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Star Wars Music Minute

Feb 21, 2022

Guest: Dan Golding

Composer, writer, and Art of the Score podcast co-host Dan Golding joins me in a breakdown of the music in Star Wars: A New Hope minutes 86-90. While Luke and Leia swing across the chasm crossfire (after a kiss "for luck"), John Williams's swashbuckling, unabashedly heroic rendition of Luke Skywalker's theme plays -- B section included! In this episode, we talk about the throwback nature of this particular cue, "Mickey Mousing" vs " composing to frame," the underrated Imperial motif, musical onomatopoeia, orchestration magic (vibraphone and flutes have a moment), and so much more.


  • 00:00 - Hello there!
  • 40:10 - musical onomatopoeia
  • 43:36 - Is John Williams "Mickey Mouse-ing" here?
  • 52:33 - Underrated Imperial motif.
  • 1:04:17 - slide analogy
  • 1:15:00 - First time hearing the B part of the Main Theme since the opening crawl.
  • 1:35:06 - Thinking of Marion's Theme
  • 1:42:15 - Cat bomb.
  • 1:51:55 - SWMM Questionnaire



  • 1a. Main Theme (A Section)
  • 6b. Imperials (Ostinato)
  • 6a. Imperials (Motif)
  • 5) Imperial Troops Ostinato
  • 1b. Main Theme (B Section)
  • 4. Leia
  • Note: I use the theme names and numbers established in Frank Lehman's Complete Catalogue of the Musical Themes of Star Wars. I highly recommend this resource, which you can download for free at his website:


  • "The Tractor Beam/Chasm Crossfire" (track almost ends)
  • "Rescue of the Princess" (track almost ends)


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

  • Mythic orchestral memory

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

  • Given all the new directions that various Star Wars scores have gone since John Williams was at the helm (ex. Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, etc), will we ever return to the original sort of orchestral sound? If so, how will we get there? It takes a specific set of talents to make this kind of music. Trying new things is great, but will Star Wars ever be able to return to the sound in that same way?

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

  • Vertigo (composed by Bernard Herrmann)

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