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Countless Main Title of SW Poll


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54 members have voted

  1. 1. Best?

    • 1977
      15
    • 1980
      7
    • 1983
      7
    • 1990 with The Skywalker Symphony
      1
    • 1996 with LSO
      5
    • 1999 - 2005
      15
    • 2015 - 2017
      2
    • 2019
      1
    • Pops In Space (1980)
      0
    • VIenna (2020)
      1


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Well, if you care to go further down the rabbit hole, I can help fill in some more of the differences, especially with timpani and percussion, which I played professionally for several years:  

One of the biggest changes has to do with the violins. In the earliest takes from '77 (and in the suite published that year), when the A theme returns toward the end at bar 38 (0:48), the 1st violins

Wild to think there's only a single take with that opening! The first three have the lead-in chord, and the last take cuts out most of the orchestra.   By the way, that deleted pick-up chord

I truly like all the films' recordings. (I haven't heard the other two options.) I voted for '77 because of its unmistakable energy and enthusiasm. It really sounds like the beginning of a great saga.

 

My close runner-up is '99. I know some fans find the prequel recording to be too sterile, but I disagree. It's got a great, refined, stately-but-not-boring vibe. This one sounds the most timeless to me.

 

'15 is probably last place for me.

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5 hours ago, Thor said:

No idea. Aren't they all the same, more or less?

 

This isn't a poll about compositional differences, it's a poll about performance differences

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2 hours ago, Jay said:

 

This isn't a poll about compositional differences, it's a poll about performance differences

 

I know, but if we're talking the films here, they sound more or less the same to my ears (except the end bit when it scrolls to some location).

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Yea, you're not paying close enough attention.  They all sound different my man.  But you've told us you have tinnitus and other hearing issues so the differences may not be as apparent to you I suppose

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Yea, you're not paying close enough attention.  They all sound different my man.  But you've told us you have tinnitus and other hearing issues so the differences may not be as apparent to you I suppose.

 

I just don't obsess over STAR WARS like you guys do, with whatever incy wincy tiny performance difference there might be between the various film openings. However, if one opens the parameters to various album recordings, by various artists, it's easier to glean substantial differences.

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1 minute ago, Jay said:

Well, you're speaking uninformed here man.  Some of the differences are certainly not "incy wincy tiny".  Educate yourself before spreading falsehoods!

 

I've been listening to these albums countless times since the early 90s, so I'm plenty educated, thank you very much. I just don't hear much of a difference between them. Stop being condescending!

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3 minutes ago, Thor said:

 

I've been listening to these albums countless times since the early 90s, so I'm plenty educated, thank you very much. I just don't hear much of a difference between them. Stop being condescending!

 

For starters, listen to the mix and the instruments accompanying the main melody.

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4 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

For starters, listen to the mix and the instruments accompanying the main melody.

 

Exactly, obviously all the main titles are the same basic composition, but he's subtlety changed the orchestration through the years

 

And the LA orchestra used for 7-9 certainly sound different than the LSO!

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Just now, Jurassic Shark said:

 

For starters, listen to the mix and the instruments not playing the main melody.

 

Again, the differences are very subtle. Not really worth close scrunity to me, and not enough to make much of a "case" out of (unless you're someone who obsesses over STAR WARS and these kinds of incy wincy details).

 

Now, if one were pitting - say - the film recordings vs. Kojian vs. Skywalker symphony (which I noticed now was actually in the poll!, to my surprise) vs. the London '18 performance vs. Vienna '19 etc. etc. etc., it would be a whole other matter.

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1 minute ago, Thor said:

 

Again, the differences are very subtle. Not really worth close scrunity to me, and not enough to make much of a "case" out of (unless you're someone who obsesses over STAR WARS and these kinds of incy wincy details).

 

It has nothing to do with obsession, and nothing to do with Star Wars fandom as a whole

 

You're simply choosing not to listen for the differences.  And that's fine, no one says you have to care about them.


But don't claim they aren't there!

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5 minutes ago, Jay said:

But don't claim they aren't there!

 

They are there, sure. But IMO too neligible to make any kind of profound delineation between them. Hence why I said 'more or less the same' in the very first post.

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8 minutes ago, Jay said:

Exactly, obviously all the main titles are the same basic composition, but he's subtlety changed the orchestration through the years

 

8 minutes ago, Thor said:

Again, the differences are very subtle. Not really worth close scrunity to me, and not enough to make much of a "case" out of (unless you're someone who obsesses over STAR WARS and these kinds of incy wincy details).

 

 

And in some of the recordings, some instruments are almost drowning in the mix.

