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The Symphonic Orchestra in Film Music: The John Williams Case (Degree Thesis)


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Composer and pianist Konstantina Kapsouli wants to share with JWFans a degree thesis she wrote on John Williams for the University of Athens, Greece, as she says the information on our site was of gre

As far as I am concerned, if   1) George Lucas and John Williams agree that there was no love theme before "Across the Stars", 2) the theme we are talking about appears first when only

Hehehe,

That statement had been thrown around quite a bit, by Lucas, by Williams, etc. I think what they mean by that is that its more of a love story and a love theme in the classical Hollywood tradition, whereas the Han and Leia love story was forged as they were on the run from the Empire. 

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2 hours ago, Will said:

 

ROTFLMAO

 

It's actually correct, if the theme known as "Han Solo and the Princess" was actually meant to be a theme for Han Solo only, as I think was suggested by someone (maybe Doug Adams?). It is used several times in TESB to score important Han Solo moments which do not necessarily connect to the love story with the Princess, for example in the Battle of Hoth, at the end of the Asteroid Field cue, and in the Finale.

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Oh, I didn't know  that another Greek (and with the same name ;) ) had prepared a thesis on Williams.

Thank you very much!

 

"Συγχαρητήρια Κωνσταντίνα!"

 

I assume you wrote it all in Greek and you translated it?

2 hours ago, Smaug the iron said:

The Imperial March does appear in Phantom Manace and Attack of the Clones.

Do you mean as part of Anakin's theme?

never mind: i saw the guide here in another thread, and it's indeed used. Didn't remember it.

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1 hour ago, Score said:

It's actually correct, if the theme known as "Han Solo and the Princess" was actually meant to be a theme for Han Solo only, as I think was suggested by someone (maybe Doug Adams?). It is used several times in TESB to score important Han Solo moments which do not necessarily connect to the love story with the Princess.

 

Nah.

 

Adams was just toying with the idea, I believe.

 

I think he was just voicing the bemoaning of fans that, seeing as how Han is the only main character without a theme, are willing to do whatever intellectual blackflips necessary to find a theme for Han in the love theme.

 

Musically, the theme clearly belongs to the princess and it's clearly a love theme. Since Its used to represent the pair and, even more generally, their entire storyline throughout the film, it is sometimes applied to Han himself, but it's certainly not his theme, per se. Take for instance the first statement: Williams clearly just really wanted to introduce this theme as early as possible in the film, so he didn't wait until the Princess showed up on screen but settled for Han.

 

Matessino also called it the Han Solo theme once or twice, but it strikes me just as trying not to repeat the term "love theme" too much, rather than putting forward an argument that the theme is for Han first. Williams did once refer (in an FSM interview twenty years removed from Return of the Jedi, mind you) to music for Han but that still doesn't mean that it's his personal theme. He also said that the interviewe was testing his memory as far as the thematic material goes.

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Yes the Han Solo and the Princess seems clearly to imply a romantic connection.  As we now know that Williams quite deliberately wrote Princess Leia's theme to function if need be as a love theme (for Luke and Leia I assume) but had to change his tune (quite literally) when things were revealed in the next film. So it would feel more than natural that this new romantic couple would have their own music. I don't know why Williams himself doesn't quite remember this theme existing in that function.

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7 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

Because he wrote is decades ago and forgot the details about Star Wars?

That guy just doesn't have an ounce of decent OCD concerning Star Wars themes! And he composed the music, for heaven's sake!

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11 hours ago, Chen G. said:

 

Nah.

 

Adams was just toying with the idea, I believe.

 

I think he was just voicing the bemoaning of fans that, seeing as how Han is the only main character without a theme, are willing to do whatever intellectual blackflips necessary to find a theme for Han in the love theme.

 

Musically, the theme clearly belongs to the princess and it's clearly a love theme. Since Its used to represent the pair and, even more generally, their entire storyline throughout the film, it is sometimes applied to Han himself, but it's certainly not his theme, per se. Take for instance the first statement: Williams clearly just really wanted to introduce this theme as early as possible in the film, so he didn't wait until the Princess showed up on screen but settled for Han.

