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Hello everyone,

Being a fan of Star Wars since I was a kid, I couldn’t have been more excited at the idea of a new trilogy. I went to see Star Wars: Episode VII and was not disappointed. The only thing missing for me was this: The music for the big bad Kylo Ren was lacking. I went online to see if he had some sort of official theme and he did, but it wasn't really representative. Looking back at the original trilogy, I found this surprising because the theme music for Darth Vader, The Imperial March, is impossible to forget. Kylo Ren being so closely related to Vader, I decided to challenge myself to create a narrative anti-hero theme composition for Kylo Ren :

 

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3 hours ago, TheophileLewis said:

 Looking back at the original trilogy, I found this surprising because the theme music for Darth Vader, The Imperial March, is impossible to forget

 

Except the Imperial march was not in A New Hope, because he had a different theme in that film, perhaps you should be comparing to that.

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And just to be clear, I'm NOT bragging around saying I did something better than John Williams, it's just a FAN music, I did it for fun.

I don't have a real orchestra at home, I'm a young composer.

So, no need to bring pop corn to watch people discrediting my work.

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19 minutes ago, Faleel said:

Except the Imperial march was not in A New Hope, because he had a different theme in that film, perhaps you should be comparing to that.

 

Darth Vader's Theme '77 > Kylo Ren's Theme

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Kylo Ren has a motif, well 2 actually. The empire/Vader had 1 short motif in ANH. That short motif and Kylo Ren's bad guy motif are kind of similar in their sound and style. Both big brassy statements, very declamatory. John Williams would call them "direct." 

 

To the OP, your fan theme is interesting but a bit too eclectic. The melodies don't seem related and some of the orchestration seems to diverse for what is intended to be one unifed theme. But good work and keep it up. Fan music is always fun.

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I can pretty much agree that Kylo Ren's motif underwhelms when one listens to it always waiting for an explosion into a big rousing Dark Side musical number. ;)

 

I'm glad I went into TFA just hoping for a few great score-to-picture moments and one really terrific new concert piece to enjoy. Even then it was hard to get those early session reports about emotionally devastating "cantilenas" and catchy big band tunes out of my head. These kinds of specific expectations and fantasies have killed my appreciation of a lot of stuff in the past.

 

Keep up with the composing, TheophileLewis.

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I would like to thanks everyone. I read all your comments. 

It's really interesting and Marcus your sentence "Being a young composer, Kylo Ren very likely comes across as both "big" and "bad" to your mind, whereas Williams scores him the way he perceives him", perception is everything. And John Williams, way (no offense JW) older than me,  as more tools to perceive a character. 

I'm still young and "naive". You are right, John Williams has more shades, hues, the way he perceives Kylo Ren in his music than me.

Good point !!

 

(I would like to apology for the poor english syntax, I'm french, obviously !)

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11 hours ago, TheophileLewis said:

I would like to thanks everyone. I read all your comments. 

It's really interesting and Marcus your sentence "Being a young composer, Kylo Ren very likely comes across as both "big" and "bad" to your mind, whereas Williams scores him the way he perceives him", perception is everything. And John Williams, way (no offense JW) older than me,  as more tools to perceive a character. 

I'm still young and "naive". You are right, John Williams has more shades, hues, the way he perceives Kylo Ren in his music than me.

Good point !!

 

(I would like to apology for the poor english syntax, I'm french, obviously !)

 

Well, it's not bad. It just doesn't fit the character. I'd love to see Kylo Ren's theme (and Poe's) expanded into a full suite in Episode VIII.

 

By the way...

 

11 hours ago, TheophileLewis said:

I'm still young and "naive".

 

We will find controlling you will not be difficult :D:P

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I think these reactions depend on expectations and indeed perceptions of Kylo Ren as a character.

 

To my mind Ben (or Ren) shows the impetuous immaturity of youth very clearly in the film. He has been raised to a position of power by Snoke, which he thinks he deserves through his skills and lineage but is constantly hounded by insecurity and immaturity. He lacks focus and concentration, self control, that would allow him to rule his passions and rage, from which he seems to think he can draw a lot of his power but which is mostly shown as a weakness not a resource. There is arrogance and pride in him and wounding of his pride and ego when his own actions and rash choices cause failure lead to uncontrolled rage. He has a legacy to live up to and he obviously fears that he can't.

 

He is the Darth Vader wannabe but actually still far from attaining such status or power. He throws his authority around with mandate from Snoke without actually having quite yet earned it, at least during the events we see in the film. And just like Darth Vader in the first SW film Kylo Ren is still an errand boy of a more powerful manipulative being, Snoke, not the head honcho even though he wields a lot of influence over the First Order.

 

Musically Kylo Ren's themes, the fanfare and the constantly descending fateful line to my mind capture this essence of the character quite succintly (be they worn dramatic musical devices or not). That exclamatory fanfare connects with the Imperial tradition (note the fanfarish flourishes surrounding the theme on Jakku, which seem to be derived from the final section of the Imperial March concert suite) and is a classic "bad guy is here" calling card which really shows the egomaniacal bluster of Kylo in his Knight of Ren persona. It exhibits his impetuous nature with short angry musical burst, an exclamation, which flares up suddenly, just like his anger and violent behaviour. He wants to be Darth Vader but can't quite summon up similar persona no matter how he postures around in a helmet and black clothes. Hence the theme doesn't go much beyond the initial 5-note motif.

