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Williams versus Wagner or an Attempt at Linking Musical Epics Author(s): Irena Paulus Reviewed work(s): Source: International Review

of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Dec., 2000), pp. 153-184 Published by: Croatian Musicological Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3108403 . Accessed: 19/10/2012 17:31
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IRENAPAULUS,WILLIAMS VERSUS IRASM31 (2000)2, 153--184 WAGNER,

153

AT LINKING WILLIAMS VERSUSWAGNEROR AN ATTEMPT MUSICALEPICS

IRENA PAULUS

UDC:78.094WILLIAMS, JOHN OriginalScientific Paper Izvorniznanstveni6lanak October14,2000 Received: 14. listopada2000. Primljeno: Accepted:December11, 2000 11. prosinca2000. Prihvaeeno:

The"Franjo School Lueid" Slavka Kolara 39 HR-10410VELIKA GORICA Croatia
Abstract - Resume
The claims of various analysts, and actually of the persons involved in the creation of the music for the old Star Wars trilogy, John Williams and George Lucas, have led the writer of this paper to seek for links between the operas of Richard Wagner and the music of John Williams for the Star Wars sequence. The link between the two composers can be seen at first in the use of the leitmotif. Wagner's idea of the leitmotif, that is of a

musicalthoughtthatis reiterated the throughout work, linked with some character, concept,object or idea, frequentlyappears in film music.
But since film composers address the leitmotif

tifs in the genuine sense of the word. He has come very close to the practice of Wagner in the various procedures in which he varies and transforms

much more simplistically than Wagner, their running motifs are better referred to as film themes. Nevertheless,JohnWilliamsused leitmo-

his themes, and in using the idea of the thematic image (the arch-theme that is the unifying element of the musical material). However, the similarity of Williams's and Wagner's leitmotifs is greatest in the area of kinship of themes (a series of new themes or motifs derive from a single motif or theme) on the basis of which both of them create a web of mutually related leitmotifs. The closeness of the procedures of the two can also be found in the area of melody, rhythm, form, harmony, instrumentation, and even in the domain of the ratio of the old and the new in their music. The ultimate objective of Richard Wagner was to create the music drama, music for the stage based on the old roots of opera, in which all the musical elements were subordinated to the drama. The ultimate aim of John Williams was to take part in the creation of a film in which his music would serve to define the film's substance and help all the other elements of it to function property.

Now, when very likely everyone has seen the latest instalment of Star WarsEpisode 1: The Phantom Menace, when the media hullabaloo has died down and when there is no longer any need to hunt for pirate copies of the film, when the

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IRENA PAULUS, WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER, IRASM 31 (2000) 2, 153-184

long queues at the box-office are a complete thing of the past, we shall refer to a few sentences that rank the music of John Williams for the Star Warssequence afternoon quite above the level of the simple scores of entertaining >>Saturday films<.' RichardDyer, BostonGlobe journalist,in an article about the making of the latest StarWars title, focuses on the director'sattitudeto the music:>Lucassays he loves music, and it's clear he does. He remembersthe music in the films he grew introducedthe old FlashGordonserials,which were up with - Liszt'sLesPreludes a primal source for Star Wars.He calls the trilogy his 'space and there are opera', many narrativeand mythic parallelsto Wagner's'Ring'cycle.<2(emphasisby the present writer). took up JohnWilliamsalso, in an interview for the journalFilmScore Monthly, the view of George Lucas:>Themusic for the film is very non-futuristic...It was not the music that might describeterraincognita,but the opposite of that, music that would put us in touch with very familiarand rememberedemotions, which for me as a musiciantranslatedinto theuseofa 19thcentury idiom, operatic if you like, and thissortof thing.<<3 Wagner (emphasisby the present writer). Doug Adams,film music analystand critic,aftera copiousreview of the themes from the old StarWars, also confirmsthe initialintentionof both directorand composer to speak in a science fiction film myth in the musical language of late Romanticism: >Doubtlessly, Williams's cohesive constructionof the scores can be thepostmodern harmonic pinned on any numberof elements:thepervasive language; Neo-Romantic the external,internal,multiple-external arcof the three orchestrations; films. But, first and foremost, these are thematic creatures... <<4 (emphasis by the present author).
I The idea and concept of a Saturdayafternoonmovie derived from George Lucas, and appeared in almost all the written comments on the old trilogy, or the new tetralogy, of Star Wars.Even John Williams in one interview mentioned having addressed the score of the oldest instalment of the series, A New Hope, in the spirit of a good Saturday afternoon film. In Hrvatskifilmski IjetopisVladimir Sever showed that the films entitled Star Warshave gone far beyond their initial idea (see Vladimir Sever, July 1999, Pulp fantasy: an alternative critical approach to Star Wars, Hrvatskifilmski Ijetopis,Zagreb: Hrvatsko druStvo filmskih krititara, Hrvatski dr2avni arhiv - Hrvatska kinoteka, Hrvatski filmski savez, 5th year, no. 18, pp. 165-172). 2 Richard DYER, 12 March 1999, Making Star WarsSing Again, Boston Globe,Boston, p. 1 (from the Internet). In connection with the first part of the quote: As a lover of Flash Gordon and, together with it, Liszt's Preludes (one of them appears in the main title of the series), and saying that Kubrick used classical music in A Space Odyssey - the symphonic poem Thus SpokeZarathustraby Richard Strauss (this relatively unknown composition became exceptionally popular after being shown in the film) and the Blue Danube waltz of Johann Strauss - George Lucas, four days before starting shooting A New Hope (the oldest part of the cycle) was convinced that his space saga would be best suited by music composed of already composed works of serious music (he tried putting some of the works on the soundtrack in fact). Luckily, Lucas's good friend Steven Spielberg brought John Williams along to the recording of the oldest Star Wars. 3 Craig L. BYRD, Interview with John Williams, Film Score Monthly, Los Angeles 1997, Lukas Kendall, vol. 2, no. 1. 4 Doug ADAMS, June 1999, The Sounds of Empire, Film Score Monthly, Los Angeles, Lukas Kendall, vol. 4, no. 5, p. 22.

IRASM 31 (2000) 2. because it contains thoughts that >came directly from Wagner's head and that required the establishment of a completely new dictionary< (see: Curt WESTERNHAGEN.themes that changed together with the characters.idea or state of mind can be found as earlyas the Baroque. In the work Opera of andDrama. DAHLHAUS and BAILEY.<<6 While Wagnertalkedof leitmotifslargelydescriptively.IRENA PAULUS.and if so. Curt von Westernhagen. Almost every score by JohnWilliams. 6 WESTERNHAGEN.Wagner'sleitmotifs were not just themes that were linked from time to time with given characters.5 RichardWagnerwrites that >the 'recurrence melodic elements' the leitmotif technique. BothWagnerand Williamshave used leitmotifs. and I wondered to what extent these writers were right. today we can easily find a definitionof runningthemes in musicalencyclopaedias. Macmillan Publishers. set painting.However. the orchestration and the composer's harmoniclanguage. the right question would run:are the three old scores of StarWars really so close to the Wagnerianway of composing. music.createsthe principlebehind a 'unified artistic form which stretches not merely over restrictedparts of the drama but over the whole drama. London 1980. Strauss noticed that the book was difficult to read. Carl Dahlhaus and Robert Bailey write that Richard Strauss called Wagner's central work Opera and Drama the book of books about music.op. attaining at times a degree of unrecognisability.without giving a clear descriptionof the concept (probablybecause he himself had a problemwith finding new words best to express the means and objective of his operatic reform). thesewere themesthatescapedfromthe commonframework of the periodical structure. Robert BAILEY. recalls the composer'srelianceon the music of late Romanticism. 131.subject. p. linking it together'.. motif development. The work is largely concerned with explicating the novelties in the Ring of the Nibelung tetralogy. vol. 153-184 155 These few sentences aroused my curiosity. I In The New Grove. in the entry on Wagner.in Classicism and early Romanticism.afterthe very first listening. Stanley Sadie.tracesof a theme repeatedthroughoutthe work to describea given character.. p. ed. 111). or: is the film music of John Williams close to the music of Wagner'soperas.. in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.On the whole these were superficiallyused motifs of reminiscenceand motifs of situation. Wagner. to what extent? We will startwith the obvious.The 'restrictedmelody' of traditional kind of aria was to be expanded into the 'infinite melody' that embracesa whole work.the musicaland dramaturgical functionality of which is way behind the complex web of leitmotifs from the operas of Richard Wagner. Carl DAHLHAUS. WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER. harmony and rhythm. Richard. . Leitmotifs and Film Themes Although the concept of the leitmotif appeared only at the end of the 19th century. 20. but also explains Wagner's new ideas to do with text.themes the dramaturgical and narrativerole of which dictated the whole musical design. cit.

p. describingfilm characters. 1980: Leitmotif in 8 Very likely because of the size of the . IRASM 31 (2000) 2. or running motif. Everythingis treated equally. It was only his young contemporary Hans von Wolzogen. whose purpose is to representor symbolize a person. Leitmotif.9The early film composers (Max Steiner. supernaturalforce or any other ingredientin a dramaticwork. or altered in its rhythm.BernardHerrmann. Wagner used the concept of the ground theme. a passionate admirer and great analyst of Wagner's music brought in the concept of the Leitmotiv/ Leitmotif.a different view of a situation or some other element of the drama.the leitmotifshowed itself to be an ideal composerlysolution in a new medium that on the surfacewould seem to have no connectionwith music . idea.place. F. Just as there were tracesof it even before Wagner. Kassel-Basel-London-NY 1960.not a rule). 9 The topic of the similarity of opera and film music does concern this article. Blume. The New Grove.8In Wagner'soperas a leitmotif almost never appears literally (literalrepetitionsof themes and motifs are an exception with Wagner.The leitmotif may be musically unaltered on its return. 153-184 textbooks and other works of musical theory. film music began to behave like a simplified operatic music. but also vocal. intervallic structure. Usually. See Siegfried GOSLICH. in: Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. as well as in the works of Faure.o7 It is in fact quite difficult to cram inside a single definition everything that inheres in a leitmotif. some others forget that the concept of the leitmotif does not come from Wagner at all.and also may be combined with other leitmotifs in order to suggest a new dramaticcondition. usually operetic. which seems to me the most Warrack that the writes leitmotif is >>a theme or other coherentmusical acceptable. image).ErichWolfgang Korngold. Humperdinck. object. In his search for the most suitable word to describe his concept of the opera theme.Pfitznerand RichardStraussand in those of at the time very avant-garde composers like Alban Berg and Paul Hindemith.harmony.156 IRENA PAULUS.film. but each subsequentimpressionserves to cast new light on a certain feature of a character. albeit subordinatedto some other dramaturgicalelement (content. choral or instrumental. 10. WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER. However.so the leitmotifcontinued to live on in works of classicalmusic composersafterhis death.ed. staying on in the medium as the only means capable confirmingwhat had already been said and expressing what was unutteredin the film image. 644. state of mind. 584. orchestrationor accompaniment.Delius. and after it had got over the appearanceof the talky. FranzWaxman)accepted the leitmotif as a perfectly logical means of Theirsuccessorsalso acceptedit . idea. Variationsgive different impressions of the same material. After music became an essential substitute for natural sounds in the silent film. Here I shall quote the definitionof JohnWarrack. clearly defined so as to retainits identity if modified on subsequentappearances. which seemed to him more suitable than that of Grundthema. p. After its first production in its basic form. Wagner himself said that Wolzogen was the coiner of the term leitmotif. concept and the endeavour to explain it as well as possible in just a few sentences.vol. but it is of much too great a scope to be addressed any more thoroughly. the concept of leitmotif is fairly simplified. in such writings. in every subsequent appearance the theme is varied. 7 John WARRACK. Birenreiter.

