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Incanus

About the themes of ROTS

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I have been reading the reviews of the ROTS on many soundtrack sites and what I find really agravating is the fact that these so called reviewers complain about the themeless approach Williams seems to have on the score outside Battle of the Heroes. What have they been listening to? When in the recent years Williams would have stooped into non thmematic utility music? There are atleast 3 major thematic threads to be heard on the album and I am sure they will be embellished and worked further in the movie.

These reviewers do mention a motif for Grievous/Evil forces but they do not obviously know where it is. This 6 note motif plays practically on every second track of the album in great variations but no one seems to hear it. E.g. the "themeless and directionless action pieces" like Grievous and Grievous and the Droids are both build on it as a whole or in part. Grievous Speaks to Lord Sidious has wonderful variations on the theme in almost a waltz-like figure in the beginning and a great trumpet solo in the middle of the track. The new march in Enter Lord Vader which Clemmensen likes so much is also the same motif going through a march treatment. Revenge of the Sith cue also has many heavy references to the Grievous theme.

The second theme seems to be associated to the fall and dark deeds of Anakin. It reminds me very much about the music heard in AOTC in the scenes following the death of Shmi. The string figure heard in the conversation between Anakin and Padme in the garrage of the Homestead that represents Anakins hatred pops up in Anakin's Betrayal and the new theme of the cue seems to build on top of that. Immolation is a reiteration of the theme depicting the tragedy of Anakin's fall.

Third there is Battle of the Heroes. Of course it is a question of tastes whether you like it or not but the claim that it is not weaved into the fabric of the score is ridiculous. It is used on many tracks showing the conflict and Anakin's turn to the Dark Side. Anakin's Betrayal, Anakin's Dark Deeds, Immolation(the end of the piece in subtle variation), Anakin vs. Obi-Wan (duh!), Enter Lord Vader all contain the theme in some guise or another.

The fact that many familiar themes are not touched upon or revisited in force on this album does not mean they do not appear at all. This album is Williams' idea of a balanced listening experience and I think he wanted to include new music and new themes on the album rather than the reiterations of the old. Even if hearing those old themes would have been nice the space on the disc is limited. When we some day (I hope soon) have the complete scores of the prequel trilogy fans and others can better appreciate the scores in full.

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A worthy defence, and possibly the most sensible new thread since Tom Petty was commended to us. If you have the time, it would be great if you could detail the appearances of the themes you discuss - the fall of Anakin, the Grievous theme, and BOTH. It might help more people appreciate the scores if they know where to listen out for them.

One thing which is also nice about the album is the way the Love theme works its way subtly into a number of tracks. If only Anakin's theme and DOTF were part of the journey, the album would be a perfect wrap-up to the prequel trilogy of albums.

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The main gripe I have with the album is the missing of DotF. I have been waiting for years to hear the ultimate showdown to be scored by it. As it was mutilated in the Episode I it would have been nice to hear it in new even more powerful guise on the last album. Of course what we need is more music but it will take a number of years (if a miracle does not happen) before it is possible. The old themes are indeed reprised with economic hand by Williams on the album and that can be seen as a flaw when you judge the continuity of the scores but we should hear the complete score ( this has been said far too many times ;) ) to fully grasp how the older themes are used in the score.

When thinking the reversed movie making process of the hexalogy it poses number of irritating and difficult problems. Williams did not have a freedom to write many Episodes spanning themes since many characters were killed, mutilated or forced of the plot. Qui- Gonn, Darth Maul, Jar Jar (thank God for that happy exclusion), Anakin as a innocent character (theme is reprised once in AOTC), Shmi, and all the other themes do not "survive". Not a single can make a transition to the older trilogy except the Force theme, Imperial March and Emperor's theme which are older material from the old Episodes. This is quite a cut to the thematic continuity of the scores and at the same time in a way an artistic dead end which makes it harder to score these movies than if they were in perfect chronological order. I hope that the remark Lucas made on the ROTS liner notes is true and Williams had an opporturnity to bridge the trilogies with familiar themes in a good fashion that makes sense and adds little of that thematic flow between the trilogies.

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I’m starting to notice a widespread tendency to notice themes even when they aren’t there. With other site reviews also. I think we want to think that JW is making all of these subtle and brilliant connections and there’s a sense of discovery when something has the ring of simlilarity to something else. I’ve done it occasionally myself and later felt less confident. I agree with THEfranz_conrad that it would be good to have track times because I think some of the ones you listed are very subjective; a matter of interpretation at best.

