I have played a lot of Halo. My friends from Birmingham, Alabama and I used to sit in the basement and shoot at each other for hours and hours and hours. I always thought the score to Halo was particularly well crafted and now I occasionally play the opening theme on piano for my Music Theory students to dictate (dorian mode, y’all!). However, it was not until a couple of years ago that I realized that this opening theme from seems to take it’s cue from one of my favorite pieces of art music, Ligeti’s Cello Sonata. First, check out the first eight notes of the Martin O’Donnell’s Halo theme:
Now, check out the first eight notes (after the double-stops) of the first movement of Ligeti’s Cello Sonata as played by Juan Mateo Revilla.
I report. You decide.