Star Wars: Musical score

The scores for all six Star Wars films were composed by John Williams. Lucas's intentions for Star Wars involved a grand musical sound, with leitmotifs for different characters and important objects; an approach used to great effect, for instance, in the operas of Richard Wagner. Toward this end, Lucas put together a collection of classical and romantic pieces for composer Williams to review, as an idea of what effects Lucas desired for the films. The music Williams composed was often distinctly reminiscent ofthe original pieces. Williams' score for Star Wars in 1977 set a new standard for science fiction films by drawing its inspiration primarily from a palette of romantic symphonies, rather than creating completely new music (in choosing this classical approach, Williams was following the lead of 2001: A Space Odyssey and a mix-tape of Wagnerian opera and other selections compiled by George Lucas.) Although Williams had already established himself as a film composer with scores for blockbusters such as The Poseidon Adventure and Jaws, the Star Wars score catapulted him to super-stardom.

Williams' scores for the original trilogy were primarily motif-based: individual characters and settings were each given their own, unique musical theme which would identify their presence in the film, whether physically or figuratively. By combining and varying these motifs, Williams could create a score possessed of a rich, interwoven fabric.

By the time of the prequel trilogy, however, Williams had grown and changed as a composer. His new scores de-emphasized motifs, tending to weave them subtly into a broader and more dynamic musical composition. He had also expanded his use of thematic motifs, using the technique to highlight the emotional or archetypal structure of the film, rather than the more literal associations to character and setting used in the earlier scores.


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