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Recording the Star Wars Saga
March 5, 2011 8:00 PM   Subscribe

Recording the Star Wars Saga (1 MB PDF)

An exploration of the obsessively crafted fan-edition soundtracks might begin with the Imperial Audiophile Edition of The Empire Strikes Back.
posted by Joe Beese (27 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dear god. This is a hard-core geekout, but it's worth it just to have the english translation of the Ewok song.

I still have the vinyl of the Star Wars soundtrack I purchased, christ, over 30 years ago at this point. In fact, it still has the one-sheet insert order form for "May The Force Be With You" t-shirts in one of the gatefold sleeves. I bet that in and of itself is worth a bit of money.

I was deeply immersed in studying classical music all throughout my youth, but I do credit John Williams and his soundtracks for Star Wars and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind for helping train me ear for causal listening to orchestral music of both classic and modern forms of classical music. I'm not sure if I would appreciate Steve Reich or Samuel Barber much if I hadn't nearly memorized those soundtracks when I was between 10 and 13 years old.
posted by hippybear at 8:46 PM on March 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Best. Post. Ever.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:51 PM on March 5, 2011


I liked the detail about how the Fox fanfare and the main theme are in B flat major.
posted by chinston at 8:52 PM on March 5, 2011


but I do credit John Williams and his soundtracks for Star Wars and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind for helping train me ear for causal listening to orchestral music of both classic and modern forms of classical music.

This, a thousand times this. The Star Wars soundtracks opened the door to classical music for me and I owe Mr. Williams a huge debt.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:54 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked the detail about how the Fox fanfare and the main theme are in B flat major.

A lot of brass is keyed in B♭. It's a natural key to write fanfares in.
posted by hippybear at 8:56 PM on March 5, 2011


It's a natural key to write fanfares in

The clarinet, the tenor sax, the trombone, and the trumpet are all in B flat.

Likewise the flugelhorn, the sousaphone, the saxotromba, the slide trumpet, the double bell euphonium, and the trombetto.

B flat is a natural for fanfares.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:08 PM on March 5, 2011


hippybear: "Dear god. This is a hard-core geekout, but it's worth it just to have the english translation of the Ewok song."

Looking at the the Ewokese version...

"peechee keene"? Peachy keen? Really? Really?
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:09 PM on March 5, 2011


I noticed an omission in the otherwise comprehensive list...
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:19 PM on March 5, 2011


mccarty.tim: yeah, I have a copy of that. I think it was left off for the same reason that Meco's albums were left off -- they aren't movie soundtracks.
posted by hippybear at 9:30 PM on March 5, 2011


Dear god. This is a hard-core geekout, but it's worth it just to have the english translation of the Ewok song.

Lyrics by John Williams' son Joseph Williams, sometime-lead singer of "Toto" and singing voice of Simba from "The Lion King".
posted by John Shaft at 9:41 PM on March 5, 2011


I was already a classical music nut before Star Wars came out (I was 21 at the time), and the obsession I'd had with Wagner stood me in good stead when it came to hearing and understanding the motif-driven score that Williams composed. It wasn't until later that I understood the debt Williams owed not only to Wagner as a classical composer but to Korngold as a movie composer, and we cannot ignore their influence on newer classically-driven film composers like Hans Zimmer and Harry Gregson-Williams.

John Williams is the best. We are so fortunate that the careers of filmmakers like Lucas and Spielberg have coincided with that of John Williams.
posted by lhauser at 9:59 PM on March 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I appreciate that this document exists, even though I will never read it (except to learn that "Yub Nub" means "Freedom").
posted by not_on_display at 10:38 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


He wrote the whole thing in six weeks? Woww.
posted by grouse at 11:53 PM on March 5, 2011


yahwah = power
glowah = power
glo wah = glory

Huh.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:55 AM on March 6, 2011


I am compelled to drop this in any time John Williams' name is invoked.
posted by nanojath at 6:04 AM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Ewok Song is getting mentioned a lot around here. YUB NUB!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:15 AM on March 6, 2011



