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John Williams:

Who is John Williams?

John Williams is an American composer and conductor.

He has scored more than 100 films, including Jaws, six
Star Wars movies, E.T. and the first three Harry
Potter films.

He studied at Juilliard - worked as a jazz pianist and

studio musician before starting to compose for
television and film. Plus he has won five Academy Awards and received a record-
breaking array of nominations.

(Kettler.S, May 2015).

What music composed by John Williams do I like?

John Williams is a great composer and has composed many soundtracks for films. But,
my favourite two are the soundtracks from Star Wars and Jaws.

Star Wars:

The good thing about the Star Wars soundtrack is that it is in different
sections and they are:

The Star Wars Theme Tune:

A Section Part I:

Length: 0:08 0:26

Moods: Heroic and Adventurous

Primary Instrument: Brass

Melodic Leaps and Coming Together

B Section:

Length: 0:26 0:40

Moods: Compassionate

Primary Instrument: Strings

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C Section:

Length: 0:40 0:48

Mood: Excitement

Primary Instruments: Brass and Strings

A Section Part 2:

Length: 0:48 - 1:06

Moods: Heroic, Compassionate and Victorious

Primary Instruments: Brass and Strings

(This list is by Lynch.J, 2015).

As, you can clearly see there are many different sections; as I mentioned above.
There are also lots of different instruments that have been used to portray
different moods. In music it is good to have different moods because it allows the
music to change. If music had only one mood then it would be boring because there
would only be one melody.

So, in my work I change the mood of the music to create a whole new sound
experience for the listeners. Another reason why I change the mood of the music is
because it makes the moving image come alive as it produces different emotions to
portray the different scenes. Each scene should have different music, however it still
should follow on from the pervious scene. By doing you will make the music alternate
in an affective way. This happens in an orchestra especially in the Star Wars
soundtrack. The track maybe orchestral, but it is still very space like. This is because
of the instruments used, for example, the french horns are loud and affective as
they make you feel what the characters in the film are feeling.

However, in the film the characters cant hear the music, only we can.

I will remember these key points when I am creating and recording my practical work!

Another reason why I like the Star Wars soundtrack is because of the layering of
the instruments. Here is what I mean by the term layering:
Instrument / Family: Number Of Parts: Number Of Pages:

Full Score 1 132

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Flute 1 (Woodwind) 1 16

Flute 2 (Woodwind) 1 16

Piccolo / Flute (Woodwind) 1 12

Oboe 1 (Woodwind) 1 12

Oboe 2 (Woodwind) 1 12

Bb Clarinet 1 (Woodwind) 1 12

Bb Clarinet 2 (Woodwind) 1 12

Bb Bass Clarinet 1 8

Bassoon 1 (Woodwind) 1 12

Bassoon 2 (Woodwind) 1 8

French Horn 1 (Brass) 1 12

French Horn 2 (Brass) 1 12

French Horn 3 (Brass) 1 12

French Horn 4 (Brass) 1 12

Bb Trumpet 1 (Brass) 1 8

Bb Trumpet 2 (Brass) 1 8

Bb Trumpet 3 (Brass) 1 8

Trombone 1 (Brass) 1 8

Trombone 2 (Brass) 1 8

Bass Trombone (Brass) 1 8

Tuba (Brass) 1 8

Timpani (Percussion) 1 8

Percussion 1 (Percussion) 2 8

Percussion 2 (Percussion) 2 8

Harp (Strings) 1 16

Piano and Celeste 1 16

(Strings / Percussion)

Violin 1 (Strings) 8 16

Violin 2 (Strings) 8 16

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Vola (Strings) 8 16

Cello (Strings) 6 16

Double Bass (Strings) 6 12

(This table is by Leonard.H, 2016?).

The instruments in this grid I am very confident with their specifications and
functions as I have played in an orchestra before. When in an orchestra you have to
know about other the instruments that are playing as you all need to be in unison. Also
mostly in orchestras different instruments will have different breaks and starting
times, so it is important to know everyones breaks and starting times. This also helps
you to count the beats of the other instruments, so you know when to start.

My next favourite soundtrack by John Williams is Jaws, as you all ready know.

I like the soundtrack from Jaws because it creates tension. This tension makes the
listeners want listen more and more as the track goes. The Jaws soundtrack is also
very interesting because of another technique that John Williams has used. This is
technique is known as a leitmotif. Here is some research that I did about leitmotifs:

Film music composers often use leitmotifs to help build a sense of continuity. A
leitmotif is a recurring musical idea (a melody, chord sequence, rhythm or a
combination of these) which is associated with a particular idea, character or place.
Leitmotifs are manipulated to match the action and mood of a scene.

They could be altered by:

changing the rhythm or pitch

changing the instrumentation or accompaniment
adding new material
developing fragments of the idea


Leitmotifs can be found in the film scores of many film music composers including
Bernard Herrmann (Psycho), Jerry Goldsmith (Planet of the Apes) and Danny Elfman
(Batman). Probably the best known leitmotif in film is John Williams' shark leitmotif
in Jaws. The two notes F and F sharp, played on the low register of the cello signify
something threatening and getting closer and closer.

(This is information is by The BBC, 1998 - website launch date).

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I found this piece of information very helpful because I can now use it in my music
with more knowledge about this technique.

Before I researched about the techniques used in Jaws. I all ready knew what motifs
are. So, I knew what I was looking for straight away. This piece of research also
shows you the musical elements that have been used in Jaws. Plus it tells you about
the piano technique and how it was thought about.

Furthermore Jaws is known as: 'a classic piece of suspense music, synonymous with
approaching danger.

(This quote is from Wikipedia, the article was last edited on 8th September 2016).

There is more about the Star Wars soundtrack then the Jaws soundtrack because I
like the Star Wars soundtrack more and I found more information about this
soundtrack then I expected. I have also learnt a lot about film music! This research
has helped me to improve my work. I will remember this research as it is related to
my specialism, which is film music. My next project will reflect on this research as I
have learnt new techniques.

My research was found on the following websites below. Parts of this research is also
my knowledge about film music:

My References:

John Williams Picture -

Kettler.S. (May 2015). John Williams Biography. Available: http:// Last accessed October 2016.

Lynch.J. (2015). What Makes the 'Star Wars' Theme So Epic? John Williams'
Legendary Theme, Deconstructed. Available:
news/6812919/star-wars-main-title-theme-deconstructed. Last accessed October

Leonard.H. (2016?). Star Wars Series: John Williams Signature Edition Orchestra
HL #04490056. Available:
itemid=4490056&&viewtype=default. Last accessed October 2016.

The BBC. (1998 - website launch date). Film music - Composition of film music.
film_music3.shtml. Last accessed October 2016.

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Wikipedia. Article start date - 27 August 2007. The article was last edited on 8th
September 2016. Jaws (soundtrack). Available:
Jaws_(soundtrack)#Overview. Last accessed October 2016.

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