Jump to content
Faleel J.M.

The Thematic Material of the Star Wars Saga (Possible Community Project?)

Recommended Posts

Yeah I'm listening to it now and I'm gonna say JW's memory is faulty in this case. The clearer association seems to be with the rebels. But what if he has always felt that it was the Falcon theme which would.again make Follow Me and The Falcon much more specific and not just "here's some SW musical nostalgia" for the fun of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In fact, in the liner notes Williams calls it the "Rebel spaceship fanfare" in reference specifically to that ship, although he does use it later in the film as well. It is used a bit with the Millennium Falcon - once when it enters the Death Star, and again as it leaves it. More than scoring the Falcon, I believe Williams wanted to:

Not make the boarding of the Death Star too forboding by preceding it with triumphant music.

Book-ending the sequence, the results of which would come to serve the Rebellion.

 

By the time Empire Strikes Back came around, the term "Rebel Fanfare" stuck, and it is used quite consistently with the rebellion. The most uncharacteristic uses come from Sailbarge assault and the attack on the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi, where it is less a result of an intentional thematic reference and more the result of Williams lifting wholesale pieces of earlier compositions. This is also why, again uncharacteristically, the underlying accompaniment figure occurs in those places separately to the actual fanfare (this is the so-called "action ostinato").

 

Outside of the end-credits, its not really used the prequels except an odd statement that R2D2 merits. So yes, I would say the choice to often (but not always) apply it to the Falcon in the sequel scores is incongorous with the rest of the series, but not completely out-of-character, both in terms of previous applications of this motif and in Williams general approach to using leitmotives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, artguy360 said:

 I don't recall any major uses of it in ESB and I'm curious to revisit ROTJ later.

 

It plays in counterpoint with Lando's theme in "Lando's Palace"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope I haven't mentioned this before.  I was thrilled when Giacchino used the original Star Wars ending for the end of Rogue One rather than the concert version / Return of the Jedi version.

 

At some point I realized that both endings are the Throne Room (as Fal noted).  One is just more upbeat and (I think) more explicit a reference (the Jedi one).  I'm on JWfan.  You all know this.

 

Then last summer I realized that what Fal calls the Throne Room Fanfare (development) is actually the first eight notes of the Main Title!  So it bookends Star Wars!  

 

Does anyone else agree with me on this?

 

(I saw a concert a couple of years ago where they played both the concert versions of the Main Title and The Throne Room.  Both of them used the Jedi ending.  I was bummed.  I would have hoped with the same finale to both pieces they could have used Star Wars for one and Jedi for the other.  Le sigh.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Tallguy said:

Then last summer I realized that what Fal calls the Throne Room Fanfare (development) is actually the first eight notes of the Main Title! 

Hmmm, I called it that, because it seemed to be the same as the fanfare that opens The Throne Room, it could be the Main Title.

Are you referring to the opening brass after the big crash?

2 minutes ago, Tallguy said:

 Both of them used the Jedi ending.  I was bummed.  I would have hoped with the same finale to both pieces they could have used Star Wars for one and Jedi for the other.  Le sigh.)

Well, the Jedi ending is actually from the 1978 concert arrangement, so of course they used it, Unfortunate as it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Fal said:

Hmmm, I called it that, because it seemed to be the same as the fanfare that opens The Throne Room, it could be the Main Title.

Are you referring to the opening brass after the big crash?

Well, the Jedi ending is actually from the 1978 concert arrangement, so of course they used it, Unfortunate as it is.

 

Throne Room Fanfare is certainly more descriptive, I think.

 

I think I'm including the "crash" as the first note.  If you listen to take 20 of the main title it's a little more noticeable.  I wish I had a better musical vocabulary for this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, artguy360 said:

Interestingly, John Powell states in an interview that JW told him that he always intended the Rebel Fanfare to be a theme for the Falcon itself and that's how he approached using it. Suddenly, Follow Me and The Falcon from TFA make a lot more sense.

Source?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you think that the part after 06:14 in 'The Battle Of Endor II' might be another appearance of the Dies Irae / Fate Motif? Could be a random coincidence, but it does make for interesting musical architecture if intentional.