I’ve noticed music in several instances very similar to the Confession scene in AotC also though, even there, I’m not exactly sure it was intentional. One occasion that I thought I heard it - track 13 towards the end - others hear a modification of the love theme And now its not clear to me one way or the other. It will help when we can see the film because it makes a difference to know how he was relating the musical ideas to the film.

In general, although JW has been known to modify the notes of his themes, I think he usually keeps enough of the same structure and similarities so that its pretty clear that he’s making a thematic reference. It would sort of defeat the purpose to have a theme that is so pliable as to go virtually completely unnoticed. BotH is one that I haven’t heard, for example, outside the obvious cases. I listened to Anakin’s Betrayal again and I don’t hear it. I'm open-minded but just a little skeptical until something more specific can be cited.

I think the criticism that there is less thematic cohesiveness than other Star Wars scores is valid probably for the album, although probably less so for the entire score once we get to hear it. And I don’t necessarily see it as a criticism, either. Its likely that his thematic choices will make sense in the context of the movie even if its not what some wanted as an album.

- Adam

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Last time I listened to it I thought I heard parts of Anakin's Betrayal in both Anakin's Dream and Anakin's Dark Deeds. Don't know if I was just hearing things though. I also tend to hear themes or thematic references everywhere and then go back and break it down so I can be sure if I'm hearing it right or not.

I also think I heard the first few notes of Shmi's Theme (Episode II version) in Palapatine's Teachings.

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I also think I heard the first few notes of Shmi's Theme (Episode II version) in Palapatine's Teachings.

I've been hearing it too. But I thought it was too short to be an actual reference. Perhaps the scene it plays over will shed some light on this.

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Yup, as always, seeing the film. One of my favorite things to do with a new score is to piece together the thematic structure, but I'm waiting until I see the movie before I really get into that so I know what's going on. :joke:

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The only thing I wish Williams did differently was integrate Across the Stars theme in counterpoint to Padme's funeral music- I think the Force theme there isn't that appropriate but then again, I haven't seen the film so perhaps I'm jumping the gun. Just a thought. Funny enough, if you imagine the first bit of the love theme superimposed on the funeral music, it would work.

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The main gripe I have with the album is the missing of DotF. I have been waiting for years to hear the ultimate showdown to be scored by it.

I heard a quote from Williams stating that he'd be saving DotF until the latter parts of the battle - the big gun. Whether it's true or not remains to be seen (or heard) in the film. If it is in it, I really, really hope it's not the concert version tracked in...

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I have been reading the reviews of the ROTS on many soundtrack sites and what I find really agravating is the fact that these so called reviewers complain about the themeless approach Williams seems to have on the score outside Battle of the Heroes. What have they been listening to? When in the recent years Williams would have stooped into non thmematic utility music? There are atleast 3 major thematic threads to be heard on the album and I am sure they will be embellished and worked further in the movie.  

These reviewers do mention a motif for Grievous/Evil forces but they do not obviously know where it is. This 6 note motif plays practically on every second track of the album in great variations but no one seems to hear it. E.g. the "themeless and directionless action pieces" like Grievous and Grievous and the Droids are both build on it as a whole or in part. Grievous Speaks to Lord Sidious has wonderful variations on the theme in almost a waltz-like figure in the beginning and a great trumpet solo in the middle of the track. The new march in Enter Lord Vader which Clemmensen likes so much is also the same motif going through a march treatment. Revenge of the Sith cue also has many heavy references to the Grievous theme.

The second theme seems to be associated to the fall and dark deeds of Anakin. It reminds me very much about the music heard in AOTC in the scenes following the death of Shmi. The string figure heard in the conversation between Anakin and Padme in the garrage of the Homestead that represents Anakins hatred pops up in Anakin's Betrayal and the new theme of the cue seems to build on top of that. Immolation is a reiteration of the theme depicting the tragedy of Anakin's fall.

Third there is Battle of the Heroes. Of course it is a question of tastes whether you like it or not but the claim that it is not weaved into the fabric of the score is ridiculous. It is used on many tracks showing the conflict and Anakin's turn to the Dark Side. Anakin's Betrayal, Anakin's Dark Deeds, Immolation(the end of the piece in subtle variation), Anakin vs. Obi-Wan (duh!), Enter Lord Vader all contain the theme in some guise or another.

