Alien: Jerry Goldsmith's soundtrack

08 March 2023
alien film poster original
The soundtrack for the film "Alien" was composed by Jerry Goldsmith a renowned composer who has composed music for numerous films and television shows such as Star Trek. Goldsmith's score for "Alien" is widely regarded as a masterpiece of film scoring and has been praised for its use of innovative and unsettling sounds to create a sense of tension and unease throughout the film.

Goldsmith's score for "Alien" was written using a variety of different instruments, including electronic synthesizers, orchestral instruments, and various sound effects. The score incorporates elements of horror and science fiction music, using dissonant chords, unconventional instrumentation, and unusual rhythmic patterns to create an otherworldly and unsettling atmosphere.

One of the most memorable aspects of Goldsmith's score for "Alien" is its use of vocalizations, including a haunting female choir and strange, animalistic growls and screams. These vocalizations are used to create a sense of unease and otherworldliness, and they are often used in conjunction with eerie electronic effects and dissonant chords to create a sense of terror and horror.

Another notable aspect of Goldsmith's score for "Alien" is its use of silence and space. Rather than filling every moment of the film with music, Goldsmith often allows moments of quiet to create a sense of tension and anticipation. This use of silence is particularly effective in the film's climactic sequence, in which the alien is stalking the protagonist in the dark, claustrophobic corridors of the spaceship.

For the initial release of the film, portions of Jerry Goldsmith's original score for the 1962 film "Freud" were used, including the film's Main Title and the tracks "Charcot's Show" and "Desperate Case". These pieces were repurposed and re-orchestrated for use in "Alien", and can be heard in various parts of the film.

Additionally, the film's end credits featured the first movement (adagio) from Howard Hanson's 1930 "Symphony No. 2, Romantic". This piece was chosen by the film's editor, Terry Rawlings, and was not part of Goldsmith's original score. The piece was chosen for its melancholy and mournful qualities, which Rawlings felt were appropriate for the film's conclusion.

It is worth noting that some versions of the film, such as the director's cut and subsequent releases, feature different music during the end credits, as well as other changes to the film's score. However, for the film's initial release, the combination of Goldsmith's original score for "Freud" and Howard Hanson's "Symphony No. 2, Romantic" were used.

Trivia about the Alien film soundtrack

  • The film's director, Ridley Scott, originally wanted a classical, orchestral score for the film, but after hearing some of Jerry Goldsmith's experimental electronic music, he changed his mind and hired Goldsmith to create the score.
  • One of the most iconic sounds in the film's score is the eerie, high-pitched wail of the "yawning egg". This sound was created by recording the slowed-down screech of a tam-tam, a type of gong used in orchestral music.
  • The film's opening credits feature a haunting, wordless vocal piece sung by a female choir. This piece, known as "Prologue", was written by Goldsmith specifically for the film and sets the tone for the rest of the score.
  • During the scene where the alien bursts out of the chest of John Hurt's character, the music that plays is actually a reworked version of Goldsmith's earlier score for the film "Freud".
  • The film's climactic sequence, in which the alien stalks Sigourney Weaver's character through the corridors of the spaceship, features almost no music at all. Instead, Goldsmith and director Ridley Scott opted to use silence and ambient sound effects to build tension and create a sense of unease.
  • After the film's release, Goldsmith's score was nominated for an Academy Award, but ultimately lost to Vangelis' score for "Chariots of Fire". Many film music fans and critics felt that Goldsmith's score was more innovative and deserving of the award.
  • The film's score has since been re-recorded and performed live in concert by orchestras around the world, and has become a beloved classic of the film music genre.


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My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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