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Rey's Theme – John Williams' Best Theme Yet?

Rey's Theme – John Williams' Best Theme Yet?   

102 members have voted

  1. 1. Rey's Theme ? John Williams' Best Theme Yet?

    • YES! Sweeping, malleable, chameleon, fresh, beautiful, and perfect!
      36
    • NO! It's terrible!
      6
    • Maybe, it's too early to tell, but it keeps growing on me!
      40
    • I'm a Communist and believe all themes are equal, though Rey's Theme is more equal than other themes.
      15
    • I don't have any opinion yet
      4


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2 hours ago, artguy360 said:

I think Rey's Theme excels in the sense that each part relates or describes her character somehow. The piano/bells express her loneliness and isolation on Jakku, the melody her adventurousness, the flutes at the beginning her quickness and resourcefulness, etc. 

 

I've been giving some thought to this kind of thing lately - the intrinsic connection we make between movie characters and their music, and whilst I do think there's some truth in what you are saying, I do still wonder how much it may possibly be more of a happy convenience rather than the notion of music finding the 'core' of a character; lately I'm increasingly inclined to believe the music fits instead simply because of our own projections and responses. When we listen to Rey's Theme, we make the nuances of the music fit. It's a basic celebral desire of our cognitive processes. 

 

In other words: I think there's likely to be plenty of other music out there which would likely suit the character of Rey well enough. 

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That's what I am saying. 

 

Sometimes though you get a theme like the Raiders March, which genuinely does feel like a pure musical distillation of the character, and they become inseparable. The structure of the Indiana Jones theme really does seem to mirror image the affable happy-go-lucky nature of the character to a tee. One could never, ever call the theme interchangeable. Some listeners have said Rey's theme reminds them of Harry Potter and even Home Alone. Is that perhaps then because it is relatively interchangeable as a character theme? Does that mean Rey's theme is bland compared to the theme of Indiana Jones?

 

How much of what we personally project onto Rey's theme is responsible for what we then consider to indelibly link it to her character's traits? As opposed to Indy's music, which seemingly takes command and dictates any response almost immediately, arguably even without our prior knowledge of the character. 

 

 

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I'd say Rey's theme is a similarly close match. The Raiders March is as similar to Star Wars or Superman as Rey's theme is to Harry Potter - that is to say, there are some definite stylistic similarities, and you can get some interesting results by switching them around, but ultimately, what Williams wrote for each film is what fits that film best.

 

I'm sure the phenomenon you're talking about does happen, though. The composer consciously projects as much of the character into the writing as they can, and then we as listeners subconsciously project the character back onto it, too - even as we project the music onto our interpretation of the characters themselves.

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I don't find any of those themes particularly characteristic for the 'literal' characters but of the basic idea behind it, and that's essentially Williams' gift as a showman: packaging the idea in a catchy, relatable way. I can't really think of another composer of the 'Silver Age' and after who so constantly did this - even with lesser themes like the Harry Potter one.

 

This necessiates not to get hung up on specifics too much: Harrison Ford in the first 'Raiders' often looked morose and defeated, more of a noir character than a simple conquering hero at least half the time; i think most composers would have composed a more subdued theme that probably would have been a more accurate depiction of the guy on the screen but of course, that would have somehow missed the point, too. 

 

So what i see in 'Rey's Theme' is more a tone setter for the new adventure ahead - updating the Strauss/Korngold stylings of the old trilogy for the 2010's. And again, i think, he was on to something.

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10 hours ago, Quintus said:

 

I've been giving some thought to this kind of thing lately - the intrinsic connection we make between movie characters and their music, and whilst I do think there's some truth in what you are saying, I do still wonder how much it may possibly be more of a happy convenience rather than the notion of music finding the 'core' of a character; lately I'm increasingly inclined to believe the music fits instead simply because of our own projections and responses. When we listen to Rey's Theme, we make the nuances of the music fit. It's a basic celebral desire of our cognitive processes. 

 

In other words: I think there's likely to be plenty of other music out there which would likely suit the character of Rey well enough. 

