Danse Macabre: connecting Operatic ‘classical’ Orchestration and the humble video game

Danse Macabre is a poetic tome that is performed by an operatic orchestra and strongly connects to the Halloween narrative embedded in the visuals.


The solo violin, xylophone and vocals connect high culture with folk instrumentation and the human voice. This is appropriate as we try to connect everyday common experience with the operatic. For me, the use of the aged track is more ‘human’ with sinister undertones and is more effective than a highly produced track. The recording is also available under commons licence through the Internet Archive.

Many classical music tracks are used in video games and is a topic of enquiry for a PhD researcher at Birmingham University. Danse Macabre has been used in the video game, Alone in the Dark.


Alone In the Dark is a 3D survival horror game set in 1920. Jeremy Hartwood, a rich man with a fascination of the occult, has been found dead in his Louisiana mansion, apparently having hung himself! The player assumes the role of either Hartwood’s niece Emily or a private investigator named Carnby; one must go to the mansion, a house known as “Derceto,” and determine what really happened.
Upon entering the mansion, the player quickly discovers it to be swarming with various monsters and spirits, many of whom are far more powerful than the player. Weapons and ammunition can be found along the way to kill the monsters, but a lot of them must be defeated through wit or stealth. The game also has various puzzles which must be solved in order progress.
The games musical composition is partly the directors and partly classical scores.