Three Songs, a Trilogy


It’s the song you hear when Darth Vader walks into a room, The March. It’s there instantly telling you how to feel about this tall man, if we can call him a man, in a mask and dark robes. It’s energizing and pulls at both our fears and our sense of awe and wonder. There’s power there. At this point only a few notes are needed, and that part of our brain is engaged.

The Star Wars Main Theme does about the same. Those first few notes and you are there — transported, instantly, not just to the world of Star Wars but to that time in your life when you had all that awe and wow and popcorn grease on your fingers. And you didn’t know that Luke Skywalker was quite as whiney and cheesy as he would turn out to be. And you didn’t know how dangerous it was to fall for guys like Han Solo — you can change them in the movies but maybe not so much in real life. Those pesky scoundrels. Those bad boys. And you didn’t yet know that when Leia would kiss Luke in Empire that they would turn out to be siblings.

So those two songs, if we can call them that. I’ve never been sure. Do songs have to have lyrics? Those two songs are an important part of my life. From middle school through nearly all of high school I’d set up the album on my good ol’ record player and fall asleep listening to the music of Star Wars.

There’s one more significant song, again from Star Wars. It plays when the droids are escaping at the begining of the movie. I don’t know why, but it always resonated with me. It was, maybe, a song of friendship and adventure and rescue (or escape) and safety. So that when it would come on I would be transported, as I could by the Star Wars Main Title and The Imperial March. That third song isn’t as easily recognizable in an instant as are the other two, but it could nonetheless take me to another place. I’d set up the record payer with the machine set to turn off when that side of the album stopped and drift off to sleep. It was a reassuring lullaby that would ensure my dreams were neither boring nor too scary. I could let go and drift off like the droids in the escape pod.

Popular music has not had the same effect on my psyche, though there are many songs I like and some may creep in as favorites. My tie to the original Star Wars sound tracks is hard to beat even today — a time far enough in the future that Star Wars has actually become “long ago.” I had a friend who had the Imperial March as a ring tone. I’ve thought about that, but at this point I don’t want to hear it too much for fear that it will become too ordinary and loose it’s ability to transport me to that other world. I have a Doctor Who ringtone instead. It works well for my blue phone. But perhaps someday that will change.

Editing to add that this was for WordPress Writing 101: Third Assignment: Write about the three most important songs of your life. In the order that I wrong about them, the Songs are:
The Imperial March (Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, original soundtrack, but the march notes can be heard on many tracks of the soundtrack)
Main Title/Rebel Blockade Runner (Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, but Main Title/The Ice Planet Hoth from ESB is similar and ranks up there. I might even like it better than the original. Probably do.)
Imperial Attack (third track on Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, I had to look up the title of this one because I remember it being the music that played while R2D2 and C-3PO were escaping to Tatooine from the boarded rebel ship early in the original Star Wars movie. I associate it more with the droids than with imperials.)

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Writing 101, Day Three: Three Songs, a Trilogy | alightningbug
  2. Scott
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 15:56:50

    I like this very much. Though I was a Star Trek father than Star Wars, your text took me back to the pre-Star Trek movie when Captain Kirk, Bones, Scotty, and the guy with the point years were young and just then taking command. They showed the orchestra playing the theme. One would think that seeing the music being generated would be a downer like the first time I saw Red Skelton play Junior on television after years of building my own pictures. The theme carried its own weight and I was just moved as you probably were with Star Wars … I hope these run-on sentences make some kind of sense to you.

    Your writing is very good, very visual because I’ve been there and done that. 🙂

    Reply

  3. alightningbug
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 07:05:44

    Thank you, Scott! 🙂

    I’m a Star Trek fan too. But Star Wars was the first to really wow me. It’s probably because of Star Wars that I went on to explore Star Trek reruns and went from there.

    There is something about the music that carries its own weight, it is as if it has a life of its own.

    Reply

  4. karenlethlean
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 07:00:15

    Not a Star Wars fan, not to the extent of being able to identify songs by their placement in the movie, but like the style of your writing.

    Reply

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