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Music in Star Wars
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Whill
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:17 am    Post subject: To listen to Rogue One soundtracks Reply with quote

Rogue One OST -> https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXaH20eIS38ZMeHH8EHMhN49QJXdT746q

Rogue One FYC -> http://waltdisneystudiosawards.com/#/rogue-one/music
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Whill
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:18 pm    Post subject: brief Rogue One music analysis Reply with quote

Leitmotifs First appearing in Rogue One

Jyn Erso’s Theme (RO) - The main theme of RO which seems to be inspired by the classical motif Dies Irae and William's theme for Rey from TFA. Jyn Erso’s Theme is nice, and serviceable.

Imperial Theme (RO) - The new major theme for the Empire inspired by the short little Imperial Motif from ANH, the Imperial March, and William's Nazi theme from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The Imperial Theme is the most memorable from the film. Krennic’s Theme is a minor RO theme associated with the Imperial Theme.

Guardians of the Whills (RO) - Chirrut Îmwe's mystical and somewhat sad theme inspired by the Force Theme and Across the Stars, the tragic love theme from AotC. The latter may seem an odd choice to inspire the Whills theme, but Across the Stars in part represents the beginning of the fall of the Jedi Order, while the pillaging of the Jedha temple and destruction its city represents the last remnants of the Jedi being swept away. Or maybe the composer just loves Across the Stars.

Hope Theme (RO) - This is the most important new minor theme, inspired by Main Star Wars Theme and representing optimism. Rebellions are built on hope.

Other RO music - Erso Family Theme, Rogue One Suspense Theme

(The above was also added to the rest of the movies in the second post in this thread.)


Brief commentary on the music of Rogue One

As you can imagine, the first Star Wars film score from someone other than John Williams is a divisive subject for film score fans. Originally, Rogue One was going to be scored by the guy who scored the last Godzilla reboot and the two Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows films, but RO reshoots altered the post-production schedule and the composer was no longer available so they had to get a replacement. In steps Michael Giacchino who scored the last three Star Treks, Doctor Strange, and Jurassic World. Giacchino only had four and a half weeks to compose the themes, score the film and record the music, but he is a big Star Wars fan and didn't want to pass up the chance.

Michael Giacchino is a good composer, but there’s no denying that he’s simply not John Williams and the score for RO is not quite up to par for Star Wars. However that bar is at the highest possible setting so there is no way it would be. It’s good score and overall the music works for the film. I find it utterly amazing the score is as good as it is with being so rushed. Maybe that even helped. Giacchino just didn’t have time to be worry too much about living up to the legacy and overthink it.

Giacchino’s use of the existing Williams themes in RO is overall well conceived and executed (with perhaps a couple missteps). From ANH, the Death Star motif and Rebel Fanfare and no-brainers. Princess Leia’s Theme has an appropriate reference. Despite the unconventional loss of the main title and opening crawl sequence for RO, Luke’s Theme fittingly appears for the cameo of Artoo and Threepio (who are instrumental to the plot of ANH from the beginning). The Force Theme also continues its streak of appearing in every Star Wars movie. And the iconic Imperial March appears in conjunction with Vader. But I was most excited to hear Giacchino resurrect the Imperial Motif and Vader’s Motif that have not appeared since ANH due to them both being replaced by Imperial March starting in TESB. I was excited not because they are great motifs, but just because ANH is my favorite movie and RO's point is to set it up.

Giachinno’s new Imperial Theme is somewhat “controversial” among Star Wars film score enthusiasts. I admit even I at first thought, Why do we need yet another Imperial theme? Imperial March was all over TESB and ROTJ, but so was Vader and it is (parenthetically) his theme. The prequels used it to sparingly in key moments to emphasize Anakin’s fall and the rise of the Empire (and ANH doesn’t have it at all), so I think Imperial March works best in RO as is, for Vader’s appearances only. For the rest of the Empire, ANH’s Imperial Motif is really inadequate on its own, which is why it was replaced and never used by Williams again. Thus, a new theme really was necessitated. No, it is no Imperial March. I wouldn’t even say it is the best new theme in RO, but it is the one you will most likely find yourself humming after watching RO. Since the Han Solo film is also not likely to have much Vader (if any), I hope this new Imperial Theme shows up again there.

One final thing I wanted to mention is the music scoring the awesome final scene of RO - The track on the soundtrack is simply called “Hope” (but to be clear it doesn’t actually have the Hope Theme). The orchestration and chorus of the Vader sequence recalls “Anakin’s Dark Deeds” where he slaughtered the Separatist leaders on Mustafar in RotS. The chorus in “Hope” is chanting a slowed-down Imperial March theme before the overt orchestrated phrasing of it as Leia’s ship escapes from Vader. Then the Rebel Fanfare plays as the Death Star plans are taken to Leia (mimicking the ship’s soldiers’ anticipation of being boarded in ANH), and then it ends with the Force Theme as the plans bring hope to Princess Leia. The scoring of this sequence is 1:40 of genius.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaEzKRngCyY&list=PLXaH20eIS38ZMeHH8EHMhN49QJXdT746q&index=18
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Telsij
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for these insightful posts, Whill. Interesting background and analysis. And I had not noticed that the chorus is singing a slowed-down iteration of the Imperial march in that final scene before the recognizable orchestral nod comes at the close! The scene was already stirring, as was its scoring, but I now have an even greater appreciation for it.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Telsij wrote:
Thank you for these insightful posts, Whill. Interesting background and analysis.

