John Debney – Elf Sequence

This sequence comes from the John Debney‘s lovely score to Elf, starring Will Ferrell.


Ferrell has made quite a career out of playing eccentric characters. Ricky Bobby, Ron Burgundy, Chazz Michael Michaels, and Frank from Oldschool all will get you laughing while lean towards adult on the comedy spectrum. In a parallel, more child-centric universe, Ferrell takes the same over the top silliness to the North Pole and becomes Buddy the Elf.

Buddy loves EVERYTHING about Christmas. Carols, candy, snow, ice skating, cookies, toys, reindeer, Santa, and on and on. Although he is technically 100% human, his formative years at the North Pole seem to have turned him at least 50% elf. He is a master of morphing a gloomy moment into a happy one, and I don’t recommend challenging him to a snowball fight.

All that said, the best thing about Buddy is his positive attitude. His willingness to sing loud, wish others “Happy Holidays”, and enjoy being with his family.

Christmas Spirit

Over the last few years as a professional musician, I’ve come to realize that hearing and playing the music of the season is what lights up my personal Christmas tree. Decorations are nice, but I’d prefer to put on a Pittsburgh Symphony Brass Christmas album and turn the volume up to 11.

This year, there are almost no chances to play Christmas music, so I’ve been listening to more holiday albums and watching more movies. I always make a point to watch Elf early in December because it helps invigorate my Christmas spirit. This year we watched it on December 1st and we have been on a roll ever since! “Thanks Buddy, hope you find your Dad!”


John Debney takes a hard turn away from my Cutthroat Island Sequence a few months ago to create the sounds for Elf. There are cheerful bouncing melodies and the wondrous soaring theme I used for the sequence. The melodies are brought to life by swirling harps, fluttering woodwinds, ringing bells, rich brass, and a glowing choir.

Debney is a legend in the film music industry. He has a long relationship with Disney, scoring music to cartoons and theme park rides before his big break in 1993 with Hocus Pocus. He has gone on to score many movies and TV shows, and earned an Academy Award nomination for his score to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.


This melody is the 2nd theme from the main title. It is first played by a french horn, upper strings, and a choir of whistlers.

This lyrical sequence is great for improving your smooth note connections. Play this sequence with a sound sweeter than syrup on spaghetti, listen to the original to dial in the style, and remember, “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing (or playing) loud for all to hear!”

Have any questions? Comment below, or leave a comment on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

Happy Practicing!

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