The fact that many familiar themes are not touched upon or revisited in force on this album does not mean they do not appear at all. This album is Williams' idea of a balanced listening experience and I think he wanted to include new music and new themes on the album rather than the reiterations of the old. Even if hearing those old themes would have been nice the space on the disc is limited. When we some day (I hope soon) have the complete scores of the prequel trilogy fans and others can better appreciate the scores in full.

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I may have made some wrong conclusions about the themes like the appearance of BotH on Anakin's Betrayal Anakin's Dark Deeds and Enter Lord Vader (I'm VERY SORRY if you busted your brain trying to find it)

but otherwise I believe the thematic material I hear is genuine and not my desperate wish to believe in Williams' ability to write themes and make myself hear things that are not there.

Listen to for example the theme in Anakin's Betrayal and you'll hear it in the Immolation Scene very clearly. Grievous theme is so easy to notice because Williams practically smacks you in the face with it in the Grievous cues (particularly on tracks 5 and more subtle references on track 7 and all the other tracks I mention in the beginning of the thread).

Anakin's Betrayal contains a theme from AOTC in the middle of the track after the elegy. This propably has to do with Anakin's Hatred and can be heard in the scene where Anakin speaks to Padme about killing the Tusken raiders. It is there if you listen to the string motif that is being repeated over and over (sounds almost like the string motif in the C section of Across the Stars though that might be one of my delusions) :)

I have no idea what the choir motif on tracks 10 and 13 represents but I think that is a motif. Nice that it was pointed out to me. These obvious things slip by my ears quite often.

Sorry if I caused unnecessary anxiety with my initial ramblings about the themes.

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The second theme seems to be associated to the fall and dark deeds of Anakin. It reminds me very much about the music heard in AOTC in the scenes following the death of Shmi. The string figure heard in the conversation between Anakin and Padme in the garrage of the Homestead that represents Anakins hatred pops up in Anakin's Betrayal and the new theme of the cue seems to build on top of that. Immolation is a reiteration of the theme depicting the tragedy of Anakin's fall.

I did notice this on my second or third listen.

Jeff

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I may have made some wrong conclusions about the themes like the appearance of BotH on Anakin's Betrayal Anakin's Dark Deeds and Enter Lord Vader (I'm VERY SORRY if you busted your brain trying to find it)  

but otherwise I believe the thematic material I hear is genuine and not my desperate wish to believe in Williams' ability to write themes and make myself hear things that are not there.

Listen to for example the theme in Anakin's Betrayal and you'll hear it in the Immolation Scene very clearly. Grievous theme is so easy to notice because Williams practically smacks you in the face with it in the Grievous cues (particularly on tracks 5 and more subtle references on track 7 and all the other tracks I mention in the beginning of the thread).

Anakin's Betrayal contains a theme from AOTC in the middle of the track after the elegy. This propably has to do with Anakin's Hatred and can be heard in the scene where Anakin speaks to Padme about killing the Tusken raiders. It is there if you listen to the string motif that is being repeated over and over (sounds almost like the string motif in the C section of Across the Stars though that might be one of my delusions) ;)

I have no idea what the choir motif on tracks 10 and 13 represents but I think that is a motif. Nice that it was pointed out to me. These obvious things slip by my ears quite often.  

Sorry if I caused unnecessary anxiety with my initial ramblings about the themes.

I didn’t intend to dismiss your post completely. And there wasn’t any anxiety or irritation or anything. I was partly speaking to the larger phenomenon where I’ve noticed a lot of reviews by other people citing theme connections that are highly questionable. The confession scene motif does show up in pretty much exact form in Anakin’s Betrayal. Assuming that wasn’t an unlikely coincidence, that’s an interesting carry-over for JW to use and, I agree with you, one could easily see how the connection would make sense. Its an interesting case of what seemed like a specific scene related motif suddenly taking on a larger significance in the wider story. Before, it just seemed like a really nice unreleased cue for AotC and he presumably didn’t even know he’d be returning to it. Great link for him to make, if intentional, and it I do think there is often more thematic unity in his scores than is first apparent.