You're welcome. I live to serve.

Telsij wrote:
I had not noticed that the chorus is singing a slowed-down iteration of the Imperial march in that final scene before the recognizable orchestral nod comes at the close! The scene was already stirring, as was its scoring, but I now have an even greater appreciation for it.

I did notice the similarities to "Anakin's Dark Deeds" on my own (I listen to the RotS soundtrack a lot), but to be honest it took this short YouTube video to reveal the Imperial March reference hidden in the chorus of "Hope": https://youtu.be/tTw6qrDs_SE
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I support this!

I've always used music but it's often hard (and time consuming) putting together appropriate play lists and (especially while GMing) constantly playing DJ to set the 'mood'.

With TTA I set up couple of tabs on my PC.
One with the 'scifi' collection of looping ambient tracks (which includes stuff like a Starship Bridge, Spaceport and Medical Centre) and one with a Soundpad. There's a number of appropriately themed Soundpads but I take advantage of the 'custom' option and make a collection of natural, technological and combat SPFX with a few 'encounter' sound tracks.

I then use VNC Viewer (virtual desktop app) on my ipad to control the music at the table.

It's brilliant!

Tossk wrote:
I always use music in game and try to stick to the theme, utilizing game and movie soundtracks (Morrowind is a fav for fantasy games and Battlestar Galactica for SW) but I've recently discovered an amazing fremium site:

http://tabletopaudio.com/

A heap of ambient, looping 'scores' and 'settings' and a series of 'soundpads'

I usually leave one (check out Orbital Platform and Dome City centre for SW) running and then throw in some SFX from the soundpas... The soundpads actually have their own 'mini' soundtracks too.

I have that running on my PC in the background using my ipad with a desktop remote control.

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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 9:49 am    Post subject: Re: brief Rogue One music analysis Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
As you can imagine, the first Star Wars film score from someone other than John Williams is a divisive subject for film score fans.


Ignoring Peter Bernstein and Kevin Kiner, its the first. Wink
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Whill
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 7:22 pm    Post subject: Re: brief Rogue One music analysis Reply with quote

WillTasker wrote:
Whill wrote:
As you can imagine, the first Star Wars film score from someone other than John Williams is a divisive subject for film score fans.

Ignoring Peter Bernstein and Kevin Kiner, its the first.

Rolling Eyes I don't "ignore" them. I own all 4 Kevin Kiner Star Wars albums. I like them (especially the first Kiner release). If I could find a cheap Ewok soundtrack I'd probably buy that too (I have a nice record player). But my family does own the Ewok TV movies on DVD so we can hear the music that way.

I just don't count the two Ewok TV "movies" or The Clone Wars "movie" as "Star Wars films". I grow tired of qualifying Star Wars films as "live-action theatrical Star Wars films" just to disclude the Ewok TV movies and TCW movie. I think it's pretty obvious that "Star Wars films" refers to the episodic and anthology film(s). Rogue One is the first real Star Wars film score not done by John Williams.

I am remiss in not supplying any thematic info for the motifs of these other soundtracks though, so I will get to that some day.
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bobenhotep
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sun Ra's "Love in outer space (alternate take)" and "Lady with the Golden Stockings" often end up being cantina type music. There are some other pieces I use here and there as well. Sun Ra is also a long lived alien musician in my universe as well. You can listen to either of those pieces or the rest of his galactic weirdness on Spotify or Youtube.
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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bobenhotep wrote:
Sun Ra's "Love in outer space (alternate take)" and "Lady with the Golden Stockings" often end up being cantina type music. There are some other pieces I use here and there as well. Sun Ra is also a long lived alien musician in my universe as well. You can listen to either of those pieces or the rest of his galactic weirdness on Spotify or Youtube.

+1 FP for this dramatically appropriate and noble comment, Pharaoh Boben!

I had not thought of incorporating Sun Ra (or his music) into a campaign, but this makes perfect sense because of his spacefaring alien persona....
And now we'll have to stat up his ship from Space is the Place, as well as his Arkestra.
(Out of morbid curiosity, have you statted out Sun Ra, and has he ever appeared bodily in one of your sessions?)







