Dramatic Vocalise Database

Newman, David (b. 1954)

Galaxy Quest (1999)

David Newman (b. 1954), son of Alfred Newman, included dramatic vocalization in the score to the movie Galaxy Quest. The plot of this movie revolves around the cast of a science-fiction cult serial who find themselves in a real-life encounter with aliens. In the first scene that includes dramatic vocalization, Jason Nesmith, aka Captain Taggert (Tim Allen) believes himself to be with a group of Sci-Fi groupies, and not on an actual spaceship. It is only when they agree to return him to Earth that the situation becomes clear. As the outer doors of the alien spacecraft open, a bright light shines down accompanied by music reminiscent of Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra (a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey [1968]). As Nesmith stands looking out on a planet similar in appearance to Saturn, the accompanying music, now different in mood, includes dramatic vocalization. Its use signifies his astonishment of this “supernatural” situation before he is shot like a rocket back to Earth. Additionally, the reference to celestial bodies brings to mind the use of dramatic vocalization in Holst’s The Planets.

In the second scene to include dramatic vocalization, the aliens welcome the entire “crew” of The Protector, the spaceship from the television serial. When they meet the actors, whom they believe to be true space travelers, the aliens are filled with reverence and awe as the wordless chorus makes clear. Shortly after, the crew sees their now real spaceship for the first time. The accompanying dramatic vocalization reinforces the actors’ astonishment at seeing something previously thought imaginary.

(Nauman 2009, 256–57)



Interstellar Transport

[0:18:54–0:19:52] Jason Nesmith gets beamed back to Earth.

Alien Introductions

[0:25:55–0:26:28] The crew of The Protector are welcomed/greeted by the aliens. The aliens believe the “crew” to be true space travelers, even though they are only actors on a Sci-fi serial. The aliens are filled with “awe” as the chorus makes clear. The non-diagetic music leads us to believe that the members of the alien race present are filled with not only astonishment, but also reverence for the crew of The Protector.

The Protector

[0:27:46–0:28:00] The crew sees their “actual” spaceship for the first time. The “awe” or “ah” of astonishment of coming to terms with something previously thought imaginary.