"Imperial Motif" is a minor theatrical theme used in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope to represent the Galactic Empire. It is not to be confused with the much more famous "Imperial March" which was introduced in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. It was written by John Williams and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra in 1977.
It is first heard in the early scenes of A New Hope during the boarding of the Tantive IV by Imperial troops, in the soundtrack piece known as "Imperial Attack". The theme is based on low sinister triplets usually played on timpani, cellos, basses and trombones.
The "Imperial Motif" is considered by some to be an early musical theme for Darth Vader, although another short motif also appears in A New Hope in reference to Vader, consisting of a quiet triplet melody on bassoon over minor key arpeggios played on cellos. This theme features in "Imperial Attack" prior to Princess Leia's first confrontation with Vader; to accompany scenes of stormtroopers marching on the Death Star ("The Trash Compactor"); and it also makes an appearance during the scene in Obi-Wan Kenobi's home on Tatooine, sounding quietly on solo clarinet as Obi-Wan explains the history of Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker ("Tales Of A Jedi Knight/Learn About The Force"). Both the "Imperial Motif" and the "Darth Vader Motif" were superseded by the Imperial March" in the following film, the Empire Strikes Back.
The theme appears in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, in a scene chronologically occurring immediately prior to the aforementioned boarding of Tantive IV, as a musical foreshadowing of A New Hope ("Hope").
- ↑ John Williams Themes, Part 3 of 6: The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme). Film Music Notes. Archived from the original on March 20, 2013. Retrieved on July 19, 2014.
- ↑ Barton, Tom: A Musical Biography of John Williams (2013), p.83
- ↑ Kalinak, Kathryn: Settling the Score: Music and the Classical Hollywood Film (Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1992) ISBN 9780299133634