Both AotC and RotS represent a decline in what I would think of as major thematic material being introduced into the stories. But I think this was predictable, given the necessity to incorporate old themes and to keep the new ones in their proper context. Sort of like he’s perfectly capable of writing a strong, hit-you-over-the-head theme for Grievous but it wouldn’t really be in balance with the rest of the score. So we get the one that you mentioned, that is still very good but doesn’t stand out as thematic material like people might expect or want. It makes sense that the force theme, Vader’s theme, and BotH would represent the strongest thematic statements with the biggest emotional tugs. And then the whole new hope idea does get a good expression in Leia’s Theme in the end credits, though I would have preferred an original statement. But, anyway, its always fun to decipher these things.

- Adam

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Grievous theme is so easy to notice because Williams practically smacks you in the face with it in the Grievous cues (particularly on tracks 5 and more subtle references on track 7 and all the other tracks I mention in the beginning of the thread).

I can hear Grievous' theme in track 1 (4:46) and in 13 (0:09), but where do they appear in 5 and 7? (if possible, point out the times)

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I think I've spotted another appearance of Anakin's AotC motif, but with the last note altered. If only I could find it again and post the tracktimes. ;)

- Marc

;) John Williams - Star Wars and the Revenge of the Sith from Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

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I love the refernce to the Dark Side Beckons in Anakin's Dream. It took me so long to realize that the music around the two minute mark is actually a reference to that piece. I'm finding all kinds of subtle references all throughout the score, and I'm finding these posts really interesting. I too heards Shmi's theme lightly quoted in Palpatine's Teachings, as well as the Imperial March much more than it's only big refernce in the cue, along with the Emperor's theme of course. And there are definitely a few moments that sound exactly like some of the myerious swirling strings underscore of AOTC. I only wish some of the action music was a little more romantic sounding as it was in the original Star Wars.

Ted

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I love the refernce to the Dark Side Beckons in Anakin's Dream. It took me so long to realize that the music around the two minute mark is actually a reference to that piece. Ted

You mean that random string transitionnal music ?

K.M.Who think it's a stretch at best

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The only thing I wish Williams did differently was integrate Across the Stars theme in counterpoint to Padme's funeral music- I think the Force theme there isn't that appropriate but then again, I haven't seen the film so perhaps I'm jumping the gun.  Just a thought.  Funny enough, if you imagine the first bit of the love theme superimposed on the funeral music, it would work.

Did you hear my Padmé's Funeral/AtS combination? :P

http://www.chrisafonso.de/starwars/Padme's_Destiny.mp3

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I love the refernce to the Dark Side Beckons in Anakin's Dream. It took me so long to realize that the music around the two minute mark is actually a reference to that piece. Ted

You mean that random string transitionnal music ?

K.M.Who think it's a stretch at best

I second that. If you consider THIS a variation on DSB, then half of TPM is a variation on DSB :P

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Well, I hear it. Sounds a little like it did in Yoda's Death, only played more by the violins than the cellos. Dismiss it if you will, but if you listen hard, I think it's there. Listen to them back to back and you'll hear the exact same notes. I do at least.

Ted, who also hears Across the Stars all over the place in this score but in really small ways

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Well, the problem is that "Dark Side Beckons" on itself is but rhythmic chord progressions. All the melody or "theme" that's there lies in the top notes of the chord progression. So if the chords are different, and the rhythm is different, all you have is "both is a series of chord progressions". That doesn't warrant a "reoccuring theme" for me. Reoccuring texture, yes, but even so it's more similar to much TPM Tatooine material (and Williams's string drama writing in general , cf. Angela's Ashes) than DSB, as that one has a choir on top and some brass.

To go into some more detail:

Dark_Side_Beckons.jpg

(Following: DSB=Dark side Beckons, AD=Anakin's Dream)

Harmony:

Both begin in the same key (B minor) but (more or less) modulate into different "goal" keys.

DSB modulates from Bm to Em over the course of the first four bars, and after that practically stays there, with all following chords being closely related to it (G: parallel key, Am: subdominant, bm: dominant, C: subdominant parallel, D: dominant parallel). This is contrasted with the very active harmony changes in the first 4 bars: The first two are clearly in Bm, then a very jarring shift to Fm occurs (one of the farthest keys from Bm), followed by a downward shift by a minor second to Em, which is then established with a short cadence.

