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What to expect from Episode VIII's Score?


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I would like more memorable themes and motifs. In my opinion there was really only a couple themes/motifs that are memorable  from TFA. Rey's theme,Kylo's theme and the motif in 'Follow me'. We really need some more stand out moments, especially in the action department. Where are the brilliant action pieces like' The asteroid field'... That's what I would like to see.

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Good question, good answer    

This is the first time I've written a music.

I've long since learned not to have any kind of expectation of content other than high quality. And that's a 100% guarantee with JW.   As far as themes go, the less I hope for specifically,

I  guess I'm the minority when I thought there is a lot of memorable material in TFA.  Not only Rey's, Kylo's and Finn's/Action theme/motif, but Jedi Steps, March of the Resistance, Scherzo for X-wings, Poe's theme... there's a lot of good stuff in there.

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I expect more of Poe's theme because I expect he will be in the movie more than he was in VII. It seems to me that the score, like the film, is in many ways a setup for this new trilogy. So a character like Dameron has his own adventurous theme despite the character not actually having a lot of screentime. Same with Finn and to an extent Kylo Ren; I'd expect the motifs for those characters to get a lot more development in subsequent scores. I don't know if Williams was intentionally doing this, but Kylo's motif being as brief as it is recalls the fact that Vader didn't have a fully-fledged theme until the second installment of the OT. Could be that he was emulating himself there and is waiting to pull out a full overture for Kylo and/or The First Order in VIII. 

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17 hours ago, steb74 said:

Even now I still find little musical ideas/connections in the original SW that also fit dramatically, to foreshadow or further the story and would love to know if some of them  were conscious decisions or just  the result of unconsciously breaking up core musical material and insightfully applying it as a story telling device.

Too many of these things work so well to serve the drama for them to be coincidences but for a composer to think about all of those things individually and consciously would probably ruin the natural flow of the music.

I think with highly developed insight, great dramatic instincts and an enormous musical vocabulary a great composer can't help but write music that has very deep connections as a whole, whether they're meant to be discovered or not.

 

Very well said. Williams is always pretty quick at dismissing any kind of uber-plan in architectural terms even when it comes to the Star Wars series, to the point of calling the various connections as results of "happy coincidences". I think this means first and foremost his attitude as a film composer, i.e. facing the film and its needs as a single entity. Of course he always addresses the connections with the previous films through quotes and references of older thematic material, but I believe he prefers to face any new film with a slate as clean as possible. The undeniable fact there are harmonic/intervalic/orchestrational relationships between various thematic/motivic subjects is the way Williams keeps himself entertained on one side, but also reveals possibly his desire to create something that makes sense in a purely musical sense, since it's the same environment. In this sense, I'm sure he will follow the same pattern for Episode 8.

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25 minutes ago, TownerFan said:

Very well said. Williams is always pretty quick at dismissing any kind of uber-plan in architectural terms even when it comes to the Star Wars series, to the point of calling the various connections as results of "happy coincidences". I think this means first and foremost his attitude as a film composer, i.e. facing the film and its needs as a single entity. Of course he always addresses the connections with the previous films through quotes and references of older thematic material, but I believe he prefers to face any new film with a slate as clean as possible. The undeniable fact there are harmonic/intervalic/orchestrational relationships between various thematic/motivic subjects is the way Williams keeps himself entertained on one side, but also reveals possibly his desire to create something that makes sense in a purely musical sense, since it's the same environment. In this sense, I'm sure he will follow the same pattern for Episode 8.

 

Oh absolutely man, apart from the musical devices that you mentioned which is a crucial factor in maintaining a kind of universal smell, the score for each episode has its own distinctive flavour and personality.

 

 

14 minutes ago, Quintus said:

I'm guessing it's probably already been discussed, but is anyone else thinking and hoping the Jedi Steps melody is an exclusive first play of what is to be Luke and Rey's jedi training theme? 