Bacharach. it had the role of signpost for spectators. Dennis Dobson. IRASM 31 (2000) 2. It also appeared in 1977.quite distant from the role of musical symbol with metaphysical implicationsfound in Wagner'soperas. 1987. dissertation.the techniqueof the leitmotifalso showed up.savvy film music theoreticiansdid not call it by this name at all. 10 . He wrote symphonicscoresat a time when composers such scores were a rarity in the film. as did the successorsof their successors.0 This definition tends to imply a conclusion about the similarity of film and operatic leitmotifs.in the A New Hope. Zagreb 1994.IRENA PAULUS. Among other musical antiquities. The role of music in the classical Hollywoodfilm: functions of music in Casablanca. available in the Music Academy Library. and theirdramaturgical function is also simplified. pp. Claudia Gorbmandefined a film theme as >any music . have entered the history of film music.heard more than once during the course of a film. Zagreb. He studied piano and composition at UC (where he was a student of Bobby van Epps). UnheardMelodies. Nevertheless.EnnioMorricone.A. p. 12 John Williams is not among those film composers who. Film themes are much simplerfroma musicalpoint of view. He adopted overscoring (his films almost choke on their own music) at a time when an overscoredfilm could not find justificationfor itself in the immediateinfluence of the silent film. 153-184 157 Miklos Rozsa and Alfred Newman.but simply pulled down a universal means. Becauseof the fact that the leitmotifwas used in film music more from a technical point of view (the processof composingwas essentiallyacceleratedwhen the composerdid not have to write a new themefor each new scene. but simply called it a film theme. Williams also used the new and brought the traditionalismof his own does not seem out of date style up to date (forwhich reasonthe music of StarWars even today). just as their forms of variationand transformation (not to say their mutual kinship) are reduced if not to the minimum then to the most simple possible of forms. melody-fragment. London 1947.12His themes are not mere banal film themes that show up whenever Claudia GORBMAN.Burt Henri Mancini.Composingfor the Films. or distinctive harmonic progression . " How superficially the leitmotif is used in films is discussed in Hanns EISLER. 90. This includes 'theme songs'. His thorough musical training (though initially aimed at the piano) came out later in his film scores. However. there is an essential difference between them. the leitmotif has remained an integral part of purely musical and of film scores. London. The British Film Institute. alongside the old.and other recurring nondiegetic music<<. pp. at the Julliard (Rosina Lhevin) and privately with Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco and Arthur Olaf Andersen. For a comparison of film and opera leitmotif see also: Irena PAULUS. 41--48. themes repeatedly performedby or associated with characters. A film leitmotifis rathersimilarto the pre-Wagnerian leitmotif:most often takenliterallyfrom scene to scene. WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER. 4-6. score of JohnWilliams for StarWars: in his Williams musical John language carriedon from the work of the old film of music of the thirties. M." A hundred years after the death of Wagner.Nino Rota. a leitmotif) and less from an artistic.melody. though musically uneducated. background instrumentalmotifs.

The only thing he wants in return is her absolute trust. In 1851 he expanded this with the opera Young Siegfried.The Twilight of the Gods. 13 The operatic tetralogy of TheRing consists of four operas: Rhinegold. at the beginning of the beginning. but too much a flesh ample. in the middle. and is left without her beloved. fifth and sixth episodes with the first with the music. The EmpireStrikes Back. later he becomes black. unlike the librettos. and wrote the librettos for Valkyries.apart from myth we can find other narrative influences). 125 Operas.e. later he called this The Twilight of the Gods. 408.Although Williams did not decide about the script. Many think that the similarity between Wagner's The Ring and Lucas's Star Wars lies in the fact that the parts of each cycle did not arise in their chronological order. she cannot endure. unlike Wagner who wrote the models for his operas. Wagner wrote the librettos of his tetralogy backwards.Siegfried. While Wagnerin his operas createdwebs of leitmotifswith a large numberof themes (in the Ringof theNibelungtetralogyalone there are a hundred of them13). In Star Wars. First.the fact thatboth of them dealt with largely mythologicalthemes14 helps in the comparisonof theirmusicalprocedures.In both of them. Zagreb 1997. Unlike Wagner.Nevertheless. he did not have the privilege of writing the music in order.but are genuine filmic leitmotifs that with their manifold roles. in A New Hope. WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER. departing from it most in the Mastersingers. asks the fatal question. analysts counted some score of leitmotifs in the true meaning of the word.and finally goes back among the whites in The Returnof the Jedi.the mythological character of the story does not relate to all the film scores of John Williams (and even in Star Wars.today just called Siegfried. 15 Not even Darth Vader is a grey character. '6 Nenad TURKALJ. we find a clear division of leitmotifs into Good (Light)and Bad division because of the relentlesschecker-board (Darkness)themes. transformations and mutual kinship createa web of leitmotifs in a Wagneriansense. p. Elsa of Brabantis >>pure and blood woman to be able to withstand the trials of uncertaintyand keep quiet about the fatal question for which she loses Lohengrinfor ever<<16). i. since Lucas. ?kolska knjiga. she must not ask who he is and where he comes.. On the other hand.whose characterswill also sometimes be grey (in Lohengrin.158 IRENA PAULUS. A year later he resolved to expand his two part drama. In the old Star Warstrilogy. Of course. the music for all the parts was written in chronological order. . JohnWilliamswas the first to break with this tradition. 4 Here we will restrict ourselves to the score of the old Star Wars. who has to go back to where he came from.which has a historical content. IRASM 31 (2000) 2. in 1848 he thought of the opera Siegfried's Death. of heartand innocentof soul. as we know. that is. John Williams had a difficult job when he had to link the fourth. He only changes colour. started writing his Star Warsseries from the fourth part (he planned nine parts from the beginning). Thematic Images:The Unity of a Score in the WagnerianWay The similarityof Wagner'sand Williams'sleitmotifsappearsrightat the level of narration. of charactersinto black and white15 this division is practicallymore obvious than for exwith Wagner. 153-184 the composer runs out of inspiration. The PhantomMenace. he is white. Myth is the centre of interest for Wagner. Briefly: the white knight Lohengrin saves the honour of Elsa of Brabant and marries her. film composers have used just a few film themes the numberof which can on the whole be counted on the fingers of one hand.The Valkyries. and an obvious critique of the conventions of the music of his contemporaries and predecessors.

WILLIAMS VERSUS IRASM31 (2000)2. Although Evil has fewer themes thanGood . Obi-WanKenobi'stheme(the Forcetheme).in the fifth Evil (DarthVader)dominates.17 his idea of a thematicimage (which he was to develop in lateroperas)is reflectedin the dominationof individualthemes in individual parts The reason for the dominationof these themes is more narrativeand of StarWars. the Han Solo and PrincessLeia love theme.a unity of sound in his score. althoughthe narrative et al. In the fourth episode we only just get to know the charactersto wonder at the power of the miraculousForce. In Episode IV (NewHope) the theme of Obi-WanKenobi or the Forcedominates. 153-184 WAGNER. Wagner said Wagner's TheFlyingDutchman.there is in the trilogy but because there are a greaternumberof good characters a kind of musical equilibriumbetween Light and Dark. the Luke and Leia. the Ewok and the Cloud City themes. Evil is Always More Interesting Than Good Considering that JohnWilliams (like RichardWagner)attempted to pull the score of Star Warstogether via work on themes.the Jabbathe Hutte theme and the Bob Fett motif. The appearanceof a single dominantthemein a given film and its being given prominencein the context of a web of themes makes the dominating themes in A New Hope and The EmpireStrikesBacktake on the idea of Senta's ballad from With a little exaggeration.the Princess Leia theme. TheEmpire Strikes the DarthVadertheme appearsmost frequently. Thatis. 127-129.but Williams did achieve with them what Wagner also wanted to achieve with this thematicimage . In the sequel.not becauseEvil is underrated.and in the last episode the forcesareevenly matched. pp. the StarDeath theme. Among the Good themesin StarWars thatis).it is true.IRENAPAULUS. of the saga.In this the music keeps up with the basic threadof the filmic fable. Although this is not entirely accurate. less structuralin nature. TheReturn of theJedi. the Yoda theme.the DarthVader(orImperialMarch)theme. Evil themesare:the Empiretheme. brother and sister motif. '7WESTERNHAGEN .. . that is. the Emperor'stheme.the Rebellionfanfare. and minor themes such as the droid theme. by stressing individual themes as the dominant ones.and none of them is particularlyprominent. we come across one unusual feature in his space and structural rolesof the dominatingthemes opera.because his themes in TheFlying Dutchman were still at the level of motifs of memory (Erinnerungsmotiv) that appeared in the form of interpolationsand not in the formof the foundationof all the musical happenings.while in the last part Back. 159 are:Luke'stheme(thefilm'smaintheme.all the themes are equally important. that Senta'sballad was the >thematic seed of the whole of the music in the opera< and that it gave a >thematic image< from which he was later to build a web of motifs.though of courseGood wins at the end.

