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Imperial March - Origin?

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by Count-DeMoney, Nov 4, 2002.

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  1. Count-DeMoney

    Count-DeMoney Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Jul 30, 2002
    Ok, we all love the Imperial March. Where EXACTLY did it come from? Sure John Williams wrote a variation on it and made it the imperial march, but the basic beat is older than the SW films. I read a long time ago, that it was inspired by some old Japanese film score. It certainly does not appear in any Kurosawa films, Lucas' main inspiration for SW. Anyone have any clue?
     
  2. Sithman

    Sithman Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Registered:
    Jul 6, 1999
    It came from The Empire Strikes Back, a film released in 1980 that was created by a Mr. George Lucas.
     
  3. Miz

    Miz Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 11, 2001
    Wow Sithman, you really are the funniest man in that post.
     
  4. Sithman

    Sithman Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Registered:
    Jul 6, 1999
    I wasn't exactly trying to be funny, just trying to make a point: The Imperial March's origin is TESB. It didn't seem all that hard of a question...
     
  5. sithgoblin3

    sithgoblin3 Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    May 4, 2001
    Isn't it very similar to some old funeral march?
     
  6. Count-DeMoney

    Count-DeMoney Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Jul 30, 2002
    wow, brilliant answer. I've seen a bunch of your posts sithman, you're obviously a SW buff, but apparently not a pop culture buff. I know it's hard to find people on these boards who live outside the lucasfilm universe, I figured the music hall would be an apporpriate place to find people whose lives can't be compared to that of a Jawa's.
    But, this reply is not simply a bash.
    Little more info on the march: In the mid nineties hit single "Your Woman" by the band White Town, the chorus had the Imperial March sound. Anyone remember? Da-Dun Da-Da-Dun Da-Da-Dun Da-Da-Dun. The band was sued NOT by Lucasfilm, or John Williams, but by a Japanese film outfit that owned the rights to the sample, yes SAMPLE. The beat itself is virtually public, cause it's a funeral march. I'm trying to find out if anyone has the info here. But, yes, yours was a funny reply.
     
  7. Strilo

    Strilo Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Sithy I think Count-DeMoney was merely trying to go BEYOND the obvious Star Wars answer and generate some real discussion. Often times inspiration comes from many sources. ESB may have been the trigger, but perhaps John Williams drew influence from places we could only speculate on. Hence the idea of discussion forums...

     
  8. Vaderbait

    Vaderbait Jedi Knight star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 26, 2001
    Everyone relax. You asked for answers to where it came from, Sithman doesn't know of any origin outside of Star Wars. He answered your legitimate question with a legitimate answer. His answer stands until you get any others. So everyone relax. :p
     
  9. Strilo

    Strilo Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Sithman's answer was so obvious to anyone who knows anything about Star Wars that it was borderline insulting.

     
  10. melbatoast

    melbatoast Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Oct 25, 2001
    I agree: it sounds like the Funeral March, but I'm sure there are other influences. Sorry I can't help you out more. Personally, I love figuring out the influences of music from other cultures,times, and places.
     
  11. Dark Lady Mara

    Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 1999
    The classical music origins of that theme are probably in Mars, the Bringer of War, the first movement of Holst's planets suite. The main ostinato figure of that composition is not identical to the Imperial March, but it is fairly similar, and the orchestration of the two is practically identical.

    Count, interesting that you should bring up the White Town song that had the Imperial March melody as a backbeat - I remember thinking the same thing when I heard that song! [face_laugh]
     
  12. darth_sidious1

    darth_sidious1 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Hello,

    This is a bit off topic but I couldn't help but mention it when I saw what Dark Lady Mara wrote about Holst's "Mars". Did anyone else ever notice that there's 2 parts in that piece that sound exactly like cues from the ANH soundtrack? Around the middle, there's a piece that sounds like the March for the Stormtroopers, and then at the very end there's a bit that sounds exactly like the music for when Leia's ship is being chased by Vader's Stardestroyer.

    Also, just so I'm not totally off topic, i think that the origins of the IM probably come, like the rest of Williams' work, from classical pieces (obviously), and other, earlier film scores, like those big, 50's Bible/Ancient Rome epics - Ben-hur, 10 Commandments, that sort of thing.
     
  13. DarthLefty

    DarthLefty Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    May 3, 2001
    It has some similarities to Ride of the Valkaries by Wagner.
     
  14. Wise-Master

    Wise-Master Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Has anyone heard the Imperial March Rage Mix?It sounds alright to me.
     
  15. Saxman777

    Saxman777 Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Mar 10, 2002
    Darth_sideous1, I know exactly what you're talking about. There is a part of the opening starship battle that goes something like "da da da daaaaaaaaaaaaa.....da da daaaa.... da da da daaaaaaaaaaa...daaaaaa...daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa......" followed by a kettle drum roll into the rebel theme. the "da da da daaaaa" rhythem and chords are exactly the same as the final sectino of Mars, the section that leads up to Mars' closing chord. I played them both back at the same time and they are the exact same chords with very very closely matched rhythems. Also, the same sort of chord/rhythem can be found during parts of the sea battle on the Ben Hur soundtrack. I can see where williams got some inspiration from there as well. If anyone is curious, I will playback both the spacebattle from star wars and the end of mars and will post a track time so you can easily find the segment of music that I'm referring to. Has anyone else noticed the similarities that I mentioned?
     
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