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John Williams Disaster Strings


The YouTube channel Dominic Sewell Music posted Dominic’s latest Star Wars score reduction, of the “Death of Alderaan.”

The passage I’ve screen-caped above, in the lead-up to the Death Star’s blast, is one of my favorite John Williams orchestration styles from the seventies—the disaster strings!


I hear this and I feel like a little kid staying up late to watch trucks slam into each other on Close Encounters, Superman, or any one of those classics.


It’s strings moving atonally, with lots of contrary motion.


I wonder if it would work on anything today, or if it sounds too dated?


He pretty much stopped using it by the early 1980s.

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I love those moments too. I think he still uses it but relies more on ostinatos and motific repetition but you can still here it.


Wouldn't you say this is basically it though in a very tragic, slow, and expressive quality where he passes it around the various strings (starting at 0:27)?



But what I hear more often for string risers now is motific repetition + volume + more instrumentation. (@ 1:39)



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Please forgive me, I'm slammed with work and don't really have time to get into it! Maybe they'll want to talk about it on the FSM message board? But check out Black Sunday, "The Flight Check," around 1:25!

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