p. op. and irrespectiveof it not dominatingthe film. His idealism is The theme is >>larger function as representingLuke. when he created it. while about the main theme. Alternatively.This grandeurwas necessarybecause the theme. that it had to be exceptionally strong. 7. with letters that came from nowhere and spaceships and so on. . although it is actually the same theme. IRASM 31 (2000) 2. the composer was thinking more of its title function than of its than he is. op. in general lines (elevated.somewhat in the shade. 18When Craig Byrd asked about each individual theme. The Luke theme is conceived very grandly. he spoke fairly much at length: The introduction to the film was visually so fascinating. In my head this is a very simple. cit. he was important as the title characterof the story (and so not a has been able to startwithout his theme)..the theme is generallybrashand brassy. Williams replied very briefly about Luke's theme. cit. II P~1tE '-------------- Example 1.but his single musical intro to StarWars opposite DarthVader was more interesting. the theme neverthelesskept up with Luke and all his changes from farmboy to experiencedknight of the Jedi a NewHope. very direct melody that dramatically jumps by an octave and contains a triplet that simply gets you by the throat." John Williams himself explained. appears in a double function .<< (The octave jump in the main title theme is not direct. but always goes on by the characteristically Williamsian highlighting of tonic and dominant). It would appear that neither Williams nor Lucas considered Luke a particularlyimportantcharacter. that I knew at once that the music had to have the flavour of what was going on in front of the audience's eyes.although the composer used it as the principaltheme of the whole saga. John Williams. as we said. (See Craig BYRD.as both main title theme of the film. 153-184 are clearly indicated. 19 BYRD.heard very punctiliously:>>In in quick.as far as thematicwork and dominationof themes is concerned.the main character of the old StarWars remained. p.while he was less importantthan the Forcethat surpassed him. Star Wars:Luke's theme / main title theme Irrespectiveof it being two sizes too big. heroic). idealistic.18 more the subject than the characteritself. 8). flashy statements. Actually. Not in one partof the trilogy is the LukeSkywalkertheme dominant. I would say<<. Empire puts the theme primarilyin the minor mode. and as theme of one of the main characters.. irrespectiveof the composer'sopinion about the character(which was clearly derived from the director'sinstructions). WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER.160 IRENA PAULUS.

which in a melodic and occasionallyin a harmonicsense recallsmajor(E flat major).<<20 The characteropposite but akin to Luke is Darth Vader.Special MATESSINO. 21 Michael 2 SEVER.TheEmpire theme / Imperialmarch 20 ADAMS. p.the head of the theme (thefamed opening motif)is based on a melodic description of a majorfifth (the sixth degree of G minor).. 1996. Edition. IV John when the Darth Vader theme first hit the cinema speakers (in Episode Williams had not yet defined the DarthVader theme. >>Long ago.cit. of theJedi.. . or in 1980.or DarthVader. I . Although the composer put the minor sign after the key (in this case G minor). (.Now Vader representsthe bad side of the Force.IRENAPAULUS. In the middle of this chromaticismcome octave leaps that give the impressionof the deformity.then.I I I I Return DarthVader Strikes Back.betweenthe visiblemilitantpower and the hidden sadness. 161 especially for the Dagobahtrainingsequenceswhere Luke'soptimisticdetermination is put to the test. 153-184 VERSUS WAGNER. suggesting that the characterhas matured enough to understand his place in the largereffort.this theme is as much applied to the Rebellionas is to Luke.<<21 These words of JohnWilliamsexplainall the complexityof the DarthVadertheme.op. Tonality is totally obscuredin the centreof the theme thanks to the great chromaticismat the beginning of the second musical sentence (fromthe domain of flats the composershifts to the domain of sharps). and it is also explainedby the fact thatthe story about the >>fall and redemption of the messianic figure of Anakin Skywalker<< with the appearance of Episode the of the of all this is turned into umbrella Because I.is in no way the blackfigure he seemed to be in 1977. StarWars: A NewHope. he was accompanied by the less effective Imperialmotif). p.22 we can say that AnakinSkywalker.bookletwith the CD. 168. Example2. p. 12.cit. JohnWilliams.almost the pain in the fearfulblackfigure (perhapsthe composerwanted in this to put the A I I i I -I I I I l I 1f I I IlIV. story saga. Darth Vader betrayed Ben Kenobiand the Jedi Knights. kF. The game of lowering and turningbackto the naturaltone of the minor tonic (G flat to G) in the second phraseexcitesstill more hesitationwith respectto determining tonality.) In Jedi.. The grey hidden in the ostensibly total black can also be read from the musical context:the themebalancesmajorand minor.when StarWars first appearedon the big screen. op. .WILLIAMS IRASM31 (2000)2. 22..

its hesitationabout tonality and its dense chromaticism). Of course. we should not pass over the associations with Wagner'sleitmotifs. The DarthVadertheme is one of the most strikingin StarWars (in spite of. Talking about the Darth Vader theme. ratheran imaginativeexploitationof musical elements. is practically recalledin the descending chromaticsof the DarthVadertheme. Apart from that. On the one hand.which is accordingto many features the end of the tonal and the beginning of the atonalmethod of composing. Its exceptional rhythmicity (punctuatedrhythm and ostinato figure in the base) and the orchestra(which has to be performedby the brass) give it. but from the melodic context this can hardlybe seen). though playing with tones. that is to the unusual melodic vacillation between majorand minor (the theme is in the minor. while Williams'stheme is one dimensional (its complexity relates almost exclusively to the melodic component . while 23 Williams. of the Darth Vader On the other hand. Tristanand Isolde:the Tristan chord Among other things. Richard Wagner. 4-- - " ' Example 3. IRASM 31 (2000) 2. 153-184 stress on the right way that DarthVaderhad gone at one time). never breaks up the third structure of the chord.162 IRENA PAULUS.the harmonic is not banally simple. but it is far from having the complexityof Wagner's23). a highly militantfeel as well. with its rich melodic language the ImperialMarchrecallsthe melodic and harmonicrichnessof the Tristanchord. In his last phrase the theme will come back to the main motif. The revolutionarychromaticsof RichardWagner.the play with tonal kinship and the modulations in the distant tones inside one theme do not representanything revolutionaryin this day and age. one of which is augmented. Wagner's revolutionarychord is two dimensional (the theme is embracedby a melodic and by a harmoniccomponent. or perhaps just because of. as is confirmedby the composer. the proceduresand transformations theme are actuallyin line with Wagner'sendeavoursto adapt the leitmotifsto the drama and to bring out all the psychological transformationsof the characters through them. WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER. apart from a powerful melodiousness. the Tristan chord is made up of fourths. the chromaticlinking of tonality.it does not representthe figure of DarthVader exclusively (althoughit is largelybound up with him) but is often a symbol for the whole of the Empire. We have alreadysaid that his themes appearin theiroriginalform A k1t r • " Ld 44 .J . the theme of the lovelorn Tristanwho can neitherlive in his love nor die in it. Thatis why the real title of the theme is the ImperialMarch.and both stand apartfrom the standardsof their time). .

Perhaps the Williamsprocedurefor the scene of Vader'sdeath should rather be compared. composer). but with the (1830).WILLIAMS IRASM31 (2000)2.the most importantof them coming at the end of the opera. so the Vadertheme takes on a totally 6: Return At this monew sonority at the moment of his death (Episode of theJedi). and goes through various transformations(following the artist'samorous pains). In StarWars JohnWilliamsdoes not take his themes to such distant and comvariations is the ever-presentfear that the watcher.harps.reachinga degree of unrecognisabilitysimilar to that of the DarthVader theme. the DarthVader theme stops being a militantmarchand turns into a gentle theme of a dying father.leaving it unresolved until the very end of the opera).the variationsare numerous. Wagnertakes the dissonant Tristanchord into new dissonant chords.realises that the rebels have managed to escape). 153--184 VERSUS WAGNER. oboes and horns).into which he brought the Symphony procedure of Berlioz in the Fantastic of the leitmotifof Wagner. . the character. which are manifestedin melodic. In each subsequent appearancethey are (often increasinglydistant)variationsof the basic theme. not with Wagner'sprocedurewith the Tristanchord. ment. Just as the Tristanchord (and most of Wagner'sother themes) gets furthest from its originalform at the end of the story. story the DarthVadertheme.As a forerunner ideefixe pulls the five programmaticmovements of the symphony into a single whole (justas the Vader theme units the Empire score).and via change in beat (the four parttime turnsinto threepart)and rhythm (shorteningthe note values) it becomes completelydeformed.IRENAPAULUS.The uncommon reversal is carriedout with simple but effective musical means: slowing down the tempo. following the transformation of Nevertheless. The theme surrendersto the atonal-dissonant surrounds(when they inform Vader that the MillenniumFalcon [Han Solo's ship] is ready to be pulled on board the Executor[Vader's]). The furthest variation of the idde fixe comes at the end of the symphony (when the artistis completelydisap(the stridentcolour of the clarinetin pointed in love): throughthe instrumentation E flat). but the rebelshave Back. when the dissonant sound of the fourth chord is final resolved into the consonant chord (during the whole of the opera. At the end of Episode V: TheEmpire Strikes DarthVaderis the victor (beatingLukein a duel).passes into a high register (the flute) and conflicts with the deep register(wind and strings) when Vader once again telepathically contacts Luke and asks him to join in the Darkside of the Force.the Berliozan musicalidea of the idiefixe.rhythmicand instrumentation chord. managed to save Lukeand escape by jumpinginto hyperspace(allin the very nick of time naturally).and is then drawn out into an exceptionallydeep register(when Vader. simplificationof the rhythm (the punctuated rhythm is lost) and instrumentation(from high string flageolets which are not themselves certainwhat is going on. In the case of the Tristan transformations. absorbed in the (there plex the will of not be able to recognisea theme thatis very importantto the film.The transformations of the Vader theme show his warm and cold feelings. to instrumentswith increasingly warm tones .goes quite far in its variants.disappointed. harmonic. 163 only on initial introduction.