 

Regarding the Dies Irae appearances in AOTC and ROTS, aren't these pretty much all variants of the Across The Stars section first occurring after 2:26 in the concert track? Sort of an Anakin's fall motif embedded within the love theme, what with that love affair being one of his main catalysts for falling? It might be intentionally linked to the OT Dies Irae motif, indeed. If the above mentioned ROTJ appearance is indeed this destiny motif, the music in that scene basically describes Luke coming to see that he almost chose the "fate" of his father by giving into his anger during the duel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, JJA said:

Do you think that the part after 06:14 in 'The Battle Of Endor II' might be another appearance of the Dies Irae / Fate Motif? Could be a random coincidence, but it does make for interesting musical architecture if intentional.

 

My feeling is probably not; sounds to me to be just an oscillating semitone, not enough to it to be even an accidental ref. to the Dies Irae. However, there are some pretty indisputable allusions in the Battle of Endor I (e.g. 7:23, 9:21).

 

Quote

 

Regarding the Dies Irae appearances in AOTC and ROTS, aren't these pretty much all variants of the Across The Stars section first occurring after 2:26 in the concert track? Sort of an Anakin's fall motif embedded within the love theme, what with that love affair being one of his main catalysts for falling? It might be intentionally linked to the OT Dies Irae motif, indeed. If the above mentioned ROTJ appearance is indeed this destiny motif, the music in that scene basically describes Luke coming to see that he almost chose the "fate" of his father by giving into his anger during the duel.

 

I'm of the opinion that  drawing motivic linkages between the middle section of Across the Stars and other parts of the score, particularly the Anakin's Descent stuff, is kind of overrated. Expressively, sure, it's dark, brooding, minor music, very much the same musical topic as what's heard during Anakin's confession. And there is an embedded 3-2-3-1 motion in the primary ATS theme (and developed prominently in that turbulent episode) -- that's a little whiff of the Dies Irae to be sure. But as far as the specific cue for the confession (and later Ep 3's lament), that sounds to me much more like a happy accident than a crafty allusion to ATS. 

I hesitate to call any of these Dies Irae-like moments leitmotivic, seeing as how Williams just seems to be fond of the melodic motion and inserts into lots and lots of his scores (CE3K, Presumed Innocent, Jurassic Park, Nixon, Sleepers, many, many more). That it crops up repeatedly in Star Wars is not dramatically insignificant, but I doubt it's part of some master compositional plan on JW's part. But who knows -- as far as I can tell, no interviewer has ever asked Williams about his fondness for that motif!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Falstaft said:

I'm of the opinion that  drawing motivic linkages between the middle section of Across the Stars and other parts of the score, particularly the Anakin's Descent stuff, is kind of overrated. Expressively, sure, it's dark, brooding, minor music, very much the same musical topic as what's heard during Anakin's confession. And there is an embedded 3-2-3-1 motion in the primary ATS theme (and developed prominently in that turbulent episode) -- that's a little whiff of the Dies Irae to be sure. But as far as the specific cue for the confession (and later Ep 3's lament), that sounds to me much more like a happy accident than a crafty allusion to ATS. 

I hesitate to call any of these Dies Irae-like moments leitmotivic, seeing as how Williams just seems to be fond of the melodic motion and inserts into lots and lots of his scores (CE3K, Presumed Innocent, Jurassic Park, Nixon, Sleepers, many, many more). That it crops up repeatedly in Star Wars is not dramatically insignificant, but I doubt it's part of some master compositional plan on JW's part. But who knows -- as far as I can tell, no interviewer has ever asked Williams about his fondness for that motif!

 

Dude you're my soulmate right now; I've made both cases on separate occasions over the past month!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/20/2018 at 2:52 AM, Falstaft said:

I hesitate to call any of these Dies Irae-like moments leitmotivic, seeing as how Williams just seems to be fond of the melodic motion and inserts into lots and lots of his scores (CE3K, Presumed Innocent, Jurassic Park, Nixon, Sleepers, many, many more). That it crops up repeatedly in Star Wars is not dramatically insignificant, but I doubt it's part of some master compositional plan on JW's part. But who knows -- as far as I can tell, no interviewer has ever asked Williams about his fondness for that motif!

 

Exactly: it’s more part of Williams compositional style than it is a thematic device.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

 

Exactly: it’s more part of Williams compositional style than it is a thematic device.

 

Wait what? I thought you were saying just a day ago that this was a deliberate thematic device on Williams' part.

 

Am I misunderstanding? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, The Illustrious Jerry said:

I believe Admiral Holdo has a smaller theme that can be heard in the FYC Admiral Holdo and a few times in the isolated score. The desperation theme is used more in relation to her sacrifice.