Oh I think it's true that there are plenty of cues or pieces of music that we could also feel fits Rey. But that doesn't mean JW wasn't very intentional in how he constructed Rey's Theme to fit different parts of her character. To my ear, Rey's Theme is constructed of several distinct components. In The Scavenger you can hear how the bells are used for her isolation, when Rey runs away from Maz you can hear the darker section of Rey's theme led by strings, and when Rey takes off in the Falcon to find Luke you hear a very adventurous version of her theme with those fast backing strings and main melody in full orchestra. These are all distinct components that come together to construct the full Rey's Theme track. So in that sense, I think JW wrote Rey's theme as a piece of music that is far closer to the character of Rey than most of his other main SW themes like DOTF or even stuff like Leia's theme or BOTH which largely express singular ideas. The Love Theme from AOTC on the other hand does weave together multiple components like Rey's Theme does, only to tell a tragic love story. 

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3 hours ago, publicist said:

This necessiates not to get hung up on specifics too much: Harrison Ford in the first 'Raiders' often looked morose and defeated, more of a noir character than a simple conquering hero at least half the time; i think most composers would have composed a more subdued theme that probably would have been a more accurate depiction of the guy on the screen but of course, that would have somehow missed the point, too. 

 

So what i see in 'Rey's Theme' is more a tone setter for the new adventure ahead - updating the Strauss/Korngold stylings of the old trilogy for the 2010's. And again, i think, he was on to something.

 

I was thinking about the same thing. The Raiders March, at least in the triumphant concert suite/credits form, really adds something to the film, as opposed to underlining something that's already there. In the film, it's generally reserved for moments of triumph, and even then, it usually surpasses the film in terms of victoriousness. (Like you, I don't see this as a bad thing.)

 

I'm not sure I see Rey's theme the same way, though. I definitely view its different components as highlighting different components of her character and her story, all of which were already there and none of which are really exaggerated.

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10 minutes ago, E.T. and Elliot said:

Yes, JWFan has now reached the point where we find all the classic iconic themes completely unsuitable for their respective characters and situations.

Lol, I wouldn't say that! 

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1 hour ago, E.T. and Elliot said:

Yes, JWFan has now reached the point where we find all the classic iconic themes completely unsuitable for their respective characters and situations.

 

Williams should have given Rey's theme to Indy!

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7 hours ago, E.T. and Elliot said:

Yes, JWFan has now reached the point where we find all the classic iconic themes completely unsuitable for their respective characters and situations.

 

The Jaws theme was awfully miscast and ought to have been given to Tom Hanks in Catch Me if You Can. 

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7 hours ago, Richard said:

Hmmm. Rey's theme, versus "The Ballroom Scene". Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha......(pauses to draw breath)...... ha, ha, ha, ha-ha, ha, ha, ha,  etc.

Yeah, there's no comparison.  Rey's Theme is far better.

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7 hours ago, Richard said:

Hmmm. Rey's theme, versus "The Ballroom Scene". Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha......(pauses to draw breath)...... ha, ha, ha, ha-ha, ha, ha, ha,  etc.

Hey you finally figured out how to use an avatar on this forum! Yay!

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18 hours ago, Datameister said:

I'm not sure I see Rey's theme the same way, though. I definitely view its different components as highlighting different components of her character and her story, all of which were already there and none of which are really exaggerated.

 

I'm sure its use will have other meanings if we reach E IX. 

17 hours ago, E.T. and Elliot said:

Yes, JWFan has now reached the point where we find all the classic iconic themes completely unsuitable for their respective characters and situations.

 

Now you mention it, was Yoda's Theme everyone's idea of a fitting theme for that character? It fits what i wrote about scoring basic ideas instead of what the film offers to a T.

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57 minutes ago, publicist said:

 

I'm sure its use will have other meanings if we reach E IX. 

 

Now you mention it, was Yoda's Theme everyone's idea of a fitting theme for that character? It fits what i wrote about scoring basic ideas instead of what the film offers to a T.

Williams has mentioned how he often responded to the archetypes Lucas created with his characters so he strived to create something resembling that archetype in musical terms. To me it seems this produces sometimes broader and sometimes narrower fit for the characters in question.

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16 minutes ago, publicist said:

Surely. But either conscious- or unconciously that seems to be a work mantra that goes beyond just Star Wars.

As theme-oriented as Williams is, it doesn't come as a surprise that it must be a very deep rooted working method by now. He usually goes about solving the dramatic puzzles of a film through composing themes. I think he has commented in several interviews how the themes are really the linch pin and then the application of them to the film is secondary and to him much easier than finding the themes in the first place.

 

Lately Williams has also surprisingly started to score characters with multiple themes. The scores for Tintin, War Horse and Lincoln seem to revolve around several independent musical identifications of the main characters's different facets, often very literal and small facets. This is something Williams didn't do very often in the past. E.g. with Tintin the character has three distinct ideas working in tandem but there is no overarching long lined theme. Joey in War Horse is the musical center around which the whole story revolves, Albert's music included. With Lincoln all the themes seem to derive in one way or another from the president's persona and actions.