The ForceTheme .164 IRENA PAULUS.like Wagner'sthematicimage. This is a theme thatwas presentedthe first24 theme that. when proceedings with themes and motifs were become increasingly complex.like all the other themes of the Good. 153-184 We might almost say that Berlioz'sand Williams'stechniquesare the same the differencebeing that Berliozgoes into a negative and Williamsinto a positive directionof changeof theme (thedirectionof the changewas determinedforBerlioz by the programmeof the symphony.Thematic Image or IddeFixe? theme is the Forcetheme. .. WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER.I . is the only one among the Good themes that abounds Williams risin descending interval leaps (althoughit startswith a characteristic and that is condominant in of the the fourth functional tonic) relationship ing and not in major. p.thatis the Obi-WanKenobitheme. and after that are shown individually. but had still not got into that degree of profunditythat is the markof the Wagnerianwork with themes. John Williams. cit. ceived in minor key25 lk LJA rF1 1 AI 3 L_)_* --I . op. The comparisonleads us to the thought that although Williams'smodel was undoubtedly Wagner. that The second theme that dominatesthe StarWars and the is the Obi-WanKenobitheme. 25Doug Adams also says that the Force theme done in major key is ineffective: >try playing it in a major mode and you'll quickly realize why the composer never did that< (ADAMS. or Berlioz'sidee fixe.both achieving a high degree of transformation a change into the opposition (thebad character becomesgood.unites all the scores Strikes of Star Wars(the Darth Vader theme unites only the score for TheEmpire Back). love turnsinto hate). for Williamsby the script). precisely connected with the first appearance of the given character.his approachto the leitmotifis closerto thatof the pre-Wagnerian age..At . The results are similartoo: both themes are shifted from a medium or deep registerinto a glitterin orderto show ing high register. Star Wars:Obi-wan Kenobi theme / Force theme 24 In A New Hope. I3~ I ' I I IoIU II Example 4. in the introductory music or in the first scene. IRASM 31 (2000) 2. Williamstheme analyst Doug Adams notes thatthe theme of the Force... all the major themes are heard at the beginning. 23) .

both what we suspect(thatLukewill becomea Jediknight) and that which we do not know (in A NewHopethe watchersstill do not know that in TheReturnof theJediLuke will redeem his father. its periodic structureis more important.some that >>gives us and in us<<. Since Luke matures during the three episodes and turns from farmerinto knight. In the last case (as in some other situations). seeing there the burned bodies of his uncle and aunt (augmentation.which are actuallyquite unusual in musical structure.the theme tells the story in advance:its relationwith Ben'slook at Lukea moment before his death tells everything.and allows Vader to kill him. third and fourthphrases all derive from the first). and that his presence is imperilling the rebels (fatherand son sense each other. and then graduallytakes on the meaningof fate when Lukestaresbackat the farm (the theme is subjectto diminuendo and acceleratedto have a nervous effect imitating the tension of Luke). Princess Leia. The cadencedhalts on the close of each phrase.However. which has anyway is headed grown beyond the characterrepresentinghis physical characteristics. over great distances). in time it becomes clear that the theme reprethe Jedisstrength<<. with the help of the Force. the becomes a synonym for his psychic maturityand the theme of Forcein TheReturn mental skills of a knight of the Jedi. 165 However.puts down his light sabre. all of the phrases are similar (the second.a broad execution of the theme in the strings). and when Ben in battle with DarthVaderlooks significantlyat Luke. when Han Solo.WILLIAMS IRASM31 (2000)2. In the last part of the saga.and the theme can thus very easily be interwoven into a conversation like the one being carried on by Luke and Ben Kenobi in the dangerous desert of the planet Tatooinaabout Ben's real name and his connectionwith the old knights of the Jedi (Episode IV:A New Hope). .enable the composer to use as much of the theme as he needed to cover the scene. Obi-WanKenobi. towards the second function of the title theme and is linked with the rebels (the function of the Luke theme spreads out into breadth.DarthVader). And vice versa. Darth Vader. 153-184 VERSUS WAGNER. Also. that is. that is sents something bigger than Obi-Wan. The Forcetheme has one more function. with the assistance of the Forcediscovers that it is not his soldiers on the boat but his son Luke. Chewbacca and Luke attempt to descend to the planet Endor on the stolen boat Empire. The flow of Force 26Obi-Wan's words explainingto Lukewhat the Forceis. Luke discovers that DarthVader is on the Death Star. Luke's theme.while the Forcetheme takes on the role of various althoughmore concretelyorientedfigures and ideas).the four phrasesof which are clearlyseparatedby a halt on a long tone.26 The theme appearsat every mention of the Force.TheReturn of theJediit almost completely replaces the Luke theme.that >>connects the galaxies<< and represents >>an >>around energy field around all living beings<<. the theme becomes almost exclusively a synonym for the Force.IRENAPAULUS. for the functionalrole of theme in the film. At the outset Williams'stheme is very tightly linked with the Ben character. supernatural After Ben's death.In Episode VI.

alternatespieces. equated with much bigger concepts. he created new themes. phrases that is. 12. 153--184 between the little shuttle and the Death Star(the Forceis omnipresent. Thus he obtained a series of themes that were akin to " MATESSINO. The Obi-WanKenobi theme. or the Force theme. then. Put more simply.and we could then define it as the core of narrativeand musical happenings.by the idea of thematic image. Thematic Nets and Musical Unity The theme of the Force.the The spiritual-philosophicalbelief of the Jedi Knights. p.the imperialofficeron the bridge seeks the code for the passage). just a double role. but the ideas of thematic image in the two at broadest and coincide the most general level. linking them musically with neutral sections as a synonym for the othercharacters. op. then.it is the Forceitself. its role (thanksto its dominationover the otherthemesand its connecforce)is manifold:>I thinkof BenKenobi's tion with the omnipresentsupernatural theme as reflectingboth him and also the Jedi Knightsand the Old Republicthat he remembers. or as a thematic image. it is composers reflectedin the second unifying element of the dramaticscore:kinship of musical themes. of the Force theme with pieces of the DarthVader scene. from which came new variations. When we discuss thematickinship. From this point of view the theme of the Force is musical material from which everything comes .166 IRENAPAULUS.and from them new variations and so on.WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER. . it does not have some hidden meaning or ask for any particular explanation.from it.it is not a symbol for it.throughmusic. does not have.both the musical and the filmic narration. constitutes a thematic image that is completely different from that of Wagner'sSenta's ballad and from the musical core around which he shaped Lohengrin. Williams.but invisible) could be done in only one way if banalityis to be avoided . and in the end is tion of and awaking of new mentalpowers in the main character.to smaller meanings like those related to action (the final battle in A New Hope)and adumbration(announcingthe defeat of the and takes over a greatrole like the expressionof the transformarebels in Empire). IRASM31 (2000)2.>It also serves to representthe Force.<<27 function of the theme of the Force goes furtherstill: it expands. understood musical materialfrom which all the other music derived. such as fate. Family Connections. At a lower level.it is true.<< commentsthe composer.cit. in various proceduresof variation. God and supernaturalpower. In this scene the theme is equated with the Force. from the role of representing a single character..we have to recallthatWagner. and the Old Republic. Wagnerhad in mind some theme or other musical idea that he treated as the musical nucleus . in this scene. who do not guess what is going on (Han gives Chewy flying instructions.

29Ibid.<<29 . 153-184 167 each other. the apparentmajor-modebrightnessof which the lowered supertonic (the Neapolitan degree) of a minor key. Richard Wagner.Erda's motif The rhythmicdiminution of Erda'smotif. IRASM 31 (2000) 2.. p. I' rExample 6. Richard Wagner.28 The resultof this composingprocedurewas the abilityto createa whole world of motifs on the base of a single musical idea..the kinship going so far thatit was sometimes>hardly possible to draw a line. Rhinegold.. musicalimage of the elemental. the musical emblemof the earthgoddess. Rhinegold.IRENA PAULUS. symbolizes the fearthatovercomesWotanas the resultof Erda'sprophecy of the gods' doom: the diminution. r_%I_ Example 5.. which go on for no fewer than 136bars of sublime 'monotony'.the originof things. Rhinegold. 28 Example 8. For example. "I(A. 131-132.. pp. is the psychologicalelement. . and its associationwith Erda'smotif is conceptual. the motif of naturein the first opera in the story of the ring of the Nibelung. Richard Wagner.consistsof simplesound waves.expressinghaste. Richard Wagner. is a minor-keyvariant of the Nature motif.the motif of the twilight of the gods WESTERNHAGEN et al. Rhinegold. the motif of Wotan'srestless wandering. on one side of which a motif is the same one and on the other side of which it is a differentone (with a differentname)<<. WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER..the nature motif Erda'smotif. represents >>a Rhinegold. falling means decline:the Nature motif is inverted to produce the motif of the god's downfall ('G6tterdimmerung'). 121. I *~* ~ 'V Example 7.the motif of Wotan's restless wandering In the Ringrising movement means evolution.tft . .

The only thing that links them is the introductory jump to the pure fourth (from the dominant in the tonic). because the theme is in major). That there is a willed and not an inadvertent similarity can be seen from an analysis of other themes of the Good. John Williams. we can say that the Leia theme is a backwards form of Ben's theme. 153-184 Kinship of theme and motif enable Wagner to create a web of leitmotifs that tightened his opera (and we should not forget that it is a very capacious musical genre) into integrated and united music dramas. Leia's theme begins with an ascending jump from the dominant in the third degree (a large sixth. a descending jump from the third degree in the dominant (since the theme is in the minor. one might say.168 IRENA PAULUS. united whole is not only justified but also necessary. This too is an accident. The Obi-Wan Kenobi theme (see example 4) contains. following in Wagner's footsteps. We have already discussed two important themes from the group: the Luke Skywalker theme and the Force or Obi-Wan Kenobi theme. The origin of the themes from one motif that develops through four phrases might also be interpreted as coincidental. this is a jump by a small sixth). John Williams. if there is a link between the two themes. However. But it is not! Because the introductory motif of Ben's theme. at the transition from the first to the second phrase. AJ wi Example 9.in Episode IV. The fact that both themes unfold in a single tonality and do not contain any unusual shifts in point of alteration and modulation might also be just accidentally similar. Since these two musical thoughts appear at the beginning of the old part of Star Wars. has linked the three or four parts of the saga with common themes. As we have seen. However. IRASM 31 (2000) 2. the idea that they might have some kinship occurred to us. Almost all these musical elements correspond to some typical features in Williams (which make his musical language identifiable). has he gone so far as to link the themes musically. In the individual parts he has created the impression of wholeness by giving prominence to individual themes that are dominant in the narrative. and this might lead the superficial analyst to think that this is a matter of standard rather than deliberately chosen and used musical elements.introductory motif of the Ben theme . creating a dense web of mutually akin leitmotifs? A small analysis of the theme of Good will provide an answer to this question. it is certainly not strong. We might also understand as circumstantial the domination of the tonic (or the dominant and tonic) functions in Ben's and Luke's themes. Star Wars too can be considered a kind of musical epic in which the requirement for the creation of a logical. Star Wars. WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER. read from that place backwards and turned from minor into major creates the introductory motif of the Leia theme! Since both themes (in the Williams manner) developed from the introductory motif. This jump is typical of Williams and we had perhaps better take it as his composer's mannerism rather than an attempt to link two themes together.