I kind of agree.

Holdo's Minor Motif

It's an adagio of the March of the Resistance, but it is used in direct on-screen relation to the character in a couple of cues.

Holdo's Sacrifice/Desperation Motif

This is much more distinct. An actual theme.

Holdo Rhythym

I believe this is just a twice recurring sequence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great work Jerry, honestly I’m totally unable to analyze music that way.

 

And I’m a musician (well... I was in another life!)

 

But for me music remains magic... I simply refuse to analyze it, but I appreciate people who can do it.

 

It shows that behind the « magic « there is complex constructions, made of themes, variations, changes of keys, tones, intrumentations, tempo, etc.

 

I have a more organic approach to music I think.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Bespin said:

Great work Jerry, honestly I’m totally unable to analyze music that way.

 

And I’m a musician (well... I was in another life!)

 

But for me music remains magic... I simply refuse to analyze it, but I appreciate people who can do it.

 

It shows that behind the « magic « there is a complex constructions, made of themes, variations, change of tone, tempo, etc.

 

I have a more organic approach to music I think.

Yes, I too have a more organic approach, simplistic, simply embracing the sound. But I also recognize the power of themes and motifs. What brought me to actually do a breakdown of this score was simply for others and because it was packed with thematic material, which is often confusing. Thanks for your appreciation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, The Illustrious Jerry said:

....

 

17. Savareen Stand-Off (4:26)

0:33  Enfys Nest A Theme

0:54  Enfys Nest A Theme

1:21  Rebel Fanfare/Millennium Falcon (incomplete variation)

2:30  Enfys Nest A Theme

3:01  Enfys Nest A Theme

3:19  Secrets/Crimson Dawn Theme

3:34  Chewie's Theme (incomplete)

3:46  Love Theme (variation)

4:04  Heroic Theme (incomplete)

 

.....

 

I would add that at around 2:50 of Savareen Stand-Off the first few notes of the March of the Resistance are played. What do you think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What does Crait Hurried Strings mean/represent?  I thought Crait was the planet in TLJ. 

 

 

Also, I forget which track but I know I've heard Gollum's theme near the end of one of them. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Demodex said:

What does Crait Hurried Strings mean/represent?  I thought Crait was the planet in TLJ. 

Crait Hurried Strings is the name I gave to this segment of the Adventures of Han suite which is reminiscent of this from The Last Jedi Battle of Crait.

13 hours ago, kelliwisethebrave said:

I would add that at around 2:50 of Savareen Stand-Off the first few notes of the March of the Resistance are played. What do you think?

I feel like that might be a little irrelevant, especially considering that L3's theme often evokes that sound. I'll take a look.

11 hours ago, Demodex said:

Also, I forget which track but I know I've heard Gollum's theme near the end of one of them. 

That doesn't count! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Bofur01 said:

3:15 in Corellia Chase is Luke's theme

4:08 in Marauders Arrive is Chewie's theme, right?

 

And you're missing the Coaxium motif at 2:46 in Train Heist, 5:41 in Break Out, and 0:32 in Dice & Roll

Will check. Stand by. I wasn't sure about a coaxium motif.

54 minutes ago, Demodex said:

Damn, that is pretty similar. 

Yep.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

feel like that might be a little irrelevant, especially considering that L3's theme often evokes that sound. I'll take a look.

 

Back when the movie first came out I saw people connecting Enfys Nest saying "until finally the people resisted..." (1:41:44 in the movie) with those notes from the March of the Resistance being played. If it's similar to L3's theme that could also make sense as she was the one who started the droid rebellion. I think either would make for an interesting hypothesis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another observation:

 

is the 0:24-0:37 section of "Return to Tatooine" in AOTC supposed to be a motif representing Anakin's childhood memories? In the film I clearly remember that section also playing when Anakin re-encounters Jar Jar at the start of the film (or at least, at some point during that whole scene). Or was that part tracked there from "Return to Tatooine"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't recall if I've mentioned this here or not.  I'm working on a kind of isolated score for the OT.  (It's not an iso score per se because I'm making small videos that can be watched in a playlist rather than the entire film with dead air where there's no music.)  

 

I had the idea of adding captions that will identify the theme or motif that is being played.  I might also add material from various liner notes.  I'll see.  It's a work in progress.

 

Anyway, aside from my own knowledge I'll be leaning on this thread heavily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...