charging Fort Wagner, Epitaph to War, and Closing Credits have the set the bar for many composers since.  As is often the case with composers today, Horner drew inspiration from classical works of long ago.  In the case of Charging Fort Wagner, from Carl Orff's O Fortuna from the cantata Carmina Burana.  Horner is just one composer of many (John Williams Duel of the Fates from The Phantom Menace) who has imitated Orff's work and with great success at that.

What follows below is a listing of some of my favorite score cues utilizing the human voice.  As my journey in exploring the use of voice in scoring continues so to will this list be updated here:

1492 Conquest of Paradise\Light and Shadow 
Abyss\Bud on the Ledge
Alice in Wonderland\Alice's Theme
American Journey - 2002 Winter Olympics\Call of the Champions
Amistad\Dry Your Tears, Afrika
Apollo 13\Dark Side of the Moon
Apollo 13\End Titles
August Rush\August's Rhapsody
Avatar\Becoming One of the People-Becoming one with Neytiri
Avatar\Climbing Up Iknimaya - The Path to Heaven
Avatar\Jake's First Flight
Avatar\Gathering All the Navi Clans for Battle
Band of Brothers\Main Titles
Band of Brothers\Requiem
Batman\Descent into Mystery
A Beautiful Mind\Creating Governing Dynamics
A Beautiful Mind\All Love Can Be
The Blue Planet\The Blue Planet
Brainstorm\Michael's Gift to Karen
Casper\Casper's Lullaby
Charlotte's Web\The Plan Begins
Children of Dune\Inama Nushif (Montage).
Christopher Columbus The Discovery\The Discovery (Gloria)
Christopher Columbus The Discovery\Come O Come, Emmanuel
Conan the Barbarian\Riders of Doom
Command & Conquer 4 Tiberian Twilight\The Prophet's Ascension
Crimson Tide\Roll Tide-Hymn- Father Strong to Save
Cutthroat Island\Main Title- Morgan's Ride
The Da Vinci Code\CheValiers de Sangreal
The Da Vinci Code\Rose of Arimathea
The Da Vinci Code\Poisoned Chalice
Dances with Wolves\Stands With a Fist Remembers
Deep Impact\Goodbye and Godspeed
Dinosaur\The Eggs Travels
Dinosaur\Across the Desert
Dune\Paul Meets Chani
Edward Scissorhands\Edward Meets the World- Storytime
Edward Scissorhands\Edward Meets the World- Beautiful New World-Home Sweet Home
Edward Scissorhands\Poor Edward- The Grand Finale
Elizabeth: The Golden Age\Divinity Theme
Elizabeth: The Golden Age\Horseback Address
Elizabeth: The Golden Age\Storm
Empire of the Sun\Cadillac of the Skies
Empire of the Sun\Exsultate Justi
Endurance\Mother is Sent Away
Enemy at the Gates\12 - Tania (End Credits)
Evan Almighty\The Flood
Fantastic Four\Main Titles
The Final Conflict\The Final Conflict (Main Title)
First Knight\Arthur's Farewell
The Four Feathers\A Coward No Longer
Gladiator\Now We Are Free
Glory\A Call to Arms
Glory\The Year of Jubilee
Glory\Burning the Town of Darien
Glory\Charging Fort Wagner
Glory\An Epitaph to War
Glory\Closing Credits
The Gospel of John\Follow Me
The Chronicles of Narnia\The Battle
Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire Soundtrack\The Quidditch World Cup
Hook\You Are the Pan
Hook\Farewell Neverland
How to Train Your Dragon\This is Berk
How to Train Your Dragon\Forbidden Friendship
How to Train Your Dragon\Romantic Flight
Hunt for Red October\Hymn to Red October (Main Title)
Hunt for Red October\Nuclear Scam
Raiders of the Lost Ark\The Map Room- Dawn
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom\Approaching the Stones
The Island\ My Name Is Lincoln
Journey to The Center Of The Earth\The Center Of the Earth
Jurassic Park\Theme from Jurassic Park
King Kong\The Empire State Building _ Beauty Killed the Beast
K-19 The Widowmaker\Journey
Krull\Epilogue & End Credits
Lady in the Water\The Great Eatlon
The Lamb of God\In Paradise
The Land Before Time\The Great Migration
Legend - The Jerry Goldsmith Score\Reunited
The Lion In Winter\Main Title-The Lion In Winter
The Lion King\This Land
The Lion King\To Die For
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring\The Bridge of Khazad Dum
The Two Towers\Foundations of Stone
The Two Towers\Evenstar
The Two Towers\Farewell To Lorien
The Lord of the Rings_ Return of the King\The End of All Things
Medal of Honor: Frontline\Arnhem
Mighty Joe Young\Dedication and Windsong
The Mighty Soundtrack\My Noble Knight
The Mission\On Earth as It Is in Heaven
The Mission\River
The Mummy\The Sand Volcano
The Mummy Returns\Alan Silvestri\The Mummy Returns\Mummy Returns
The Nativity Story\A Star Shall Come Forth
The Nativity Story\In Rosa Vernat Lilium
Carmina Burana\O Fortuna
The Passion of the Christ\Bearing the Cross
The Passion of the Christ\Mary Goes to Jesus
The Passion of the Christ\Raising the Cross
The Passion of the Christ\Resurrection
Plunkett And Macleane\Hanging
Pope Joan\Anno Domini 887
Pope Joan\Silent Wedding
Pope Joan\Pilgrimage To Rome
Pope Joan\Liber Pontificalis
The Power of One\Mother Africa
Alexander Nevsky\Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78_ VII. Alexander’s Entry into Pskov
Rudy\Rudy (Main Title)
Sahara\All Aboard!
Saving Private Ryan\Hymn to the Fallen
The Scarlet Letter\Agnus Dei
Sneakers\Main Title
Spider-Man 2\Spiderman 2 Main Title
Star Trek\Nero Death Experience
Return of the Jedi\Final Duel-Into the Death Star
The Phantom Menace\Duel of the Fates
The Phantom Menace\Passage Through the Planet Core
Revenge of the Sith\Battle of the Heroes
Revenge of the Sith\Grievous Speaks to Lord Sidious
Shadows of the Empire\Destruction of Xizor's Palace (excerpts)
Superman Returns\How Could You Leave Us
Time Machine \Eloi
Time Machine \Stone Language
Time Machine \Godspeed
Titanic\Hymn to the Sea
Transformers\Arrival To Earth
Valkyrie\They'll Remember You
The Water Horse Legend of the Deep\Swimming
We Were Soldiers\Flying High-Sgt. MacKenzie
We Were Soldiers\End Credits-Sgt. MacKenzie-The Mansions Of The Lord
Willow\Elora Danan


  1. You should also check out "The Ghost and The Darkness" from Jerry Goldsmith for some very unusual combination of African Chants with regular symphony orchestra.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion. I own many scores by Jerry Goldsmith, but not that one. I will check it out.

  3. The Secret of N.I.M.H. is rich with gorgeous choral work. Some other great cues:

    Evey Reborn - V for Vendetta
    Bond Led to Pyramid - Moonraker
    Judgement Day - Judge Dredd


Thanks for sharing!