I 6-6t J I toe lJ I I I . Both these themes start with an ascending jump by a large sixth (dominant-third degree). WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER.4 .Princess Leia and Han Solo love theme . in the second half turn off into a new tonality and both derive from the introductory motif that in the second part breaks into parts and turns into a somewhat more mobile musical sentence. The EmpireStrikesBack...A NewHope.- tI.w Example 10a. v Fi. 1r 1 . IRASM 31 (2000) 2. it is not difficult to see that it is from the Leia theme that the Han Solo and Leia love theme arises (which occasionally works as the Han Solo theme.Returnof the Jedi. since he does not have one of his own)..I• I"II P+I• I lr/• 'iP I • ''r I• I I I Uloop- .. The Leia introductory motif is in a clear major.IRENA PAULUS. 153-184 169 oJ Example 9a. although major. JohnWilliams. John Williams.TheEmpire Princess Leia theme i MlJ] I Ai[. 1A41-91 "IT l LA M It-____TI 60__p Return Strikes Back. 1 L• i '0 "9 /? r-i. Star Wars. There is one small difference.introductory motif of the Leia theme Now when by turning the Force theme round we have obtained the Princess Leia theme. flirts with a harmonic minor (flattening of the second degree). [ 1i " T" • !lJ. of theJedi: Example10. John Williams... both.v. while the opening motif of the love theme.

Example11. the Lukaand Leia theme. typicalof the Leiatheme and the love theme of Han and Leia. 3o . - - ! TI Yoda'stheme Strikes Return Back.Return find out their close the the main then because characters kinship. more obvious than this jump (hereWilliamsjumps from a tonic to the sixth degree. tAra ILA 'I . However.both the basic themes (Ben'sand Luke's)and the derivationsof them (Leia'sand the love theme). The Yoda theme.30 Williamssaid that there was a link between the Leiaand the Yoda theme. then. The of Jedi) only Lukeand Leia theme is stated by all analyststo be the musicallymost matureof all It startswith a risingmovementdominant-tonicthe Williamsthemes in StarWars. We shall see that the Yoda theme is constructedfrom a single basic motif.p.and partiallythe beginning of the Ben theme (dominant-tonicrising) and the beginning of Yoda's theme (dominant-tonic descending). Following up his words. IRASM31 (2000)2. that it is rhythmically more mobile in the second sentence (like Leia's and the love theme) and that it unfolds with no modulations (like the Ben and the Luke theme)but with one little alteration(as in the Han Solo and Leia theme). createsa concealedlargesixth. 153--184 In an interview with a journalistfromthe magazineFilmScore John Monthly. as we might expect from the theme of the Jedi Master.WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER. of theJedi. typicalof the Leia and the love theme. like the Leia theme and the love theme moves into a new but very distanttonality(anenharmonicmodulation BYRD. which emphasises the inversion of the beginnings of two basic themes: the Force theme and the Luke theme.TheEmpire The Lukeand Leiatheme comes only at the end of the Saga (Episode VI. 7. and not fromthe dominantto the thirddegree) is the introductory fifth dominant-tonicshift (descending). togetherwith the dominantfrom the beginning of the theme.170 IRENAPAULUS. we noted a jumpby a largesixth. the melodic line of the Luka and Leia theme moves gradually downwards and halts at the third degree that.is connected with all the themes mentioned so far . After the introductoryfeaturing of the basic tonal functions. which starts with a majorsix-four chord (exclude the initial fourth and you get a large sixth). dominant that in its entiretyrecallsthe Luketheme. In its second sentence.This leap is clearerat the beginningof the second sentence.JohnWilliams.

Return of the Jedi. •I I / e . . . I i I IL J .! .IRENA PAULUS. Throughit Williamsbinds together all the essential elements of the existing themes and in a new fairly complex melodic and harmoniccontext creates a new theme and uses it to conclude the story of the battleof the last knightof the Jediagainstthe DarkSide of the Force and the Evil Empire. -.1 ?4 m IJ La A 1! . the composer has completed by shaping the Luke and Leia theme. -" AF I-AK -. The World of the Leitmotifs of John Williams When Wagner laid down the leitmotif system. v ? i. IJ i I . John Williams. developing via a diminution of the second sentence of the Yoda theme. John Williams. the second sentence of it is more reminiscent of the further variant of the second sentence of the Yoda theme.othersmakemore . 153-184 171 from D flat majorinto D major).the Luke and Leia theme IA Ld1 m m m rl . I III I I . e). it summarises all the main themes of the Good.very banally.not only in the opera (which he probablyhoped for) but also in film music (which did not exist at his time). This is shown by the existence of the brotherand sister motif. which regularlyaccompanies Luke and Leia.the brother and sister motif The Lukeand Leiatheme crowns Williams'sthematicwork. he could not have suspected that his idea would have such wide application. What he started with the creation and domination of the Force theme. IRASM 31 (2000) 2.IMF Example 12a. Like a positive conclusion. it sums up all the composer'sprior aspirationsin the context of the Good and concludes the greatscoreon a note of Good..or film themes. Return of the Jedi..and together coda and exposition confirm the wholeness and unity of the musical work. While Ben's theme functions as an exposition. While some film composersuse leitmotifs.the Lukeand Leiatheme works as a coda . WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER.Iti I- --.U Example 12. However. At the end of the story.

as a rule. through their appearance. . the music responds with a quick succession of Yoda and Luke themes.then. with the behaviourof the leitmotifsfrom the earlieroperasof Wagner'sand with pre-Wagnerian opera.the Forcetheme will ring out. Predictionis simpler and more certainthan weather forecasting.172 IRENA PAULUS. to be seen in basic form and in variants.subjects or ideas.His MindandHis Music.not even Wagnerknew immediatelyhow to behavewith his themes/ symbols.and to be akin to each other.Our analysis has shown that he has used them very carefully. WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER.and thus to keep up with transformationsof characters. John Williams has taken the requirementthat the motif has to keep up with of the characterit representsmuch more serithe psychological transformations his themes IV:A NewHope). when Obi-Wan puts down his light sword and looks meaningfully at Luke. their applicationof the leitmotif has also remainedat a fairly mundane level. his theme is going to be heard. At the beginning he too used them like labels and only in later operas turnedtheminto themesthatwere >succinct enoughto maketheirdescriptivepoints The predictwithout interruptingthe constantflow of changingpoetic images<<. in firstfilm (Episode It is the true. GUTMAN. Understanding it literally.32 able behaviourof Williams'sthemes can be linked. in order to show Luke's grief at the death of his friend and mentor. TheMan. IRASM 31 (2000) 2.idea or subject that is most controversialwith Williams. 32 See Robert W. the Obi-Wan theme is heard. 153-184 carefuluse of them. attempting. Richard Wagner: New York 1968. One such place is the death of Kenobi.which enables the slightly more attentive listener or watcherto predict quite easily when a theme is going to come up. the most lyrical of the musical themes.if there is talk of the Force. Although he has gone furtherthan any of them. the composergot down to work much moreseriously. he pasted themes unconditionallyonto given characters. Williamsonly occasionallydepartsfroma ratherhackneyedfiguringforth of screen events.almost copying the Wagnerian principlethat requiredthemes to be linked with given characters. In Empire 31 This does not mean that in Ben's death scene his theme is not-heard at all.to the extent the film image allows them. ously. if the camera shows first Yoda and then Luke.probably the result of the composer's conviction that he was writing music for a light film that would not have too much responsefromthe public and hence did not require so very much effort to compose. when the box office success of Star Warsoutdid the most sanguine expectations. It is the principle of the linkage of theme and individual character. this time used only for its musical and not its functional and symbolic characteristics. However. John Williams too has remained at a lower level of use of the leitmotif in comparisonwith Wagner. Leia's theme goes on from it. 363.and to give shape.to a unified and single score. to come as close as they can to the Wagnerianconcept.Harcourt Brace.and when Lucas stated that there would be sequels. If DarthVaderstruts across the scene.where the composer uses the Leia theme. p.3' However. allowing Vader to kill him. chronologically on the whole follow each other (and appearin easily predictableplaces). However.

Bearingin mind some kind of unwritten super-theme.melodicallyand metricallyto extremes. a favourite procedure)in the sequels he used more complex formsof transformations and Jedi. however. We have seen that John Williams has succeeded in going on from Richard Wagner. the change. and went in the opposite directionfromthe Wagnerian. sometimesclose.both createdvariationsin complex musical procedures. althoughWilliamsoriginallyimaginedthe equal use of the Lukeand the Vadertheme.g. the source.His musicalderivationsof the original came up in pairs. really was. the composerwrote much more music thanis actuallyheard in the film. 173 and laterin Jedi.and their final product (e. a film.to the extent of changing their own character(in the scene of the freezing of Han Solo. after all. with later variations getting further and further away from the original. Whilecomparingopera and film music we have to bearin mind thatin the film. complement each other and engage in dialogue (Yoda and the projectionof Obi-Wanurge Luketo stay on Dagobahand finish his studies. 33Forthe first Luke Vaderduel. appear superimposed upon each other (which never happened in A New Hope). Although retainingcertainproceduresfrom A NewHope(e.the variationsof the themes are not broughtdown to literalrepetitions. New pairscondensed the musicalelementsof the old pairs. But this was actually Wagner's aim (afterall.the Luke and Leia theme) took on the significanceof point of departure:an overridingtheme or thematicimage. the Yoda theme . Sincea good deal of it was lost in the cuttingroom. at a certain his music because stop point. 153--184 VERSUS WAGNER. subordinateto the dramatic(filmic)events. of instrumentationduring the execution of a theme. at the beginning defined superficiallyby the Ben and Luke theme pair.g. where the DarthVader theme becomes a funeralmarch). music is afterall a backdropfor the actions of the film. respecting his principle about the kinship of themes.to tell a story in music that >>is This was Williams'saim too. Accordinglyhe was unableto carryon from certainof Wagner'sideas. of the theme.IRENAPAULUS. . sometimesextremelydistant.WILLIAMS IRASM31 (2000)2. createdhis own principle. he did go very far (althoughnot quite as faras Wagner). we have to say that in the proceduresof themes and thematickinship. music is always in the forefrontin opera).are abridged.extend and varied rhythmically. Since John Williams wrote his music epic for. and not for an opera. In Empire the themes competewith each other(the firstLuke and Darth Vader duel3). and that seldom or never does it have the opportunityto assume all the weight for the telling of the story.the DarthVaderthemedominatesin the duel. but he had to subjectto the dramatictext<<..which Wagnerdefined as the thematicimage. or even several changes. to gentle melodic and rhythmicvariationsand distributingthe theme from one instrumentto another. for example. not just in the imagination. Williams. Wagnerwent accordingto the principle of developmental variation:every successive variationwas a variant of the preceding one. not to go off and save his friends in Cloud City). and Williams understood as the combinationof the Luke and the Obi-Wan themes (the Forcetheme).

