2001: A Space Odyssey (soundtrack)  

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2001: A Space Odyssey, 2001: A Space Odyssey (score)

2001's soundtrack did much to introduce the modern classical composer György Ligeti to a wider public, using extracts from his Requiem (the Kyrie), Atmosphères, Lux Aeterna and (in an altered form) Aventures (though without his permission).


Track listing

| extra_column = Performer(s) | title1 = Also sprach Zarathustra | music1 = Richard Strauss | extra1 = The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Karl Böhm | length1 = 1:46 | title2 = Requiem for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, 2 Mixed Choirs and Orchestra | music2 = György Ligeti | extra2 = The Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Francis Travis | length2 = 4:04 | title3 = Lux Aeterna | music3 = György Ligeti | extra3 = The Stuttgart Schola Cantorum, Clytus Gottwald | length3 = 5:50 | title4 = The Blue Danube | music4 = Johann Strauss II | extra4 = The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan | length4 = 6:55 | title5 = Gayane Ballet Suite (Adagio) | music5 = Aram Khachaturian | extra5 = The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky | length5 = 5:12 | title6 = Atmosphères | music6 = György Ligeti | extra6 = The Südwestfunk Orchestra, Ernest Bour | length6 = 7:56 | title7 = The Blue Danube | music7 = Johann Strauss II | extra7 = The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan | length7 = 3:30 | title8 = Also sprach Zarathustra | music8 = Richard Strauss | extra8 = The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Karl Böhm | length8 = 1:37


Music plays a crucial part in 2001, and not only because of the relatively sparse dialogue. From very early on in production, Kubrick decided that he wanted the film to be a primarily non-verbal experience, one that did not rely on the traditional techniques of narrative cinema, and in which music would play a vital role in evoking particular moods.

The film is remarkable for its innovative use of classical music taken from existing commercial recordings. Major feature films were (and still are) typically accompanied by elaborate film scores or songs written especially for them by professional composers. In the early stages of production, Kubrick had actually commissioned a score for 2001 from noted Hollywood composer Alex North, who had written the score for Spartacus and also worked on Dr. Strangelove. However, on 2001 Kubrick did much of the filming and editing using, as his guides, the classical recordings which eventually became the music track. In March 1966, MGM became concerned about 2001's progress and Kubrick put together a show reel of footage to the ad hoc soundtrack of classical recordings. The studio bosses were delighted with the results and Kubrick decided to use these 'guide pieces' as the final musical soundtrack, and he abandoned North's score. Kubrick failed to inform North that his music had not been used and, to his dismay, North did not discover this until he saw the movie just prior to its release. What survives of North's soundtrack recordings has been released as a "limited edition" CD from Intrada Records. All the music North originally wrote was recorded commercially by North's friend and colleague Jerry Goldsmith with the National Philharmonic Orchestra and was released on Varese Sarabande CDs shortly after Telarc's first theme release but before North's death. In 2005, The City of Prague Philharmonic recorded their version of the 2001 theme on their album "The Incredible Film Music Box".

In an interview with Michel Ciment, Kubrick explained:

However good our best film composers may be, they are not a Beethoven, a Mozart or a Brahms. Why use music which is less good when there is such a multitude of great orchestral music available from the past and from our own time? When you are editing a film, it's very helpful to be able to try out different pieces of music to see how they work with the scene…Well, with a little more care and thought, these temporary tracks can become the final score.

2001 uses works by several classical composers. It features music by Aram Khachaturian (Gayane's Adagio from the Gayaneh ballet suite) and famously used Johann Strauss II's best known waltz, An der schönen blauen Donau (in English, On The Beautiful Blue Danube), during the space-station rendezvous and lunar landing sequences. 2001 is especially remembered for its use of the opening from Richard Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra (or "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" in English), which has become inextricably associated with the film and its imagery and themes. The film's soundtrack also did much to introduce the modern classical composer György Ligeti to a wider public, using extracts from his Requiem (the Kyrie), Atmosphères, Lux Aeterna and (in an altered form) Aventures (though without his permission).

HAL's haunting version of the popular song "Daisy Bell" (referred to by HAL as "Daisy" in the film) was inspired by a computer synthesized arrangement by Max Mathews, which Arthur C. Clarke had heard in 1962 at the Bell Laboratories Murray Hill facility when he was, coincidentally, visiting friend and colleague John Pierce. At that time, a speech synthesis demonstration was being performed by physicist John Larry Kelly, Jr, by using an IBM 704 computer to synthesize speech. Kelly's voice recorder synthesizer vocoder recreated the song "Daisy Bell" ("Bicycle Built For Two"), with Max Mathews providing the musical accompaniment. Arthur C. Clarke was so impressed that he later used it in the screenplay and novel.

"Daisy" did not necessarily survive in foreign language versions of the film. For example, in the French soundtrack to 2001, HAL while being disconnected sings the French folk song Au Clair de la Lune.

In Italian version the song was "giro giro tondo", the one you sing when you play ring-ring-a-roses.

In the German version, HAL sings the children's song "Hänschen klein" ("Johnny little").

Soundtrack Album

The initial MGM soundtrack album release contained none of the material from the altered and uncredited rendition of "Adventures", used a different recording of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" than that heard in the film, and a longer excerpt of "Lux Aeterna" than that in the film. In 1996, Turner Entertainment released a new soundtrack on CD which included the material from "Adventures" and restored the version of "Zarathustra" used in the film, and used the shorter version of "Lux Aeterna" from the film. As additional "bonus tracks" at the end, this CD includes the versions of "Zarathustra" and "Lux Aeterna" on the old MGM soundtrack, an unaltered performance of "Adventures", and a 9-minute compilation of all of HAL's dialogue from the film.

In 1993, Varese Sarabande issued a CD recording of Alex North's unused music for 2001.


Alongside its use of music, the dialogue in 2001 is another notable feature, although the relative lack of dialogue and conventional narrative cues has baffled many viewers. One of the film's most striking features is that there is no dialogue whatsoever for the entirety of the first and last 20 minutes of the film—the total narrative of these sections, totalling almost 45 minutes of the film is carried by images, actions, sound effects, and two title cards.

Only when the film moves into the postulated future of 2000 and 2001, do we encounter characters who speak. By the time shooting began, Kubrick had deliberately jettisoned much of the intended dialogue and narration, and what remains is notable for its apparently banal nature—an announcement about a sweater being found, the awkwardly polite chit-chat between Floyd and the Russian scientists, or his comments about the sandwiches en route to the monolith site.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "2001: A Space Odyssey (soundtrack)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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