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Everything posted by Ludwig

  1. Here is part 6 of my Celebrating Star Wars series, this one on Revenge of the Sith. http://www.filmmusicnotes.com/celebrating-star-wars-themes-part-6-of-6-battle-of-the-heroes/ Enjoy! Analysis of themes and leitmotifs in Episode VII coming soon as well...
  2. Ludwig


    Happy 245th, Ludwig van!
  3. #1 The Accompaniments: I mention them just in case they are used on their own later, or if the theme is used without the accompaniment (for example the Rebel Fanfare is used without the Rhythm sometimes #2 The Questionables: I mention them just in case I or someone else notices other occurrences of those melodies, or in case JW or another composer uses them in a later score (or in scores for extended editions of the films ) #3 The Landspeeder Travel motif: that is actually a motif that Willliams points out in his notes to the OST album, I do think the string figures I list under that name in Binary Sunset alternate, Burning Homestead etc. are probably not that motif, but I figured I would include it So this is truly a "cast the net as wide as possible" kind of project. I think that's good, even if it means drawing in some "probably nots". If I may make a suggestion, the Unknown you mention in Hologram/Binary Sunset I believe to be an anticipation of the statement of Luke's theme that immediately follows. In other words, we lose that sense of development of Luke's theme if we siphon it off as a separate theme. And this brings up another very important point for definitions - what about developments of themes? Would they be included too? The biggest example is the Battle of Endor from ROTJ. That thing is absolutely littered with Ewok theme developments, but it's hard to say whether they constitute the theme or not. They're obviously referencing the Parade of the Ewoks and therefore carry the association of the Ewoks, but whether it's they're themes, it's very hard to say. Again, it depends on definitions. Something seems to be lost either way - if we include them, then there are a vast number of other things that might be included as well. But exclude them and we lose the sense of association with the Ewoks, and it's clearly a crucial part of the narrative. Trickiness...
  4. Great idea, Faleel! One important thing I would ask is, what are we defining as a theme? Implied in your analysis above is a definition that includes: - Both short motifs and longer melodies - Some melodies that aren't repeated in other scenes, like the Cantina Band themes - Melodies (long or short) whose association is a bit questionable like the Escape Pod theme or the Threepio motif - Accompaniments without necessarily having a melody with them (Rebel Rhythm) Myself, when something is borderline, I'd err on the side of inclusiveness to allow others to make a judgement for themselves. So I agree with including short motifs, non-repeated melodies, and questionable associations (repeated or not). The accompaniments I probably wouldn't call themes because they seem more like underscore due to being somewhat less memorable. The melody or motif is the thing that makes a theme, isn't it? Maybe you want to be more inclusive than that. In any case, I just think your definition should be made explicit somewhere in the OP so everyone knows what might be included in the list - if this is how you view it, anyway. That said, I would say that the Landspeeder Travel Motif is a case of vaguely similar accompaniments. I find it hard to hear them as related because the intervals, harmonies, and melodies are all different. The rhythm is really the thing holding them all together, but that's not really enough to call them by the same name, IMO. The Unknown citations I would also argue against because they don't really have anything memorable about them, they're not repeated, nor do they have any clear association. But I do like the classical references included. Newcomers are always interested to know where exactly they happen. As I say, great idea. Hope this keeps going...
  5. I agree - I had always thought of that little coda on the concert version as "Anakin's evil" or something similar (maybe evil is too strong a word). The unusual thing about these relationships is that they are much transformed than in a typical film score, where if a theme recurs or is varied, it's generally abundantly clear that's what's happening. For that reason, it becomes harder to draw the line between significant and insignificant relationships. Your reading works well if seen as drawn from that coda idea, which is ominous to begin with. But then that idea is itself a variant of the love theme, and as I sort of implied in the post, it's probably not as "slam dunk" an observation to link everything back to the love theme (i.e., not everyone will agree). I try to make a case for it, but I think there are other ways to interpret it, as I suggest. In any case, I think yours is a sophisticated and particularly convincing reading of the many thematic relationships in these last two prequel scores. Thanks, Inky!
  6. Here is part 5 of my Star Wars themes series, this one on the love theme from Attack of the Clones, Across the Stars: http://www.filmmusicnotes.com/celebrating-star-wars-themes-part-5-of-6-across-the-stars/ Enjoy!
  7. Oh, the second phrase. Ok, that I can see. I thought you were talking about a separate B section like in Luke's theme. Terminology, terminology...
  8. I never heard a B section to this theme. Do you mean the section between 1:39-2:22 below? Besides, ROTJ uses repetitions of the A section in a number of places as well. I don't know if this is your beef with it, but when I hear it in TPM, it seems a tad overused. I can't really say why I should feel that way when Vader's theme is ten times more pervasive in TESB and I don't feel it's overused there. Strange.
  9. I've said it before and I'll say it again - "Indy's Very First Adventure" is a real tour-de-force that has just about everything you could want in a classic Williams cue. What an opening too! It pulls us right into the scene with an appropriate sense of holding our breath.
  10. Thanks, Inky, for those citations. You are a gentleman and a scholar! Now one question that arises from this is, is Maul's instrumental theme more important than the chant that is laid overtop? What I mean is, if someone was going to refer to Darth Maul's theme, would you think they meant the instrumental thing or the chant (I know some refer to the latter as the Sith chant, but still...). The question gets into whether we believe the composer's "untainted" version (instrumental) as being more important because it is what JW thought it should be, or whether what really matters in terms of how to interpret a character's theme is how it ends up in the final score. Obviously, I took the latter approach in writing this, but it would be interesting to hear others' thoughts. I'm all ears...