 

Matessino also called it the Han Solo theme once or twice, but it strikes me just as trying not to repeat the term "love theme" too much, rather than putting forward an argument that the theme is for Han first. Williams did once refer (in an FSM interview twenty years removed from Return of the Jedi, mind you) to music for Han but that still doesn't mean that it's his personal theme. He also said that the interviewe was testing his memory as far as the thematic material goes.

 

 

4 hours ago, Incanus said:

Yes the Han Solo and the Princess seems clearly to imply a romantic connection.  As we now know that Williams quite deliberately wrote Princess Leia's theme to function if need be as a love theme (for Luke and Leia I assume) but had to change his tune (quite literally) when things were revealed in the next film. So it would feel more than natural that this new romantic couple would have their own music. I don't know why Williams himself doesn't quite remember this theme existing in that function.

 

 

As far as I am concerned, if

 

1) George Lucas and John Williams agree that there was no love theme before "Across the Stars",

2) the theme we are talking about appears first when only Han Solo is present (no Princess),

3) throughout the movie it underscores important Han Solo moments which are not connected to the love story (like at the end of the Asteroid Field cue: or you think that Leia falls in love with Han just at that moment because of his skills at driving out of the field? I wish it were so easy... ;) ),

4) it is the theme that closes the movie, underscoring a moment when all the other characters (not just Leia) are shown preparing for a rescue mission,

 

well, all this is more than enough for me to call that the "Han Solo theme". It's the most economical explanation. Otherwise you have to assume that he wrote it as a love theme, then he used it in many other ways, then he and George Lucas forgot about its existence (and we are talking about one of the major themes of the saga). Then, of course, Han and Leia are shown together quite often, but the fact that the theme appears also when there is no Leia, nor any reason yet to suspect a romantic connection, makes me drift towards the Han interpretation.

 

As far as I know, the only thing that could lead to the love theme interpretation is the cue "Han Solo and the Princess", which includes a significant statement of the theme, but there is no reason to assume that it is other than the use of the Han Solo's theme in a romantic setting (since that theme has been used in other settings before), and the title just refers to the scene in the movie. The suite cue is named in the same way because it is based mostly on the material of that cue, and note that a statement of Leia's theme is included there, as to add the character of Leia to a piece that would otherwise be only about Han.

 

I have probably spent much more time in writing this than John Williams has spent in thinking about these very important issues since 1980! :lol:

 

 

 

 

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That first statement is just Williams taking the opportunity to introduce the main themes of the work as early as he possibly can.

 

In the Asteroid field its clearly used to show the princess becoming impressed with Han's "wizardry of the controls". Besides, it's used with the princess just as often: think about the shotouts in Cloud City, or indeed the finale of the film.

 

When Lucas and Williams talk about "Across the Stars" as the first love theme, they are referring to a very specific, "classic" idiom of love themes and love stories, more like Romeo and Juliet than Han and Leia.

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On 2/10/2017 at 3:47 PM, Disco Stu said:

Also Williams has said on many occasions that he originally wrote Princess Leia's Theme as a "torrid love theme"

 

... for her supposedly upcoming love story with Luke! Which is why we should not theorize too much about how HE theorizes about his own use of leitmotifs...

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4 hours ago, Will said:

Williams did call it "Han's theme" in that Tavis Smiley PBS interview before TFA, although he may just have been abbreviating. 

Han has quite a sweeping romantic theme. I guess it is the underlying romantic in him that Williams found and tried to capture with his (and definitely not a love) theme. So who are we to contradict the composer. ;)

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I watched the "Score" documentary yesterday, and one of the composers they interviewed mentioned a "love theme" from the original Star Wars films. At that point, the film cut to a shot of Han and Leia with the Han Solo and the Princess theme playing. In light of all the recent discussion in this thread, it was fun to see an outside perspective on this.

 

If it weren't for that quote re: Across the Stars, I'm sure none of us would ever doubt that Han Solo and the Princess was a love theme in the first place.

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