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Star Wars Music Minute

Dec 27, 2021

Kris AKA Star Wars Lawyer joins us in a discussion about the music and sound in the infamous cantina scene of Star Wars: A New Hope. This takes place during minutes 46-50 of the film.

This episode is also on YouTube:

Discussion Guide:

  • 00:00 - Hello there!
  • 04:55 - How the upbeat music in the cantina goes against some expectations.
  • 05:39 - The upbeat swing music was George Lucas's idea.
  • 09:38 - Benny Goodman's influence ("king of swing")
  • 13:21 - Comparison of "Cantina Band" (A New Hope) and "Canto Bight" (The Last Jedi)
  • 19:06 - Cantina Band soundtrack recording versus what we hear in the film.
  • 21:09 - Worldizing (sound technique)
  • 24:33 - How realistic is this scene in terms of portraying musicians and live music?
  • 28:14 - First time we get to see a lightsaber being used in action.
  • 32:59 - Weird cut in the music
  • 37:55 - Han Solo being a blowhard. What makes him sound so cocky?
  • 43:42 - Greedo's voice
  • 43:48 - All the random sounds we hear in the cantina.
  • 53:57 - Band shoutout! Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes play kloo horn, fanfar, ommni box, bandfill, and Dorenian Beshniquel
  • 1:00:45 - Actual instruments for the recording were 2 saxophones, trumpet, clarinet, Rhodes piano, steel pan drums, drum kit, percussion, and an ARP synthesizer
  • 1:01:30 - The difficulty of syncing movements and music onscreen in the diegetic context.
  • 1:05:02 - Ben Burtt's creation of alien voices/languages.
  • 1:07:09 - Background babble of voices = the editors on helium.
  • 1:08:43 - Kris's personal favorite sound effects and music in Star Wars
  • 1:12:14 - What is Finn's theme?...
  • 1:21:00 - SWMM Questionnaire
  • 1:23:58 - Theme list, soundtrack list, Shazam test
  • 1:25:09 - Where to find Kris (Star Wars Lawyer)

Things Mentioned:


  • No "themes" other than the diegetic songs.
  • In universe, "Cantina Band" is called "Mad About Me" and "Cantina Band 2" is called "If I Only Could Let Go and Cry"

Soundtrack: "Cantina Band," "Cantina Band 2"



1. In exactly 3 words, what does Star Wars sound like?

  • A galactic symphony

2. What's something related to Star Wars music or sound that you want to learn more about?

  • A deeper dive into the Star Wars themes (motifs, etc)

3. What's a score or soundtrack you're fond of besides anything Star Wars?

  • Interstellar (composed by Hans Zimmer)
  • Tron: Legacy (composed by Daft Punk)
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (composed by Michael Giacchino)


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