  11. Thanks, Inky! Yes, I am aware of the likely editing decision that brought the whispered chant into the score. I try to stay away from statements of who did what in these scores and focus more on the final product and how a viewer could interpret the score regardless of the process it went through to get there. (But I do appreciate the information, just in case I miss something!) But what is the brass motif you speak of that represents Maul? Could you give a YouTube clip with timestamp?
  12. Here is part 4 of my blog series on celebrating Star Wars themes, this one on The Phantom Menace (oh come on - you can stomach it!): http://www.filmmusicnotes.com/celebrating-star-wars-themes-part-4-of-6-duel-of-the-fates/ Enjoy!
  13. Here is part 3 of my Star Wars theme analyses, this one on the Emperor's theme: http://www.filmmusicnotes.com/celebrating-star-wars-themes-part-3-of-6-the-emperors-theme/ Enjoy!
  14. Exactly, that's what I was trying to say. Well, at least that's what I believe happened (the fact that the original version of the finale cue didn't use the Imperial March seems to suggest that, too). In his analysis of the score for AOTC, John Takis mentions that certain "sources" talked about a "magnificent orchestral blowout" that Williams originally penned for this finale. Do you, or does anyone else, know what sources these are? Not that I don't believe it, of course I do. I'm just interested in collecting official information so if I need to reference it for others, I can.
  15. I'm not saying it doesn't work. Just that it's not a particularly subtle way to get the message across ("Hey, these guys you're seeing onscreen: they're the Stormtroopers from the OT! Get it? Get it? The Clone Army is the Imperial Army!"). And of course I get it that it's meant to echo those moments from the OT. All I'm saying is that JW could have used a proto version of the Imperial March instead of a straightforward rendition of it. Gotcha. And Lucas would have been the one to say, "no, we need a big statement of the Imperial March there! I don't want intricate subtleties, I want a blatantly obvious sledgehammer moment!" Interestingly, Williams manages to find ways of writing these proto versions nevertheless, like that ostinato in "The Space Battle" from TPM. Clearly Imperial-March derived.
  16. The main reason why the Imperial March was used in the finale of AOTC was because Lucas knew the average moviegoer would expect it to show up there. And to make it obvious that the Clone Army would later become the Imperial Army (you know, in case no one got that when watching the film). No need to see it as a "power/growth of the empire" theme. It's just a case of "give to the audience what it expects", nothing more than that. There's certainly some of that, but to say it's nothing more is a bit too much, no? I think it depends partly on the viewer's familiarity with the other films. What I mean is, it does echo some memorable scenes from the earlier films where the Imperial March was heard alongside shots of the hugeness of the fleet/army and a connection to Vader or the Emperor. I'm thinking of Vader's introduction in TESB and the Emperor's Arrival in ROTJ, where we get both of these things, much like the end of AOTC. All I'm saying is that I think it also works in a richer way. We don't have to see it entirely in a cynical way.
  17. Absolutely! It fits right in with the whole larger view of Vader's theme as sometimes representing the fearful nature of the Imperial fleet and army, especially through its overwhelming magnitude. And that's exactly what's emphasized in that scene. I think it also plays up the Palpatine's increased power over the Republic, in a way that somewhat mirrors Vader's introduction in Empire, since Palpatine is shown as the head of this vast military.
  18. Here is part 2 of my Celebrating Star Wars series: http://www.filmmusicnotes.com/celebrating-star-wars-films-part-2-of-6-uses-of-darth-vaders-theme/ Enjoy!
  19. I thought ANH was the only film to do this as well, until I sat down and recorded all statements of the theme from all the films. It's true that no other statements are quite like this truncation in ANH, but there are a host of others in the other films that do shorten the first phrase, usually just because it veers off into something else. One example is in TESB, when Luke is doing a headstand and levitating Yoda, then suddenly worries about Han and Leia, loses concentration, and allows Yoda to tumble to the ground. That Force theme is shortened in its second idea, much like the initial statement in ANH, and here, it's narrative significance is Luke's inability to keep his focus and gracefully finish what he is doing before moving on to something else. Another interesting one is in ROTJ, when Luke refuses to join the Emperor, saying it is because he is a Jedi. There is an odd overlap of the first and second ideas of the theme. That is, the second enters before the first has had a chance to end. It seems to have a sense of foreboding to it, like a warning of "uh-oh" or "watch out", especially because that second idea is distorted and rises up by step at its end instead of falling down. There are lots more interesting things I found about this theme's statements, I just tried to choose the most striking developments for analysis.
  20. The question of being foregrounded for me has to do with the music occupying the most prominent part in the scene. In the scenes mentioned above, of course these are complete statements, but they are overlapped by dialogue, which takes precedence over the music since we have to understand a film's story in order to understand the music's meaning within it. So those I would not consider foregrounded the same way something like Binary Sunset is- they're more like "middleground" statements. I find it interesting that the complete and foregrounded statements are reserved for the big narrative turning points. Not that these other statements are unimportant, but, I would argue, a notch down in importance from the ones I cite.
  21. As a way of celebrating the Star Wars saga in honor of the upcoming Episode VII, I have begun a series of six posts on my blog that will analyze one prominent theme from each of the six films in turn. The first is on uses of the Force theme (I had an analysis of the Force theme's structure before). http://www.filmmusicnotes.com/celebrating-star-wars-part-1-of-6-uses-of-the-force-theme/ Enjoy!
  22. For contact info, see my profile page

  23. Yes, I like how he only plays the familiar tune on the third time through each progression. It's like a "eureka" moment.
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