AD is rooted in B minor for the first three bars, basically only changing between Bm and its Neapolitan, C (with some suspended notes in the melody which flavor the chords a bit - here we have the first major difference, because this suspending of notes which happens all over the place in AD does never happen in DSB). After that it shifts to F#m, which becomes clear through the following chord progressions, which again consist of the related chords to F#m (C#m: dominant, D: subdominant parallel, A: (tonic) parallel, bm: subdominant), and then stays on the established F#m key, just going haywire with suspensions :P.

So harmonically the only resemblance is the initial key, which says diddly squat about thematic relationship; both cues modulate in different directions and once having reached their goals behave differently (DSB repeating a chord progression rooted in Em, AD just staying on the F#m adding suspensions).

Rhythm:

Rhythmic resamblance is almost zero, the only thing in common are some pairs of half notes with the second note a (minor or major) second down. And perhaps the first bar, not taking into account that in DSB the first note/chord is on the downtime, and in AD it's syncopated.

Melody:

Again, the only melodic similarity are the descending-second half-note pairs. As two of those appear near the beginning some may see it as a thematic resemblance. But where in DSB each chord is played on its own, in AD those two note pairs are simply suspensions being released. Where in DSB a jarring key change happens between those two pairs (from bar 2 to 3) and another minor key change in the middle of bar 3, those seemingly analogous bars in AD are firmly rooted in the initial key of Bm. After that, the melodic similarity is practically zero.

At most, the last two bars of the excerpt from "Anakin's Dream" could be taken as a hint of Anakin's theme despite being a very basic note progression. But then, it's the motif from "The Accidental Tourist", really note for note. You won't try to argue that one (a much more striking resemblance than the DSB one) was intentional, will ya? :|. At some level of simplicity or obviousness you have to abandon the search for hints of themes, or else you have the "Jaws" motif in almost every piece of music ever created ;)

(Afterthought: A point may be made about those descending half note pairs in AD being a hint at the middle section of Anakin's Theme, as they appear so frequently.)

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Well, the problem is that "Dark Side Beckons" on itself is but rhythmic chord progressions. All the melody or "theme" that's there lies in the top notes of the chord progression. So if the chords are different, and the rhythm is different, all you have is "both is a series of chord progressions". That doesn't warrant a "reoccuring theme" for me. Reoccuring texture, yes, but even so it's more similar to much TPM Tatooine material (and Williams's string drama writing in general , cf. Angela's Ashes) than DSB, as that one has a choir on top and some brass.

To go into some more detail:

Dark_Side_Beckons.jpg

(Following: DSB=Dark side Beckons, AD=Anakin's Dream)

Harmony:

Both begin in the same key (B minor) but (more or less) modulate into different "goal" keys.  

DSB modulates from Bm to Em over the course of the first four bars, and after that practically stays there, with all following chords being closely related to it (G: parallel key, Am: subdominant, bm: dominant, C: subdominant parallel, D: dominant parallel). This is contrasted with the very active harmony changes in the first 4 bars: The first two are clearly in Bm, then a very jarring shift to Fm occurs (one of the farthest keys from Bm), followed by a downward shift by a minor second to Em, which is then established with a short cadence.

AD is rooted in B minor for the first three bars, basically only changing between Bm and its Neapolitan, C (with some suspended notes in the melody which flavor the chords a bit - here we have the first major difference, because this suspending of notes which happens all over the place in AD does never happen in DSB). After that it shifts to F#m, which becomes clear through the following chord progressions, which again consist of the related chords to F#m (C#m: dominant, D: subdominant parallel, A: (tonic) parallel, bm: subdominant), and then stays on the established F#m key, just going haywire with suspensions :P.

So harmonically the only resemblance is the initial key, which says diddly squat about thematic relationship; both cues modulate in different directions and once having reached their goals behave differently (DSB repeating a chord progression rooted in Em, AD just staying on the F#m adding suspensions).

Rhythm:

Rhythmic resamblance is almost zero, the only thing in common are some pairs of half notes with the second note a (minor or major) second down. And perhaps the first bar, not taking into account that in DSB the first note/chord is on the downtime, and in AD it's syncopated.

Melody:

Again, the only melodic similarity are the descending-second half-note pairs. As two of those appear near the beginning some may see it as a thematic resemblance. But where in DSB each chord is played on its own, in AD those two note pairs are simply suspensions being released. Where in DSB a jarring key change happens between those two pairs (from bar 2 to 3) and another minor key change in the middle of bar 3, those seemingly analogous bars in AD are firmly rooted in the initial key of Bm. After that, the melodic similarity is practically zero.

