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The Little Mermaid - An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack

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The Little Mermaid 1989 CD
The Little Mermaid 1997 Cover
Little mermaid soundtrack cover 2006
The Little Mermaid: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack is the soundtrack to Disney's 1989 animated feature The Little Mermaid. It contains the songs from the film written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as the film's score composed by Alan Menken. The score was orchestrated by Thomas Pasatieri. The album received the Academy Award for Best Original Score, Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

The soundtrack was first released on October 13, 1989 on both CD and cassette tape. It was re-released with different artwork, on October 14, 1997 and it was released internationally on October 31, 2000 in a double pack with The Little Mermaid II soundtrack. On October 3, 2006, a new two-disc special edition version of the soundtrack was released to correspond with the two-disc Platinum Edition DVD release of The Little Mermaid. The first disc remains identical to the original release, yet with remastered audio, while the newly added second disc is composed of various newly recorded version of the film's songs by different artists, such as Ashley Tisdale, Raven-Symoné, The Jonas Brothers, and Jessica Simpson. It also included two videos, as well as new cover art.

Reception

As of February 2007, the album is certified 6x Platinum by the RIAA. In 2010, Rhapsody called it one of the all-time great Disney & Pixar Soundtracks. All songs written and composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. All scores composed by Menken.

Track listing

  1. Fathoms Below - Ship's Chorus
  2. Main Title (Score)
  3. Fanfare (Score)
  4. Daughters of Triton - Kimmy Robertson, Caroline Vasicek
  5. Part of Your World - Jodi Benson
  6. Under the Sea - Samuel E. Wright
  7. Part of Your World (Reprise) - Jodi Benson
  8. Poor Unfortunate Souls - Pat Carroll
  9. Les Poissons - René Auberjonois
  10. Kiss the Girl - Samuel E. Wright
  11. Fireworks (Score)
  12. Jig (Score)
  13. The Storm (Score)
  14. Destruction of the Grotto (Score)
  15. Flotsam and Jetsam (Score)
  16. Tour of the Kingdom (Score)
  17. Bedtime (Score)
  18. Wedding Announcement (Score)
  19. Eric to the Rescue (Score)
  20. Happy Ending - Disney Chorus
  21. Part of Your World - Alana De Roma (Australian Bonus Track)

Disc Two (Special Edition)

  1. Kiss the Girl - Ashley Tisdale
  2. Poor Unfortunate Souls - Jonas Brothers
  3. Part of Your World - Jessica Simpson
  4. Under the Sea - Raven-Symoné
  5. Poor Unfortunate Souls - Jonas Brothers (Music Video) (Enhanced feature)
  6. Making of "Kiss the Girl" Music Video (Enhanced feature) - Ashley Tisdale

Unreleased songs/score

Several pieces of music from the movie remain unreleased in any format from Disney. The most important and most puzzling is a short reprise of Ursula's song Poor Unfortunate Souls which appears in the movie right before Eric and Vanessa's wedding. This song has been unofficially named "Vanessa's Song" but has never been recognized or named by Disney. The piece is sung by Vanessa (Jodi Benson). It has a short prelude of Scuttle humming (Buddy Hackett) and the ending laugh is by Ursula (Pat Carrol). A fan-compiled complete score (including song instrumentals) does exist and can be heard/seen on video sharing websites, but Disney has yet to release the complete score.

  1. “Fathoms Below” (Instrumental) [1:41]
  2. Main Titles (Full version as heard over end credits – the last 7 seconds haven’t been released commercially) [1:34]
  3. Sebastian’s Fanfare [0:06]
  4. Orchestra Tuning (Source Music) [0:17]
  5. “Daughters of Triton” (Instrumental) [0:36]
  6. The Shipwreck [3:09]
  7. Scuttle, the know-it-all [1:14]
  8. Ariel’s Restriction [1:47]
  9. Following Ariel [0:42]
  10. Part of Your World (Full Version - The version heard in the film includes about 25 seconds of score before the song starts) [3:23]
  11. Part of Your World (Instrumental) [3:23]
  12. The Grotto Revealed [0:12]
  13. “Part of Your World Reprise” (Instrumental) [2:14]
  14. Ursula’s Demented Plan / Ariel’s in Love [0:46]
  15. Sebastian Pacing / He Loves Me [0:23]
  16. Under the Sea (Instrumental) [3:11]
  17. Somebody’s Gotta Nail That Girl’s Fins to the Floor [0:10]
  18. Sebastian and Triton (This cue was included on the "Music Behind the Magic" CD set, but wasn’t included on any of the commercial albums) [1:38]
  19. The Power of Suggestion [1:46]
  20. Going to See the Sea Witch / Ursula’s Lair [1:26]
  21. Poor Unfortunate Souls (Part 1 - Instrumental) / Ursula’s Deal [2:15]
  22. The Subject of Payment [0:31]
  23. Poor Unfortunate Souls (Part 2 - Instrumental) [1:14]
  24. Taking Ariel’s Voice [0:39]
  25. New Pair of Legs [1:10]
  26. Soft Shell Sebastian [0:26]
  27. Eric and Max Find Ariel [1:23]
  28. In Eric’s Kingdom [0:53]
  29. Sebastian in the Kitchen [0:10]
  30. A Beautiful Maiden [1:06]
  31. “Les Poissons” (Instrumental) [1:32]
  32. Sebastian Versus Louis [0:40]
  33. Dinner at the Castle [0:27]
  34. Triton Worried [0:34]
  35. Kiss the Girl (Instrumental) [2:40]
  36. Ursula Takes Charge [0:39]
  37. Vanessa on the Beach (with and without vocal) [1:00]
  38. "Vanessa’s Song" [0:32]
  39. "Vanessa’s Song" (Instrumental) [0:32]
  40. Making a Plan / Crashing the Wedding / Ariel's Voice Returns / The Sun Sets / The Final Deal [4:21]
  41. A Happy Ending (film version) [3:10]
  42. A Happy Ending (sans Disney chorus) [3:10]
  43. Eric’s Flute (Source) [0:10]

