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"The Empire Strikes Back" Thematic Analysis?


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Hello all,

I'm doing a paper comparing the use of leit motifs in "The Land Before Time" and "The Empire Strikes Back," two of the greatest film scores ever written. I'll be looking at how Horner and Williams use their motifs and when, varying the melody, orchestration, etc. depending on the scene.

I remember seeing a while back that somebody had done an analysis on the themes in "The Empire Strikes Back" on his webpage, including all the themes in scorch format. That would be a big help in my paper. Could somebody kindly point me in that direction?

Regards,

~HornerIsTheMan

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I think you mean this site.

Thank you! That was what I was looking for. Appreciate it.

How can you compare The Land Before Time to The Empire Strikes Back 8O  

K.M.

I'm not really comparing the scores themselves per say...just how they use and vary their respective leit motifs in the film.

How can you compare Horner and Williams? It's like comparing McDonald's to a gormet resturant.

I KNOW...this Williams stuff is really starting to sound weak compared with the lush, beautiful grandeur of Horner's incredible music!

Good themes though. Just not as great as I thought.

~Horneristheman

P.S. The Land Before Time is one of the most awe-inspiring scores ever! Magnificent writing!!!

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No,actually,you did,while Land Before Time is one of the better Horner score,it is unwise to declare here that it's better than Empire Strikes Back,the best film score ever composed by any composer.

K.M.

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No,actually,you did,while Land Before Time is one of the better Horner score,it is unwise to declare here that it's better than Empire Strikes Back,the best film score ever composed by any composer.

K.M.

Blah. Opinions, opinions. Why can't I say that I think The Land Before Time is better? Thats just my personal (and highly educated 8O ) opinion. If you don't like it, tough. I'm entitled to my opinion just as you are to yours.

Anyway, I refrained from making any such comment until people started taking cheap shots at Mr. Horner.

~HorneristheMan

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I am a big Horner fan, and there are a lot of valid cheap shots to be taken ;).

Yes, but they've all already been taken.

Lets not be redundant.

The repetition of the HornerHaters is worse then the man himself! Talk about hypocritical! 8O

~HorneristheMan

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The man constantly copies himself and with a straight face says he starts with completely new material. He reuses the same music over and over again.

The complaints are valid every time, his copying isn't. I love Horner, but I find it impossible to blindly praise him.

It's his attitude bothers me, his 'I'm always original, get off my back about it' attitude. At least have the guts to say it, man! Zimmer made it very clear that he used Holst in Gladiator, and upon questioning freely admited the blatant similarities between one of The Peacemaker's Theme and one of The Rock.

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KM, yes I post at the Hornershrine; I post at all the other M. boards too.

War? Bring it on! 8O

I love Horner, but I find it impossible to blindly praise him.

 

I'm not blindly praising him. I don't deny Horner copies himself. ALL film composers copy themselves and others. Horner does it more than most..yet often times he improves on the original. Take the Willow/Schumann thing! Even if Horner DID take that themes inspiration from Schumann (and the similarity is NOT as blatant as people want to make you believe)...I much much rather have the Horner version! Sorry Mr. Schumann!! If you want gripe and complain about it go ahead..but I still want my Willow and would not give it up for anything. If it took Schumann's 3rd to inspire that awesome music...then so be it.

Now that's just one example... and the recent Troy/Shostakovich thing is another. I much rather have Horner's awesome theme then Shosty's little motif thingy. But I will tell you what DOES annoy me! The four-note motif!!! Not much can defend the four note motif! :?

Anyways..I don't blindly praise Horner..he has his faults. But I still think he's the best composer alive (and my favorite composer ever)!

Why?

Braveheart

Legends of the Fall

The Land Before Time

Titanic

The Rocketeer

The Mask of Zorro

Perfect Storm

The Pagemaster

Balto

Glory

etc.etc.etc....

The list goes on and on. And I remain transfixed. So much beauty; so much orchestral wonder.

~HorneristheMan

P.S. Time to write my paper now.

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Why can't I say that I think The Land Before Time is better?  

~HorneristheMan

8O

Because it's completely incorrect! There comes a time when there are opinions that are simply the right ones. These rare instances transcend personal opinion, and emerge on the spectrum of correctness and wrongness. Stating that the score you've mentioned is better than the Empire Strikes Back is a false statement. In fact, it's hard to think of something to say that is funnier or more absurd.

-Diskobolus, still laughing about this new guy

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8O  

Because it's completely incorrect! There comes a time when there are opinions that are simply the right ones. These rare instances transcend personal opinion, and emerge on the spectrum of correctness and wrongness. Stating that the score you've mentioned is better than the Empire Strikes Back is a false statement. In fact, it's hard to think of something to say that is funnier or more absurd.

-Diskobolus, still laughing about this new guy

:roll:

Well that's a new one.