Freedom, we got freedom
And now that we can be free
Come on and celebrate
Power, we got power
And now that we can be free
It's time to celebrate
Celebrate the freedom
Celebrate the power
Celebrate the glory
Celebrate the love
Power, we got power
And now that we can be free
It's time to celebrate
Celebrate the light (Freedom!)
Celebrate the might (Power!)
Celebrate the fight (Glory!)
Celebrate the love
Celebrate the love
Celebrate the love
Power, we got power
And now that we can be free
It's time to celebrate
Celebrate the light (Freedom!)
Celebrate the might (Power!)
Celebrate the fight (Glory!)
Celebrate the love
Celebrate the love
Celebrate the love
Celebrate the love


Yub nub, eee chop yub nub
Ah toe meet toe peechee keene
G'noop dock fling oh ah
Yahwah, eee chop yahwah
Ah toe meet toe peechee keene
G'noop dock fling oh ah
Coatee chah tu yub nub
Coatee chah tu yah wah
Coatee chah tu glo wah
Allay loo ta nuv
Glowah, eee chop glowah
Ya glowah pee chu nee foam
Ah toot dee awe goon daa
Coatee cha tu goo (Yub nub!)
Coatee cha tu doo (Yah wah!)
Coatee cha tu too (Ya chaa!)
Allay loo ta nuv
Allay loo ta nuv
Allay loo ta nuv
Glowah, eee chop glowah
Ya glowah pee chu nee foam
Ah toot dee awe goon daa
Coatee cha tu goo (Yub nub!)
Coatee cha tu doo (Yah wah!)
Coatee cha tu too (Ya chaa!)
Allay loo ta nuv
Allay loo ta nuv
Allay loo ta nuv
Allay loo ta nuv
posted by popechunk at 6:23 AM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


And Lucas chopped 'Yub Nub' out of the official, canonical Special Edition and replaced it with GODDAMN ZAMFIR!

Don't get me started on the addition of 'Jedi Rocks' over 'Lapti Nek' too.
posted by mazola at 6:29 AM on March 6, 2011


Lapti Nek.

Jedi Rocks.

"Jedi Rocks" was a jizz song ?!


posted by mazola at 6:42 AM on March 6, 2011


yub nub
posted by popechunk at 6:50 AM on March 6, 2011


It wasn't until later that I understood the debt Williams owed not only to Wagner as a classical composer but to Korngold as a movie composer, and we cannot ignore their influence on newer classically-driven film composers like Hans Zimmer and Harry Gregson-Williams.

And don't forget Dvorak, whom Williams *ahem* borrowed much of his best work from.
posted by Aquaman at 7:34 AM on March 6, 2011


John Williams is the best.

I don't usually think in such terms, but it occurred to me yesterday that there are few American artists whom one could as confidently predict will appear on a stamp someday.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:43 AM on March 6, 2011


Ewok Song:

unky dunky plunketty dun
if you think we suck
wait for episode one


heh
posted by Trochanter at 9:34 AM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


And don't forget Dvorak, whom Williams *ahem* borrowed much of his best work from.

FUCK YES. I used to call Symphony #9 the John Williams symphony. Just listen to the main theme of the fourth movement and compare it to the main theme for the final Throne Room scene of A New Hope. The theme even comes in at the same time (~15s).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:41 AM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one here who believes that Williams stole liberally from Holst's THE PLANETS ?
posted by newdaddy at 4:09 PM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


He also borrowed from Stravinsky's RITE OF SPRING for the bits in the desert in A NEW HOPE. There are some echoes of Tchaikovsky in the STAR WARS score too, I think.

The intent, all along, was to create something that echoed nineteenth century classical music (as the fpp says).
posted by lucien_reeve at 1:41 AM on March 7, 2011


Just brilliant. I remember receiving the Empire double album OST for my 13th birthday and thinking one word: monumental. So far as huge, extraordinarily played and insanely detailed scores go, I doubt it will ever really be bettered.
posted by specialbrew at 11:44 AM on March 7, 2011


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