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Why is a large part of the Battle of Yavin not scored?

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The score for the Battle of Yavin, from Star Wars, is made of three cues, titled 1) "Launch from the Fourth Moon", 2) "X-Wings Draw Fire", and 3) "Use the Force" in the 1997 RCA release. The second cue immediately follows the first one. The third cue starts approximately 3 minutes and 50 seconds after the end of the second cue, leaving a rather extended part of the battle not scored.

 

The "music hole" goes from around 5:50 to 9:40 in this video:

 

 

I have always found this strange. Strange that the music suddenly stops in the middle of the climatic final battle, and for such a long time (I am not aware of other analogous cases). Strange that the duration of the break (3:50) corresponds to the average duration of a typical cue, although there is no notice that something was ever recorded for that moment. Strange that the second cue ends in a way that, at least to my mind, seems to call for an overlap with another cue (this might be my imagination, of course). And above all, I don't think it makes any sense to have a break in the music there.

 

Does anyone know what happened there? Was it ever discussed?

 

 

 

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I've also always found this strange.  I mean, I get that this is how many movies were spotted in the 70s.  But to me, it was the wrong choice. I think the battle would be more exciting if there had been music in that unscored section.

 

It would have been great if, even if George didn't use it, if JW had written and recorded something for it we could hear.  Oh well.

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2 hours ago, Jay said:

I've also always found this strange.  I mean, I get that this is how many movies were spotted in the 70s.  But to me, it was the wrong choice. I think the battle would be more exciting if there had been music in that unscored section.

 

It would have been great if, even if George didn't use it, if JW had written and recorded something for it we could hear.  Oh well.

 

56 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

The Yavin battle is still the best of all SW battles, and I think the unscored sections add to that. It's not all fighting and chaos, there's also some genuine tension there. And the climax gets an extra boost not just the music narrates it so well, but also because it provides a strong contrast to what comes before.

 

I share Jay's opinion. I understand that wall-to-wall scoring was not the norm with the first SW (within the SW franchise, it started with TESB), but that particular point really needed music for me. The "contrast" argument is surely a possible explanation of what happened (probably the right one), but it doesn't work for me because I don't perceive enough tension from the scene alone: let's say that the tension drop due to the absence of music is not compensated (for me) by the contrast effect of the entrance of the third cue after a long break. That's why I was wondering if something specific had happened (like, I don't know, the scene getting extended when it was too late for John to compose and record another piece, or something like that). 

 

I was wondering about a possible missing "unused cue" as well, but I'm quite sure that we would know by now if something like that had been recorded. This does not mean that it was not written, however, but who knows...

 

 

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As someone who remembers seeing this at its theatrical release along with Jaws, you could also ask why wasn't this scored until -0:54 in this clip?

 

 

I really believe Jurassic "Shark" *cough* and @Brundlefly nailed it.  Silence proceeding maximum intensity is more effective and these films were locked so the composer could discuss with the director how music could support the maximum intensity by important use of non-scoring.  That approach isn't used today.  Test screenings/digital editing/temp scores/drop ins, etc. remove such silence.

 

Question:

Same question...Why is there no music here until 0:54?

 

The music was not scoring the action, it was scoring the subtext (character's point of view).  Luke and Brody's final desperate final attempt to defeat their foe against all odds and Marion Crane's successful escape until she realizes her getaway plan was at a poorly chosen venue. 

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It definitely would've helped that duel, not just awkward sounds of scuffling and clashing.

18 minutes ago, Ghostbusters II said:

Why is the swordfight between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader unscored?

 

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Would this scene have been better if there was no score until 2:05?  I think so.  The problem is that it was foreshadowing words by Gandalf that were forgotten and needed to be remembered which was the function of the music here, the characters remembering Gandalf as the White Knight.  Absolutely significant here is the music is not scoring the action but the subtext...the characters realization of redemption.  All hope is lost.  But they persist and fight on. The action music would have scored the battle.  The brilliance of this movie (and star wars) was the subtext was far more important...until the later films at least.  This elevated them from action into artistry.  Silence is powerful and great composers know it.

 

 

Most of you should remember experiencing this sequence theatrically.  It was a stunning moment when Gandalf the white knight appeared in the most desperate moment.  he is the Ben Kenobi character who dies in episode 1.  But as memorable as he is, this is not his tale.

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One of the reasons why Goldsmith is my favourite composer in the context of the films is because of all the silence. One of few composers who don't regularly overscore their movies. I mean, how often do Goldsmith expansions require 2CDs?

 

A great moment of silence is the falling car from Jurassic Park. The music suddenly kicks in in the second half.

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To me, action or chase scenes that have large unscored sections (and then often have music kick in at a crucial point) is part of the DNA of Star Wars, its rhythm and pacing. And it’s an intentional choice by Lucas that has been lost in the sequel trilogy.

 

It’s not just ANH, with Yavin and the Vader/Obi-Wan fight. Think of the parts of ESB score that Williams wrote and Lucas and/or Kershner trimmed away (Luke/Vader fight, and at a stretch, the piano figure at the beginning of the Hoth battle). Or all of the ROTJ speeder chase. The beginning of the pod race. The asteroid chase in AOTC. Obi-wan on the lizard with Grevious in ROTS. These sequences that are all visuals and editing and sound, to me, are just as much of a cue that I’m watching a Star Wars movie as the score.

 

I wish we had more moments like those in the sequel trilogy, but it seems Abrams and Johnson have a hard time saying no to JW. Which, of course, I can hardly blame them for.

