Dramatic Vocalise Database

Courage, Alexander (1919–2008)

Star Trek (1966–69)

Science fiction, as a film genre, is one that includes futuristic perspectives, alien worlds, the “unknown,” and the “supernatural,” and as such lends itself quite easily to the use of dramatic vocalization to express those same sentiments. The use of theremin, or electronics (as in the movie Forbidden Planet [1956]) eventually led to the use of dramatic vocalization.

One of the most recognized appearances of dramatic vocalization in the science-fiction genre is the theme music to the television serial Star Trek (1966–69). Fred Steiner, who had worked with Hugo Friedhofer on The Greatest Story Ever Told, was responsible, along with several other composers, for the music to all three seasons of Star Trek. However, it was Alexander Courage (b. 1919) who wrote the theme (“Where No Man Has Gone Before”). There were three versions of the theme used in the series. The first season’s initial ten episodes used a mixed electronic/orchestral arrangement. For this version the main melody line was created electronically with a “soprano voicing.” The rest of the episodes of the first season used an orchestra-only arrangement. For the second and third seasons a wordless rendition of the melody line, sung by soprano Loulie Jean Norman (1913–2005), was added.

The use of dramatic vocalization for the opening credits of movies is a device used over and over again, whether to highlight some aspect of the credits, such as in The Wizard of Oz (1939), to foreshadow events yet to come, as in The Ox-Bow Incident (1942) and The Robe (1953), or to contextualize the setting of the movie, as in the opening scene of Gone with the Wind (1939). The nature of the Star Trek theme is one of excitement, of adventure, and “other worlds.”

(Nauman 2009, 252–53)

In 2006, Paramount began syndicating a “remastered” version of the series with numerous changes, including re-recordings of the second and third versions of the theme music. The original electronic voiced version was not recreated nor were the original theme masters used. Instead the symphonic-only version was used for all season one episodes. Elin Carlson, a professional singer and lifetime Star Trek fan, recorded Norman’s wordless vocalization for the second and third season version.



Opening Credits

Taken from Season 2, Episode 16, “The Gamesters of Triskelion.”

Ending Credits

Taken from Season 2, Episode 16, “The Gamesters of Triskelion.”

Opening Credits (Original Pilot, 1964)

Ending Credits (Original Pilot, 1964)