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themes_2.txt - As the climax of Revenge of the Sith and the...

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As the climax of Revenge of the Sith and the entire prequel trilogy, the duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker that concludes the film is placed under a great deal of dramatic weight. So how does a composer score a scene of such importance? At first, it may seem that John Williams accompanying music, titled Battle of the Heroes, is, like Duel of the Fates from The Phantom Menace, another example of climactic action music that is associated only with the duel itself rather than the characters involved in it. After all, like many action cues, the melody of Battle of the Heroes is somehow more ordinary than the typical character theme, and nearly its entire structure is built on the repetition of a single phrase of music, sometimes in varied form. Hear this in the scene below, from 1:39-1:46 and a common variation of it from 7:12-7:19. In the film music analysis below, however, a closer examination of this cue reveals relationships with several other themes in the Star Wars saga which together summarize how Anakin has fallen so deeply into the Dark Side that he now wants to do away with Obi-Wan, his former Jedi master. In short, these relationships raise the theme s importance to a level appropriate for the trilogy s conclusion. Relationship to Vader s Theme In my analysis of the uses of Vader s theme in the saga, I pointed out that a statement of the Force theme in Battle of the Heroes employs the same two chords that opens Vader s theme. The rest of Battle of the Heroes includes two other subtle references to these Vader chords. The first occurs just before Obi-Wan leaps backwards onto land from the raft on the lava flow that carries both him and Anakin. In doing so, he gains the high ground, blocking Anakin from reaching land and essentially winning the battle. View this in the clip below: Notice that the climactic chord at 7:00 is approached through a minor chord.
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