Howard Blake: Walking in the Air


Voted as one of the most popular Christmas songs ever written, Howard Blake’s Walking in the Air can be found in the pivotal travelling scene of the 1982 animated film The Snowman. The original was written for a choirboy with a pre-broken voice. In the film Peter Auty, a choirboy from St Paul’s Cathedral, sung the solo, however lots of people associate the song with Wesh singer, Aled Jones. There have been a number of performances in a range of styles of Walking in the Air, however the classic original remains a family favourite.


The Lyrics

We’re walking in the air

We’re floating in the moonlit sky

The people far below are sleeping as we fly

I’m holding very tight

I’m riding in the midnight blue

I’m finding I can fly so high above with you

Far across the world

The villages go by like trees

The rivers and the hills

The forest and the streams

Children gaze open mouth

Taken by surprise

Nobody down below believes their eyes

We’re surfing in the air

We’re swimming in the frozen sky

We’re drifting over icy

Mountains floating by

Suddenly swooping low on an ocean deep

Arousing of a mighty monster from its sleep

We’re walking in the air

We’re floating in the midnight sky

And everyone who sees us greets us as we fly


The Music

As the music builds up and the boy realises the Snowman wants to run and take off, the song starts with a pulsating accompaniment from the orchestra and piano. As the angelic voice enters, the accompaniment remains similar as it only changes its tonality. As the duo fly over villages, towns, and the ocean, the orchestra flourish to represent the crashing of waves and other exciting happenings on the journey. The vocal line is memorable, with the melody using a similar structure for each verse. Blake’s arrangements for the orchestra allows different sections to be showcases, for instance muted trumpets and lyrical strings. The song ends as it started, with a reprise of the opening theme. 


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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