Yoda’s Theme

MONDAY, January 13, 2020

Episodes IV through VI came first…

It all gets very confusing because somehow George Lucas, the man who came up with the whole idea, started the story at Episode IV. So the original trilogy, in three parts, numbered IV through VI, took six years to get that far in the story. Did they really plan to finish it? Who knows. At the time it just seemed strange. Why start with the fourth part?

It was not until 1999 that they decided to continue the story by going back in time to when Darth Vader was just a boy. I think Lucas didn’t really think the story would ever be finished.

Yoda is introduced in the second movie…

Regardless, in Episode V we meet Yoda, a new character who mentors young Luke Skywalker.

From the time he was introduced Yoda was one of the most popular characters and central to the whole story.

Williams uses Lydian mode for Yoda…

This is where a scale used the sharp or raised 4th so that the II chord becomes major. Modes are very powerful in setting modes. Lydian is sometimes called the “fantasy mode”.

The original music in the first film…

Yoda remastered…

I don’t know how this is done, but I assume different tracks are spliced together from different sound tracks. This would not be authorized by Williams, but some of the people who do this remastering do an excellent job, and this is a really nice job. I starts with the Force theme, that after a couple minutes you hear the Yoda theme come in. It’s a good transition and makes sense, because Yoda is also extremely important in both the story and in the concept of the Force.

Yoda Suite…

This is yet another treatment of the Yoda theme..

This time it starts off with a very light march, mostly winds, then the Yoda theme comes back in its usual slow, majestic way. Of special interest to me is the cadence from G7b5 to a C major chord. The Yoda theme often ends on a Cmaj7 chord, but at the end it is a pure major chord. This may be the most elegant version of the theme.

One final treatment…

This one starts off with quiet dissonants, then you hear the Main theme, very quietly. This takes the first couple minutes. Usually this theme is in C major, and he sneaks the theme in, but in minor. G Eb C. Then he switches right to C major, then slips to D major, then to E major, slides to Bb major, then to E minor for a taste of the Darth Vader or Imperial March theme. So there are four themes or Leitmotivs here, and that is very common in this music.

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