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rojo's avatar

This afternoon I heard an acapella version of Tubular Bells (the theme song from The Exorcist) but I cannot find a version of it online. Can you help?

Asked by rojo (24176points) October 10th, 2016
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11 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

@rojo, I don’t know what you mean by “an a capella version” of an instrumental piece. “A capella” means “without accompaniment” and usually refers to choral music that has no instrumental accompaniment. (That’s not the literal translation.)

When people ask about the music used in The Exorcist, they are usually referring to “O Fortuna” from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Is this the piece you’re looking for? (It does have orchestral accompaniment, though.) Many versions are available online.

rojo's avatar

@Jeruba No, thank you though. That piece is one I recall from a version of the story of King Arthur, I think it was Excalibur, that we watched many years ago. As I recall the knights were riding toward battle through a grove of trees with pink blossoms falling all about like snow. For ages afterward my son (who was no more than two when he saw it) referred to it as the “Go, go, King go song).
But no, what I heard was actually an a capella version of Tubular Bells. The voices of the choir taking the place of the instruments.
Rather haunting actually.

rojo's avatar

I think it may have been on Peter Bochan’s syndicated show ‘All Mixed Up’ but their website does not seem to have the 2016 playlists.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Here is an a-cappella version of Tubular Bells by Petra Haden. These are all her voice tracked over many times. She is the choir.

rojo's avatar

That is it @Espiritus_Corvus. Thanks.

What did you look under to find it? My search under “Tubular Bells acapella” and “The Exorcist theme acapella” produced a bunch of stuff, none that was this particular version. What I got were different versions of Tubular Bells or a capella versions of other songs. Guess I just didn’t go enough pages back.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Hmm. It was quite late last night, so I’ll try to remember the steps.

I Googled “a cappella choral of tubular bells” (without the quotation marks and no commas) and it brought up 1) John Muelhleisen, an author of choral music. That wasn’t it. 2) was Tubular Bells Wikipedia.

So I went to the Wikipedia page which was rather long and it was getting late, so I pressed [“ctl” + “f”], then punched “a cappella” into the search box and it took me to the bottom of the page to “Cover Versions” and there, highlighted, was the listing for the Finnish a cappella rockband Pask‘s version of Tubular Bells.

I went back to Google and punched in “YouTube, Pask, Tubular Bells” (again without quotes) and the Pask version popped up. There were no other a cappella listings. But that wasn’t it. It was one guy just making a lot of off-key vocal noise way too close to the mic. Must be those long, dark Finnish winters with nothing to do.

But a few listings down was an a cappella version by somebody named Petra Haden. I listened and figured it was the best bet.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar


The sentence, “There were no other a cappella listings.” belongs at the end of the third paragraph after ”...the Finnish a cappella rockband Pask‘s version of Tubular Bells.”.

rojo's avatar

Ah, the key seems to have been getting to cover versions. Not sure why I did not consider that this time. Thanks again.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

It’s an instrumental…...........a capella is not a possibility.

rojo's avatar

Sorry @MollyMcGuire gonna go with my original nomenclature on this one. The original was an instrumental. The version @Espiritus_Corvus hooked me up with has NO instruments only someone voice substituting for the instruments. Give it a listen

Instrumental: Performed on musical instruments with no vocal accompaniment.
A Cappella: without instrumental accompaniment

So for me NO instruments = NOT an instrumental.

Ok, I guess that if we get technical we could say it is an Instrumental work done A Capella.

Kardamom's avatar

@rojo We Jellies should come up with a new term that means just that ^^

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