Cod soundtrack

Album cover

The Call of Duty Soundtrack was composed by Michael Giacchino, performed by the Hollywood Studio Symphony, and published by Activision. It was released in 2003, and is comprised of music from the game. Overall, it has a total of 13 tracks and a runtime of 38 minutes, 55 seconds. A rather limited release, the Call of Duty Soundtrack was first offered as a bonus to customers who preordered the game at EB Games, and was later bundled with the Call of Duty: Warchest as bonus content.


Michael Giacchino, the composer of the soundtrack, started his career at Disney Interactive, and was later contracted to write the score for Call of Duty's predecessor, Medal of Honor. Due to this previous work, Activision signed him on to compose the score for Call of Duty. Comparing his work on Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, Giacchino aimed for a score that would reflect the "chaos that surrounds you in times of combat and also of the millions of prayers that must have been said in the darkest of moments." He felt that Medal of Honor lacked "the ugliness of war in its more combat action moments," which he sought to rectify in Call of Duty's soundtrack by making it more "visceral and brutal."[1]

In designing the music, Giacchino relied more on texturing and dissonances to portray the visceral and brutal war. While there are repeated motifs in game, they are not as simply or as clearly rendered as Medal of Honor's, but "primal and simple" in their approach. The music of the game was also designed with gameplay aspects in mind: Some music closely follows the action in scripted events, while others are intended to loop in the background.[2]

In all, a total of 48 minutes of music was recorded by a 75 piece orchestra, the Hollywood Studio Symphony, on August 6, 2003 at the Sony Scoring Stage in Culver City, CA.[3] The orchestra was conducted by Giacchino's friend Tom Simonek, while Giacchino listened on the side.[2]

Track listing Edit

Total Runtime: 38:55

Call of DutyEdit

Length: 4:59
Levels: Introduction, End Credits
Notes: The piece starts off with a group of tense sixteenth notes in the strings and ominous timpani rolls, before moving on to a series of dissonant themes in the strings, then the brass. While the strings continue tense groups of sixteenth notes, the horn comes in with a simple, noble melody (the Call of Duty motif), which is then taken up in the brass. As the brass continues, the horns start a series of dissonances, before the strings take on the melody in unison, without any dissonance in the background. A flute solo continues, before the music swells and falls back. A simple snare drum rhythm plays softly, and then the Pegasus Bridge version of the theme plays, a stirring string melody. As it finishes, the strings play a series of sustained notes, which the woodwinds tentatively respond to. The music then falls back to the tense sixteenth notes in the strings, crescendoing steadily into the brassy main theme before dying away suddenly. The music concludes with an eerie set of high string harmonics and tense sixteenths in the low strings.


Length: 3:09
Levels: Pathfinder
Notes: The music opens up with the theme in the horns amid mysterious string chords. Various flourishes in the strings and woodwinds lead to an air of mystery, reflecting the dark French countryside the American protagonist has landed into. Flutes, oboes, strings, and clarinets all make appearances. Then, coinciding with the sighting of the American troops, the music suddenly accents, and a series of extremely quick sixteenth note runs create a frenzied atmosphere that bursts into the main Escape motif, a loud trumpet motif. The strings and woodwinds agitatedly mingle with the trumpets and horns, while the loud brass booms punctuates the music loudly.

Countryside DriveEdit

Length: 4:14
Levels: Normandy Route N13
Notes: Immediately from the start, the hectic car ride is reflected in the frantic string runs and dissonant brass notes. The horn and marimba join in at certain points to create a disjointed melody of sorts. Eventually, a certain trumpet triplet call and dissonant string reply dominate, before moving into a climaxing section. The section after reflects the race to find and hotwire a car in the French village, and that subsequent escape, which is lower in pitch than the preceding section. The music reaches another agitated high, and then the music shifts to a major melody in the horns, signifying safety at last.

Approaching The TirpitzEdit

Length: 2:38
Levels: Battleship Tirpitz
Notes: Plays as the player approaches the imposing battleship Tirpitz in a small boat. The looming battleship in the distance is represented with eerie string glissandos and low brass. After receiving permission to board the ship, the music alternates between a unison, string driven theme and the rumbles of low strings and flute replies. Dissonant horn and string replies further illustrate the tension of the mission.

Below DeckEdit

Length: 1:47
Levels: Battleship Tirpitz
Notes: Loops throughout the mission after the player and Captain Price have been compromised. The trumpet fanfare, the Escape motif, plays loudly, and is then followed by a series of string and flute runs. The Escape motif reoccurs in a number of variations in the brass and horns, before moving into a high string section. A number of different variations in the low brass reoccur, while the strings scurry about below.

