It’s hard, almost impossible, to imagine Star Wars without the music of John Williams. As much a part of the pillars of Star Wars as Lucas, Kurtz and McQuarrie, it envelops the story of the saga, tying together the images and emotions so completely that after a couple of viewings it can tell the story of the film all by itself.
Here, ABC.net.au take a look at that music, including the killer fact that the main theme was written in the key of B-flat major so it would flow perfectly off the back of Alfred Newman’s iconic 20th Century Fox fanfare.
There is probably no other cinematic franchise as holistically tied up in its musical sound than Star Wars.
If ground-breaking special effects, iconic lines (“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope”), and a throwback to old-fashioned escapism all helped this strange space opera about wookiees and droids and the force succeed in 1977 — it was John Williams’ music, firmly grounded in earthly history, that firmly set it in hearts and minds.
Yet for all its inimitability, there is a bit of a recipe for the Star Wars sound — for what makes Star Wars sound like Star Wars. To fully pick it apart, you’ll need to listen closely to these remarkable films: but here’s seven key ingredients to start you off.