themes.txt - Although The Force Awakens draws heavily on...

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Although The Force Awakens draws heavily on plot elements from the original Star Wars, John Williams score remained in a style more reminiscent of the prequels than the original films. To be sure, there are numerous appearances of many themes from the originals, but like the prequels, the score revolves largely around a single substantial theme that is supplemented with several shorter ones. The analysis below describes how the new themes in the score express their association through their musical structure. Rey s Theme Williams theme for Rey is the centerpiece of the score both because it is associated with the film s main protagonist and because it sounds more times than any other theme in the score, and by a wide margin. It is no surprise, then, that the theme takes on a more substantial musical structure than the other new themes, incorporating three melodic components, the first two of which constitute a lengthy introduction to the theme proper. In the concert version of the theme, these components are arranged in the following order: motive 1 the opening long-short-short-long, or gallop motive, which is repeated several times; motive 2 the slower chime-like motive follows; and the main melody that these motives lead into. Gallop Motive Chime Motive Main Melody These components can be viewed as expressing various aspects of Rey s character. While the gallop motive s rhythms are rather fast, its orchestration is always kept light, suggesting not only Rey s physical agility through her climbing abilities, but her mental agility as well through her ability to discover how to wield her Force powers quickly when she needs them. The chime-like motive is quite different from the gallop. Its notes are placed in a mid to high register and its orchestration focuses on pitched percussion, instruments whose sound quickly dies away. Together, these elements suggest a kind of isolation that reflects Rey s situation as someone whose parents left her as a young child and never returned. This motive is also slower, more evenly spaced, implying a sense of self-assuredness, and the melody keeps returning to its initial note, suggesting a character who is pensive and given to introspection.
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