The imperial attack immediately following the open scroll of "A New Hope" uses a chord that is note-for-note identical with the coda of "Mars" from Gustav Holst's The Planets. First, the Star Wars excerpt, lasting from 1:41-1:56 of the following clip:
Now compare that with 6:56-7:11 from "Mars":
For visual reference, here are the two score excerpts side-by-side:
Both pieces use the exact same dissonant chord: A-flat, D-flat, G from bottom to top, with a C in the bass. In Star Wars, for the last few measures Williams adds a C above the dissonant chord as well to keep the chord building in intensity.
6/21/2015 11:25:10 pm
Williams is a brilliant hack, ransacking classical composers relentlessly for his material. His music sounds so stupendous because mostly he just recycles past masters' orchestration, harmony and rhythm - he makes up the melody though, so you have to give him that! Although he nicked the theme for Jaws, so if one were to do an exhaustive survey of his output, you'd probably account for 99% of it in other composers' work.
6/9/2019 07:41:54 pm
Kinda ruined my experience at the Seattle Symphony last night. I was trying to let the Mars movement wash over me like a tsunami but couldn't keep the opening Star Wars scene out of my mind and kept thinking how John Williams was a total thief. He got away with it... But Holst still rules the galaxy!!
6/18/2022 11:10:52 pm
Veery thoughtful blog
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The Music of Star Wars
These posts will help focus and develop my analyses of John Williams' film scores.