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"Approaching the Throne" from Ep. 9 Appreciation


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I've been meaning to get another thread going for analyzing and appreciating a track from The Rise of Skywalker. So what does everyone think of "Approaching the Throne" (7m20), a true knock-out cue in

Yes, and this semitone-up-plus-tritone-down figure is a part of the ST sound in particular, and not just as a combination of intervals but as the same degrees of the scale (5-6-2 in minor). So it seem

I came out of the exam in december, saw the FYC was up, clicked on a random track, and it was this. Immediately fell in love and, get this, I had hopes for the movie What a great track!

1 hour ago, Falstaft said:

I've been meaning to get another thread going for analyzing and appreciating a track from The Rise of Skywalker. So what does everyone think of "Approaching the Throne" (7m20), a true knock-out cue in my opinion.

 

0:58-1:15: Statement of an Insidious Minor Figure motif in parallel minor thirds (C-B-D-Eb-A) that comes up here and a few other occasions on Exegol. Related to the Psalm of the Sith leitmotif. Followed by a squirmy cousin of of the Sith Wayfinder motif (1:06) and a very brief Psalm of the Sith tag in muted brass (Eb-Gb-F).

 

3:40-3:54: Some very tense but non-motivic interstitial material, serving to build up to...

The "Insidious Minor Figure" sounds to me like something from the dark, lurking moments of the prequels... a literal "phantom menace" motif.

 

Is the latter material really non-motivic? It sounds like a cousin of the "Heroic Descending Tetrachords"... like a desperate attempt to get space heroism going.

 

Overall the piece, like many others in TROS, delivers a thematic conga as foreshadowed in Galaxy's Edge. Now that I think of it, it's an interesting coincidence that GE sounded at times like Indiana Jones, considering that the TROS film would end up having quite a bit of Indiana Jones DNA too.

 

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Wow, I hadn't listened to this cue for a while and I must say that reading your notes along side it is most enlightening, many thanks @Falstaft

 

I think it's a solid piece overall, but for me it really picks up to a level of pure gold starting with that big Sith Wayfinder statement at 2:00 right on through to the choral outburst at the end. 

Also agree with you on those two great Battle theme statements- the transition from the strings to the woodwinds is sooo good. Great catch there with those ANH-worthy chords, and agree once again that that is probably one of the best March of the Resistance statements, especially how it kind of drags that duh-da-duh part to build tension.

 

Fantastic!

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8 hours ago, Falstaft said:

So what does everyone think of "Approaching the Throne" (7m20), a true knock-out cue in my opinion.


Absolutely agreed it’s a knockout! A great combination of chilling, tense music for the confrontation and exciting action music (which is most likely the cue 7M30 More Action). And thank you @Falstaft for continuing this great series of posts.


If you haven’t seen that B-roll footage since the release of the movie, you may want to watch it again. Williams is shown conducting ‘Approaching the Throne’ starting from the Wayfinder motif, but continues into the very ending with the chorus (which would be recorded separately). I’m guessing this may even be an insert (‘The Crowd Joins In’ or ‘Wayfinder Insert’ perhaps?).

 

Starting at 7:02 if the timestamp’s not working:

 

 

So, it would appear that bit—whatever it actually is—was moved from its intended location between ‘Approaching the Throne’ and ‘More Action’ to instead become the ending of ‘More Action’.

 

One little tidbit: thanks to @crumbs, I was able to confirm my suspicion that that last long note of the album version of ‘Approaching the Throne’, but not present in the film or FYC version, is not an alternate, but actually the last note of ‘Falcon Flight’ pitch-shifted!

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13 hours ago, BrotherSound said:


If you haven’t seen that B-roll footage since the release of the movie, you may want to watch it again. Williams is shown conducting ‘Approaching the Throne’ starting from the Wayfinder motif, but continues into the very ending with the chorus (which would be recorded separately). I’m guessing this may even be an insert (‘The Crowd Joins In’ or ‘Wayfinder Insert’ perhaps?).

...

One little tidbit: thanks to @crumbs, I was able to confirm my suspicion that that last long note of the album version of ‘Approaching the Throne’, but not present in the film or FYC version, is not an alternate, but actually the last note of ‘Falcon Flight’ pitch-shifted!

 

I hadn't remembered that B-Roll footage, fascinating! What is with all the pitch-shifting in this score???

 

20 hours ago, Fabulin said:

The "Insidious Minor Figure" sounds to me like something from the dark, lurking moments of the prequels... a literal "phantom menace" motif.

 

Yes! Especially Revenge of the Sith, Williams really does seem to be channeling the ambiance of that score at times, intentionally or not.

 

20 hours ago, Fabulin said:

Is the latter material really non-motivic? It sounds like a cousin of the "Heroic Descending Tetrachords"... like a desperate attempt to get space heroism going.

 

You know, you may be right! -- especially at 3:48, it seems like fragments of that figure are trying to assemble into the more familiar motif, which we do hear clearly of course when Lando arrives. Yet another thematic reference packed into this cue!

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22 hours ago, Falstaft said:

2:32-2:43: Completely new Battle Theme in A-minor, especially notable b/c its close to being "grammatical" in @Ludwig's terms, having a pretty balanced beginning/middle/end structure. If anyone can point to precedents or links between this melody and other parts of the score, I would love to know! (And I bet @BrotherSound too)

 

I think this theme has the most to do with March of the Resistance. And I think it makes sense not just musically but contextually since this theme is about the Resistance and we actually hear the March a little later in this same cue. The second time the Battle Theme has a big melodic drop (its 3rd bar), the notes are the same as those in the 2nd half of the March of the Resistance's A section, as I've shown below.

