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Star Wars Music Minute

Nov 29, 2021

Discussion Guide:

  • 0:00:00 - Hello there.
  • 0:04:33 - Luke at the Lars kitchen table. Like father, like son.
  • 0:06:46 - Beginning of the "Binary Sunset" breakdown.
  • 0:09:00 - Frisson and which elements are in place to nearly "guarantee" the aesthetic shivers in Binary Sunset.
  • 0:15:28 - Unsustainability of sustained notes.
  • 0:18:54 - Tactile quality of the London Symphony Orchestra recording, Imperfection in the film and recording.
  • 0:25:22 - Do you think this is the Force theme, Ben Kenobi theme, or Luke Skywalker theme in this moment?
  • 0:30:00 - Structural analysis.
  • 0:35:18 - Variety in the Force theme.
  • 0:37:55 - French horn associations: solo, tenderness, hunting instrument, quiet nobility, Siegfried, chorales, funeral themes, etc
  • 0:44:26 - Listening to the cello part.
  • 0:46:00 - The Last Jedi mirroring this part.
  • 0:47:33 - We start talking about "Binary Sunset (Alternate)" version.
  • 0:57:25 - Signs of Shostakovich all over these scores.
  • 1:01:04 - Listening to Binary Sunset alternate again. "Dies Irae," the retained cadence, etc.
  • 1:05:54 - Listening to the baby "Rebel Fanfare" and the flutes not playing together.
  • 1:09:19 - In the garage with Luke and Threepio.
  • 1:10:15 - Listening to the magical chimes and the cadence. "Thicket of sonority." Evasion of the perfect authentic cadence.
  • 1:14:23 - Who orchestrated this cue? Frank thinks it might be Angela Morley (but Herb Spencer and Morton also worked on orchestration)
  • 1:16:10 - Lars homestead, Aunt Beru's food processor.
  • 1:17:15 - Landspeeder motif and why Dr. Lehman included it in the catalogue.
  • 1:20:58 - Sandpeople motif, instrumental textures
  • 1:28:13 - The limitations of harmonic framing (or any reductionist analysis) when it comes to representing motifs/music.
  • 1:32:30 - Crait dragon call, special edition sound design changes.
  • 1:37:19 - The Obi-Wan twinkle.
  • 1:42:43 - SWMM Questionnaire

Musical Themes:

  • 3. Force
  • 10) Landspeeder
  • 11) Sandpeople
  • Note: I'm using the theme names and numbers established in Frank Lehman's Complete Catalogue of the Musical Themes of Star Wars. You can download it free at his website:

Where we are in the soundtrack album:

  • "The Hologram/Binary Sunset"
  • "Landspeeder Search/Attack of the Sandpeople"
  • "Binary Sunset (Alternate)"

Things Mentioned:


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

  • Dissonant pedal notes.
  • Minor planing triads.

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

  • What we're musically in store for as Star Wars moves onto the next chapters of its development.
  • Also: What was the actual score to Episode IX supposed to be (before changes)?

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

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture  (1979) (composed by Jerry Goldsmith)


Star Wars Music Minute: