Total Audio (Marty O'Donnell and Mike Salvatori) are doing all the music, voices, and 3d sound design on the Halo project.

They've released the soundtrack (MP3 format) of the Halo preview at Macworld Expo NY.

They've kindly allowed us to supply it to you from our site here. (2.8 MB) Thanks guys! :)

Soundtrack © 1999 O'Donnell/Salvatori Total Audio Inc.

Total Audio logo

Marty O'Donnell and Mike Salvatori (pictured right) are also currently the audio directors, sound designers and producers of Bungie's Oni project.

Marty O'Donnell, Mike Salvatori and Paul Heitsch did all the music, voice over and sound design for Bungie's Myth: TFL and Myth II: Soulblighter.

TotalAudio also did the sound design for Riven.
Marty O'Donnell and Mike Salvatori

The Total Audio page contains numerous examples of their work including some rare film footage. One example shows Jason Jones and Tuncer Deniz (at Bungie Software at the time) working with Total Audio on the sounds for Myth:TFL. Jason Jones and Tuncer Deniz at Total Audio

TotalAudio Questions & Answers

We (HBO) asked TotalAudio a few questions about their soundtrack for the Macworld Expo NY'99 Halo preview, and Marty O'Donnell (MO) was kind enough to answer them for us.

HBO: We're very curious about the music itself. Where did the inspiration for this come from? And who actually did it?

MO: I wrote it, Mike and I produced it. Mike, 3 other guys and I sang it. String players from the Chicago Symphony and Chicago Lyic Opera Orchestra played on it, as well as our synths and samplers. Recorded in Studio Vision and Pro Tools - all Mac. Finished at Hinge Recording Studios Chicago.

HBO: The Gregorian Chant, especially, seems very apropos, but a rather unusual choice... what factors influenced its inclusion?

MO: Joseph Staten and I discussed the track less than a week before MWNY. I had worked on all the sound design used in the secret E3 demo (which rocks!) so I was familiar with the game. We decided it needed to be big, exciting, and unusual with a classical orchestra touch to give it some weight and stature. We also wanted it to have some sort of "ancient" feel to it. We worked on it over the weekend and did the final recording on Monday morning. It went to NY that night. No one at Bungie had heard it until Monday afternoon - I'm glad they liked it.

So...I figured Gregorian chant, string orchestra, percussion and just a bit of a "Qawwali voice".

HBO: Will this music be used in the final version of the game, or was it made up to complement the teaser?

MO: How much of this track ends up in the final game remains to be seen, but whatever it is it will be cool.

Thanks Marty.

Marty was Geek of the Week at Gamasutra
(August 20, 1999 Vol. 3: Issue 33)

Favorite Geeky Dream:
I dreamt that my music was played right in the middle of Steve Jobs's keynote address at MacWorld in New York.... Oh wait, that wasn't a dream!
Marty O'Donnell

The following was part of a Forum thread at the Halo Core web site in which Marty O'Donnell responds to a question about the music in Halo:

Posted By: Legend on Wednesday, 08.25.99, at 3:10 p.m.

Ok so Total Audio is making the music for Halo. Exactly when do you think it will be used? In the main menu sure... But will that be the only place? Since Halo will have no breaks in gameplay does that mean it will be now were else? Perhaps in the end credits but thats really not that much. Sure they could do in game music but I think that might take away from the immersion(real life does nto have music) and this is why there was none in any of there other games(in game that is). Perhaps I am wrong though. Lets look at Zelda 64 for an example. In my opinion it had HUGE immersion. I loved running through Hyrule fields and watching the sun set. The final battle with Gano was also really great. In Zelda the music seemed to help, so maybe they can do the same with Halo. Any thoughts?


Re: Music in Halo

Posted By: Marty on Wednesday, 08.25.99, at 11:07 p.m.
Response to: Music in Halo (Legend)

Wow! At last - a thread worthy of my time.

Ya know I've seen plenty of "realistic" movies that had music in them. I'm not sure yet how music will be used in Halo, but I think that the demo shows how much music can add to the feeling of any visuals. I've always said that sound makes it real and music makes you feel. The first goal is to get the sound design so incredible that you will believe that you are really there. Then, remember that the guys at Bungie are great story tellers, and they know that nothing helps to get the story going better than music. Think about this fact, lots of people have said that the Halo demo was better than most game's cut scenes. Well I can't imagine a cooler way to do in-game scenes than to use the Halo engine itself. Don't worry, there will be plenty of places in Halo for music to burrow deep into your soul and get you feeling what you need to feel.

By the way, we really were going to have some in-game music in Myth II, we just ran out of space. It wouldn't have interfered with game-play either, and it wouldn't have been repetitive. Also, each soundtrack CD had exactly the music from the games, nothing expanded about either of them.

Wait till you hear the 3D audio.

Miguel Chavez, AKA Freewill, got a chance to interview Marty at MacWorld San Francisco, in January 2000. You can find the 33 MB .mov (5:31 long) here.

FragMusic.Com interviewed Marty on March 7, 2000. The interview can be found here.

On May 17, 2000, Battleground: Halo asked Marty a few questions, as well. Here are his answers.

On July 6, 2000, we asked Marty about the score of the E3 trailer, and what was new with it. He replied:

Scoring a movie and scoring a game are two entirely different processes. I approached the E3 movie the same way I'd approach any cinematic sequence. I know exactly how long each event is and precisely when the camera is going to cut to the next scene. I "post-score" the entire movie. In a game of course, each event is triggering a sound, each area is triggering an ambient sound, and the music will be triggered by who knows what. We're still working on the specific mechanics of total interactive sound and dynamic music. My goal is that the player will hear and feel no difference between the game audio and the movie audio. At this point in development there have been no final decisions made on the actual sounds or music that will be heard in the game although I'm sure (since I'm creating it) that there will be a lot of similarities.

As far as this movie goes, the newly composed and produced music is from the opening through the scene in the underground structure (when Wang gets impaled). After that I used the original track with some edits and rearranging to finish it off. We had recorded the actors about a month before E3 and Joseph used those tracks in the game play. We basically did all the rest of the sound design and music in just the few days prior to E3 since Joseph and his crew were working feverishly to get the visuals done. The final mix was finished and then the DVD burned about 2 hours before my plane left for E3. No one had seen or heard the final DVD until the morning of the first showing at E3. Once again - total panic. Maybe I'll change my name to Total Audio Panic @ Bungie. Seattle here I come.