Star Wars 'Main Title/Rebel Blockade Runner'

  • Created by: kamna03
  • Created on: 03-12-18 19:47

Instrumentation

Main Title/Rebel Blockade Runner uses a full symphony orchestra, (an ensemble which had developed during the nineteenth century and which, by the early twentieth century, often included upwards of sixty players across the four sections – Strings, Woodwind, Brass and percussion)
 

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Texture

Star Wars, uses many textural features. However, the ones listed are the most predominant in this piece. 

  • Predominantly melody and accompaniment
  • There is some imitation in bar 3 at the beginning
  • The octave doubling occurs at bar 14
  • Williams also uses at bar 14 a block chord
  • Williams uses contrary motion as a textural device at bar 18
  • Homorhythm, starting at bar 42, is used to convey an ominous mood as if something bad is going to happen
  • The thick and chordal texture at bar 50 is the thickest texture in the piece
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Melody

John Williams uses many melodic features, but the ones listed, are the most common and important.

  • The intro focuses on the main notes of the main theme
  • In the fanfare, there are falling 4ths and rising 7ths as well as arpeggiated triplets
  • Theme A is a 4-bar theme also known as the Luke Skywalker motif
  •   The Perfect 5th highlights the functional diatonic harmony which gives a heroic feel
  • There are also sections that are conjunct and disjunct
  • Williams uses dominant to tonic movement with lower auxiliaries
  • There is also some contrary motion
  • The Bb melodic minor interruption is the 1st main minor and connotes death
  • The piccolo solo is a brief melodic idea that Williams never expands
  • The homorhythm is similar to that of Holst’s ‘Mars’ from the planets 
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Rhythm

Star Wars, uses many rhythmic features to create the heroic atmosphere of Star Wars. However, the ones listed are the most predominant in this piece. 

  • The 4/4 time signature, gives military connotations
  • The metronome mark of crotchet = 100 is equal to a tempo marking of Allegretto
  • Williams also uses at accents on the off-beats and triplets in bars 4-5 to portray a sense of anticipation
  • Williams uses syncopation and dotted rhythm to give a sense that the piece is moving onwards rapidly
  • The sextuplets and the demi-semiquavers connote panic and a sense as if the piece is rushing 
  • The ominous rhythms and ostinatos from bar 41 to the end at bar 60 emphasise the drama
  • The pause on the thickest texture in the piece at bar 50 gives a sense of anticipation
  • The change of metronome ark to crotchet  = 160 is equal to a tempo of Presto, also suggests an ominous mood
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Tonality

Star Wars starts off with a tonality of Bb Major, which is a clear, stable and definite. Then at bar 29, the tonality becomes more ambiguous which is the antonym to the clear, stable and definite tempo at the beginning. It also is mysterious and builds up tension at the key change in bar 29. At bar 36, a tonal center of C is established until at bar 41 it becomes almost atonal. The piece becomes briefly bitonal (2 keys simultaneously)  in bar 53 where there are chords of Db major and C which clashes. Lastly, in bar 57 it is also bitonal as there is a chord of Fb major (Fb is an enharmonic of E) with C at the bottom. This, however, doesn't clash like previous 53.

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Harmony

Star Wars uses functional diatonic harmony and perfect cadences to define the key of Bb Major. 

  • Williams uses quartal harmony in the fanfare to create a joyous atmosphere in bars 1-3
  • He also makes use of an inverted tonic pedal in the Luke Skywalker motif in bars 4.
  • The dominant pedal is established at B.
  • There is a tertiary relationship between the Db and the F
  • At bar 37 there is chromatic inflexion due to the Bb in the trumpet and the C in the harp.
  • The tonic pedal starts at bar 42 and lasts till the end.
  • The cluster chords are dissonant and the Db and G forms a tritone
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Structure

The structure of Star Wars is in ternary form, where the music follows the action. Star Wars includes an Intro (b.1-3) followed by the 'A' section(b.4-11), with the 'B' section(b.12-20).At bar 21, the 'A' Section then returns until bar 30 where the link section starts for 4 bars and into the transition section at bar 33 until the end. 

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John Williams

John Williams (born 1932) is widely considered to be one of the greatest film composers of all time. His scores have been nominated for many awards, and he has (so far) won no less than five Academy Awards (Oscars). He has collaborated with some of the greatest directors (Steven Spielberg, George Lucas) on many iconic films (Jaws, The Star Wars series, Indian Jones series, Schindler’s list, three Harry Potter films and Jurassic Park)
 
Williams revitalised and re-popularized the use of grand late-Romantic orchestral scores in movies from the 1970s onwards when the whole genre was under threat from contemporary and pop-influenced styles. His musical technique lies in the tradition of Korngold and Max Steiner, with a late nineteenth-century approach to melody, harmony and orchestration at the root of his musical style.

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