At most, the last two bars of the excerpt from "Anakin's Dream" could be taken as a hint of Anakin's theme despite being a very basic note progression. But then, it's the motif from "The Accidental Tourist", really note for note. You won't try to argue that one (a much more striking resemblance than the DSB one) was intentional, will ya? :|. At some level of simplicity or obviousness you have to abandon the search for hints of themes, or else you have the "Jaws" motif in almost every piece of music ever created ;)

(Afterthought: A point may be made about those descending half note pairs in AD being a hint at the middle section of Anakin's Theme, as they appear so frequently.)

So, this means what?

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You don't have to quote such a long post for such a short remark, but to answer your question: I don't believe there's any intentional reference to "Dark Side Beckons" in that part of "Anakin's Dream".

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Why do you need track times? It's clearly heard in the middle of the first track (where the bass brass instruments play almost unaccompanied, just the occasional timpani hit), and in track 13 where the horn kicks in.

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Another reason why this score is so subtle: it took me ages to realise the first couple of bars of "Anakin's Betrayal" is "Across the Stars" (0:00-0:07) pitted against "Anakin's Theme" (0:07-0:14), and the downward leap at 0:14 belongs to the downward leap in "Duel of the Fates." After a brief development of a woodened, or 'betrayed' "Across the Stars," as well as some horn-renditioned "descending triplet" mini-motif, ubiquitous to Star Wars themes, we hear "Anakin's Theme" again at 0:51, but this time the semitone step up is transposed an octave up. The following horn passage is a mutation of both themes. Note the Vader-esque chord change at 0:15. Also of note is the very, very subtle harp arpeggios at the final chord (3:48), suggestion a dying "Across the Stars" which featured harp arpeggios.

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Sorry Bowie, but I believe you're chasing phantoms here. Much of that track is based on development of the motif occupying bars 1 and 2 (e.g. sequenced in bar 3 and 4 with slight alteration), and the way you portray it, you hack the second bar up right in the middle. The "downward leap from DotF" is just one interval and holds absolutely no "thematic recognition value" for me (unless you consider the beginning of the JP fanfare a reference to the Star Wars MT, Superman march, etc. etc. etc.). What you mean by "woodened or betrayed AtS" completely escapes me, as what follows the beginning is clearly a development of the initial motif. And the "following horn passage is a mutation of both themes" is absolutely imaginary IMHO. I don't understand what about the chord change at 0:15 should be "Vader-esque". Finally the harp arpeggio appears in many Star Wars (and other) concert tracks by Williams, so calling this a suggestion of AtS is just as likely as calling it a suggestion of Yoda's Theme, Schindler's List or the theme from JP.

Please, don't take this personal. I just think you're over-analyzing.

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Okay I meant chord change at 1:15.

Anyway, can you explain why it's THAT motive he's developing through the piece? It blatantly resembles Across the Stars, I think we can agree that much. I'm just saying that I think he's constructed it to match Anakin's Theme in places, particularly the second 7 seconds. 0:11-0:13 to me is CLEARLY Anakin's Theme.

I think you're under-analysing, for a composer no less.

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Perhaps we can meet on a middle ground. One bar at about 2:00 (strings) sinds pretty much like a variation of the middle part of AtS (the string figure during the militaristic part).

The motif blatantly resembles AtS? I don't think so. If anything, it blatantly resembles the motif from AI's "Stored memories".

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I think you're under-analysing, for a composer no less.

