John Williams: Star Wars Main Title 


Between 1977 and 2019 John Williams has composed the scores for nearly all of the Star Wars films. Much of the music is linked between the films, with perhaps the most famous being the Main Title. Originally recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra back in 1977, the Main Title is also the leitmotif used for Luke Skywalker. 


The Music

Opening with a bright fanfare theme played by the brass section, the famous theme is then lead by the trumpets. Whirling strings and woodwind stay in the background before taking the broad and melodious secondary theme. The brass are at the forefront for a lot of this piece, which adds to the boldness and excitement of the music. The big octave and more jumps creates a thrilling melody as the opening bombastic section transitions into a quieter section.

Now quite mysterious in character, the piercing muted brass and upper woodwind decorate the swirling strings and big brass bass notes. Williams’ use of dissonance is at its most noticeable here, with the colourful harmonic language adding to the whole experience of the Main Titles. Williams uses the entirety of the orchestra for the theme, with each section playing a very important part. 

The horns emerge for the next theme, which sounds in the distance. As the brass builds the tension back up with the help of the percussion, the music begins to fall back even more. The serene section is soon disturbed by rushing woodwind and bitter muted brass. The lower strings bring back the tempo as the next section begins. Led by the brass once more, this theme drives the orchestra forward with urgency. As the textures build back up, the lower brass take the reigns once more. The theme comes to a thrilling close as the climax is met. 


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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