Celebrating Star Wars Themes, Part 1 of 6: Uses of the Force Theme — 6 Comments

  1. Hi Mark,

    I am glad you decided to start this series about the Star Wars themes. You always bring out harmonic subtleties I have not realized before.
    I look forward to your next posts in this topic, and especially to your analysis of the score for the upcoming Episode VII. Actually, I am far more interested in the music of the upcoming film than its plot and visuals.

  2. Hi Mark,
    Wonderful! I can’t wait to read the next 5 installments. I think your point about the Force Theme as being, effectively, the second “Main Theme” is absolutely spot on, especially in the prequels. I wonder if things will play out similarly in Ep VII.

    I also find your observations about different patterns of usage in the interior films fascinating. Though I’m not sure about there being absolutely no full or foregrounded versions; IIRC there’s a handful of fullish statements in ESB during the Dagobah scenes, and a soft but still foregrounded version at the beginning of the “Rebel Fleet” sequence. And in AOTC, there’s a huge rendition right before the DOTF passage, which precedes a pivotal moment in the narrative (and is stated in G-min, no less!).

    • Thanks for your enthusiasm for these posts, Frank. The point I make about the full statements is that they are both complete and foregrounded, so the big statement in Attack of the Clones is not quite the same as the others because it is left without its closing idea. You may feel this is splitting hairs somewhat, but I find it interesting that the full and foregrounded statements are reserved for the moments that are the biggest landmarks in the narrative. And although the Dagobah scenes do have full statements as you indicate, all have dialogue overtop of the theme, so I don’t place them in the same category because our attention is not primarily on the music. Now which is the Rebel fleet sequence you mention?

  3. Not hair-splitting at all, I now see exactly what you mean about real (PAC-driven) thematic completion, and understand how important that is formally (Though I do think the AOTC reference does still mark a narrative turning point.) The Rebel Fleet version is right at the end of the movie, with a little dialogue over the first half, and a more major “B-phrase” after the HC. Curiously, this similar to how the (probably not Williams) piano arrangement of the Force Theme behaves!

    • After our further private correspondence, I now agree that the statement in Attack of the Clones counts as a full, foregrounded statement as well. This really is the first time Anakin carries out an evil act in killing the entire lot of Sand People and thereby begins his descent towards the Dark Side. Each of these major turning points also seems highlighted with a memorable image as well. In Binary Sunset, it’s obviously the strangeness of having two suns. In this scene, it’s the shadows of Anakin and Padme on the side of the farm home as Anakin tells Padme to stay there. In any case, I’ve updated the post to reflect this new point of view. Thanks, Frank!

  4. Hey Mark,

    Glad you’re doing these. I was reminded of your blog while writing a paper for a Film Studies class (unfortunately, not taught by Aaron Taylor). I’m glad you discussed the usage of the Force theme in Revenge of the Sith, specifically the moment in which Anakin and Obi-Wan have their hands together while trying to use the Force on one another (At 1:45 in your Neapolitan chord example). This is a moment that has stood out to me for quite some time as an exemplary use of the theme, and something I’ve personally thought about discussing in some sort of written format.

    I look forward to reading the rest of your analyses as well as whatever you put together for The Force Awakens.

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