stand comparison with the endless structure of Wagner's music dramas (here one is thinking above all of Tristan and Isolde). Lohengrin). he would have had to set himself up in violent opposition to the nature of the medium he was working for.3 While Williams's themes. the endless melody does in one respect nevertheless link the work of Williams and Wagner. and it 'says' something when every moment of the music has dramatic relevance as well as being inwardly linked to other moments<. 121. This means that the concept is understood more in an aesthetic (endlessness is one of the fundamental categories of the art of Romanticism) and less in a technical sense. 153-184 WAGNER. because >>a melody is infinite when every note 'says' something. in a formal sense.. . the period shaping of the melody lines is an important structural element. develops . The Flying Dutchman. From that point of view. apparently. the use of this musical element in Williams's medium would have been a senseless imposition.this enabled him to use any part of a theme at any spot in the film.35 et al.174 IRENAPAULUS. through musical phrases and sentences. For Williams. All his themes are built from a single motif that.WILLIAMS VERSUS IRASM31 (2000)2.he could very likely not. could be compared with the themes from Wagner's Romantic operas (Rienzi. Wagner Versus Williams and Vice Versa One of the elements of Wagner's music drama that appeared as a direct product of the leitmotif was the endless melody. The purpose of such a configuration of melody was the creation of an unbroken continuity of the line of music. always remaining. A more careful reading of Zukunftmusikwill reveal that Wagner did use the concept of endless melody in places where he discussed the difference between melodic (expressive and symbolic) and non-melodic (arising on the basis of musical formulae and saying nothing) musical sections. In spite of this. Tannhiauser. The insistence on a regular periodic structure (his themes are regularly small periods built from two small sentences created by the linking of two two-bar phrases) is also the result of the need for the music to be adapted to film form. Wagner's medium (particularly since he was the creator of the entirety of the work) permitted and even welcomed the appearance of the endless melody. Melody is infinite if it avoids or bridges pauses and cadences. And in the aesthetic sense. the composer has enabled the director and cutter to interrupt any theme at any given moment with the interruption remaining musically logical. p. Wagner brought in the concept of unending melody while Tristan was being composed (hence at the time when his Romantic operas were turning into music dramas and when the leitmotif system was being worked out in detail). explaining it in the Zukunftmusikessay. endless melody works with John Williams too. had Williams followed Wagner's idea of the endless melody. Because of the cadenced closes of the sentences and the emphasis on the phrase as the smallest unit of the music. S34For informationto do with endless melody see WESTERNHAGEN 35Ibid. however recognisable.

Sometimeshe falls into actions on the screen.JohnWilliamsbehaves similarlyin the areaof rhythm.syncope.rhythmicgroups such as small tripletsare experiencedas a standard device .his rhythmis utterlysimple. such standard elements should be understood as elements of stylistic identity. In both of them. 123. and can hardly be applied to film music. punctuatedrhythms. he did not even have a song text thathe was supposed to force to behave accordingto the rules of speech ratherthan by the rules of music). >A descriptionof Wagnerianharmonywould have to clarify its position floatingbetween a tonalitythathas been attackedby the weakening of the root progressions but not yet completely destroyed. and where complexityis required. large triplets. In fact.his main resourcefor shaping sixteenth action scenes.his rhythmsarein places regularly accented(depending on the opera). 153-184 IRENAPAULUS..<<. because the aim of them was to conceal the beat. His favourite rhythmicfigure is the small triplet.small triplets. Of course.his objectivehas never been to concealthe time (afterall. On the other hand. Concepts like Sprechgesang and musical prose are concepts of the future.where simplicity is required.and thereare severalsuch kinds or genres. and an atonality anticipated in the increasedindependenceof semitonalmotionsbut not yet reached.but Wagnertoo had his own standards. Otherrhythmsinclude the most diverse of combinations: models interruptedby pauses. One of the elements of the stylisticidentity of RichardWagneris certainlyhis harmoniclanguage. It is true. such conceptsdo help in the easierunderstandingof the complexity of Wagner's rhythms. septuplets. His rhythms (like Wagner's)derive from the of the scene. but they are specific features of opera and vocal works. p. 175 In parallelwith the concept of endless melody. 36WESTERNHAGEN . in the inability to keep up with film form. However. but inside the time he was able to make the musicians' lives more complicated. It behaves in line with the kind of tonality in which the composerwrites. And once again.. Wagnerintroducedconcepts that link melody with speech and with rhythm.and areonly occasionallyirregular(anincreasing irregularityof rhythmicformationscan be sensed fromthe Ringof theNibelungs onwards).36 And this is the position of Williams'sharmonyas well.WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER. the specific accentuationof the text. quintuplets. and with it to destroy the regularityof rhythmthat relief on the regularalternationof times.. which is mainly instrumental in nature.This would have resulted.his rhythmicmodels become more intricate. They are: et al.. because it was particularlyconnectedwith the idea of hiding or abandoning the periodic structureof musical phrases. Williams was unable to follow the idea of concealing the beat.and will be developed by Sch6nbergand Hugo Wolf. Wagner did not excluand did not have to rely exclusively on sively use musical prose and Sprechgesang.IRASM31 (2000)2. as we have said.. or from the character mannerisms.

all kinds of seven chords and inverted seventh chords and so on).works by Holst. . and 4. Some analysts have called his Tristan chord >a sound. as well as the Ben Hur soundtrack of Miklos Rozsa). tonality is clearly expressed by the basic functions and typical melodic shifts). see NikSa GLIGO. although he can cope excellently in such contexts. stoljeda: Basesand Criteria for Evaluation). follows the scene of the conversation between Darth Vader and the Empire in The EmpireStrikes Back. Zagreb 1987. 153-184 1. in both a harmonic sense (he likes enharmonic modulation.moving from them in the initial shaping of harmony and tonality they had in front of their eyes clear musical models that they could carry on from and that in their own ways they developed to a very high level. chromatic shifts and all kinds of modulations. atonality (tonality is completely lost through the composer's playing with sounds. firm tonality (irrespective of whether major or minor. but also by the incidental music that Lucas juxtaposed to the images . like the scene of Luke's training on Dagobah). it was Beethoven's symphonies that led him to devote himself to music). osnovei kriteriji (Problems of New Music in the201hCentury:Theoretical vrednovanja Teorijske glazbe20. then.37 ProblemiNove 37 For colour emancipation in the new music of the 20th century. that can be identified?. Although John Williams handles tonal and atonal sections with ease. pp. >shifted< tonality (dissonance and chromatics are used with so much freedom that tonality is hard to spot. is at the time of John Williams just the sum of the endeavours of his forebears. minormajor or the Phrygian mode. arguing that at the end of the 19th century.where the Emperor as yet had no defined theme). Waxman and Korngold.Music Information Centre. Wagner had already laid the foundations for the sound sensation Put typical of the 20th century. 3. One thing that is common to the two composers with respect to harmonic shaping is that at their point of departure both composers rely on old models. for example. known in the literature as the Klangfarbenmelodie. WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER. Wagner's model was Beethoven (according to some historians. Walton and Dvoriik. and not a chord. instrumental colours and rhythms. sometimes. found their models in the classics of their basic area of interest . However. 64--65 and 168-170. expanded tonality (tonality is expanded by numerous alterations. Wagner was thinking not only backwards. sequences of major fifths. IRASM 31 (2000) 2. with respect to the harmonic language.176 IRENA PAULUS. his music has nothing fundamentally new to offer. atonal music. in a sequence of several successive modulations tonality is less immediately obvious). but forwards as well. What in Wagner's age represented the start of a new approach to harmony and tonality (some historians consider the music of Tristan the beginning of the atonal manner of composing). old techniques used in the right place at the right time. Both. 2. these are scenes in which mood is important. while Williams used as models the old film music composers (the creation of the Star Wars music was influenced not only by Steiner.

the druids C3POand R2D2 the little desert the creatures. Both Williams and Wagner have only just touched on the sensation of the melody of sound colours . the flute..being statedin sequence by the tuba. horn.p.. Since the firsttime the theme is statedby the oboe. the disguised Princess Leia) negotiates with Jabbathe Hutte about the price of the captured Chewbacca. in A NewHope. with both of them we can notice that in the transparentinvocation of past/future Klangfarbenmelodie there is actually an implicit love for the greatest and most complex of all instruments.<<38conclude Westernhagen. moves from trumpet to flute. and the third time by oboe. et al. 40Ibid. and which was laterto be developed by new composerslike Debussy. three times repeated identically. in the Lucas saga. 153-184 IRENAPAULUS. cor anglais.. When NikSaGligo gave prominenceto the simplifiedhorizontalunderstandof ing the melody of the sound colours of David Cope. 177 more simply. >Sound (Klang) most exactly applicable to the facts of Wagnerian composition. and from hornback to the trumpet.In the scene in TheReturn of the Jediin which the head-hunter(i. is the word that is and colour. op.IRASM 31 (2000)2. and once again tuba solo. In a short scene in TheEmpire Strikes Back. the essence of which Wagneronly justtouched on. p. However. in the instrumentalimitation manner. Luke.e.while the second set off boldly into the creationof a new musicalworld.which in a colouristsense surpassesthe horizontalof David Cope and partially goes into the vertical. 38WESTERNHAGEN 39 GLIGO. flute and bassoon.the Jabbathe Hutte theme goes throughalmostthe entirewind section.in the sense of the horizontal sequencing of colours.in his X-wing. Characteristic of Williamsis the chopping of the theme into smaller parts so that each part should be statedby a differentinstrument.Dahlhaus and Bailey. piccolo. 124. Jawe.where his friends are captive. Thereare many examples of a simplified handling of instrumentaltimbre. the second by oboe and flute.cit. from flute to horn. oboe.the theme of the Jawe is heard. Wagnershaped his Tristanchordnot with respectto tonal functionality and the rules of the classical harmonicstructure.we can talk of a kind of additive instrumentation.approachesCloud City. who defined his colour he was pointillism as a sequence of differentinstrumentaland/or vocal colours39 not Williams. 169.but each time with a differentinstrumentation.but with respect to sound in which 'chord'and 'timbre'meet.WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER. Schdnbergand Ligeti. His theme.and once again the former did this relying on the experiencedgatheredby his predecessors. of this to the works of John certainly thinking applying understanding But it was precisely in this essentiallysimplified sense that neglects >the dependence of [Klangfarbenmelodie] on the all intervals forming a vertical sound strucwent of the melody of sound that Williams on with the interpretation John ture<<40 colours.the orchestra. In the scene in which the Jawe load capture robots on the farm of Owen and Ber Lars. At the very opening of StarWars. .