Stukas And FlakvierlingsEdit

Length: 3:11
Levels: Airfield Escape
Notes: Loops during the mission. Immediately, the piece starts with a frantic string run. Muted brass calls punctuate above the moving strings, moving into a call-and-response between them and the strings. A snare rhythm joins in with dissonant brass and horns. Coinciding with about the point the player uses the Flakvierling, a distinctive fanfare plays that dissolves back into a series of dissonances and loud brass calls. In another segment, a series of descending chromatic scales in the trumpets imitates the fall of the Stukas as the player shoots them down. The piece ends with the call of muted horns.

Eder DamEdit

Length: 3:26
Levels: The Eder Dam
Notes: High string glissandos and rumbling low brass start the piece off, illustrating the tight security of the dam and its imposing size. A repetitive rhythm features in the strings, while the low woodwinds provide a regular beat underneath. In the background a confused trumpet can be heard. The horns enter with a theme reminiscent of the Escape motif. The latter half sees the lower brass, then the trumpets, and then the horns enter with a variety of themes, before the melody eventually passes to the strings, then back to the brass.

Taking StalingradEdit

Length: 3:52
Levels: Stalingrad
Notes: Plays during the boat ride across the Volga. The beginning of the piece starts with the Red Square theme playing ominously in the low brass and very high strings. The horns join in with the low brass, as the music slowly crescendos ever so slowly. Then, a series of sustained notes in the strings and a long harp glissando lead to the next point, a rolling string rhythm that backs up the brass with elements of the main theme. A shrill trumpet solo intervenes and leads to the Red Square theme in the brass. The strings join in with the Red Square theme, followed by a high trumpet. The piece ends with a variation on the Red Square theme in the horns and trumpet.

Breaking ThroughEdit

Length: 2:02
Levels: Eder Dam Getaway
Notes: Irregular brass rhythms are the hallmark of this piece, which plays during the truck escape from Eder Dam after the dam has been sabotaged. The string presence is relegated to quick sixteenth note runs until towards the latter half, including the sixteenth runs from the Main Theme. Overall the piece is dominated by the brass.

Red SquareEdit

Length: 1:38
Levels: Red Square
Notes: One of the most prominent themes in the game, based on the hymn tune Ebenezer. The piece starts with a solemn horn solo. After a brief rest, a long harp glissando brings in the Red Square theme in the strings: legato, simple, perhaps a little bit romantic. The occurrence of this theme coincides with the Russian signal to charge headlong into the German lines. The theme is repeated, but this time with brass fanfare in the background. A quiet string interlude in the related major plays, before fading back into the stormy minor key. A cymbal clashes as the theme ends in the strings. The coda is repeated in the horns and ends with a soft string note.

Sewers Under StalingradEdit

Length: 1:54
Levels: Stalingrad Sewers, The Eder Dam
Notes: This track actually makes its first appearance as a looping piece in Eder Dam. The scurrying sixteenth notes with blaring brass makes a return here. Occasionally these brass accents are preceded by eerie string glissandos. As the piece moves on, it enters a very muted section, before moving into a louder horn section. High trumpet calls repeatedly rise above the moving strings.

Tanks A LotEdit

Length: 3:25
Levels: Oder River Country, Oder River Town
Notes: This piece loops through both tank levels. It starts off with loud crescendoing low brass and a peculiar string rhythm that continue through the piece. Occasionally, extremely dissonant trumpets burst through, and the strings move into very chromatic modes. Around halfway, more connected themes start to arise among the strings and horns, only to fall back to the same disjunct set of dissonant notes. Trombone glissandos punctuate the scene occasionally. The piccolos arise in another segment, followed by another series of chromatics.

Pegasus BridgeEdit

Length: 2:50
Levels: Pegasus Bridge-Day
Notes: This piece is the calmest piece, described by the composer as a single soldier's prayer joined by those of many others.[2] It appears in-game after fending off large German counterattacks, at the end of Pegasus Bridge-Day and at the end of Noville in United Offensive. The music is almost completely composed of strings, starting off with the violins, then joined by the cellos, and then joined by the rest of the string orchestra. It is a slow, sensitive work, and very smooth, unlike most of the music in the soundtrack. A series of variations of the Call of Duty motif are presented, but the actual motif theme is not played towards the end, after which the music fades away and ends with the horns.

References Edit

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