(Apologies for the Sun Ra photo tangent.)
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bobenhotep
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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I drew pictures of him as looking like the cover from "Sun Ra and his Band from Outer Space" but with the sunglasses actually being his eyes and him having long vertically pointed ears. One of his band members is Moog, who I named after the Moog synthesizer. Sunny Blount was one of the first people to have one. I never gave him stats since he worked in the background. I should, though. And the ship too. Another alien of his species that made a lot of music was Kull Trane. My players are my 13 yr old son and 14 yr old daughter, so they only have a vague idea where this stuff comes from.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:27 pm    Post subject: John Williams Solo Theme! Reply with quote

http://variety.com/2017/film/news/john-williams-star-wars-composer-han-solo-movie-theme-1202650282/

John Williams is about done with Star Wars. Other composers are being brought in to score the anthology films. If we're lucky, Williams will compose the entire score for Episode IX. But in the mean time I'm so excited to report that John Williams will compose the main theme for Solo and hand it off to the composer to build the the score around.

Luke's theme is the main theme of the classic trilogy. Leia has a trilogy of themes, the middle of which is the only motif that has to do with Han, the love theme of TESB. In TFA Luke's theme was used for Han. Finally, Williams is writing a dedicated theme for Han Solo! This is awsome!

Now if the Solo composer will only use the Imperial theme from Rogue One (we don't don't need a 4th Imperial motif).
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:01 pm    Post subject: Re: John Williams Solo Theme! Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
John Williams is about done with Star Wars. Other composers are being brought in to score the anthology films. If we're lucky, Williams will compose the entire score for Episode IX.


John is locked in for IX (always has been, as he said "I'll do them as long as I'm able") but as to "compose the entire score"... well, there was ghost-writing even in the original trilogy, so thats sort of a non sequitur.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:44 pm    Post subject: Re: John Williams Solo Theme! Reply with quote

WillTasker wrote:
Whill wrote:
John Williams is about done with Star Wars. Other composers are being brought in to score the anthology films. If we're lucky, Williams will compose the entire score for Episode IX.

John is locked in for IX (always has been, as he said "I'll do them as long as I'm able") but as to "compose the entire score"... well, there was ghost-writing even in the original trilogy, so thats sort of a non sequitur.

I've studied John Williams and specifically Star Wars extensively, and I'm extremely skeptical of this claim that ghostwriters were used to compose themes for John William to use in the original trilogy. Please produce evidence.

For Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, John Williams composed the themes for William Ross to use, and then Ross took what Williams gave him and scored the film based on them. But there is no "ghost" because the soundtrack is credited as Williams composed the music while Ross adapted and conducted.

Might you by chance be using the term "ghost-writing" to refer to Williams working some preexisting cues of music from classical and other film score composers into his scores? If so, that is well documented and not called ghostwriting. When the heroes come out the smuggling compartments in the Flacon on the Death Star, Williams quotes The Psycho score. The Han and the Princess theme itself seems lifted from Tchaikovsky. I have read these sorts of things as "inspired by" to flat-out "ripped-off" X, but it still isn't ghostwriting, which is hiring another person to come in and write something while credit is given to someone else. For example, Alan Dean Foster ghostwrote the Star Wars novelization for George Lucas (based on the screenplay at the time). Please produce evidence of that being done for Star Wars music if you really mean that.

Solo is not unlike The Chamber of Secrets except that Solo is only getting the main theme written by Williams while the film's composer will write the rest. And like the HP score, proper credit is being given for who is doing what for Solo. When I said, "If we're lucky, Williams will compose the entire score for Episode IX" I meant that as opposed to some set-up like Chamber of Secrets or Solo. I meant like the scores of Episodes I-VIII. I have no reason to think that Williams can't do it all and needs someone else to come in and help him, and without getting credit to boot. And besides, Williams is not above self-plagiarization. I have about 30 Williams scores and a lot of Star Wars themes are similar to themes is other movies he does, so if there were ghostwriters doing it for him then they wouldn't b covering their tracks very well. Unless you are saying that ghostwriters are doing all his work and they are copying themelves, which really puts us into wild conspiracy theories.
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Jollyone
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found this site helps in music/mood area. https://tabletopaudio.com/
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:02 pm    Post subject: Re: John Williams Solo Theme! Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
WillTasker wrote:
Whill wrote:
John Williams is about done with Star Wars. Other composers are being brought in to score the anthology films. If we're lucky, Williams will compose the entire score for Episode IX.

John is locked in for IX (always has been, as he said "I'll do them as long as I'm able") but as to "compose the entire score"... well, there was ghost-writing even in the original trilogy, so thats sort of a non sequitur.

I've studied John Williams and specifically Star Wars extensively, and I'm extremely skeptical of this claim that ghostwriters were used to compose themes for John William to use in the original trilogy. Please produce evidence.


Composer/Orchestrator William Stromberg confirmed on Film Score Monthly that the Sail Barge Attack in ROTJ was actually written by Fred Steiner due to last minute deadlines. The original, unused one (on disc four of the Arista box set) was Williams's. And while the cue is certainly properly credited to Williams - as there is a subtly about sheet music credit that I'd rather not fail at explaining - the "actual work" on that was someone else's.

(I also never once said anything about themes. I'm not trying to split hairs here but don't jump any guns either.)
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