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Star Wars Music Minute


Aug 27, 2021

Frank Lehman is a music theorist, film musicologist, and John Williams scholar who created the Complete Catalogue of the Musical Themes of Star Wars. Today, he's here to help us understand the end credits and music of The Last Jedi overall. We talk about wild theorizing, erotic themes, and the technical and philosophical ideals that make up the musical vocabulary of Star Wars.

DISCUSSION:

  • 0:00 - Intro and welcome to Frank Lehman, music theorist and film musicologist
  • 02:50 - Complete Catalogue of the Musical Themes of Star Wars
  • talking about music with non-musicians
  • pet peeves, hot takes, justifications
  • crafting theories based on music
  • 18:55 - What's going on in this end credits music?
  • 20:48 - Is the music in these end credits "successful"?
  • 26:35 - "Luke in Exile" themes
  • 32:00 - violin demonstration overlaying Luke in Exile, Jedi Steps, Rey's themes
  • 37:15 - mythically intentional way of writing open-ended music
  • 46:xx - pre-existing expectations, idea that meaning comes from incongruity
  • 48:26 - underscore, benefits of focusing on 5 cinematic minutes at a time, setting up moods
  • 50:24 - "Mirror Cave" (TLJ) in conversation with "Magic Tree" (ESB) example
  • 51:48 - about the "Battle of the Heroes" (ROTS) quote in the opening of this film
  • 52:40 - rarity of perfect authentic cadences in this style of Hollywood score
  • 57:02 - thoughts on Rose's theme, lydian themes in John Williams' history in general
  • 1:03:41 - "wonderment" as a musical aesthetic
  • 1:07:03 - explicit eroticism in music, Leia, Han and Leia, Q'ira, Jyn, etc...
  • 1:10:19 - Rey's theme as a complete departure
  • 1:15:27 - more playback of the end credits music
  • 1:19:04 - leitmotif vs. incidental motif vs. nonspecific byproduct of a writing style, Ahch-To Arpeggios, Kamino Mystery motif
  • 1:22:03 - Kamino callback in The Bad Batch, John Williams's musical fixations and shorthands
  • 1:27:04 - visionary aspects of the screenwriting and directing as a possible inspiration for John Williams
  • 1:32:54 - Goodbyes

References:

Frank Lehman Links:

Star Wars Music Minute:

Chrysanthe Tan (Xanthe):