john williams score

The Planets by Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst’s Planets Suite is a very cinematic-sounding piece, with each movement very different from the last, and it has inspired many film scores, particularly those about space movies.

1. Mars, the Bringer of War - if this sounds familiar, it’s because John Williams borrowed some of this for Star Wars. The skeletal sounding effect in the opening is col legno, a technique where the stick of the bow of a stringed instrument is bounced along the string. This movement has the feel of an army steadily approaching, or like a great warship moving through space. Clashes between different groups of instruments represent battles between opposing forces.

2. Venus, the Bringer of Peace - this movement is tranquil, lyrical, longing, and romantic. This is the sunlight that comes through the clouds after a battle in the rain, this is the sense of calm that envelops you after taking a deep breath. 

3. Mercury, the Winged Messenger - the bubbling notes seem to take flight, just like Mercury does with aid of his winged sandals. This is light and quick, and the melody jumps from instrument to instrument as fast as Mercury can flit from place to place. 

4. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity - this movement opens bright, vivacious, active, and very triumphant, like a proclamation of victory. The effervescent section transitions into a sweeping melody at 2:50, which you will probably recognize, as it has been adapted for various hymns and is the melody for “I Vow to Thee, My Country.”

5. Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age - the steady chords most prominently starting around 4:25 are like the hands of an enormous clock, and the later dissonant faster chords are like alarms - this movement represents the inevitable power of Father Time. 

6. Uranus, the Magician - this is the realm of the trickster, the cunning, the powerful yet unknown. A certain magical - yet not necessarily entirely benevolent - quality pervades the movement. This character has influenced the portrayal of magic in film scores such as Harry Potter.

7. Neptune, the Mystic - this movement has an otherworldly quality to it – one which has informed how the mysteries of space are represented in film scores today. Is this happy? Is this sad? It’s hard to pinpoint the exact emotion, and that is what makes Neptune so distinct. Additionally, this is one of the first pieces to have a fade out ending, with the sound of the women’s chorus gradually diminishing into silence.

Excerpts from "Return to Tatooine"
John Williams and the London Voices/London Symphony Orchestra
Excerpts from "Return to Tatooine"

I believe that this excerpt is one of the most underrated score pieces from any Star Wars movie - and this is why.

The excerpt begins with the “ominous filler theme” which is trademark to Attack of the Clones and then, through a series of harmonic sequences, seamlessly slips into “Obi-Wan’s Theme/The Force” - which was used largely in the Classic Trilogy to set the stage for the age of the Jedi. It’s used in great moments from Luke Skywalker and his Jedi training. Like father like son, right? Wrong. The theme continues as Anakin says his goodbyes to Padme and it reaches its peak as Anakin turns from Padme towards the speeder. A sign that he is going to be a hero. But as he mounts the bike, “Luke’s Theme" is left unresolved. The very fact that this theme is left unresolved leaves the listener uncomfortable (on so many different levels) and on the edge of their seat. And the fact that this happens as he mounts the bike, tells us that despite his good intentions, Anakin is making the wrong decision.

Instead of its usual decent from the peak of the theme to the cadence, we are given an unexpected modulation. Again, raising the tensions in the story and in Anakin’s character. I cannot stress enough how ingenious it is that the theme ends (incomplete) with an ascent instead of a descent. From this upward modulation, the listener should be surprised to hear "Duel of Fates” - a reprise from its first appearance in Episode I.

“Duel of the Fates”. This is the song Star Wars fans have come to associate with the great battle between good and evil. Jedi vs. Sith. (I can’t help but play the Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon vs. Darth Maul battle in my head as it plays). But Anakin is not battling anyone… except himself. By making the decision to leave, Anakin has sparked his own downfall.

This excerpt is a testament to Anakin’s inner turmoil. It shows us the good and bad. It shows his fear taking hold of him and turning into anger.

Basically - John Williams is a freaking genius.

New Release Review: Score: A Film Music Documentary

Jaws. Star Wars. Rocky. Indiana Jones. Psycho. James Bond. Batman. The Omen. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It’s impossible to discuss these landmarks of cinema - among countless others - without mentioning their scores, which continue to resonate to this day. The soundtrack can be seen as the heart of a film, as it possesses the ability to subconsciously elevate or manipulate viewers’ emotions. Score: A Film Music Documentary examines the power that music has in movies.

Virtually every modern name in film scoring provides insight into their process, including: Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight), Danny Elfman (Batman), Trent Reznor (The Social Network), Junkie XL (Mad Max: Fury Road), Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings), Steve Jablonsky (Transformers), Henry Jackman (Captain America: Civil War), Marco Beltrami (Scream), Bear McCreary (The Walking Dead), and Tyler Bates (Guardians of the Galaxy), to name a few. Various experts - from filmmaker James Cameron to historians to studio musicians - are also interviewed.

Keep reading

Human AU Wedding headcanon:

Okay, so Dawn becomes a planner-zilla for Bog and Marianne’s wedding.  They don’t mind though, they just wanna get married.  But Dawn wants everything to be absolutely perfect, down to the very last detail.  She even insists that Marianne wear white, despite neither the bride nor the groom being able to keep a straight face about it.  Horndogs.  XD

Anyway, either as a joke during the rehearsal or, dare I say it, for real during the actual ceremony, Marianne switches the music so she comes walking down the aisle to the “Imperial March” from Star Wars while sporting a Stormtrooper helmet.  By the time she reaches the altar, Bog has already put on his Darth Vader helmet. 

And then we hear Dawn screaming from somewhere:

“OH YOU TWO THINK YOU’RE JUST SO DAMN FUNNY!!!”

MUSIC SCORE REC LIST

music scores will up your motivation and are honestly the best things to listen to when reading or studying, so here’s a giant list I made for anon;

best way to start is to listen to absolutely anything by two steps from hell or audiomachine

there’s way more but that should be a start ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

EDIT: I’ve uploaded these to a playlist on YouTube