Decoded the 12 tone row

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by MusicJedi, Feb 9, 2001.

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  1. MusicJedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2001
    star 2
    Has anyone out there decoded the 12 tone row Williams is using for the transition from Anikin's theme to Vader's?

    I know it would be mathamatically impossible to guess correctly, but i would love to hear it if anyone has been working on it.
  2. Mr. K Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    I have a couple of ideas, but nothing I could translate here. :)

    But I don't think the theme itself will change that much. The orchestration and theme usage will probably be the difference and maybe it will be performed in a minor chord occasionally.
  3. s1138_ Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 1
  4. MusicJedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2001
    star 2
    Around the end of the 19th century coposers faced the delema of running out of melodies, fearing that the mathamatical possibility that someday every melody would soon be written.

    Some people came up with a system of composition usinga 12 tine key to generate themes and music with.

    I cannot cite which magazine, cause it was out when TPM came out, but JW said he was using a 12 tone row to bridge them Anikin theme to Vader's.
  5. Skeden Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2001
    I'm not sure I understand what is meant when you say a 12-note row is being used to "bridge" the two themes, nor what the importance of "decoding" it is.

    A 12-note row, by itself, is nothing except a theme using all chromatic notes, none of which are repeated until all the notes have already appeared. As such, it would sound distinctively different from the themes already used (which are diatonic, not dodecaphonic (12-note)). So it would be relatvely easy to "spot".

    However, the normal useage of a 12-note row is that it is constantly transformed by various procedures - I'll not go into them here specifically because they are awkward to explain without notation. So by "bridging" is JW meaning that he is applying some of the 12-note system's "transformation procedures" reptrospectively to DV's theme to create Anakin's one? This would make sense because it would suggest (or musically mirror) the transformation of Anakin (as a character) into DV (even though JW is working backwards, as it were). You hear Anakin's theme ... but as the films progress this theme becomes slowly transformed into DV's theme. See what I mean? However, it would be odd to apply "12-note" techniques to transform the theme, because the theme isn't "12-note" to begin with. Everybody keeping up? ;)

    Anyway, I've not seen any of the SW series in ages, but if anyone can point me to sources for the DV and Anakin themes I'm pretty sure I could explain how one becomes the other. Any takers? (NB: As a starving musician I don't have a TV let alone a VCR so please don't say "just rent the films" ;) But any net source would be fine.)

    Another thought:
    By "decoding" is JW suggesting there is a "cypher" in the themes?? This is where the letter names of the actual notes spell something out. The most famous cases in classical music are when composers put their own names in the music. e.g.:
    J.S.Bach used B-A-C-H (B-flat, A, C, B-natural, or transpositions thereof) all the time.
    So did Dmitri Shostakovich: D-S-C-H (D, E-flat, C, B-natural).
    (NB: B = B-flat, H = B-natural, S = E-flat ... these all come from the German spelling of the note names.)

    So, anyway, if anyone can provide a little more info, I can thrash it out.

    Cheers,
    Skeden.
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