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1 hour ago, publicist said:

 

I'm sure its use will have other meanings if we reach E IX. 

 

Now you mention it, was Yoda's Theme everyone's idea of a fitting theme for that character? It fits what i wrote about scoring basic ideas instead of what the film offers to a T.

Yoda's theme is perfect and iirc the score shows off how versatile it can be. Obviously the soaring string variations demonstrate his deep connection with the force and his wisdom. But its also played in a kind of spritely, fun manner to underscore Yoda's comedic moments and even features in the escape from Bespin just as a melodic phrase cuz it sounds so good. In other words, Yoda's theme really gets at the heart of the character and is used to fit eclectic musical needs.  

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If Yoda's Theme would really represent the heart of the character, it would draw from the Force theme. That it doesn't shows me that Williams really has scored the concept of a wise, kind mentor and imho wasn't too concerned about the peculiar green muppet on screen or his role in the story (he does that in some of the string pizzicati fleetingly). Mind you that isn't a criticism (as fans tend to get very defensive about stuff like that), just an observation. 

 

But we are long past the observation that a theme like 'Leia's Theme' hardly is an intimate musical portrait of Carrie Fisher (a more pro-active theme like Rey's would have been in order) - a certain boldness is required to sell that concept and that's what i meant with showman genius: it was a gargantuan success and Williams time and time again had a good nose how much musical extravagance he could piggyback on his movies. 

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1 hour ago, publicist said:

If Yoda's Theme would really represent the heart of the character, it would draw from the Force theme. That it doesn't shows me that Williams really has scored the concept of a wise, kind mentor and imho wasn't too concerned about the peculiar green muppet on screen or his role in the story (he does that in some of the string pizzicati fleetingly). Mind you that isn't a criticism (as fans tend to get very defensive about stuff like that), just an observation. 

 

But we are long past the observation that a theme like 'Leia's Theme' hardly is an intimate musical portrait of Carrie Fisher (a more pro-active theme like Rey's would have been in order) - a certain boldness is required to sell that concept and that's what i meant with showman genius: it was a gargantuan success and Williams time and time again had a good nose how much musical extravagance he could piggyback on his movies. 

The bolded sounds like an entirely arbitrary requirement. Instead of fashioning Yoda's Theme from the Force Theme, JW transitions from one to the other seamlessly in several places in ESB. True Yoda's Theme mainly expresses his wisdom and his place as a mentor, but his theme also works perfectly for the comedic moments in the film and the other moments I mention, meaning it suits Yoda's character quite well. I don't see how you can say Yoda's Theme doesn't fit the character or his role in the story. 

 

I agree with what you say about Leia's Theme. There JW scored a classic sounding piece of music that fit the fantasy concept of a beautiful and delicate princess, not the brash, funny character Leia actually was. I think that was very intentional on his part and of course it worked very well. But

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I agree with what you say about Leia's Theme. There JW scored a classic sounding piece of music that fit the fantasy concept of a beautiful and delicate princess, not the brash, funny character Leia actually was. I think that was very intentional on his part and of course it worked very well. But

leia through luke's eyes (originally)

 

 

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2 hours ago, Mr. Big said:

 

I wish Mutt's "greaser" motif (as heard in during first introduction at the train station) had been developed further in the score.  

 

 

I agree. Cool little one-off moment that really fits the character well.

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7 hours ago, artguy360 said:

I don't see how you can say Yoda's Theme doesn't fit the character or his role in the story.

 

I do because it was one of the themes i early on found distracting - that his theme may be related to the Force Theme would make makes sense in a leitmotivic way - he is even more a carrier of the force than Ben - but i know that Williams not worked strictly in  that idiom. 

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7 hours ago, Oboejdub said:

 

leia through luke's eyes (originally)

 

 Good point, at their core, these are themes for archetypes...Hero, villain, damsel, wise sage, bumbling clown, etc.

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34 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

 

JW is the best!!!! Rey's Theme is the most beautiful movie song in the world!

Agreed! 

 

The melody of Rey's Theme might actually allow for a decent song though.  Perhaps Celine Dion could sing it...

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5 hours ago, Mr. Big said:

Agreed! 

 

The melody of Rey's Theme might actually allow for a decent song though.  Perhaps Celine Dion could sing it...

Let's call that whole thing off right now.

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