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Star Wars Music Minute


Jun 18, 2021

Not to be musical conspiracists, but why do we hear the Emperor's theme when Rey is with Snoke? Musician/sound designer Justin Scheid joins me to discuss this pressing matter. We break down the music in that visceral scene, talk about the sound design of Force telekinesis, and follow some crusty Palpatine breadcrumbs. Music works in mysterious ways, some of them more practical than you'd think.

Discussion topics/Highlights:

  • fortepiano: a sudden dynamic change in which the music is played loudly (forte), then immediately softly (piano): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortepiano_(musical_dynamic)
  • _mute_: something you put in or on an instrument to suppress part of the sound. Can also be used as a verb or adjective. (ex. muted trumpet)
  • How the "Main Title" theme morphed from being associated just with Luke to being more of a general hero theme.
  • When Leia appears from the mist/fog, is that a callback to A New Hope? More importantly, is the amount of smoke/fog/mist that pours in during someone's grand entrance proportional to how evil they are?
  • Awesome sound design of Force telekinesis (push, pull, lift, throw, etc).
  • Daisy Ridley's impeccable scream.
  • Snoke's theme is not exactly a head banger.
  • Sith themes tend to be low, slow, and use human voice (whether singing or whispering)
  • Musical conspiracies.
  • Analysis/interpretation of the Snoke/Rey moment. Screechy, dissonant violin notes add visceral tension to the low-pitched Emperor's theme when Rey is being lifted.
  • Is the Emperor's theme appearance a coincidence, or did John Williams know something we didn't? It could have been added in post-production (not by Williams). It could have been a leftover from the temp track (not Williams). Nevertheless, the Emperor's legacy fits in here regardless of the future bloodline connection.
  • John Williams's sometimes surprising sense of rhythm and meter.

Themes Referenced (in order of appearance): Tension (Generic), Main Title, Force, Desperation, Emperor

Where we are in the soundtrack: Part of "A New Alliance"

Links for Things Mentioned:

Justin Scheid Links:

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