Unfortunately, my good fellow, there is no right/wrong in the world of subjectivity! Your argument is both unvalidated and absurd. In fact, your blindness to the facts and your assuredness of your own opinion diminishes any regard I or others should have of it.

Buried in the dark by your own ignorance and ineptitude, this is where logic and truth laugh at YOU. ;)

~HorneristheMan

P.S. Ignorance might be bliss...but it sure helps to make an idiot of yourself. Nice one diskobulus.

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Horneristhe.....,

How about you just write your article and present it here and then we can address your arguments in a civil manner. Besides saying that LBT is great, you have not backed it up. There are plenty of threads here arguing the merits of ESB as well as that scorch site.

So until you do that, it will look like you are trying to start a possible flame war.

Present it and lets talk.

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8O  

Because it's completely incorrect! There comes a time when there are opinions that are simply the right ones. These rare instances transcend personal opinion, and emerge on the spectrum of correctness and wrongness. Stating that the score you've mentioned is better than the Empire Strikes Back is a false statement. In fact, it's hard to think of something to say that is funnier or more absurd.

-Diskobolus, still laughing about this new guy

:roll:

Well that's a new one.

Unfortunately, my good fellow, there is no right/wrong in the world of subjectivity! Your argument is both unvalidated and absurd. In fact, your blindness to the facts and your assuredness of your own opinion diminishes any regard I or others should have of it.

Buried in the dark by your own ignorance and ineptitude, this is where logic and truth laugh at YOU. :wave:

~HorneristheMan

P.S. Ignorance might be bliss...but it sure helps to make an idiot of yourself. Nice one diskobulus.

;)

By the way my name is spelled diskombobulous.

-Diskobolus, still laughing about this new guy

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The Land Before Time is a wonderful score. It's my absolute favorite of Horner's, and one of my favorite non-JW scores ever. I don't believe it to be better an or even as good as most of JW's work, but I personally enjoy it as much as or more than many other scores, JW included. There's a huge difference. Horneristheman, posting why you feel it's a better score than ESB (if that's how you really feel, and not that you just personally like it more) would at least make your assertion more valid and understandable.

Ray Barnsbury

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I've listened to TESB so much sometimes a Horner score might be better for a while, just because it's new. But when TESB sounds fresh and I enjoy it, yeah...it's a lot better than any Horner score.

Of course there are times when Horner does stuff that I wish Williams would do. Same goes with Goldsmith. So really, I don't feel like I'm covering all the bases of what I like to hear from film scores if I don't listen to those three. Anyone else just kinda expounds upon something any of those three might do, but not as well as they would.

I could defend the four-note motif by saying it works. Sure, it's unoriginal but the audiences watching most Horner-type movies could care less. They probably see so many movies with that motif in it that they think every movie must have it and never bother to find out/realize otherwise.

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Horner's copying of other people is not my problem. Horner's copying himself is the problem. And he seems to have stopped trying to hide it. He does improve on himself often, but that's no excuse for making the past decade (he's done it before, but mainly in the latter years) all about copying yourself. I don't think he's done a score that could be concidered in any way original since Zorro, a score that's truely original since The Spitfire Grill (which I don't like).

I could do a chronological list of all great JW scores in reverse. I could stop after the first five years and say The list goes on and on. And I remain transfixed. So much beauty; so much orchestral wonder.

All I could say is, enjoy it while it lasts. One of the things I love about film music is how one could be a fan of everyone simultaniusly, but I honestly don't think someone who's heard all the John Williams I have could deny that he is better than Horner. The truth is out there.

But, although I stand by the above, I also think that far too much trashingof Horner goes on without giving the man his due credit. I really need to get more Horner, I'm missing like 4-5 essentials.

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Now, I haven't heard many of the OOP Horner scores from the early 90s/late 80s, but it seems like Sneakers is pretty original. Yeah, it's got a lot of stuff in it that would be used in Apollo 13 and has pretty much a cue from Cocoon: The Return in it, and the four-note motif (but not used in the same way as it usually is) but on the whole, the sound is original and has yet to be repeated.

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The Land Before Time is one of Horner's scores that I can listen to without getting bored.

It's a fun and lovely score but certainly doesn't belong in the same league as TESB.

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Short and succinct:

The Empire Strikes Back Themes

Recurring Themes from Star Wars:

- Luke's Theme (Main Theme)

- Leia's Theme

- Rebel Fanfare

- Ben's Theme (The Force Theme)

Major Themes:

- The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)

- Yoda's Theme

- Han Solo and the Princess (Love Theme)

Minor Themes:

- Droid motif

- Lando's Palace

- Bespin motif

- Boba Fett motif

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Don't the SE notes for The Empire Strikes Back offer a complete thematic analysis of the score?

Neil

Anyone who compares anything written by Horner to ESB, and says that Horner is better, has probably never even listened to ESB, much less owns the CD.

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Horner may be a very talented composer, although Williams is probably more talented. But regardless, he's the most lazy person with talent in the universe.

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