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Star Wars

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Star Wars

One of the most important functions of film music is to create a mood or atmosphere so as to create an aural frame of reference for viewing visual images. As movies and television plays a major role in today's society, film composers have become fascinated in creating meaningful musical film score by experimenting different elements of music in order to enrich, enhance, develop and dramatise movie action.

One of the most popular and successful American orchestral composers of the modern age, John Williams is the winner of five Academy Awards, 17 Grammys, three Golden Globes, two Emmys and five BAFTA Awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. John Williams was born in New York, on February 8, 1932, the oldest of Esther and Johnny Williams. Music played an important part in his life. From the age of seven he studied piano, and he also learned to play the trombone, the trumpet, and the clarinet. In 1948 the family moved to Los Angeles, where the father free-lanced with film studio orchestras. After graduating in 1950 from North Hollywood High School, where he played, arranged, and composed for the school band, He composed his first serious work, a piano sonata, as a nineteen-year-old student and later a wind quintet never finished or performed.

In his 'Star Wars' films, John Williams has successfully used music to accompany he scenes of the Main Theme and Princess Leia from 'Star Wars'; Asteroid Field and The Imperial March' from 'The Empire Strikes Back'; and Jabba the Hutt from 'Return of the Jedi', by incorporating melody, rhythm, harmony, texture, tonality, timbre and dynamic.

The Main Theme is featured with the powerful full symphony orchestral music to help the audience to involve to the atmosphere in the unpredictable space scene. Williams used syncopated rhythms and articulations on strong beats and extreme dynamics with the main string melodies to create a powerful, unexpected and wondering feel. Williams also used polyphonic texture, major tonality with repeated main theme string leitmotifs to reinforce the strong forceful space atmosphere in order to help the audience to feel the boundless universe.

In the classical film music, the leitmotif technique is most often representing a person or group of persons. In the 'Star Wars' films, Williams uses leitmotifs to represents characters - Luke, Leia, Vader, Yoda... He also transforms his motifs according to context and dramatic need of the moment, often with tremendous effect. Princess Leia is a total contrast with the powerful feel of the Main Theme. High registered instruments like violin and flute with the accompaniment of harp portrays the innocent, serene, and beautiful characteristics of Princess Leia. Polyphonic texture with simple melodies, gradual changes of dynamics and moderate tempo portrays the elegant movements of Princess Leia. Williams also uses major tonality to show the audience Princess Leia's innocent and dignity.

Asteroid Field presents the unpredictable flying chase in the asteroid field. Williams uses syncopated melody with articulations such as accents and staccatos; sudden changes of dynamics to depict the unpredictable and fearful

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