Inside The Score Of Terminator 2: Judgment Day

In this video, composer Alex Ball dissects the classic synthesizer score to Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

“I thought it would be interesting to cover off the Terminator 2 score, as its creation is very specific and we can play with the exact sound sources Brad Fiedel did nearly 30 years ago.”

Ball provides an entertaining look at the soundtrack, focusing on the sampling and synthesis techniques that help define the Terminator 2 score. Composer Brad Fiedel made extensive use of the Fairlight CMI as a creative tool, pitching samples down by extremes to create a sonic signature for the film.

Ball also looks at how artifacts of the era’s technology are a key part of the soundtrack’s iconic sound.

Ball is joined in the video by Mike TC of 100 Things I Do, who offers a quick intro to the Fairlight CMI III. Ball also references Python Blue, who has reverse-engineered many of Fiedel’s sounds and techniques, in order to make covers of unreleased Terminator 2 themes:

via Ned

9 thoughts on “Inside The Score Of Terminator 2: Judgment Day

  1. I haven’t heard of either Brad Fiedel or Basil Poledouris.
    I never really thought about who did the music for Terminator. If I had to guess, I would have said John Carpenter.

  2. Nicely done.

    At the time, I dismissed the soundtrack because of its cheesy sampled orchestra.

    But, now I realize how it explored using sampling for creative sound design. And the score holds up pretty well, too.

  3. Little known ditty iconic Terminator theme inspired from Nights In Shanghai JmJarre 1982 Concerts in China 7min+ version.
    3min27 Cello Nights in Shanghai slow it down a little : its the Terminator motif.

    (Could also say Heavy metallic percussion Terminator theme similar 4min13 Nights in Shanghai heavy percussion 1982 JmJarre).

    1. It would be a big stretch to say that there’s any melodic or rhythmic similarity between the two themes.

      They both do use cheesy cello samples, though.

  4. Nice video. Its amazing what sounds can be produced and the thought that goes into the details.

    Have you noticed that the theme song to Total Recall sounds very familiar to Terminator?

  5. I always thought Fiedel had used an Emulator II on the Terminator scores at least that seems the consensus in most forums that discussed this…didn’t know he’d used a CMI. Did he use a Series III or a IIx?

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