The movie "Troy" from 2004 uses a 4-tone-soundbite quite a lot.
It is at the beginning of this:

as well on the 1:12 mark: timestamped link to youtube

I could SWEAR I have heard it used in at least one other movie... but I cannot remember which one!
I hope this is not too vague, but has this 4-tone-scheme been used anywhere else?

  • Personally, I prefer the inline video - It's easier to watch it in the question than to have to go to Youtube to view it.
    – Catija
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:01
  • Inlined the video again
    – Layna
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:05
  • To be honest, this strikes me as off-topic. By Layna, you're on the right track. You're not the first to notice this 4-note motif in Horner's soundtracks. Here's a video about it, with examples from 4 different movies.
    – Walt
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:29
  • Avatar! I cannot find a clip, but I am alost sure it is that scene in avatar during the final battle when the animals where on fire.
    – Layna
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:31
  • Now Walt put me in a fix... his link absolutely answers my question, because yes, it WAS "Avatar", wich is mentioned in the Video... @Walt, please please make this an answer?
    – Layna
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:37

2 Answers 2


It's from every James Horner soundtrack ever. OK, not really. ;) But he used this 4-note motif a lot. Here's a video demonstrating the motif's usage in 3 other films: Avatar, Enemy At the Gates & Willow. (And since Horner composed music for so many movies, there could be others. It even got a name: The Danger Motif. This forum post even wonders if he ever wrote a soundtrack without it...)

Unfortunately, when you work on so many soundtracks, some things are just bound to seep through:


I started the video and my husband heard it out of context and he thought I was watching part of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He pulled up a video and he's right. It sounds very similar to the motif in the Troy music.

This makes total sense because both soundtracks are composed by James Horner.

Here's the piece:

And here's a video from the soundtrack "Battle In The Mutara Nebula" with the specific motif.

  • It IS incredibly close, but is not quit what I remmeber... I believe. I wonder if any other movie got closer... But yes, my vague memory may just have been a SciFi-Movie, too, at least...
    – Layna
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:16
  • You might look at other films Horner's composed to see if they are what you're looking for. Composers tend to steal their own themes. Link is in the answer.
    – Catija
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:17
  • It MUST have been one of his! Going throuigh the movie-soundtracks now, ALMOST sure it must have been "Avatar" or "Apolacalypto"!!!
    – Layna
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:21
  • 1
    Woah... someone saw Apocalypto?
    – Catija
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:22
  • LOL, yes. Late night, little on TV, and NO interest in going to bed G
    – Layna
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:24

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