I (as a composer) think you are over-analyzing as well. C'mon, man, there are only twelve tones. There's a lot you can do with them, but... the possibilities are limited, believe it or not. Sometimes you'll find a passage in a Williams score taken pretty much note-for-note from another (e.g. "Finale" from Jurassic Park and "Gillian's Power" from The Fury). Is there any significance to it? Of course not! Maybe Williams couldn't think of anything and went rummaging through his old scores. More likely, he just happened to write the same thing (as I said, the possibilities are limited). Now, it's different when the scores are of the same series. Obviously, the Star Wars scores are tied together strongly by leitmotif and such. But it's been three years since Attack of the Clones. Three years before that, Phantom Menace. And before that, it had been sixteen years since a Star Wars film. How much does William write between Star Wars films? A lot! And the scores bleed into each other. He does not write specifically to the films he scores. He writes to them, and based on what his overall musical "mood" is. That's why you can pick out distinct styles in different time periods, e.g. the nonthematic action music of the 2000's or the warm, cozy music of the late 80's (Empire of the Sun Theme, Father's Theme in Last Crusade, etc.). It's not like the second he saw Revenge of the Sith, he was suddenly jolted into a Star Wars mindset. And we know Williams's memory isn't the greatest. In a feature about the AotC score, he said "Across the Stars" was the first love theme in Star Wars. Williams obviously remembers Across the Stars, as he put it in Sith, and probably Anakin's Theme as well - it's supposedly in the film version of "Anakin's Dream" - but isn't it going a little far to say he weaves them into every track? Across the Stars has nothing to do with "Anakin's Betrayal." That's the purge of the Jedi. Padme's off in her apartment. Unless you consider Anakin's betrayal of the Jedi related to his ailing relationship with Padme... but sheesh, that's digging a bit deep. Ultimately, it comes down to tones and intervals. There aren't really too many... in fact, it'd be damn near impossible not to use the same intervals or rhythms sometimes. I think the core problem here is that you're not factoring in coincidences. So let's say I'm John Williams, writing a cue...

"Hmm... interval of a third here, that'll work... OK."

Now you seem to have this idea of Williams:

"Now I'll use an interval of a third... the same interval from the Emperor's Theme, AND Across the Stars. This represents Palpatine's seduction of Anakin and the dooming effect it has on Padme. Now I'll go up a fifth, as in the main title... after all, Luke is going to be born very soon."

Sorry, I just don't think all that is going through his head.

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Also, a big part of JW’s approach is to make his music accessible. I don’t think he generally goes for deep, complicated thematic connections where you’d have to be a musician to decipher things. One of the things I like about JW is that he uses his brilliance to very practical effect. He understands that film music has to operate in a very immediate, visceral way. People aren’t supposed to be paying attention to the music so it doesn’t do a lot of good to make vague musical connections. If a connection is meant to be there, it generally makes sense to be explicit about it so you can trigger a subconscious response in the audience.

- Adam

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I enjoyed the ROTS CD very much.

This may be stretching it a bit, but for me, I like that the first 3 episodes feel less obviously thematic. The music gets increasingly more chaotic as we go from EP I to II to III (the parents' movies), which reflects the loss of control in the Force as things head toward dominance of the "Dark Side".

The next three EP IV, V and VI (the Luke and Leia movies) are a new "chapter", a new hope so to speak, and rely much more on leit-motif, and as a consequence feel more like the Force coming back into balance.

I know this theory isn't likely the exact intention by either Lucas or Williams, but it works well for me, and allows me to enjoy the music of the series by giving the scores even more organization.

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Now you seem to have this idea of Williams:

"Now I'll use an interval of a third... the same interval from the Emperor's Theme, AND Across the Stars. This represents Palpatine's seduction of Anakin and the dooming effect it has on Padme. Now I'll go up a fifth, as in the main title... after all, Luke is going to be born very soon."

:joke:

~Sturgis

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Again I disagree with your whole "Anakin's Dream" melody thing (from 1:52 onwards).

I think it's quite clearly a development of "Across the Stars" (1:18-1:24 of that piece), followed by a development of Anakin's Theme (characterised by two or three steps down and a semitone up). Even though it's note for note hidden in the harmony in your Bar 5 and 6, I'm sure though that you'll disagree. I think that since Anakin's Theme is used in the film version of this cue, its development here is pretty convincing.

I can't believe you guys don't think he sits down and listens to and looks through the previous 5 scores (particularly TPM and AOTC in this case) before making much of an attempt at the most recent prequel's score. Yeah, yeah, so John Williams might have solutions to problems he encounters that he uses more than once from score to score. But I don't think you can call the opening statement of "Anakin's Betrayal" a solution to any problem (trying to get from one chord to the next etc). He decided to state that in such an important context for some decisive reason, IMO, and it's no coincidence it highly resembles at least two themes from the previous scores. Yeah yeah he didn't quote Anakin's Theme in its full obvious blaring glory on a single instrument not contained within the harmony. It's not a leitmotif as such. It's the same as the Force theme contains Luke's Theme in the final few notes. It takes a while for such things to strike you, but they do eventually. Similarly, Leia's Theme contains Luke's Theme in its middle development sections, but they're more obvious.

