Want to teach star wars analysis next year. Got any lesson plans/ideas?

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by aalagartassle, Nov 20, 2011.

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  1. aalagartassle Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2011
    star 4
    Hi, Next year I've got to ditch an operatic analysis and I would love to make the whole term a Star Wars analysis. Theme would obviously play and important part in the work as well as mood. I have some ideas but with your help the students could step "into a larger world". I have the Revenge of the Sith Soundtrack as well as the one with all the well known themes [can't remeber the name of it, but it's on dvd]. any help would be hot.[face_praying]
  2. HL&S Magistrate Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2001
    star 6
    I would certainly recommend picking up the Original Trilogy Special Edition Soundtracks and the other two PT soundtracks at some point. For reference at the very least. :p

    I assume you'll be watching the Star Wars music documentaries. There's a brilliant one on The Empire Strikes Back from 1980. It's on youtube if you type in Star Wars Music By John Williams Part 1, and just watch all of the parts in order. It might provide some ideas and insight from the Maestro himself.
  3. aalagartassle Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2011
    star 4
    thanks thats a good start.
    Looking also for anaysis from Williams contempories.
  4. elegos7 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2004
    A year or two ago this thread included a post that advertised a forthcoming book about the analysis of the music of Star Wars.
    Obviously, the author did not get permission from Lucasfilm.

    I would certainly be interested in a professional analysis of this music.
  5. aalagartassle Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2011
    star 4
    bugger! that would be good.
    Still i've got a couple of lesson plans, just need a few more to make it through the term
  6. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Show some important scenes from the movies to the music? Does that make sense?
  7. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Binary Sunset, The Dark Side Beckons, and Padme's Ruminations would be my picks for scenes where the music tells the story.
    Force Smuggler likes this.
  8. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
  9. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Maybe the contrast between the March for Vader's arrival in ROTJ and the far more robust version used for the Emperor's arrival in ROTJ.
  10. aalagartassle Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2011
    star 4
    Ive taught it and it went well, I used themes and leimotifs and the analysis of compositional devices Williams incorporates within the leimotifs with melody shape, intervals,rhythmic devices and dischords within the pieces. Also a lot on tension and release.
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  11. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
  12. WIERD_GREEN_MAN Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2010
    star 4
    Agree. Also talk about John William's influences, why the Star Wars soundtrack was revolutionary or not, etc.
    aalagartassle likes this.
  13. aalagartassle Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2011
    star 4
    Probably going to post a few snippets of essay responses in the next couple of weeks. There is many varied opinions on the IV music. Most will have a negative tinge to it.
  14. TWISTY Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2012

    Sounds like your classroom is probably filled with a bunch a Hans Zimmer worshiping idiots who couldn't orchestrate their way out of paper bag. This makes me angry. A complete lack of respect for genius only based on how it feels to them and total disregard for how technically masterful he is. I've run into so many pompous ass composers out there who openly mock John and his work yet praise hacks like Danny Elfman who is basically a glorified theme writer and whose talent/style/voice is COMPLETELY dependent on his long time orchestrator named Shirley Walker. The music in A New Hope is widely regarded by some of the top modern music professors in the world as the greatest orchestral arrangements ever conceived yet these little ignorant a-holes who populate your classroom (and mine too unfortunately) know nothing of technique and artistry and judge everything based on pure reaction alone. Every single person who mocks John William's music is a complete failure as a musician in my eyes.
    Last edited by TWISTY, Nov 18, 2012
  15. Cerrabore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2004
    star 4
    Are you sure replacing operatic analysis with Star Wars analysis was a good idea? It's no strike against the music, but I wonder what kind of curriculum would allow that.
  16. aalagartassle Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2011
    star 4
    @TWISTY It was a compare and contrast response discussing themactic leimotif. Within the response the student had to define terms and how they relate to imitation, reoccuring themes, sequencing and of course interrelationships between characters . So it has to have negativity within the response. Oh and Twisty my students are far from what you try to describe them as, they do look at both sides of the coin and don't suffer from knee jerk reaction. They are far to disiplined for that.

    @Cerrabore I am sure. Curriculm is flexible as long as concepts are imbedded and criterion followed and addressed.
  17. aalagartassle Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2011
    star 4
    There are many interrelationships between leitmotifs within the film; typically one is shared between Luke and Leia’s leitmotif in the film. Both themes consist of dominant 5ths in the first beat of the first bar, descending triplets and are similar in terms of their key signature. Firstly, in Luke’s theme, the dominant 5th begins on a Bb which then ascends to an F whereas in Leia’s theme, the note begins on an A however, it also ends on an F. (Example 1.B)Furthermore, both leitmotifs contain some formation of a triplet which frequently reoccurs throughout the pieces. In addition, both themes are very similar in terms of key signature as they are a semitone apart from becoming a relative minor. The combination of minims and triplets lets Williams invent his leitmotif masterpiece in many scenes and combine the leitmotifs with action, suspense, love and sadness when the two characters are together.
    Luke’s theme

    Example 1.B Comparison of Luke and Leia’s theme
    Leia’s theme
    The Force is a vague entity that is used as a way to explain the powers of the Jedi. The Force theme begins with an anacrusis and the melody is played by French horns. The sound of string instruments can be heard and the theme gradually crescendos to a climax which then slowly fades away. Star Wars: The Force Theme - YouTube The leitmotif consists of a lento and sostenuto tempo, has a thin texture and is mezzo forte. The theme is first heard when Luke is standing beneath the two suns on Tatooine and is repeated when Luke is attempting to learn the ways of the Force. The leitmotif conveys a meaning to the audience that the Force is a natural and healthy path to follow. The light texture and slow alluring notes give aspect to the minor and major tonalities that this leitmotif offers. This theme is generally in combination with Luke’s theme and militaristic action scenes where dynamics and tempo are manipulated to set the frenetic actions the scene dictates. (http://academic.depauw.edu/aevans_web/HONR101-02/WebPages/Spring2006/Rooney(Jessica)/starwarsleitmotif.htm, 2006, 3)

    just one paragraph from a 15 old... the examples won't come through. BTW these kids have only seen the movie once. scores seen and music listen to a bit.
  18. darthbarracuda Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 4, 2012
    star 2
    Another soundtrack you might want to consider is "Anakin's Dark Deeds". After the choir stops singing, there's this same tune that repeats several times. It's extremely emotional and I love listening to it.
    aalagartassle likes this.
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