Themes and Their Musical Meaning in Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens — 7 Comments

  1. Dear Mark,

    I find your post very interesting to read and specially to hear. I am a musician myself and a huge fan of film music like Star Wars.
    I play in an orchestra called the “Limburgs Fanfare Orkest” which are the best musicians (amateur as well as professionals) from all of Limburg together (Limburg is a province of The Netherlands). We consider ourselves to be the best Fanfare Orchestra in the world. If you are interested please listen to us on YouTube or go to
    For our next project, we want to play the movie soundtrack from the new Star Wars trilogy. Is there a possibility to perform some of the John Williams music? Maybe we can perform this project together?
    If so, please contact our chairman on or me on
    Thank you very much for this opportunity
    Best regards,

    • Dear Bart – thanks for your kind note on my analysis. As for performing this music, I am not the person to contact as I have nothing to do with the copyright or permissions associated with this music. But I do enjoy listening to it and analyzing it!

  2. Hello Mark,
    your posts are very interesting. Great Job.
    Do you know, where i can buy the scores of Star Wars Music, and movies scores in general?

    • Amazon is a great first place. John Williams has also released special edition versions that contain even more material not released with the original soundtrack releases; those might be harder to find. Good luck!

  3. Love this! I just happened upon this article, searching for music for my young piano students who love this movie. Thanks for identifying the main themes so clearly, so I can discuss with them! I am also a music theory lover, so love the in-depth analysis. I’m going to look for more of your articles.

    • Good question. I’ve never analyzed it before, but if I did, I’d lean towards an interpretation that emphasized the change in the kind of harmonic progressions that occurs about halfway through. What I mean is, the first half moves mostly in progressions by minor 3rd or minor 2nd. These types of progressions give an impression of something out of the ordinary because it can’t stay in a single scale, and in this case, something very negative since almost every chord is a minor chord. Then the second half suddenly moves mostly into progressions by 5ths, which can stay in the same scale and therefore sound more human and earthly. What I get from this is Williams musically scoring our response to tragedy – at first, the events are shocking and in a way so strange that it’s hard to understand them. That’s what the first half of the cue sounds like to me. Then as the chords become more grounded so to speak, they could represent a response of heavy grief, again especially because almost every chord is minor.

      It’s a simple idea but worked out with particular genius. Great cue.

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