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The fanfares of The Phantom Menace


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The merits and flaws of the prequels have been debated endlessly, but if there's one thing they had going for them was opportunities for musical expression.  The Phantom Menace is particularly notewor

That is a great point. The sequel trilogy offered much less opportunities for pure, unobstructed musical expression. This is particularly evident in the movies directed by JJ Abrams, where only the Je

Bruce,   You don't realize how annoying many of your posts are.   People come to a thread expecting a continuation of the discussion and find an unrelated, non-funny "joke" in the

One of the issues though is a signature feature of Star Wars music is that the music of TPM had to adhere to were the fanfares.  That's in the DNA.  Star Wars score without fanfares doesn't feel Star Wars. 

 

Like this is in the DNA of Star Wars:

 

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12 minutes ago, karelm said:

One of the issues though is a signature feature of Star Wars music is that the music of TPM had to adhere to were the fanfares.  That's in the DNA.  Star Wars score without fanfares doesn't feel Star Wars. 

 

Like this is in the DNA of Star Wars:

 

 

Very good point, though I don't think the fanfares and ever sounded so heraldic  or majestic as in TPM. The canvas was much larger this time

1 hour ago, PokeDocMatt said:

The trumpets sure got quite the work out. It’s interesting, I would not have identified 9 or 10 unique “fanfares” off the top of my head. Even listening to them, many of them feel organically related (the droid battle march being the significant exception) and not just in the John Williams “sound” kind of way. I wonder if it’s his consistent orchestration and use of the trumpets that start unison and then spread out, the fast staccato repetitions, and the soaring above the rest of the orchestra, or what other features he uses, but all of these are instantly recognizable to me as Episode One, and it does feel like a unique soundscape he created. 

 

Indeed. TPM is filled with unique and coherent soundscapes. And as much as I love all the subsequent Star Wars scores, I think you can kinda tell this was the one where his enthusiasm is most clearly felt.

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Heh, I remember running a "poll" on my old website on exactly this topic back in 1999 -- "What's Your Favorite TPM Fanfare." Lemme see if I can retrieve it.

 

Update: amazing what the WaybackMachine has archived -- https://web.archive.org/web/20010602022120/http://apps6.vantagenet.com/zpolls/count.asp?id=9228153216

 

And the ol' John Williams Score Review if you're looking for a way to stroll down memory lane (or blackmail me?) is archived too: https://web.archive.org/web/20010713112742/http://home.netcom.com:80/~dlehman/JWscore.html)

 

 

 

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I seriously have no idea why people hate on this movie so much. I mean is Jar Jar really that off putting? Nothing will be as dumb as three movies with new characters that hardly get developed, except for one who magically got named Skywalker...who's character actually didn't get developed. And a dude who is not force gifted but yet can adequately fight a Sith.

I think all of the prequel scores are great, but this one really does have a lot of special moments in it. It also amazing to me that none of the Star Wars movies sound like a continuation of the same thing, but all different but with a certain writing style. There are a lot of composers out there working on multiple films for a franchise, but they always just end up being pretty much the same score repeated.

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TPM is the richest and most rewarding to listen to of all 3 prequel scores. JW was on another level and the changes in the musical language of SW reflected how different TPM was from the OT. I love the freshness of the sound, really exemplified by the awesome fanfares. Maybe it's the orchestrations or the recording, but TPM sounds very bright compared to AOTC and ROTS.

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Listened to my “complete edit” of this on May 4th. :) It really is a glorious score. Encapsulates so much promise of adventure/drama/joy. It tells the story I wish the actual film had portrayed lol. Interesting how this first score in the  and the Force Awakens seem to be the strongest in each of their trilogies IMO. Williams was so excited to play in this great sandbox again. And then each following film in each trilogy kinda sapped him of that enthusiasm it would seem. Yet he still managed to produce terrific scores. 

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2 minutes ago, WampaRat said:

Interesting how this first score in the  and the Force Awakens seem to be the strongest in each of their trilogies IMO.

Yes! Same with SW and the OT, of course.

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10 hours ago, WilliamsStarShip2282 said:

I seriously have no idea why people hate on this movie so much. I mean is Jar Jar really that off putting? Nothing will be as dumb as three movies with new characters that hardly get developed, except for one who magically got named Skywalker...who's character actually didn't get developed. And a dude who is not force gifted but yet can adequately fight a Sith.

Oh for the love of god, this topic again?  You are literally asking why people had issues with TPM when it first came out?  You want a list of why it was considered a disappointment??

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3 minutes ago, karelm said:

Oh for the love of god, this topic again?  You are literally asking why people had issues with TPM when it first came out?  You want a list of why it was considered a disappointment??

 

I like to drop thermal detonators and walk away

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8 minutes ago, Romão said:

It's also curious that among the greatest strengths of the music in The Sequel Trilogy are the character themes , and not so much the set pieces, whereas in the Prequel trilogy you have the exact opposite. 

 

Very illuminating, and accurate, observation.

 

It actually reflects the difference between the Lucas films vs the Disney films. The former was heavily focused on setpieces and VFX spectacle, while the latter pulled back on the spectacle and refocused heavily on the characterization.

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4 hours ago, Fabulin said:

2:22 onwards

Best string of fanfares ever.

 

Edit @Romão:

 

 

That track is a prime example of how some of the combined tracks work really, really well as a listening experience (as does The Sith Spacecraft and The Droid Battle), I would still like to have them included in a future definitive release of this score

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Yea @Romão the fanfares in TPM are great indeed!

 

Also, this:

On 5/7/2021 at 9:28 PM, SilverTrumpet said:

I always saw it as musically expressing that it's the Republic in it's glory days. Everything is shiny and neat and orderly before it crumbles apart. That was the cool thing about TPM. It gave you a peek into an entirely different world of Star Wars.

 

Spot on

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TPM never fails to amaze me with these moments. He never got quite so fanfare-y with the subsequent Star Wars scores, which is fine, but it sure is great to hear the brass get such an energetic and interesting workout.

 

On 5/8/2021 at 9:23 AM, WampaRat said:

I never realized how much 1:58-2:28 in “Anakin Defeats Sebulba” sounds like it could be straight out of “Desert Chase” from Raiders. 
 

 

 

Ooh, good catch. I never noticed that but you're right.

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1 hour ago, Jay said:

Hmm, doesn't sound too Desert Chase-y to me

I mean. It’s not exact. Just something about those racing strings made me think of this track (3:37-4:00)

 

 

It’s a pretty common technique Williams uses. So admittedly there’s a dozen other cues it could remind a person of.

 

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