 

 I'm certainly looking forward to finding out!

I thought it might even be the seeds of a Skywalker theme but that may depend on Rey's origin.

The best bet may be a Jedi theme, I kind of hope so as it has the potential to work in so many contexts, it sounds beautiful played by the flutes, it sounds haunting and almost chilling when the horns take over.

I could easily see it evolving into a big Jedi March theme and to underscore events leading up to such a grand usage, like the training you mentioned for example.

 

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I'm hoping for Julie Andrews to be cast in Episode 8 so her and Williams can collaborate on a show tune.

 

Poe, a pilot, a Resistance Pilot

Rey, a drop of Jakku sun

Me, a name I call myself

Far, a long long time ago.

Solo, a hero that is dead  

Ahh, a sound to follow Solo

Ren, a Vader-loving threat

That will bring us back to Poe.

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2 hours ago, Quintus said:

I'm guessing it's probably already been discussed, but is anyone else thinking and hoping the Jedi Steps melody is an exclusive first play of what is to be Luke and Rey's jedi training theme? 

 

It has its own concert piece, so I certainly hope it will get more development in Ep8.

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If it's anything like TFA score, it will be nothing groundbreaking. We'll feel we've heard this stuff before. But, it will be entertaining and in this day and age, I'll welcome even unremarkable derivative Williams scores because the old guy can still do it for me. TFA's score was like the ultimate regifted Christmas present.

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1 hour ago, Stefancos said:

When it comes to predicting what themes JW will revisit, and to what extent. I doubt Williams himself even know that until he actually sits down and watched a rough cut of the film.

Williams doesnt read scripts, doesnt visit the set and likes to get his impressions from the movie itself.

 

And Williams apparently got impressions of roughly 30 minutes of film at a time.

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3 hours ago, Stefancos said:

Like Leia's Theme had after Star Wars! ;)

 

Well, her theme already got a full workout in the first film. Jedi Steps doesn't.

 

3 hours ago, Stefancos said:

Marian is talking about the sheet music. The upcoming Hal Leonard release.

 

Indeed.

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4 hours ago, Quintus said:

Concert piece? It does?? I'm assuming this must be on the awards promo.

 

Williams wrote one after the recording sessions have finished to be included in the packet of sheet music for sale by Hal Leonard.

 

So we haven't heard it yet.  I think the sheet music releases in March?

It's very likely that Silva Screen will include a recording of it on some upcoming compilation CD before too long

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The 'Han Solo and the Princess' concert version?

That's never been confirmed as a Williams arrangement.

 

The only info I've ever read about it though was from the Gerhardt Empire liner notes and while Williams does mention Han Solo and the Princess I've never been convinced that the common version we know is his arrangement.

 

I find it too hard to believe that Williams could combine those two themes so awkwardly especially since one was almost born from the other ...but maybe that's why he's almost disowned it as a concert piece?

 

I'd love to know one way or the other though.

 

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9 minutes ago, Quintus said:

I agree with Ste about the combination though, it's musically awkward and I never liked it (and always skip that arrangement). 

 

Yeah I'm listening to it now just to see if I feel any differently and to be honest it doesn't bother as much as it used to but the combination of themes still feels awkward, almost like a diva duet.

The first minute or so if basically the film version albeit with a slightly thinned out orchestration but it really feels like someone else adapting the themes.

If it is Williams he must be very disappointed with it

 

2 hours ago, Stefancos said:

Of course it's a Williams arrangement.

 

What makes you think it is a Williams arrangement Stefan?

Well maybe you've never had any reason to think otherwise.

 

I know it gets a lot of love around here but unfortunately that arrangement really doesn't work for me, maybe it bothers me so much because the theme is one of my favourites.

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Why would you assume that it was written by anyone else but Williams. And I'm saying written, not arranged. Because while the first part is based on the OST track, the rest is all original writing, not an arrangement of existing music.

