I may have gone a little too far this time.
I have not been content to merely listen to the soundtrack to Star Wars The Force Awakens while driving around to all my students (let me tell you, I kind of wish my car automatically played the Star Wars Main Theme every time it turned on and, you know, blasted it from exterior speakers. Yes, every time I turned it on.). Over the past week or so, I’ve actually sat down and started a really rough draft of a sort of listening map for the entire score.
I don’t cite my sources in the paper, partially because some of the info is common knowledge (I mean, if you don’t know that it’s called The Force Theme or Han Solo and the Princess I don’t know if we can be friends anymore), and also partially because I can’t really confirm an exact source. Wikipedia has a good page on the Star Wars themes (and also doesn’t cite sources), and an article from Mashable actually helped me sort out a few of the newer themes (and confused me on a few others, ha!).
This is also far from finished and far from perfect. I’ll actually be out at the theater tomorrow with my listening map in hand to see how my notes match up with the action on screen, and if the action can help clue me in to what some of the themes and motifs might be associated with. (For example, I have one cue that I keep referring to as “desert music” because it reminds me of a music cue from the original trilogy whenever the characters are on Tatooine).
I’m sharing this for any other geeky music or Star Wars fans out there who may be interested in this work. I’d be so happy to hear your thoughts and comments on the listening map! Maybe there’s something that I got wrong, or maybe something you’ve got a question on!
George Lucas may have given us a vast universe of characters, planets, politics and relationships, but John Williams has given us an equally lush universe of music to listen to and explore. I hope for me that this is just the first of many excursions really diving into each movie’s score. Stay tuned folks, and may the force be with you!