 

dTvde2.png

 

For those who don't read music, I mean that these moments are the same:

 

 

 

The interval of that drop, which is very distinctive, being a tritone, also fills out the rest of the theme, as I've shown with the brackets under the notes. Its right at its outset with a note in between, in the 3rd bar I just mentioned, then again in the 4th bar. So in the video above, I mean at 2:32-2:34, 2:35-2:37, and 2:37-2:39.

 

The whole theme has the same basic outline as March of the Resistance as well, starting from the tonic note (here A) and ending on the leading tone nearly an octave higher (G#), gradually rising up in between the two. Again, for those who don't read music, I'd compare the start and ends note of one theme, then compare them for the other. They're not in the same key, but the notes in their scales are the same.

 

One might also say that what I've written as the 2nd line of the Battle Theme uses the same first three notes of March of the Resistance, though in a different rhythm. It's a little more abstract than the other similarities, but since the whole theme seems to be a kind of riff on the March, it kind of makes sense. Like March of the Resistance was recomposed with more jagged edges!

 

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5 hours ago, Ludwig said:

 

I think this theme has the most to do with March of the Resistance. And I think it makes sense not just musically but contextually since this theme is about the Resistance and we actually hear the March a little later in this same cue. The second time the Battle Theme has a big melodic drop (its 3rd bar), the notes are the same as those in the 2nd half of the March of the Resistance's A section, as I've shown below.

 

This seems exactly right, @Ludwig. And thank you for presenting the similarity in both music-theory heavy and light terms! I'll add that the approach to that tritone, the E-F-B gesture, is itself very "Star Wars-y," not a specific motif, but perhaps more a melodic/rhythmic sensibility. It's the basis for the Tatooine descent in ANH and TPM, among other things.

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23 hours ago, Fabulin said:

It led me to one more observation: the ending of "Approaching the Throne" (the harp moment) feigns leading to heroic music, and instead leads to the eruption of a stadium of Palpatine's fans. If one splices this harp with a suspense horn and a similar harp figure leading to the Dunkirk fleet arriving, it becomes one very satisfying track!


Yet, as the B-roll footage shows, it apparently wasn’t actually written or recorded this way! The choral outburst would have immediately followed the Wayfinder motif before continuing with the faster ‘More Action’ section, and whatever the original ending of that cue was. This is one of the few instances of editing in this score I don’t mind and may actually be an improvement.

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1 hour ago, BrotherSound said:


Yet, as the B-roll footage shows, it apparently wasn’t actually written or recorded this way! The choral outburst would have immediately followed the Wayfinder motif before continuing with the faster ‘More Action’ section, and whatever the original ending of that cue was. This is one of the few instances of editing in this score I don’t mind and may actually be an improvement.

Wow. Another piece of news that improves the already great track.

 

I quickly glued the choral moment where you said, and... to me a sneaking section (with the "you are coming closer and closer" repeated wayfinder motif) that culminates in a stadium reveal makes the most sense...  Not only from the musical, but also from the story perspective... Rey doesn't know exactly what awaits her, and then discovers that she has been baited into an arena.

 

One thing is clear... The more we know, the more coherent this score becomes. The complete score will be a revelatory experience.

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9 hours ago, crumbs said:

And just an FYI, the timecode in the first video doesn't appear to work; it just plays from 0:00.

 

That's because it's hidden in the main title too if you take the first note, the 2nd note of the B section, and the last note of the theme all together.

 

Just kidding. It was just a mistake - I've fixed it now. Thanks, @crumbs!

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In that case we might even need a whole book's worth of liner notes to know what's happening in the cues for JJ's hours of deleted scenes and subplots and early developments he's not releasing.

looks at Doug's LotR book on the shelf and starts grinning

 

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15 hours ago, Jay said:

It's a cool track but as others have said, the second half (starting with the Wayfinder motif part) is the real gem, the first part is just OKish buildup.

 

And yes when MM eventually gets to tackle these three scores, I hope he showcases the earliest version - JW's original vision - of all the cues as the main program, and saves all the revisions and inserts for the bonus track section.


That method worked great for ALIEN and I think it would suit these scores well too.

It would but do you think Disney will let Matessino do that? That would mean confirming that film was in trouble and was heavily retooled in post. They don't like to reveal too much about their process. And since they blocked the meticulous TFA making of book for similar reasons (at least according to the author) it seems unlikely to me they would do it here.

 

Karol

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2 hours ago, crocodile said:

It would but do you think Disney will let Matessino do that? That would mean confirming that film was in trouble and was heavily retooled in post. They don't like to reveal too much about their process. And since they blocked the meticulous TFA making of book for similar reasons (at least according to the author) it seems unlikely to me they would do it here.

 

Karol


Well, the OST of Rise of Skywalker already features a great deal of music that is not in the film. Since it wasn’t an issue there, I hope it won’t be in the future.

 

I also think it depends on how they look at an expanded release: hopefully as something of great cultural value written by a legendary composer, instead as just merchandise.

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Unless it's really extrapolated upon in the liner notes, I don't see it being an issue. Disney aren't going to prevent music being released just because it wasn't used in the film, it would defeat the entire point of new score releases.

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