 

They are plenty of Williams written concert tracks where the transitions aren't very well done. The concert version of Adventures on Earth for instance.

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14 hours ago, Jay said:

 

Williams wrote one after the recording sessions have finished to be included in the packet of sheet music for sale by Hal Leonard.

 

So we haven't heard it yet.  I think the sheet music releases in March?

It's very likely that Silva Screen will include a recording of it on some upcoming compilation CD before too long

 

The City of Prague Philharmonic can be hit or miss, although they are usually OK with concert versions of themes.

In lieu of a Williams conducted performance on a CD, it would great if Williams performed The Jedi Steps concert version during the (yet unannounced) Boston Pops, and for that concert to be subsequently streamed online with no audience interruption during that cue. Actually, he might even conduct it during that Philly concert in a few months.

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23 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

And I'm saying written, not arranged. Because while the first part is based on the OST track, the rest is all original writing, not an arrangement of existing music.

 

Well even the rest of it (the Solo and the Princess material at least) just sounds like it was pieced together from a handful of its presentations in Empire, some of the End Credits if I remember correctly ...although I should check again.

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1 hour ago, steb74 said:

What makes you think it is a Williams arrangement Stefan?

 

 

My CD is in Australia and I'm not, so I can't check, but don't the liner notes specifically say Williams made that arrangement??

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Pete is actually correct

 

When I heard a test pressing, I was thrilled. The Suite, which I had specially written and adapted for concert performance (The Imperial March, Yoda's Theme, The Asteroid Field, Han Solo and The Princess and Finale), had been skilfully augmented with other music from the film to form a unified whole.

 

That pretty much confirms that's Steb's assumptions are unfounded as far as I'm concerned.

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I already mentioned that in my first post about it but it isn't conclusive enough for me to be assured it is that particular arrangement.

Unless like I said, it's the reason why Williams has dropped it.

 

SW in concert uses the film version (more or less) of Asteroid Field which contains some of Solo and the Princess.

I think that's the only time that the theme has been used officially, by that I mean with Williams' blessing.

 

 

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Yeah like the above quote posted, it says that it was part of the suite.

Finale is the original cue title for the Rebel Fleet but the Finale in the (written) published score is only the last phrase of Solo and the Princess and then it goes straight into the credits.

So I've no idea if Williams' original suite contained the full cue or if it was him that heavily edited it.

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44 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

Same here. ROTJ might have gotten a bit tight because JW roped a few people in to help him out. But never heard TESB was on a tight schedule.

 

 

Yeah, including Thomas Newman, who then sat for decades as the apprentice, waiting for the opportune moment to betray his master and become Spielberg's Composer. He struck Williams down, but Williams became more powerful than Newman could possibly imagine, and he trained Giacchino to finally destroy Newman. As a reward, Williams gave Giacchino Jurassic World, and he returned to Spielberg to score the BFG.

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1 hour ago, Jay said:

TESB had a tight scoring schedule?  This is the first I've heard of that.

 

It wasn't a super-tight schedule but he wrote the whole score in a little more than four weeks. here's a quote from an old interview (taken from the "Making of the Empire Strikes Back" book published in 1980)

 

Quote

 

LOS ANGELES

Saturday, November 17 (1979)

 

Alan Arnold: You have a tremendous amount of music to compose for "The Empire Strikes Back" in a matter of weeks.

 

John Williams: Yes. "Empire" will require 107 minutes of underscore, although some of this will involve quotes from my original score for "Star Wars". We plan to reprise the Star Wars March, for example. But I will still have about 102 minutes of new music to write between now and mid-January. You could say it's the equvalent of several Lisztian tone poems.

 

AA: Or a couple of symphonies.

 

JW: Yes, except that it's not really a fair comparison, because this kind of incidental music is quicker to write than an organic piece like a symphony.

 

 

We know that the score ended up being recorded in late December, so JW wrote the whole score between mid-November and end of December, i.e. 4 to 5 weeks.

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