Hello again, Star Wars
fans, and welcome to your moment of true fandom. As opposed to Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band
," the other
charting Star Wars
song, aka "that disco travesty," this is the one, the true, the only original Star Wars
A triumph of a film theme to end all film themes, this song never loses its dignity no matter how many times you hear it. The opening trumpet fanfare jolts your theater seat, snapping your attention, before thundering off into the most powerful and triumphant march ever recorded.
The opening score is actually, properly Luke Skywalker's theme. You see, John Williams, with Star Wars
, revived the technique of the leitmotif, in which different characters have their own musical phrases inserted into the background music. For instance, fans are also familiar with and easily identify Darth Vader's theme, better known as "The Imperial March." Leitmotifs hail back to the operas of Wagner. Another popular piece of classical music which uses leitmotifs is "Peter and the Wolf," where characters get different instruments as well; Peter gets stringed instruments and the wolf gets French horns.
How intricate is the leitmotif worked? Consider this minor leitmotif, "Here They Come!"
which you hear throughout the series whenever there's a space battle. And in the middle of it, for just a couple of bars, Luke's theme! Then back to the main, ominous, jumpy battle theme. Doesn't it sound just like a fight, with each side struggling for the upper hand? Now another example, called variously "The Throne Room"
or "Rebel Fanfare," recognizable at any point where the story has something to do with the rebel army, using The Force, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and so on.
Now come back and listen for these leitmotifs in the main theme proper. Familiarize yourself with all of the individual leitmotifs for every major character and listen for them in the main theme. Yes, it's actually telling you the story with the music, before you've even seen the story! That's the power of leitmotifs. Imagine how startling it would be if you heard Luke's theme followed immediately by the Imperial March - you'd ask "What, is Luke joining the Empire?" Leitmotifs tell the story with music. They are wonderful to explore.