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The Force Awakens Soundtrack

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by jeykey, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. Pain and Suffering

    Pain and Suffering Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 8, 2015
    I like all the songs a lot, but I think my favorite songs so far are "Rey's Theme", "Farewell and the Trip", and "The Jedi Steps and Finale" I really, really love "Rey's Theme". It has an adventurous feel to it, as well as a sense of loneliness and longing for something more, all of which seem to fit her character pretty well.
    "The Starkiller" has a very ROTS tone to me, which I like, since ROTS is one of my favorite SW soundtracks, and it seems to fit the scene pretty well.
    "March of the Resistance" has several elements that kind of remind me of The Imperial March and the Trade Federation's/battle droid's theme.
    Kylo's theme is cool, too. I especially like it in "Attack on the Jakku Village".
     
  2. theomorph

    theomorph Jedi Master

    Registered:
    Apr 19, 2003
    The more I listen to this score, the more I like it.

    The music is leaner, tighter, and less maudlin than what Williams did in the prequel trilogy. There was some great work in those scores, but it echoed the visuals with unnecessary complexity. This score is also more mature and (I think) more compositionally interesting than what he did in the original trilogy. And I am very pleased that his battle-bombast thing—where he grabs a motif that might as well be random, loads it up with a bunch of percussive colors, and sets it in motion for minutes on end like an irritating, undeveloping musical automaton (I imagine him sitting back and thinking, "Nobody will be listening to this anyway," when he composes those passages)—is mercifully in short supply here. Sometimes that has worked well for him (the Battle of Hoth in Empire) but most of the time it's just unlistenable (the General Grievous cue in the Sith score, or long stretches of the Jurassic Park 2 score).

    Some of the new leitmotifs might not be "hummable," but they are compositionally more flexible. They remind me of the kinds of motifs that Bernard Herrmann used, focusing on a rhythm over melodic structure (like Rey's theme) or a distinct melodic fragment over rhythmic structure (like Kylo Ren's theme). Even the more complex themes, like the Resistance march, are built up in a modular way that makes it easier to take them apart and play with the pieces. And I think Williams is even playing at breaking down some of his earlier Star Wars themes. A rising perfect fourth invokes the Force theme without actually quoting it; a rising major sixth invokes the romanticism of both Leia's theme and the Han and Leia love theme. And there are lots of places in this score where Williams starts with some orchestral color that appears in one of his earlier scores, but then takes it off in a different direction. It's evocative and gestural, what is needed and no more.

    Another impression I have is that while the scores for the original trilogy invoke high romanticism, while the scores for the prequel trilogy were just sopping with silly sentiment and needless detail, this one for me is reminiscent of a western score, maybe in the mode of Elmer Bernstein. There seems to be a lot more consonance and "openness," a lot more perfect fourths and fifths, both melodically and in the harmonic structures, than in the earlier Star Wars scores. And then he uses more lush harmonies—thirds, sixths, triads—to punctuate, which comes out nicely in the Resistance march.

    I'm looking forward to the next ones. And it's fascinating to see the difference between what a 45-year-old composer does with Star Wars and what an 83-year-old composer does with it. He has cut a lot of wasted movement from his style and the minimalists and post-minimalists have clearly influenced the way he works. Good stuff.
     
    Xinau, cwustudent, CJ. and 4 others like this.
  3. Darth Rayder

    Darth Rayder Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 1999
    The music is, for the most part, buried pretty low in the movie's sound mix. My initial thoughts were the same as yours but after buying the album and giving it a few listens it's a reasonably good Williams score. There is a lack of "hummable" themes, though. March of the Resistance, maybe, but it's really similar to the Arena Battle track from AotC and you don't exactly hear a lot of people humming that to themselves on the bus. (Or where ever people hum/whistle music to themselves.)
     
    Xinau likes this.
  4. Tho Yor

    Tho Yor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2001
    theomorph - great analysis; I really enjoyed reading that!
     
    theomorph likes this.
  5. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 5, 2001
    My favorite musical moment in the film is when Rey calls the lightsaber to her hand. Very nice use of the Force theme there. I can't seem to find it on the soundtrack though. Is it not included?
     
  6. Strilo

    Strilo Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 6, 2001
    I noticed a lot of music not on the CD during my third viewing. This was to be expected, though.
     
    Jedi Knight Fett likes this.
  7. Mr. K

    Mr. K Moderator Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 23, 1999
    Check it out, Disney put up about a lot more tunes on their FYC page. Even on the tracks covered in the OST, I hear unreleased material. 'The Resistance' 'The Bombing Run' & this version of 'Ways of the Force' are absolutely glorious and should soundly counter any claims that JW has been subdued by age. About 13 minutes of new material that I can tell.

    http://www.waltdisneystudiosawards.com/#/star-wars/music
     
    Howard Hand likes this.
  8. Bacon164

    Bacon164 Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 22, 2005
  9. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Awesome! No wonder I loved it so much. The TFA version isn't on the soundtrack though? Very disappointing if not.
     
  10. darkspine10

    darkspine10 Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Dec 7, 2014
    It's basically the same track, except lacking the Death Star sting at the end.
     