he lives in a time when the talking pictureis the norm and the orchestra. It might be said to be John Williams's achievement to have brought about a Renaissanceof symphonic music in the film.' 'Could you menace without getting louder?' he asks.Both Wagner and Williams simply adore the wind section. >Nothing seems to ruffle William's composure or the oldfashioned courtesy that seems fundamental to his nature .. p.we might mention their attitude towards musical form... WhileHanslick 41 Quote from WESTERNHAGEN et al.During the 1950sand 1960s. when the music needs to sound softer and warmer (because the context requires it). IRASM 31 (2000) 2.for him the orchestrahad a vital role.synthesiser. uses whatever comes to hand . 6. cit.I think the sound of the harp will take the eye away from what it needs to see right here'. Williams. op.' 'Let me ask the harp not to play here . the musicalaestheteand theoristEduardHanslickwas also at work.Williams did not need to do this . hid the orchestra.<<.. 5.. and this might be comparedwith the revolutionarinessof the operaticreformof RichardWagner. The great love of the film composer for the symphonic orchestrahas risen above all modern understandingsof the orchestraas being an obsolescent means of expressing emotion on the screen. 'The audience should feel this rather than hear it.kazoo. p.songs and instrumental pop groupswere preferredfor the soundtracks. the woodwind is called up. The strings have almost exclusively the role of filling in the emptiness and of jumping in when the wind lyrical instruments because have alreadybeen used. as in many anothercomposer. . At the time Wagnerwas working. Let's see if we can make a more noble sound. 124. especially the brass.' he says. And thereare many instrumentsin the orchestra. both composers like experimentingwith sound. there is the brass again.when Williams startedworking. Wagnerbought the famed Nibelung tuba in..not even 10 successive takes of the same passage.When Star Warsappeared in the movie houses. 43 42 BYRD.Whenever they need to express drama. 'but the sound is too close.43 And at the end of this short duel between Williams and Wagner. it will obscure the dialogue.<< From DYER. 'Thank you' he says to the players after a problematic reading. tuned bells.' he will say to the brass and percussion.41 is of the was to that orchestra itself one greatestinventions spirit say >symphony of our artisticculture. and the voice takesonly a subordinaterole in the story)..presentonly in the form of a recordingon the soundtrack.working in a different age.there are great similarities in practice. children'spiano. Wagner. including himself in the equation. p. the strings. not. 153-184 For Wagner the orchestrawas so important that in Operaand Dramahe wrote: when talkingabout >anyonewho separatesthe harmonyfromthe instrumentation Williams in a similar is while music me as an John doing my great injustice.when tension has to be expressed. here comes the brass. 'It's not too loud.178 IRENA PAULUS. the orchestracame back again to the screen.does not need any special concealment.to reinforcethe illusion of the opera story (and to make it impossible to listen to orchestraand voice separately. unusual percussionand so on. WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER. I cannot resist adding certain instructions that Williams gave the LSO during the time of recording the music for The PhantomMenace.<<42 It is not just points of view ..

45WESTERNHAGEN et al. Formalschemes like a rondo with two themes (Return of theJedi.Luke surrendersto the Imperialforces and talks with his father.44 (with the appearanceof the music dramas)it became clear that the two of them were at opposite poles.WILLIAMS VERSUS IRASM31 (2000)2.: >>Tannha'user measure of innovation. 117.In each partthereare usually two parallelactions going on that separatelyfollow the good and bad characters.including.consistingof a discerniblegrouping (using contrastand repdistinct of etition) components<<. before the Emperorand the Emperortries to persuadehim to become his pupil) or a three part song (Jedi.because the composerdeveloped the leitmotifsystem or web. In the case of Williams's Star Warmusic the similaritywith Wagner'sconception of form is still greater. The reason for this charge is similarto the reason for Hanslick's attackon Wagner.Film music is subordinateto the film medium. not the composer. and it is the medium. of not following formal patternsset in advance.Luke and Vader in the middle of a duel. While Hanslickthought that every musical element had to be subordinate to form (in his work On theMusicallyBeautiful one can read sentences such as: >Naked form is beautifulin itself >> and >The forms set off by tones are the substance of music<) Wagner was of the opinion that every musical element.that determinesits structure. . Forthis reasonhe had to abandon the architectural form of the musical work and address the logical form that sprang out of work on theme and motif. Lukeattackshim in a rage and defeats him) are actually musical forms that are determinedby the shape of the image (content. dialogue and so on).many theoristsfound it easierto say that his operas simply have no form. Sincethe musicalformsfollowed the development of and links between leitmotifs.position and movement of figures in the scene.film music is often accused of having no form. 153-184 WAGNER.This scheme is particuIV and Episode V. and this also determined the shaping of the music. Alfred Lorenz attempted to reduce these forms in Wagner's music dramas to the old German forms of songs: the Bar form (AAB) and the Bogen form (ABA).45 Interestingly.< (p.however. >'Symphonic' form.IRENAPAULUS. after Vader discovers from his sons feelings that Lukehas a sister. and had to twist his analysis to make it fit the formal patterns given. The film story also conditionsthe macroformof the music.DarthVader). and formtoo then. had to be subordinateto drama. p. 179 in time expressed himself positively about Wagner's operas at the beginning. 119).works displaying no small "Confirmed by WESTERNHAGEN et al. but went too far.while the and Lohengrin.a rondo with one theme (Return Lukeis brought of theJedi. while in the second part all of the charactersare in the same place for the final reckoning. were accepted almost unanimously by the 1850s by the educated German middle class .framing. people like Eduard Hanslick who rejected the later musical dramas. In the firstpartof A NewHopethe action larly obvious in Episode goes on in parallelon the desert planet Tatooinaand on the Death Star.Wagner'smusicalstructures(atthe macro and micro levels) emerged from the web of leitmotifs. All threefilms are imagined in two parts.. in which the 'web' of motifs is the basis of the inner cohesion< replaced ?'architectonic' form.

as resource. in two: the Death Star and the forest planet of Endor. They approachform as means.the ultimateaim. In fact.Parttwo takesplacein Cloud space destroyerExecutor City. can be independent of a formal scheme. the musical macroform is not as clear as in episodes IV and V. although no considered that >>every known model for it is particularlyeasy to spot. Thus the music both brings things together(eachof the films has its own dominating theme) and at the same time splits up the filmic architecture. TheEmpire to with: of the ice where the rebels are located. and because the director did not use linking frames. and the Hoth. or of nonform. afterall the experienceof the new music of the 20thcentury. becomes obsolescent. the question of formalamorphousnessor of the absenceof any formalshaping. but today. we have seen. WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER. artisticform is looked at very differently. the love theme of Solo and Leiais given increasingdevelopment...because it is work of art that exists in time has some form. p. for both the composers. 153-184 whole of the second part takes place on the Death Star.although. 47 Quoted from GLIGO. 46The film macroform of the Jediis reversed: the first part goes on in one place. the palace of Jabba the Hutte. Because of equal treatment of the themes in this episode.because it is connected with the idea that a work has form only if it follows a model determined in advance. formal models. a universal procedure of integrationthat is necessary for the listener's reasoned understanding. i.180 IRENA PAULUS. 101. The ultimate aim of Wagnerwas to create a music drama.not as end in itself. their aims were extremelysimilar..and that they contributeto its final formation.. IRASM 31 (2000) 2.<<47 The Avant-garde and the Tradition Although we have found that in the form all the elements of (film) music are gathered. such a way of thinkingis completelybeside the point . While some forms. form is. In theirhands. subjecting it to the musical proceduresand narrativeevents. to separate the two parallel places of the action.is not the structureof the work of art. in which the final reckoning is done. and the second part. qua process of mutual relations. A hundred years ago a Hanslick could think like this (it would have been strangeif at the end of the 19th century there had been no single criticof Wagnerand his avant-gardeconception of music).4 From all this it follows that Williams and Wagneragree in the area of structural design.The two differentplaces of action in the first part are also made emphaticallyseparateby image (the space perspective of the Death Star)and music (the Death Starmotif is short. where all the charactersget together again and where. . alongside the dominant DarthVadertheme.The ultimate aim of JohnWilliamswas to take part in the creationof a film in which the music served to shape the content and help all the other filmic elements to work. but musiStrikes Back also takes place in two different cally extremelypowerful).cit. Today. places begin planet commandedby DarthVader. op.e.a work founded on the old roots of opera in which all the musical elements were subjectto the drama.as are criticismsthat film music has no form.

"4 Thatis.numerous modulations.being even more successful than him. this subordinationexisted only on paper. but looked at fromthe point of view of music. tightly followed his concept . The leitmotifproceduresare at a somewhat higher 48See WESTERNHAGEN et al.even in the realm of film music . Ibid.While on the one hand in StarWars we can see a web of leitmotifs.IRENAPAULUS. to make everything subserve the drama. Nietzsche and Feuerbach. the most various rhythmicstructuresand a totally open attitudetowards form. and the dramathe ultimateobjective. 49 .WILLIAMS IRASM31 (2000)2. This has led him to two extremes. A hundred years afterWagner'sdeath. and led to unnecessarycomplicationsof the concept.but the >elevation of music to the dignity of an 'opus metaphysicum' (Nietzsche) and the aspiration towards >>corporeal reality. on the other hand we can find the overscoringtypical of the early film composer. in every element. 121. against abstractiono(Feuerbach) perhaps to contradiction. absolutely subordinateto the drama. even in the area of leitmotif work. 181 die Wagner first used the concept of the music drama in the work Uiber 'Musikdrama' of 1872. we still have to face the fact that the music of John Williams is so illustrativethat it simply cannotbe peeled off the film image. Because film music is really. it is primitive (and makes any attempt at a concert performanceout of the question). Lookedat from the perspectiveof the film. long after Wagner..accordto ing Wagner'soriginaldemand (and accordingto the demands of directors. the >theanticipatory postulatethatthe musicmust be one of the means of expressionavailableto the drama(introduction andDrama) is countered to Oper the that in definition musical drama the events the on by retrospective stage are'the acts of the music made visible'<<. In fact. 153--184 VERSUS WAGNER. penetrate This was an importantrevolution.an opera. frequent musical illustrationsof the image brought to the very verge of triteness. p. dense layers of harmonies.are considered old fashioned.but makes it impossible for us to say that film music.His conceptof music drama was powerfully influenced by the philosophies of Schopenhauer.to clearup some erroneousinterpretations of his Benennung operas. Quite to the contrary: Wagneraspired to the creationof a music drama. music.JohnWilliamshas attempted. only images. such as one that spoke about >dramathat served some musical purpose<. this is good. With Wagner. alongside drama. in reality. Could we suppose that GeorgeLucashad really wanted to createa space opera that would be flooded with music.all types of tonality.49 his music attitude to after the Wagnerchanged of and Tristan after which writing studying Schopenhauer's philosophy. the music was always of the essence of his operas (both the Romanticoperas and the music dramas).and the role of music in the film medium). in which music was a means.which shows not only how importantmusic was for Wagner. says that not words can or the hiddenmost the essence of world.the mosaic sequencing of musical blocks as the result of illustrationand other proceduresthat today .in these quantities too .