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The 1977 ANH recording also uses more timpani for the rhythm, while almost every recording since more snare drum.  Listen for example right around 0:14-0:16 and 0:40-0:42 in each.

 

From 1:03-1:06 there's a cool prominent timpani part in '77 SW that is way more subdued in '80 TESB and '83 ROTJ (you almost can't hear it at all in ROTJ)

 

The '80 TESB one overall is more militaristic, it kinda sounds like the old main title filtered through Superman-style orchestrations.  

 

The '83 ROTJ one also adds more trumpets than any version ever had before

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I think I'd have to go for Return of the Jedi, but it has many close competitors (Empire for a start). Wonder if we need another poll of how many versions of the main titles each of us... by my reckoning, I have about 20 different recordings (although I'm not 100% if the same recording was used for all of the sequels like for the prequels), so depending on how you count, somewhere between 20 and 25. And yes, many are quite different...

 

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I wish Johnny gave it more oomph when returning to it in 1990

 

 

The spruced up Imperial March on that album is cool, he should have done more of that kind of thing to the other selections!

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1 hour ago, Tom Guernsey said:

I think I'd have to go for Return of the Jedi, but it has many close competitors (Empire for a start). Wonder if we need another poll of how many versions of the main titles each of us... by my reckoning, I have about 20 different recordings (although I'm not 100% if the same recording was used for all of the sequels like for the prequels), so depending on how you count, somewhere between 20 and 25. And yes, many are quite different...

 

 

They did a new recording of the main title for each of the sequels, but the TLJ recording was ultimately replaced with the TFA recording. All we have of the TLJ version is a poor video of the recording session Rian Johnson posted. TROS is still different, though.

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1 hour ago, Datameister said:

Sshhhh, no one tell Thor that we have all the individual takes of the main title from ANH, thanks to the SE release, and that there are significant differences between each of those too!


I actually think I have some of those on the fourth disc of the Arista box.

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Disc 4 of the Arista box set featured a track called "Main Title (Alternate)" that simply took various parts of various takes that were different from the final film version and made a new take assembly to highlight the different ideas recorded among the various takes.

 

The 1997 2CD set features the entirely of each of all 5 Main Title  recordings, presented as a "hidden" bonus track at the end of disc 1 after the Binary Sunset alternate

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1996 LSO for me. Maurice Murphy’s still sounding glorious in the prime trumpet seat, the Abbey Road recording quality is top-notch and, particularly personally, it was recorded mere days after I’d seen JW conduct the exact same band in the same piece at the Barbican. A happy day.

 

Does anyone have a list of the actual orchestration changes since 1977? Having just bought the Hal Leonard score, it’d be nice to be able to pencil in the changes that have been made.

 

Mark

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You guys are talking about this album when you talk about a 1996 recording right?

 

The Hollywood Sound

 

That reminds me I need to listen to it again.  I think I've only heard it once!

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2 hours ago, Datameister said:

One of the biggest changes has to do with the violins. In the earliest takes from '77 (and in the suite published that year), when the A theme returns toward the end at bar 38, the 1st violins play the upper octave; the 2nd violins play divisi, half doubling the 1st violins and half playing an octave lower. (This is the same way it's voiced throughout this reprise of the A theme.)

 

Then, starting in the third take of this cue (i.e., take 18), a change was made: all the violins were collapsed down to the lower octave, i.e. one octave above the horns, for the first phrase. Things then return to normal for the second phrase, at the pickup to bar 46. The remaining takes were kept that way too, and that's what you hear in the film and album.

 

By the time we get to ESB, this change had been scrapped, leaving some of violins on the upper octave as originally written, and that's how all the versions for later films were recorded too. Regardless, all the ANH takes have a much more legato sound for the violins throughout the reprise of the A theme, contrasting with the marcato horns; after ANH, the violins generally play those notes in a more detached way that matches the horns.

 

Got any timestamps so us plebes can know what bit you're taking about? 

 

2 hours ago, Datameister said:

The other big thing that distinguishes the ANH performance is the fact that the snare drum part is largely inaudible, so most of the percussion is really driven by the timpani. All later recordings feature the snare drum more prominently, especially after the OT, with the timpani merely providing very noticeable support.

 

I kind of like the less militaristic 77 recording. And I otherwise normally love militaristic film music! 

 

2 hours ago, Datameister said:

Hmmm...oh, also, the trumpets have an countermelody from bars 24-27 that's not heard in ANH.

 

Timestamp? 

 

2 hours ago, Datameister said:

the woodwinds play staccato during the B theme instead of legato.

 

What does this mean? 

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