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12 hours ago, Score said:

I share Jay's opinion. I understand that wall-to-wall scoring was not the norm with the first SW (within the SW franchise, it started with TESB), but that particular point really needed music for me. The "contrast" argument is surely a possible explanation of what happened (probably the right one), but it doesn't work for me because I don't perceive enough tension from the scene alone: let's say that the tension drop due to the absence of music is not compensated (for me) by the contrast effect of the entrance of the third cue after a long break. That's why I was wondering if something specific had happened (like, I don't know, the scene getting extended when it was too late for John to compose and record another piece, or something like that).

 

The aesthetic arguments about building tension and then letting it release (especially during a climactic sequence like this one) are of course always legitimate and solid when it comes to spotting. And it's also true that the original Star Wars was/is still a movie largely influenced by the aesthetics of 1970s filmmaking, where music was sparsely spotted more often than not.

 

However, Star Wars had a lot of music even by those 1970s standards, so imho it was quite natural that Lucas, Williams and the editors thought to have longer stretches of silences to avoid ear fatigue in what was probably perceived as a "noisy" film.

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2 hours ago, aviazn said:

To me, action or chase scenes that have large unscored sections (and then often have music kick in at a crucial point) is part of the DNA of Star Wars, its rhythm and pacing. And it’s an intentional choice by Lucas that has been lost in the sequel trilogy.

 

It’s not just ANH, with Yavin and the Vader/Obi-Wan fight. Think of the parts of ESB score that Williams wrote and Lucas and/or Kershner trimmed away (Luke/Vader fight, and at a stretch, the piano figure at the beginning of the Hoth battle). Or all of the ROTJ speeder chase. The beginning of the pod race. The asteroid chase in AOTC. Obi-wan on the lizard with Grevious in ROTS. These sequences that are all visuals and editing and sound, to me, are just as much of a cue that I’m watching a Star Wars movie as the score.

 

I wish we had more moments like those in the sequel trilogy, but it seems Abrams and Johnson have a hard time saying no to JW. Which, of course, I can hardly blame them for.

 

29 minutes ago, TownerFan said:

 

The aesthetic arguments about building tension and then letting it release (especially during a climactic sequence like this one) are of course always legitimate and solid when it comes to spotting. And it's also true that the original Star Wars was/is still a movie largely influenced by the aesthetics of 1970s filmmaking, where music was sparsely spotted more often than not.

 

However, Star Wars had a lot of music even by those 1970s standards, so imho it was quite natural that Lucas, Williams and the editors thought to have longer stretches of silences to avoid ear fatigue in what was probably perceived as a "noisy" film.

 

Ok, these are all plausible explanations. It still sounds as a wrong choice to me, but it's possible that I am influenced by the movies that came afterwards and their different style of scoring. Maybe I wouldn't have this perception if I had seen SW at the theatre in 1977.  

 

 

6 minutes ago, Quintus said:

Strangest question I've read on here for a while. 

 

Really? :lol:  

 

http://www.jwfan.com/forums/index.php?/topic/29429-which-film-has-the-best-cat/

http://www.jwfan.com/forums/index.php?/topic/29431-williams-manliest-most-testosterone-fuelled-music/

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14 hours ago, aviazn said:

 

I wish we had more moments like those in the sequel trilogy, but it seems Abrams and Johnson have a hard time saying no to JW. Which, of course, I can hardly blame them for.

 

But there are quite a few moments like that in TFA! In fact, Williams composed a lot of unused music for that movie. Think of Rey’s introduction, the First Order Parade or the battle part just before ‘The Resistance’.

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4 hours ago, Remco said:

 

But there are quite a few moments like that in TFA! In fact, Williams composed a lot of unused music for that movie. Think of Rey’s introduction, the First Order Parade or the battle part just before ‘The Resistance’.

I was thinking of action scenes, but you’re right, I’d forgotten about the battle before The Resistance and TR8R!

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I don't know the answer to the OP, but it certainly is effective.  Ben Burtt's sounds have tonality all their own.  The TIEs and X-Wings have their own harmonic tonalities.  Even the pilot chatter is musical as it changes pitch from cockpit POV to headset distortion.  It's easy to take for granted how revolutionary the sound effects were, but it's my opinion that the decision to let them breathe on their own, and take a solo, was the right one for the storytelling.

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I never thought there should be music there. The lack of music tells us that the first trench run is futile. When the music does kick back in, it tells us things are dire for our Rebel heroes.  It was and still is the right decision.

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21 minutes ago, MrScratch said:

I never thought there should be music there. The lack of music tells us that the first trench run is futile. When the music does kick back in, it tells us things are dire for our Rebel heroes.  It was and still is the right decision.

 

These days the director would say "write music that tells us the first trench run is futile!"

 

Williams would probably comply and write from his usual cache of church music.

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14 hours ago, Ghostbusters II said:

Williams shouldn't have scored Star Wars at all.

 

8 hours ago, dougie said:

It ruined his life.

Why are you guys even on this site? Neither of you can barely tolerate his music, it seems.  

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Few things have become as irritating on this forum as scrolling through pages of shtick — endless, predictable shtick — to get to the occasional interesting insight. I guess beggars can’t be choosers, though. 

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11 hours ago, Iron_Giant said:

Few things have become as irritating on this forum as scrolling through pages of shtick — endless, predictable shtick — to get to the occasional interesting insight. I guess beggars can’t be choosers, though. 

 

Must have been your lifelong ambition!

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13 hours ago, Iron_Giant said:

Few things have become as irritating on this forum as scrolling through pages of shtick — endless, predictable shtick — to get to the occasional interesting insight. I guess beggars can’t be choosers, though. 

 

There's a block feature. I suggest you friend it. 

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