182 IRENAPAULUS.although his music is in the rankof composers of an extremely high quality.Miklos Rosza and othersand renewed some traditionalprocedures(heavy scoring. summing up the discoveries of his seniors. the younger.Both use music in a similarway. is such as to permit going astrayinto traditionalism.but the film story of Star Wars.. we think of as a sound composerwho adds nothing new. falling means decline.it is clearthat in Wagnertoo one can find examples of literal musical description. because of the nature of his medium. However. although he skilfully uses the knowledge of his immediate and distant predecessors. we do neverthelessfind in it the banality of both literaldescriptionand overscoring.direct and indirect (illustrationand leitmoand the complexityof the tale (which tif). the other into too great a relianceon currentphilosophies and into literaldescription.the other. both compose high quality music. In an attemptto arriveat a properjudgementaboutthem both.illustrationand the predictableuse of leitmotifs. so does the melody. At a lower level there are proceduresthat come down to banal description.in its childish naivety. illustration.whenever the lift goes up. not even Wagnercould avoid musicalillustration. in the scene at the beginning of TheEmpire Back. We consider the older revolutionaryand advanced. It is more marked with a film composer. In placesWilliams Strikes is much more inventive.both occasionally go astray .Thereis no substance that requiresany great thought (though it does have its own message). <. we shall forget for a moment the time difference. at the end showing Lukehanging by his legs.5 Though this music is disguised as symbolism and is not so direct as Williams's. the music drops too. the movement is followed by an ascendingstringglissando the vocabularyof which adumbratesthe pitifulscene of Luke upside down. and additional musical explanations.. In fact.bringing the symphony orchestraback into the film). though they are often used as finger-pointingdevices thatyell . Forexample. p. This contrastbetween the obsolescentand the advanced is a little confusing. .relies on the old film music composers.ErichWolfgangKorngold. the biggest problem in the Williams-Wagnerduel is the hundredyear time difference.IRASM31 (2000)2. John Williams. 153--184 level. thereare plenty of such examplesin the trilogy. are justifiedby the numberof characters started much earlierand goes on afterthe old trilogy). that's Han Solo. where the cameraquickly pans through the cave of the white beasts of the planet Hoth. Alas.one into overscoring.Max Steiner. using similar composerly and technicalprocedures.Letus recalljust the sentence we quoted earlier:>In the Ring rising movement means evolution.on the spaceshipof the Jawethereis a kind of lift. 50 WESTERNHAGEN et al.that'sLeia. and when the lift descends.Wiliamsis a traditionalist by nature(look at his attitude to the symphony orchestra). Although he is musically educated..predictabilityof musical behaviour. in his old-fashionedness. 132.WILLIAMS VERSUS WAGNER.and look at them from the perspective of their presents.

modulationsand majorleaps) and in formal(open form)and rhythmical (diversity) aspects.because he is not interested in the superficialemployment of two or three film themes but. there are points of contact in the area of the reciprocalsuffusion of the tradition and the avant-garde. As Stendahl put it: the Romanticof today.These spring from his transformation of opera into music drama. summed up the knowledge of his forebears. constructs a whole web of interwoven leitmotifs. and precisely because they are revolutionary. Gluck and Meyerbeer.He is avant-gardein relationto otherfilm music composers.WILLIAMS IRASM 31 (2000)2.He built his reformof the opera on bases that were used by earlieroperaticcomposerssome of whom were themselves reformers . stage) and events on the stage. s1WESTERNHAGEN . 153--184 VERSUS WAGNER.. Applied to Richard Wagner and John Williams >avantgardism and traditionalismare contradictorybut mutually complementaryphenomena.Eachachieved much in his medium. in tonality and in a pure sound sense (atonality. when his models were in excess of two hundred years older? John Williams. Rameau. When we look a little more closely. and since the younger looked up to the older (to the extent his work allowed him) there are a number of points of contactbetween them. Apart from in the area of the relationof music to the scene (image.in his version of obsolescence.<<"51 intoEnglishby Graham McMaster) (Translated et al.is sure of being the classic of tomorrow.Lully. 183 RichardWagner. in a melodic sense (although they have a strictly periodic structure. however revolutionaryhis attitudes and behaviour may be.Wagnergave us a series of novelties that have marked the 20th century.If we can complain that Williams relied on film composers of some forty or fifty years earlier(the pioneers of film music). His understandingof music was futurist.The avant-gardeWilliams (as againsthis Hollywood colleagues) can be seen in a harmonicsense (sequencingchordsof he same kind like Debussy).the melodies are rich in alterations..what are we to say of Wagner himself. in the area of purely musicalrelations too. 119. Both are equally traditional and innovatory. p. In his own avant-gardeness. like Wagner. the avant-gardeaspects of both composers actually derive from their obsolescence.IRENAPAULUS.the division of the opera into scenes because of which he actually concealed the orchestrafrom the sight of the audience. in his avant-gardeaspect.because with the new concept of harmony and treatmentof chords as sound he heralded the total collapse of tonality and the domination of sound colour in the works of certain 20th centurycomposers.Klangfarbenmelodie).drew on the Beethovensymphony (approachinghis operas as symphonies with a dramaticmodel) and the Handel oratorio (for the monumentality). and of a hundred years earlier (Wagner).His total freedomof view of form and melody (which are or should be endless or should act accordingto the laws of speech) also announced futureaspirationstowardsthe openingup of formand the use of the Sprechgesang.because of which he introducedthe web of leitmotifs. akin and multifunctional..

medusobno su povezani srodnokSu i ?esto su varirani (ponekad tak i do neprepoznatljivosti). U dominaciji pojedinih tema u pojedinim filmovima (tema udarac) V:Imperij IV:Novanadai tema DarthaVaderau Epizodi Cak je Modi u Epizodi uzvrada vidljiva ideja Berliozove iddefixe i Wagnerove ideje tematske slike (Sentina balada). elanak istraZuje je li (i u kojoj mjeri) filmska glazba Johna Williamsa bliska glazbi Wagnerovih opera. od kojih prva upuduje na brojne transformacije. Ili. bogatog i raznolikog harmonijskog jezika. i iddefixe i tematska slika. uporabi svih do sada poznatih >vrsta<< tonaliteta (od dura i mola do atonaliteta). 153-184 WAGNER.. ako oba skladatelja promatramo iz perspektive njihove sadagnjosti i podrudja djelovanja. Za razliku od ve6ine ostalih filmskih skladatelja. John Williams se dosta pribli2io izvorniku. a time i orkestru te u odnosu prema formi koja prestaje biti arhitektonska i postaje logiena. Najoeitija slienost Wagnerovih opera i glazbe za filmove RatovizvijezdaJohna Williamsa le2i u uporabi Leitmotiva.. upuduju na osnovni skladateljev cilj. To se o6ituje na podrueju slo2ene ritmike. obojici je bio cilj stvarati glazbu u slu2bi drame. posebne pa2nje koju su upu6vali zvuku. Njegovi su Leitmotivi brojni (ima ih dvadesetak. Obje.. ali uzajamno komplementarni fenomeni. zaklju6it demo da su obojica u onolikoj mjeri tradicionalisti koliko su napredni inovatori. a mladeg (Williamsa) pretvara u skladatelja koji povezuje i sintetizira znanja svojih predhodnika. Zapravo. U Wagnerovu je slueaju s vremenom postalo jasno da je njemu oduvijek od svega bila va2nija glazba. a i u sto godina koliko je proteklo izmedu glazbeno-scensko-filmskih ostvarenja Johna Williamsa i Richarda Wagnera. film).184 IRENAPAULUS. Sa. ciljevi su im bili vrlo slieni. Razlika le2i u specifienim karakteristikama medija za koji su djelovali (opera.tetak WILLIAMS PROTIV WAGNERA ILI POKU?AJ POVEZIVANJA GLAZBENIH EPOVA ProizaSao iz tvrdnji redatelja Georgea Lucasa. glazbe Johna Williamsa i Richarda Wagnera preklapaju se i na podrueju drugih glazbenih elemenata. Ta stogodignja udaljenost starijeg skladatelja (Wagnera) 6ini naprednim inovatorom.WILLIAMS VERSUS IRASM31 (2000)2. kako to Stendhal kate: romantitar danagnjice. No. . a ne dva ili tri kao 9to je uobikajeno u filmskim partiturama). koji je bio i cilj Johna Williamsa: stvaranje cjelovite i jedinstvene glazbene partiture. U stvari. Primjenjeni na Richarda Wagnera i Johna Williamsa >>avangardizam i tradicionalizam su kontradiktorni. No. a druga na sr2 tematskog materijala iz kojeg nastaje sva ostala glazba. skladatelja Johna Williamsa i nekih glazbenih analitiCarada je filmski ciklus Ratovizvijezdaprvobitno zamiSljen kao >svemirska opera<e i da njegova glazba podsjeCa na glazbu Richarda Wagnera.. dok se Williams (kao i ostali filmski skladatelji) morao prilagoditi filmskom mediju i doista podrediti svoju glazbu filmskoj priCi. sigurno postaje klasik sutraSnjice<<. koji su bitno pojednostavljivali ideju Wagnerovih provodnih motiva.