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The 40 greatest synth sounds of all time, No 11: Vangelis - Titles, aka Chariots of Fire

It seemed an improbable pairing: Hugh Hudson’s historical film set in 1924 scored by a synthesist? Absurd, yet this collaboration earned three BAFTAs and four Academy Awards. 

Greek musician Vangelis’ particular penchant for evocative and emotional performance would provide the synth-heavy soundtrack with a romantic flair. More so, it would introduce a new form of electronic filmic music, still popular today. 

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The Titles theme for Chariots of Fire combines acoustic piano with Vangelis’ beloved Yamaha CS-80 to create a dramatic, optimistic anthem. A steady electronic pulse, echoing percussion, resonant fanfares and that simple, unforgettable piano are arranged perfectly. 

Released as a chart-topping single, it became an obligatory feature of athletics events for decades to come.

Vangelis Synth Sounds

(Image credit: Future)

Step 1: Set AlphaCM’s Z_Init patch, and sawtooth waves for Osc 1, slots A and B, and Osc 2, slot A. We’ll select a Square1 for Osc 2’s B slot. Osc 1’s B slot should be Transposed to +1, and Osc 2’s A should be -1. Osc 1’s Wave knob is just over 10 o’clock. Detune is just under 10 o’clock.

Vangelis Synth Sounds

(Image credit: Future)

Step 2: Filter Cutoff is down, Res just over 9 o’clock, Filter Env Depth nearly full, Attack 10 o’clock, Decay just over 10 oc, Sustain 2 oc, Release nearly halfway up. Amp Attack is 11 o’clock, Decay at 1, Sustain at 3 oc, and Release at noon. LFO Attack is 10 oc and its Frequency at 4.94.

Vangelis Synth Sounds

(Image credit: Future)

Step 3: In Matrix, Velocity modulates Filter Cutoff by 0.21. LFO 1 and Filter Env modulate Main Pitch by 0:08 and 0:19, respectively. Set the Chorus’ Wet knob to 10 o’clock. Finally, drop an instance of Acon Digital CM Verb over the top, and choose the Large Gothic Cathedral setting.

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