Battle of the motifs

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by Dark Lady Mara, Feb 12, 2001.

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  1. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    One of the things I love about JW's music is the way he so closely parallels the plot of the films with his scores. For example, in many of the Vader-Palpy themes in RotJ, the Imperial March and Palpy's theme battle each other for dominance, with both appearing in roughly equal parts. However, by the end of the scenes, Palpy's theme would inevitably emerge dominant, representing Palpy's control over Vader. The struggles between these two themes grow stronger throughout the throne room scenes, showing how much more precarious Palpy's hold on Vader is becoming. At last, both of their themes are overpowered by the Force theme when Vader overthrows the Emperor.

    I always thought it was fascinating how Williams could say so much about the plot of a movie in his music. I wanted to share this with you guys so we would all be able to share in our admiration of JW. This is just another example of his greatness. :)
  2. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Huh...never noticed that, DLM. Thanks for the information. ;)
  3. Son of the Suns Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 6, 1999
    star 6
    Good post, DLM. I've always loved that part of the ROTJ score, but I never looked at it quite that way.
  4. Cindé of Naboo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 19, 2000
    star 4
    Yes, a smiliar thing occurs duing "Carbon Freeze," starting out with Vader's theme as they're led into the chamber, then going into Han and Leia's theme as they are separated, and then twisting into a dark tune that ties back into the Imperial March as Han is frozen. Han and Leia's theme appears momentarily, mournfully, as Leia sees Han in the carbonite, and then it slips back into Vader's theme, pulsing and unrelenting. I love that part!
  5. MusicJedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2001
    star 2
    Doesn't that also happen at Luke's failure in the cave. Yoda tries to instruct Luke, and then the music cuts to the imperial motife.
  6. JollyJedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2000
    star 2
    Wow, I never noticed that before.

    I like JW's style, particularly in SW. It is versatile, yet consistent.
  7. Jade Skyhiker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2000
    star 4
    Motifs are actually a Wagnerian technique. JW does this so well that listening to the soundtrack, you can visualise the whole movie, even if you don't know the whole script or scene in memory.

    The lovely blend and the aptness of the styles is pure genius. My favorite is the one during Vader's death. The Imp theme plays slowly and softly in the background then seamlessly reverts to the Force theme as the now Anakin becomes one with the Force.

    This stuff is great. And quite a lot of it is subtle, but somehow the music is soo fitting it feels like it just seeps into the consciousness.

    He's got that unique style and it shows in his other works. I can always tell his composition (from a soundtrack) even if I don't know initially that he did it.

    But the SW ones will always be the best for me =)
  8. Cindé of Naboo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 19, 2000
    star 4
    And how about the music in ESB as the scene switches back and forth between the duel and Leia, Lando, et al's escape? You get the omnious, menacing chords for the duel balanced by the heroic chase music of the escape. Nifty stuff!
  9. bright sith Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 1999
    star 5
    Williams uses his liet motifs to perfection in the series. Out of all the noted composers of film, Williams uses the technique to identify characters and situations like none other. For that alone, he will forever be remembered.
  10. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Exactly, William's music speaks of the characters as much as the scene. You feel that you know these people that much better because of the music.
  11. skawookiee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 12, 2000
    star 4
    I like the scene in ROTJ where Jabba and Leia bargain for Chewie. Jabba's theme cuts in and out as he contributes his part to the negotiations.
  12. Lord_Marcond Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2000
    star 1
    Another great example is Anakin's theme.

    In TPM, play Anakin's and you can hear the struggle in the music.

    The music is so innocent, and throughout the song it struggles. What I mean is that in the beginning you hear the song building up, showing the good spirit of Anakin. In the song though there's flats that drop the song and give it a Vaderish feel. This song will defenitely evolve in the future. At the end of the movie we hear this theme dropping to Vader's theme. I love it... so innocent, fighting with the good within, but giving out at the end of the song.

    It's just beautiful and interesting that these hidden themes can be "seen" in the music. How will the following prequels deal with this song?
  13. dolphin Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 1999
    star 4
    Oh how I love the Throne Room score at the end of ROTJ. The ominous foreboding score rises until an uplifting version of the Force theme kicks in!!! In the film, this is the moment Vader lifts Palpy up and throws him overboard!!!

    A great application for that wonderful version of the Force theme would be a scene utilizing Anakin using his Force skills to get himself out of an impossible situation(like 4 bounty hunters coming at him from all directions in the center of a vast room)
  14. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    Another instance where the score does an extraordinarily good job of portraying the struggles in the plot: The scene in the Wampa cave in ESB. The Force theme arises out of thematic chaos just as sudden clarity in the Force arises out of the chaos in Luke's mind, enabling him to grab his lightsaber and cut himself free. Beautiful.
  15. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 1999
    star 6
    I like the Boba Fett/Bespin music. I like how it gradually evolves from other themes and then suddendly appears in all it's glory. I also like the motif that is playing as the Bright Hope escapes from Hoth - sounds like ET!

    And who can forget "Hyperspace"?
  16. dolphin Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 1999
    star 4
    I don't know which is better "Han and Leia" or "Luke and Leia"......wonderful scores!
  17. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Thrawn: Probably nobody...my God, that is a theme..
  18. Cindé of Naboo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 19, 2000
    star 4
    The atsteroid sequence has some great playing back and forth between themes, plus the added asteroid theme, erratic and moving up and down and all over the place to show the underlying insanity of the situation. ;)
  19. Tellesto Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 1999
    star 5
    Very cool.
    At the end of that track, it's cool how the music evens out to a nice long musical finaly to show that they escaped the TIE fighters.

    Another fave of mine is of course Duel of the Fates.
    The way the music starts off slow but then bursts into total musical nirvana is amazing.
    The back and forth style that he uses is also great and totally shows the fight of that moment and the inner conflict that Maul seems to be pushing on the Jedi.

  20. Jedi Greg Maddux Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 1999
    star 6
    Awesome! :)

    I'll have to pay more attention to this the next time I watch the movies! :)
  21. Paranoid_Android Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 1
  22. EmperorsHalberdier Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2001
    TPM's plot was meandering and the music reflected that very well. Maestro Williams just made it more evident.
  23. Son of the Suns Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 6, 1999
    star 6
    Don't mind me, I'm just bringing up some of the more interesting threads posted to this forum.
  24. Son of the Suns Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 6, 1999
    star 6
  25. Jeff 42 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 1998
    star 5
    Interesting thread. An obvious example of "battling motifs" in AotC comes at the end of the end credits. Too bad this isn't in the movie. :(

    This thread also made me think of the scene where Anakin goes off on the speeder to find his mother. We get a rendition of the Force theme similar to "Binary Sunset" when Luke was standing in the same place. This captures Anakin's determination and resolve, and desire to be a hero. But instead of fully playing out, the Force theme dissolves into a fast-paced Duel of the Fates, illuminating the brewing conflict between light and darkness within Anakin.
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