Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (Exorcist) Sequence

This sequence is based on the opening to Mike Oldfield‘s song Tubular Bells, better known as the theme from The Exorcist.


There are all sorts of stories surrounding the music for The Exorcist. Apparently a score was written by Lalo Schifrin (famous composer of the Mission Impossible theme) but the score was TOO scary. Schifrin’s music was used for the initial trailer, and the combination of sights and sounds sent audience members into a panic. Some people vomited, others fainted, others ran out of the theater. It was enough to spur director William Friedkin to look for some other music.

He ended up using a variety of music from some unique classical composers. Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, Five Pieces for Orchestra by Austrian composer Anton Webern as well as some original music by Jack Nitzsche. The music was heard only during scene transitions, clearing the sonic landscape during the intense scenes.

Mike Oldfield

The song that received the most public attention was Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, which is a progressive rock song that grows out of an ostinato line in an electric organ. The repeated organ line creates a sort of ambient groove that Oldfield uses as a backdrop for his other melodies and improvising. The tune is pretty cool in its full form, and reminds me of the open jam songs of Pink Floyd.


This sequence is a great interval study for brass players. If you want to match the recording, strive for clear articulations and perfectly uniform note lengths and shapes. That said, all you need to do to make this valuable is choose your note length and shape before you begin. Strive to bring out the moving melody notes and have fun! If you play all of the keys, your head might start spinning…….maybe.

This sequence will help you improve your sound, accuracy, and intonation.

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

Happy Practicing!

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