 

The second theme for Kylo, the descending line is simple, almost obsessive, strangely mournful and threatening at the same time in how it constantly repeats (sometimes over churning low strings), depicting his inner conflict and self doubt, which manifests especially in his encounters with Rey who tests his power with the Force but Williams alludes to his susceptibility to the dark side with it when he injects it under the dialogue of Han and Leia as they discuss how Snoke manipulated their son to join him. There is a pull between the light and dark in him. Williams also uses the motif freely as secondary material for Kylo Ren for the sake of aural variety and alternates the two motifs e.g. in The Ways of the Force although it could be said that each motif underscores specific dramatic beats in the duel as well.

 

So I personally feel these two compact ideas to be pretty accurate musico-dramatic equivalents of two different sides of Kylo Ren's persona. He in a sense has not earned a full fledged villain theme yet although his motifs are the main villanous material of the score. It is no Imperial March but to my mind it didn't need to be. Let's see if Wililams might actually get to expand upon these musical ideas in the sequels in a way that feels natural progression and possibly create a lengthier thematic representation for the character.

 

P.S. Keep up the good work with the composing. :) 

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5 minutes ago, Quintus said:

 

This actually sounds exactly like what I'd expect from a Zelda boss fight. Nice one OP. 

 

You play Zelda games? :o 

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Guys I don't know if you understand french, but here is the explanation of my song : 

(If you really want a translation, I can do it)

 

Choix des instruments

 

 

Les instruments que j’ai utilisé pour la réalisation de ma pièce ont tous un lien avec le personnage de Kylo Ren. Ils représentent ses émotions, ou sa démarche:

 

  • La Harpe, représente l’innocence juvénile de Ben Solo (futur Kylo Ren). Avant d’être un seigneur Sith, il était un élève Jedi.

 

  • Les Percussions sont là pour donner le caractère guerrier du personnage.

 

  • Les Violoncelles et Contre Basses caractérisent sa démarche, et cherchent à rappeler son grand-père, Darth Vader.

 

  • La section des Vents (trompettes, hautbois, tuba) est là pour appuyer le thème principal de la pièce et donner des attaques (hits) démarquées. Cela représente le caractère violent et incontrôlable de Kylo Ren.

 

  • La Flûte qui intervient pendant le pont après le premier thème, induit le doute et l’innocence à nouveau. Kylo Ren doute de son statut de Sith du fait de son jeune âge.

 

  • Les Coeurs d’Hommes, sont une référence à Snoke (et Darth Plagueis), le seigneur Sith qui forme Kylo Ren au côté obscur. En effet, dans l’épisode III : La Revanche des Siths de Star Wars lors de la scène où Palpatine parle à Anakin de son ancien maître Jedi qui s'avéraient sombrer du côté obscur, des coeurs d’hommes se font entendre en fond (The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise), et ce même thème est présent lorsque l’on découvre Snoke le seigneur Sith de la nouvelle trilogie, et maître de Kylo Ren. On peut grâce à ces deux thèmes similaires faire le lien entre Darth Plagueis et Snoke qui seraient la même entité.


Les Violons rappellent une fois encore le fait que Kylo Ren est jeune et conserve en lui une part d’innocence.

 

 

 

La structure de la pièce

 

La pièce est un 4/4, avec un tempo de 100 bpm.

Je tente de raconter l’histoire de Kylo Ren à travers des motifs sonores et les différentes sections de la pièce.

 

Mesures 1 à 7 : Ouverture - L’innocence, La jeunesse du Jedi, Ben Solo

 

Mesures 7 à 11 : Bridge I - L’Héritage du Sang, Ben Solo apprend que son grand père était un Sith, Darth Vader, et né en lui une attirance pour le côté obscur. Mesure 9, Snoke manifeste son intérêt pour Ben Solo, il veut en faire son apprenti.

 

Mesures 11 à 21 : Pré-Thème I - La Voie des Siths, Ben commence sa formation auprès de Snoke.

 

Mesures 21 à 30 : Thème I - Naissance de Kylo Ren, premiers actes barbares à l’encontre du code des Jedis, Ben Solo laisse place à Kylo Ren, tentant d’être le digne héritier de Darth Vader d’où la réminiscence de la Marche Impériale dans le thème.

 

Mesures 30 à 55 : Bridge II - Le Doute, Kylo Ren revoit son père, Han Solo, et le doute s’instaure en lui. Est-il réellement un Sith ? Doit-il abandonner ses desseins ?

 

Mesures 55 à 61 : Pré-Thème II - La Décision, Kylo Ren tue son père et scelle ainsi son destin de Sith. Son but est très clair : être le digne héritier de son grand père Darth Vader et surpasser sa puissance.

 

Mesures 61 à 69 : Thème II - L’Avènement de Kylo Ren,


Mesures 69 à 80 : Fermeture - Le Jedi Déchu,

 

 

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