I worked on the “TIE Fighter Attack” cue, the last of my cue demos. I wanted to write a few demos before I began scoring the film, and the demos worked out beautifully. They gave me a good idea of how I would go about scoring scenes in the movie, and they allowed me to experiment using a variety of moods, the “TIE Fighter Attack” scene being an action sequence. Dr. Moser had suggested I use Movement 5 of Stravinsky’s Firebird for a chase scene or action scene, and I thought Firebird was perfect for temp tracking the TIE Fighter attack. I drew heavily from Stravinsky’s orchestration when I wrote this cue, and occasionally imitated his style, particularly when the TIE Fighters first appear in the scene.
Dr. Moser listened to my scene demos and offered feedback on their scoring. For the “Death Star” cue, he suggested moving the downbeat of my Force theme to the moment when Vader first reaches out his hand to choke the officer. Then, once Vader releases the officer, Moser suggested that I let the music taper off more in order to give the listener a “release” from the tension that has built up in this scene. Earlier in the scene, the officer mentions that the Death Star will be the "ultimate power in the universe;” Dr. Moser thought that I should make that the biggest part of the phrase, and have a crescendo leading into it.
For the “Secret Compartment” scene, Dr. Moser commented that the music needed to be much softer when the Imperial officer begins talking to Vader. With the arrangement I had written, the music was rather busy and loud during this section, and competed with the dialogue. Moser’s biggest comment was that I should experiment with different modes and tonal centers to use when Vader senses Obi-Wan on the ship; putting the Force theme in major just seems out of place after all of the minor and atonal music preceding the phrase.
For the “TIE Fighter Attack,” Dr. Moser believed that the music leading up to the initial attack should be less driving and more cryptic. The dramatic impact of the initial attack is much stronger if the music preceding it doesn’t have the same driving rhythms as the attack itself (particularly the repeated eighth notes in the marimba). Also, Dr. Moser suggested that in the build up section, I include small rhythmic patterns suggestive of Han’s theme. The notes of Han’s theme are important in the cue, but if I want the listener to make that musical association with the character, then the rhythm that is prevalent in Han’s theme is a good thing to utilize alongside the notes. I went into this cue and removed the marimba altogether from the first part of the scene, and I added the rhythmic hits during Han’s theme.
One question that remains unanswered is exactly how much music I should use in the film. Conventional scoring would use music for roughly half the film – John Williams used 88 minutes of score for the 121-minute movie, while Wagner would have used music for the entirety of the running time. How much music I use greatly depends on whether I gain the rights to the film without the score. If I cannot get a “score-free” copy of the film, then I need to score the entire movie, no question. If I can obtain one of these scoreless film copies, then I will revisit the question. I plan to contact LucasFilm again this week; I have not heard back via emails for three weeks now.
As a side note, I feel as if my orchestration has drastically improved since I began this project, which is encouraging to me since that was one of my goals. I have a much better feel for what sounds and timbres I want, and I have an understanding of how to make different instrument groups work together to represent what’s happening visually.