Halo: Original Soundtrack
From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
Halo: Original Soundtrack is the soundtrack for the video game Halo: Combat Evolved. Composed by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori, it was released on June 11, 2002. The soundtrack contains most of the music from Halo: Combat Evolved, with some pieces remixed into suites. The soundtrack features a wide range of musical styles including chanting, string orchestra, and percussion.
The composition of the soundtrack for Halo: Combat Evolved began with the Halo Theme in July of 1999. The Halo Theme was composed to invoke feelings of "ancient, epic, and mysterious", and made its debut in the Halo MacWorld premiere demo.
O'Donnell and Salvatori then completed the rest of the soundtrack over the course of 2001. Different aspects of the Halo Theme, including the Gregorian chant and string melody, were adapted into other musical pieces in the game. The composers worked closely with the level designers to understand where the different points of tension and release would come into play within each level. The music was cut and edited into chunks that the game audio engine played dynamically based on the player's actions. The music used MIDI recordings, featuring keyboards, synths, and samplers as well as digital recording equipment controlled by computers. The composers added live instrumental performances to those recordings where needed. Certain tracks only adapted the live performance.
Halo: Original Soundtrack was released in 2002, after record producer Nile Rodgers approached O'Donnell and Bungie to publish video game soundtrack under Sumthing Else Musicworks. Following the announcement of Halo 2, a special edition was released in October, 2003.
While not displayed on the track listing, the soundtrack contains the track Siege of Madrigal from Bungie's previous game, Myth: The Fallen Lords. It plays following a period of silence near the end of the final track.
One piece of music, heard on the level Assault on the Control Room, does not appear on the soundtrack. Retroactively titled Lost Muse by O'Donnell, it was made available on Bungie.net until the site went offline in 2021.
Various pieces of music from the soundtrack would be arranged and orchestrated for Halo 2 and Halo 3. Called “emotional equity” by O’Donnell, players would feel a sense of familiarity when themes are being repurposed, remixed, and reused throughout the trilogy.
2003 Special Edition
2003 Special Edition Bonus DVD Content
An extra DVD was included with 2003 Special Edition. It contains four options in the menu:
The 2003 Halo 2 E3 demo depicts an early build of Halo 2. The demo shows the Covenant invasion of Mombasa, Kenya on Earth. John-117, Cortana, and [Orbital Drop Shock Trooper|ODSTs]] were deployed from Sergeant Major Avery Johnson's Pelican to reinforce UNSC Marines and Sergeant Banks in the city.
The Last Spartan Preview
There is a preview of The Last Spartan, a track from the Halo 2 soundtrack. It is accompanied by an image from the Halo 2 announcement trailer, featuring John-117, holding a Battle Rifle, about to leave Cairo Station into space.
Ghosts of Reach Preview
There is a preview of Ghosts of Reach, a track from the Halo 2 soundtrack. It is accompanied by an image from the Halo 2 E3 demo, featuring John-117 dual wielding SMGs and looking up at the sky before Covenant drop pods land near him.
The back cover of the physical CD release for the soundtrack has the acronym "SABABWL" above the barcode, at the end of the copyright legal text. This acronym is a long-running Bungie easter egg, based on a quote by Marty O'Donnell referring to Halo: Combat Evolved's graphics technology. This follows a tradition started with the Marathon games, which had similar acronyms on their boxes.