Double Helix (music composition)

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"Double Helix"
DH portfolio cover.jpg
Cover for score and parts
Composition by 1991 SCSBOA Honor Jazz Ensemble
Released 1995
Format Digital download
Recorded 1993
Studio Omega Recording, Rockville, Maryland
Genre Jazz, blues
Composer(s) Jack Cooper

"Double Helix" is an original music composition written for 17-piece jazz orchestra in 1991.[1] The recording of "Double Helix" also goes by the title "Twice is Nice" (as a sound file)[2] when distributed worldwide as production music. The work has been used and heard around the world for music, media, and entertainment broadcasts.


Double Helix was first written in 1991 as a commission for the SCSBOA Honor Jazz Ensemble and premiered at Disneyland that year.[3] Late in 1991 Jack Bullock (jazz editor for Columbia Pictures Publications/Belwin, (aka CPP Belwin and currently Belwin Jazz, a Division of Alred Music Publishing) hired Jack Cooper as a staff writer for new jazz ensemble works.[4] Jack Bullock heard his writing done for the U.S. Army Jazz Knights.[5] The first piece Bullock decided to publish (and record) was Double Helix.[6]

The work was recorded at Omega Recording Studios in Rockville, Maryland for the 1993 CPP/Belwin Jazz catalogue of new published works.[7] Later In 1994, Canadian beverage giant Seagram bought a part of Time Warner and the Warner Music Publishing division of that company acquired CPP/Belwin. Double Helix was now distributed by Warner Brothers Music publications and the company made the move to allow FirstCom[2] and Universal Publishing Production Music to have access to a limited number of CPP/Belwin sound files. The recordings from Omega Studios for CPP/Belwin were of very high quality as well as the music itself that was being written and acquired for the catalogue.

While the original CPP/Belwin sound file of Double Helix continues to be widely used in the media, the rights to the print music were acquired back by the composer in 2006. The print music division of Time Warner was sold to Alfred Music Publishing in June 2005 which made a great deal of the older CPP/Belwin print music catalogue obsolete. At that time it was best to move Double Helix (the print music) to a company who would keep the work in distribution for a much longer period; the print music is now distributed and sold by Really Good Music Publishing.

The music and sound file of Double Helix has been and is still frequently utilized for media production in television and radio.[8][9] The ASCAP distributions have far exceeded the original royalty payments made through sale of the print music by CPP/Belwin.


The work itself is 170 measures and based on a Blues form in the key of f minor. The smaller 12 measure sub-form repeats numerous times; the overall work mimicks a hybrid Sonata form with an exposition/statement, development (with improvisation section), and recap (or restatement).

The form and layout of Double Helix[edit]

Double Helix
13-48 49-64 77-88 89-112 113-124 125-144 145-156 157-170
Introduction statement
send off
open improvisation/
background figures
saxophone section
stop time
development recap of


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Band Directors Guide
(BD Guide)
(*)The Very Best[10]

"Aptly titled, this original work spirals its way into the world of contemporary big band swing music. The voicing selections are superb. It comes off sounding much more difficult than it sctually is...The driving into the head (section) set(s) up the soloist, who emerges with a roar from the full ensemble scoring...The shout chorus is memorable and, like the rest of the chart, it contains terrific dynamic contrasts."

— Dick Dunscomb BD Guide (review, 1993)[10]

Use in media[edit]

"Double Helix" has been used as feature, interlude, and background music in the United Kingdom,[11] the Czech Republic,[12] the Netherlands,[8] Ireland,[13] Canada,[14] Romania,[15] France,[16] Norway,[17][18] Finland,[17] Hong Kong,[19] and Japan.[20]

Television shows using the work include The Jenny Jones Show,[21] F.Y.E., E! Entertainment shows (2),[17][22] Access Hollywood,[23] JBVO: Your All Request Cartoon Show,[24] American Restoration,[25] Deal or No Deal (UK),[11] and Extra.


  1. ^ print music listing
  2. ^ a b Sound file for Twice Is Nice
  3. ^ James Linahon called Cooper in 1991 to commission a new work for the SCSBOA jazz group, Linahon would conduct them later that year.
  4. ^ Alfred Music Publishing biograghical page for Jack Cooper
  5. ^ CPP/Belwin composer Carl Strommen forwarded Cooper's demo tape to Jack Bullock after hearing the U.S.M.A. Jazz Knights perform while Cooper was with the group during that time.
  6. ^ Review: BD Guide, November/December 1993, Village Press, Inc. J. Richard Dunscomb (reviewer), rated: the very best, page 36
  7. ^ 1993 CPP/Belwin New Music Jazz Ensemble Catalogue, music for credits and opening track for demo, Double Helix
  8. ^ a b DR (broadcaster)|Danish Radio P2, TROS, used often as library music, BUMA through current ASCAP distribution, confirmed May 25, 2010
  9. ^ Double Helix is in repeated syndicated T.V. broadcasts around the world
  10. ^ a b Dunscomb, J. Richard, Review, Double Helix, BD Guide. Nov./Dec. 1993. Vol. 8, No. 2, pp.36
  11. ^ a b Deal or No Deal (TV Series), Episode 49067/011 U.K., PRS/ASCAP April–August 2013 distribution
  12. ^ OSA. credits as per ASCAP distribution, Aug. 2011
  13. ^ IMRO credits as per ASCAP distribution, Feb. 2005
  14. ^ SOCAN credits as per ASCAP distribution, Feb. 2001
  15. ^ UCMR-ADA credits as per ASCAP distribution, Feb. 2009
  16. ^ SACEM, credits as per ASCAP distribution
  17. ^ a b c 50 Hottest Vegas Moments (2005), January 17, 2005 (USA) first aired, confirmed through ASCAP July Distribution, 2006 - episode aired 14 times during that time period
  18. ^ Teosto TONO credits as per ASCAP distribution, May 2007
  19. ^ CASH credits as per ASCAP distribution
  20. ^ Under the title Twice is Nice, Double Helix JASRAC UNCUT (ETV) - Meg Ryan, first aired May 7, 1996
  21. ^ The Jenny Jones Show (1995). Episodes Double Helix is used on include "Celebrity Look-A-Likes" and "Second Annual Jenny Jones Awards", ASCAP Jan. 1999 distribution
  22. ^ Vegas Showgirls: Nearly Famous (TV Series 2001-2003), ASCAP distribution records April and July 2002
  23. ^ Access Hollywood (TV series) Episode dated May 7, 2001, #0435, confirmed through ASCAP Jan. distribution 2002
  24. ^ Johnny Bravo (TV Series), Episodes #14 and #24 from JBVO: Your All Request Cartoon Show, ASCAP April–September 2001 distribution
  25. ^ American Restoration (TV/Cable series), Episode Surfing The Strip, ASCAP April–August 2013 distribution

External links[edit]