It is the main musical theme of Star Wars and is also considered the primary leitmotif for Luke Skywalker, the protagonist of the original Star Wars trilogy. The original 1977 recording was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. The track became a hit in the United States (#10) and Canada (#13) during the fall of that year. The composition draws influence from Erich Wolfgang Korngold's score for the 1942 film Kings Row and Gustav Holst's Jupiter from his orchestral suite, The Planets.
The Star Wars main title theme was covered by Patrick Gleeson a month after the release of the London Symphony Orchestra performance. His version was released in France and the United States.
For the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi, John Williams returned to write the main theme. Natalie Holt composed the rest of the score, making her the first woman to score a live-action Star Wars project.
Lucas originally wanted to use tracked orchestral and film music in a similar manner to 2001: A Space Odyssey, itself a major inspiration for Star Wars. Williams, who was hired to consult and possibly work on the source music, was advised to form a soundtrack with recurring musical themes to augment the story, while Lucas's choice of music could be used as a temporary track for Williams to base his musical choices on. This resulted in several nods or homages to the music of Gustav Holst, William Walton, Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky in the score to Star Wars.[e] Williams relied less and less on references to existing music in the latter eight scores, incorporating more strains of modernist orchestral writing with each progressive score, although occasional nods continue to permeate the music. The score to Revenge of the Sith has clear resemblances to the successful scores of other contemporary composers of the time, namely Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings, Hans Zimmer's Gladiator and Tan Dun's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, with which the movie was most likely scored contemporarily.[f] However, his later scores were otherwise mostly tracked with music of his own composition, mainly from previous Star Wars films. Williams also started to develop his style throughout the various films, incorporating other instruments, unconventional orchestral set-ups (as well as various choral ensembles) and even electronic or electronically attenuated music as the films progressed. Williams often composed the music in a heroic but tongue-in-cheek style, and has described the scored film as a "musical".
Williams introduces a considerable, but manageable number of themes in each episode (seven themes on average), attempting to compose main themes that are distinct, long-lined and memorable. Connections between the themes are formed for narrative purposes or, more generally, in the favour of cohesion. As a result, some of the themes play very often: the Force Theme plays over one hundred times in the series.
Each score can be said to have a "main theme", which is developed and repeated frequently throughout the film, and represents the high and low points of the film itself as much as they do narrative elements within the film: for instance, the frequent use of The Imperial March in Empire Strikes Back.[x] Besides the main theme and a handful of other principal themes, Williams forged several smaller motifs for each episode, which are generally not as memorable and at times interchangeable. As a result of his compositional process, a large number of incidental musical material and themes that are specific to certain setpieces also occur throughout the piece. Williams had designated the music of the main titles to be the main theme of the series as a whole, but there isn't necessarily a main theme for each trilogy. Instead, each trilogy (and to a lesser extent, each film) has its own style or soundscape.[y]
Listed below are about 67 leitmotives, based on primarily on Williams own notes and Frank Lehman's extensive catalogue, but also on Doug Adams et al analyses of the scores. Along with two themes Williams composed for Solo and two more for Galaxy's Edge, his work of the series had accrued as many as 71 leitmotives. The main new theme of each entry is highlighted:
For Solo, John Williams wrote and recorded a concert arrangement for a new theme for Han Solo. In the process of composing the theme, Williams ended up using two separate ideas, each conveying a different aspect of the character, and went as far as to spot the film for places to use each motif; all other leitmotifs and other material were written and adapted by John Powell, the main composer for the film.
Instead of offering a full recording release of a particular film, Williams typically releases a condensed score on album,[ak] in which the music is arranged out of the film order and more within the veins of a concert program. These album releases typically include several concert suites, written purely for the end credits or the album itself, where a specific theme is developed continuously throughout the piece. Williams also re-edited some of his existing cues after the fact in order to "concertize" theme on the behest of conductors such as Charles Gerhardt. Five of the eight films also have unique credit suites that feature alternate concert arrangements of themes and/or a medley of the main themes of a particular film.
The theme is described by John Williams as representing the ideas of heroism and adventure, both of which are prominent throughout the films. He used numerous musical phrases to accent certain steps in the hero cycle, depicting the tales of Luke Skywalker, the protagonist in the original trilogy. He used mainly brass to give the theme a majestic feel.
John Williams was referred to George Lucas by Steven Spielberg to be the composer of the score for Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (at the time just called Star Wars). When creating the main theme for the film, John Williams attempted to compose a piece with an "idealistic, uplifting but military flare [sic] to it." He wanted the theme to mainly feature the strong brass section of the London Symphony Orchestra, as he himself played brass when he was young. He tried to set it in the most "brilliant register of the trumpets, horns and trombones" in order to have a "blazingly brilliant fanfare" at the start of the piece, and thus the score. He also did this in order to have the title contrast with the second theme which was more lyrical, adventurous, and romantic in style.
The "Main Title" starts off as a fast and rather complicated phrase for the brass. After the short intro, the theme goes into the most recognized melody, with the trumpets playing. The strings come in after the trumpet melody is played twice. The strings play a calmer, more peaceful melody before the brass comes back in with the main melody. The melody plays through twice before the strings finish the theme with a fast, diminuendoing phrase.
Many people claim that John Williams' scores for the Star Wars saga (mainly the Original Trilogy) are very similar to (or even plagiarized from) other composers' works. One such connection has been made between the "Star Wars Main Title" and the main theme from the Golden Age film "King's Row" by Erich Korngold. The two themes share similar melodies and orchestration, with the first eight notes being identical, though the last three in "King's Row" are played slower than in the "Main Title". The two melodies then go in different directions. The "Star Wars Main Theme" resembles many "heroic" melodies, such as the "Siegfried Horn Call" from Wagner's Ring Cycle. Sections of the motif can also be heard in Carl Nielsen's Fifth Symphony. Curiously, the London Symphony Orchestra, who recorded the Star Wars soundtrack, had recorded the first complete Nielsen Symphony cycle under Danish conductor Ole Schmidt just the year before Star Wars. Also of interest is the Paramount Pictures 'logo theme' which shares the first (and only) six notes of this theme in a faster, sped up version.
The grandly Romantic theme from Swan Lake is also echoed in Williams's love theme for Han and Leia, from The Empire Strikes Back. Whether or not Williams was explicitly thinking about a dying swan as he penned this elegiac music, he was certainly going for that feeling that a curtain (of stars?) is about to fall. 781b155fdc