  11. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 5, 2001
    It's an outrage that it's not on the soundtrack. One of the best moments of the score IMO.
     
    cwustudent likes this.
  12. jedijax

    jedijax Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    May 2, 2013
    I thought the TFA soundtrack is really really great. It's more background action music but there's nothing wrong with that. Some of it is absolutely emotional and exciting. Rey's theme was weird at first but is REALLY catchy! Jedi Steps is haunting and catchy and really propels us to the next chapter.
     
    Howard Hand likes this.
  13. Strilo

    Strilo Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 6, 2001
    I agree. The emotional impact of The Starkiller track has been hitting me more lately.
     
  14. NightWalker1138

    NightWalker1138 Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Dec 24, 2015
    This soundtrack is very different (in some ways) of the soundtrack for the other films. I'm starting to get used to it, although it was hard at the beginning. I think there is no many big themes with its own personality. I think this soundtrack is more "usual", it doesn't tell the story with the musical notes like the other did. It's different. But I'm appreciating it more and more over the time. I value the effort of Williams too. He is major and I love his intentions.
     
  15. Simon Ellis

    Simon Ellis Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Dec 23, 2015
    Had to reply to this and ended up joining the forum so i could reply!

    I've been scouring the internet trying to figure out if i was the only one who noticed this or if indeed i was finaly going crazy and i'd imagined that music actualy being in the movie! I agree with you, that moment is the highlight of the soundtrack and i'm also disapointed it's not on the ost version of the track.

    I'm guessing the Burning Homestead music que was added to the films soundtrack later in editing to add more impact to that moment by which time the the soundrack album had been finished and was ready for release.

    I'm really hoping for an extended soundtrack or maybe even just a remix of that track but i'm not too hopeful it's going to happen :(
     
    Darth Downunder likes this.
  16. cwustudent

    cwustudent Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Maybe its directly lifted from ANH, not recorded for TFA at all. Not on the soundtrack for legal reasons? Also, incorporating music from another film might disqualify TFA's soundtrack from awards? Just guessing. [face_dunno]
     
  17. Howard Hand

    Howard Hand Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 11, 2015
    It's on the Academy's eligible list for best original score. So I wouldn't worry about that happening here.
     
  18. Strilo

    Strilo Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 6, 2001
    All sorts of things have been left off OST releases before. Remember, the statement of the Emperor's theme was chopped right out from the middle of the finale and end titles track on AOTC. So leaving out something like this Burning Homestead cue doesn't really tell us anything other than they left it out. I would be surprised if they lifted it straight out of ANH.
     
    Jedi Knight Fett likes this.
  19. JayDubya

    JayDubya Jedi Master

    Registered:
    Dec 30, 2006
    I've posted this elsewhere on the site - although I've tweaked it a bit - but it definitely fits here too:
    Rey's Theme and March Of The Resistance are the clear highlights of the TFA score but what I really like is how Williams is clearly trying to develop a new musical identity and style for the ST to seperate it from the OT in the same way as he did with the PT. Of course due to the carry over of characters from the OT he is now more at liberty to use more of the Rebel fanfare and Luke's theme which from a story perspective wouldn't have made sense in the PT. What I think is going to be really exciting is seeing where episodes VIII and IX will lead Williams in his use of these new themes he has created as well as in the continued development of this new ST style.
     
    Darkslayer likes this.
  20. Strilo

    Strilo Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 6, 2001
    I agree. Exciting stuff! I was somehow surprised to hear so much of the Rebel Fanfare, but of course it makes sense. I love it.
     
    Jedi Knight Fett likes this.
  21. Foggy's Pal

    Foggy's Pal Jedi Padawan

    Registered:
    Sep 28, 2013
    I agree, I looooooove Rey's Theme. What you said is correct, but I would add there is a feeling of innocence at the beginning. There isn't a hint of darkness in the track. Hard to explain, just perfectly fits the character. Plus, it stands out from the other tracks in its difference. Again, appropriate I guess.
     
    Pain and Suffering likes this.
  22. CJ.

    CJ. Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Dec 24, 2015
    You're exactly right! We've been conditioned to expect that great theme after we hear this fanfare. I liked how they did it though for TFA. No Disney logos... just LucasFilmLtd... A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... THEME!
     
    JediTerminator and James T Kirk like this.
  23. CJ.

    CJ. Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Dec 24, 2015
    One striking difference with TFA score is that JW did not use the LSO. He used LA studio musicians. I actually like it better! There's an edginess to it. The performances are more aggressive. I hope they continue to use LA studio musicians. I've heard complaints about the score. I love it!
     
    Howard Hand and seventhbeacon like this.
  24. CJ.

    CJ. Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Just got back from my walk while listening to TFA soundtrack. The Falcon cue is wonderful! I hear similarities to The Asteroid Field cue from TESB. I love the chromatic sweeps of the trumpets, syncopated brass, xylophone, and, in general, the driving force throughout the whole cue.
     
  25. RedVad

    RedVad Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2012
    JW's age has caught up with him.

    All the previous SW movies had great scores, this is a big flop.