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Star Wars Music Minute

Jul 29, 2022

Alex Ludwig AKA the Dies Irae Guru AKA  @Film Music Tropes  is back to discuss minutes 111-115 of Solo: A Star Wars Story! Spoiler: Alex and Xanthe noticed one Dies Irae reference each in these minutes, but they were completely different spots... In this episode, we also discuss "Jason Bourne in Space," fawn over the Secrets motif progression, and give John Powell a retrospective A on his voice leading homework. 😛

Discussion Guide:

  • 00:00 - Hello there!
  • 02:28 - Alex's (Dies Irae-related) issues with this film score.
  • 07:09 - What about Jyn's theme in Rogue One?
  • 08:45 - Powell's clever use of the Secrets motif.
  • 11:25 - Clarification about Dies Irae and DSCH.
  • 15:16 - Powell doing a lot of work in the score to underline the scenic transitions.
  • 17:47 - Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos, Michael K. Williams.
  • 22:29 - Col legno and battuto
  • 29:05 - Do you remember this Fakery motif from anywhere?
  • 34:22 - Flying vs fighting music in this score.
  • 39:20 - A good assignment for burgeoning film composers.
  • 41:15 - Breaking down this smooth Secrets progression (we LOVE it).
  • 45:39 - Effective voice leading.
  • 47:06 - Xanthe's Dies Irae.
  • 49:25 - Alex's Dies Irae is a "tension engine" (Dies Irae Type 3B = ostinato with inversions and reversals)
  • 54:35 - Are these cue names puns? Is John Powell channeling Michael Giacchino?
  • 57:46 - Sound/music mixing choices.
  • 1:04:19 - Jason Bourne in Space, different flavors of action scoring
  • 1:15:37 - Running a few Solo "Dies Iraes" by Alex.
  • 1:21:24 - Musical stats from these minutes
  • 1:22:20 - SWMM Questionnaire

Things to Check Out:

Musical Themes:

  • 9. Fakery
  • 3. Secrets
  • 13) Dies Irae
  • 7b. Enfys Nest 2
  • 5. The Gang

Where are we in the soundtrack(s)?:

  • "Double-Double Cross (6M39-40)"
  • "The Good Guy"
  • "Dryden's Long, Long Fight (6M41-42)" until 2:10 of the track


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

  • Previous answers: Triumphant brass fanfares. Ominous contrapuntal warblings.
  • New answer: Soaring searching strings.

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

  • Previous answer: What it's like for new composers (Michael Giacchino, John Powell, Ludwig Göransson, etc) to play in the playground of Star Wars music -- to have all these themes at their fingertips, get to use them and take them to new places. "What is it like to get the keys to this kingdom as a composer?"
  • New answer: Who's gonna write the next paradigm-shifting Star Wars score?

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

  • Previous answer: The Social Network (composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross) and Sunset Boulevard (composed by Franz Waxman)
  • New answer: The Matrix trilogy (composed by Don Davis)


Guest: Alex Ludwig


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