Contact Us


A Theme For Everything

The Movies

One aspect found throughout John Williams' music for Star Wars is his use of leitmotifs, which Phillip Morehead in The New American Dictionary of Music defines as "a musical theme associated by a composer with a certain idea, feeling, object or character and used throughout a work as its representative." It is a technique commonly used in film music.

John Williams developed themes then for major characters and aspects of the Star Wars Trilogy. Some of the most famous of these themes were used in the music for The Dark Tide. They include:

Shadows of the Empire

In 1996, Lucasarts came out with Shadows of the Empire, a story set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. What made Shadows especially unique was that it came out through a wide assortment of media, including a novel, a comic book, a 3-D interactive video game, action figures, a card set, and an original soundtrack by Joel McNeely. McNeely followed Williams' lead, creating new themes for the characters, places, and events in Shadows. Since the storyline of The Dark Tide is heavly interwoven with Shadows of the Empire, it made sense to use McNeely's music along with Williams'. The Shadows themes used include:

The Video Games

Another source of musical material is the Lucasarts video games, particularily Dark Forces (of course), X-Wing, and Tie-Fighter. The music in these games contains a mixture of arrangements of John Williams' music, original music derived from Williams' themes, and completely new music. For Dark Forces Clint Bajakian created a theme for the game itself and a theme closey connected to it for our hero, Kyle Katarn.

Clink Bajakian, along with Michael Land and Peter McConnell, also worked on the music forX-Wing and Tie-Fighter. That music is also already in the GMID (midi) format, just like Dark Forces, making it convenient to use.

Original Music

Despite the plethora of musical material available to me, I still wanted The Dark Tide to have its own musical identity, That required its own theme, so I wrote one. It's full treatment is straightforward and big in scale. It's meant to be dramatic, somewhat dark, somewhat tragic, and hopefully it would also fit in with all the other Star Wars music.

In the second part, I decided to introduce a new theme into the mix. While we had themes for the main characters - Kyle, Dash, Xizor, the enemies on Tatooine, the Imperial adversaries - one key character was musically overlooked: Jan Ors.

'Jan's theme' is meant to be in the tradition of 'Leia's Theme' in Star Wars, 'Luke and Leia's Theme' in Return of the Jedi or like some of the other big 'female' themes John Williams has written, such as 'Marion's Theme' from Raiders of the Lost Ark or 'Love Theme/Can You Read My Mind' from Superman. Writing this new theme gives me material to work with when things relate to Jan.

Putting it All Together

So with this collection of thematic and source material to work with, I could use them all the similar ways, treating my own material and Kyle's music in the same manner as Williams and Neely's music. In this regard, they could all be woven into a cohesive musical tapestry that's both traditional and new.

The Dark Tide I: Wasteland Survivor