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Folks, you're interpretating WAY too much. I seriously doubt that Williams had the time to come up with something like

"the first couple of bars of "Anakin's Betrayal" is "Across the Stars" (0:00-0:07) pitted against "Anakin's Theme" (0:07-0:14), and the downward leap at 0:14 belongs to the downward leap in "Duel of the Fates." After a brief development of a woodened, or 'betrayed' "Across the Stars," as well as some horn-renditioned "descending triplet" mini-motif, ubiquitous to Star Wars themes, we hear "Anakin's Theme" again at 0:51, but this time the semitone step up is transposed an octave up. The following horn passage is a mutation of both themes. Note the Vader-esque chord change at 0:15. Also of note is the very, very subtle harp arpeggios at the final chord (3:48), suggestion a dying "Across the Stars" which featured harp arpeggios."

If you want to, you will find similarities between ROTS and dozens of other scores. Next time you'll come up with a parallel between ROTS and Close Encounters ... after all, the subject is similar, isn't it? :spiny:

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Sorry Bowie, Luke's Theme in Leia's Theme and in the Force Theme? I can't help but thinking you desperately WANT to find relations everywhere. I stand by my view that you're hopelessly overanalyzing things.

Except for the Anakin's Theme hint at the end of this "Anakin's Dream" excerpt. That one is a possibility, it even is heard twice in succession (once where you indicated, and then the last two bars). But as I wrote, this is also exactly the "Accidental Tourist" theme. It's a very common combination of very common notes, so I don't think we can say "it's definitely Anakin's Theme". It could be AT, but could be that it's just chord progressions.

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I will not revisit this cd that much. I don't think Williams spend enough time on it to come up with new material. Most of it is too similar to Harry Potter and I don't think Leia's Theme and The Throne Room theme fits on this score. Episodes 4,5,6 were completely different scores to eachother but of the prequels only Episode 1 stands out.

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Actually, many of Williams' themes begin with a M6 or m6--Across the Stars and Leia's Theme, for one. Also, I think Williams does sit down and listen to the other films' scores before writing his next ones. I disagree with MagicRat75: Episodes 4,5,6 were not completey different scores: themes from 4 were continued in 5 and 6. Williams also uses many of the same battle themes: specifically in TPM and ROTJ, there is a figure that is the same in both movies. What is the Force Theme doing in Padme's funeral? Across the Stars should have been used.

My favorite part of the music, though, is at the end of Track 13 of AOTC. Williams weaves the Imperial March into the last measures of Across the Stars. He should have done more with that type of figure in ROTS.

I can't figure out how he wrote the new theme for ROTS..the Battle of the Heroes. I mean, it sounds good and all, but it doesn't seem like it's going to fit the movie. It sounds too much like church music. I also don't hear much of the Emperor's Theme in ROTS. Oh well, it's a good soundtrack, no doubt. He just needed more Across the Stars.

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What is the Force Theme doing in Padme's funeral? Across the Stars should have been used.  

Well... I had issues with this too, but then I realised that the track was called 'Padme's Destiny'... her destiny is in fact to bring to life the two children whose political and spiritual development will enable Anakin to fulfil the prophecy and bring balance to the Force. So in association with her destiny, the Force theme is eminently appropriate. The music isn't saying she's a Jedi, it's saying that her life is part of the fabric of the Force, just as Qui-Gon's was.

Consider what would have happened if Across the Stars was used. Across the Stars is a kind of blend of Luke's theme and various devices used to depict femininity in John Williams' score (hence it links to Leia's theme as well). In feel it is truly a tragic tune though - many were right to compare it in feel to Nina Rota's Romeo and Juliet love theme 'A Rose will Bloom', because what the theme says about the love of Anakin and Padme is that, rewarding though they will find it, it will destroy them both and end badly. (Note at the end of ROTJ Anakin is not seen holding Padme's hand. Though her love redeems him in the end, he's not reunited with her.) There's no reunification for the two, so playing ATS at Padme's funeral gives us no sense of the positive implications of her life, only reminds us of how sad it all is, and presumably the imagery is already doing some of the work there.

Still, I'll be the first to admit I would have liked to hear John Williams, the LSO and chorus try it.

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