Total time of missing score excluding song instrumentals: 32 minutes and 39 seconds

Total time of missing score including song instrumentals: 51 minutes and 18 seconds

Score composition and orchestration

Alan Menken's first songs-and-underscore project garnered him an Academy Award for the best score of 1989. This would prove to give him a very high nomination-to-win ratio of awards. Alan was originally hired for the songs only, but after writing an underscore demo for the film's executives, his assignment grew. The following are some details on the film's score overall:

  • Almost all of the score features a section of music in the key of G major (including "Main Titles", the beginning portion of "Happy Ending", "Les Poissons", "Bedtime", and most instances of Ariel's solo aria). "Tour of the Kingdom" alternated between G major and E major throughout.
  • In darker moments, and for Ursula's theme, the key of G minor is prominent ("Vanessa's Song", most of "The Storm", "Eric to the Rescue" among others).
  • The French horn is used to symbolize King Triton (listen to "Destruction of the Grotto"), the oboe is used to symbolize Prince Eric (the beginning of "The Storm", as well as "Happy Ending" when Ariel is looking at Eric on the shore). Usually the brass section represents Ursula and the flute almost always portrays Ariel's vocal aria. Clarinets represent Scuttle.
  • Synthesizers and electric pianos are used quite often in the orchestration (namely for the songs, like "Part of Your World"), but the grand piano is almost never used.
  • Scuttle's leitmotif can be heard in the beginning of "Wedding Announcement", the scene after Ariel becomes a human and was the basis for "Beyond My Wildest Dreams" in the 2007 broadway production. This theme is used as a variation for the music when the animals are stopping Vanessa's wedding.
  • Ursula's leitmotif is most obvious in the track "Flotsam & Jetsam" but it comes from the melody notes for the chorus of "Poor Unfortunate Souls". This theme is also used while Ariel is being transformed, and it is played fast and supported by a harsh brass section.
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Littlemermaidtitle

Media
Films: The Little Mermaid | The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea | The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning
Television: TV Series (Episode List) | House of Mouse | Once Upon a Time
Music: Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack | Musical
Video Games: NES game | Sega Genesis Game | Ariel's Story Studio | Kingdom Hearts | Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories | Kingdom Hearts II | The Little Mermaid 2: Pinball Frenzy | Disney's The Little Mermaid: Magic in Two Kingdoms
Books: Official Comic Adaptation | Marvel Comics| Disney Comics

Disney Parks: Voyage of the Little Mermaid | Mermaid Lagoon | The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure | King Triton's Carousel of the Sea | Ariel's Grotto | Mickey's PhilharMagic | Fantasmic! | Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom | World of Color | Disney Dreams! | Celebrate the Magic | Flounder's Flying Fish Coaster | Scuttle's Scooters

Characters
Original: Ariel | Flounder | Sebastian | Scuttle | Prince Eric | King Triton | Ursula/Vanessa | Flotsam and Jetsam | Attina | Alana | Adella | Aquata | Arista | Andrina | Max | Grimsby | Carlotta | Chef Louis | Ursula's Garden | Glut | The Seahorse Herald | Harold | Merpeople
Sequel Characters: Melody | Tip and Dash | Morgana | Cloak and Dagger | Undertow | Flounder's guppies | Baby Penguin | Ursula and Morgana's mother
Prequel Characters: Queen Athena | Marina Del Rey | Benjamin | Shelbow | Ink Spot | Cheeks | Ray-Ray | Stevie | Electric Eels
TV Series Characters: Urchin | Gabriella | Ollie | Dudley | Pearl | The Evil Manta | Little Evil | Dr. Vile | Daniel | Moray | Simon | Lobster Mobster and Da Shrimp | The Sorceress | Glowfish | Ebb and Flo | Emperor Sharga | Octopid | Brain Sponge | Zeus | Spot the Killer Whale | Crab Scouts | Hans Christian Andersen | Stormy the Giant Seahorse

Objects: Prince Eric's statue | Trident | Ursula's Cauldron | Ursula's Necklace | Melody's locket | Queen Athena's music box | Dinglehopper

Locations: Atlantica | Ariel's Secret Grotto | Ursula's Lair | Prince Eric's Castle | The Wedding Ship | Morgana's Ice Cave

Songs
Film Songs: Fathoms Below | Daughters of King Triton | Part of Your World/(Reprise)/(Finale) | Under the Sea | Poor Unfortunate Souls/(Reprise) | Les Poissons | Kiss the Girl | Down to the Sea | For A Moment | Tip and Dash (song) | Here On The Land and Sea | Just One Mistake | I Remember
TV Series Songs: Just a Little Love | You Got to be You | The Edge of the Edge of the Sea | The Lobster Mobster's Mob | The Beddy Bye Blues | Sing a New Song | In Harmony | This is the Life | You Know I Know | Never Give Up | You Wouldn't Want to Mess With Me | The Sound of Laughter | Daring to Dance | Just Give Me a Chance | Just Like Me | Evil Lullaby
Musical Songs: She's In Love | Human Stuff | Positoovity | I Want the Good Times Back | Her Voice | The World Above | The Contest | If Only (Quartet) | Beyond My Wildest Dreams | Sweet Child | One Step Closer

Other: Disney Sing Along Songs: Under the Sea | The Disney Afternoon

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