"Rey, her theme has a musical grammar that is not heroic in the sense of a hero's theme. It's kind of an adventure theme that maybe promises more than resolving itself in the most major triumphant resolutions."
―John Williams[src]

"Rey's Theme" is a musical leitmotif written by John Williams for the 2015 film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens and its respective score to represent Rey, a focal character in the film.

Conception and development[edit | edit source]

"Rey's Theme" is the musical leitmotif that represents Rey, the central character of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.[6] It was composed and conducted for the film by John Williams.[5] When Williams saw the film and began composing the music, he felt empathy towards Rey, as she is first introduced alone and without her family. He wanted the theme to illustrate that empathy that he felt towards her. Williams composed the theme with a musical grammar that was intended more as an adventure theme rather than a hero's theme, one that promises more adventure and resolution to come.[1]

Summary[edit | edit source]

Led by strings and woodwinds, "Rey's Theme" is a mysterious five-segment piece with a core leitmotif of quickly alternating notes played by various instruments such as solo flute. The theme's first part is comprised of ten notes which are repeated, transitioning into a second part consisting of seven notes. The third part of the piece is the 12 note main motif of "Rey's Theme," and parts four and five conclude the piece, returning to the seven and ten note melodies.[5]

The primary melody in Rey's theme is written in the Dorian mode. It follows the period melodic structure. It is eight measures long and contains two four-measure phrases, called the antecedent and consequent phases in period structure. The consequent phrases opens with a varied restatement of the basic idea, while the consequent phrases contrasting idea is entirely new. John Williams never resolves the consequent phrases contrasting idea, either it is interrupted by a different melodic phrase or he repeats it with slight variation as if it is its own melody; some melodic transcriptions label it as such, however, it is most clearly the conclusion of the melody, drawn out and never resolving for tension. This structure gives it an extremely clear shape, with a range of an octave and a minor sixth. The melody features a number of leaps, which gives it a more powerful sound. Instrumentation wise this melody first appears on the horn, before being taken by the violins. Counter melodies based on the previously heard pentatonic patten are preformed on the flute.

Use[edit | edit source]

In the movies[edit | edit source]

In Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, "Rey's Theme" is first introduced as Rey exits a crashed Star Destroyer and speeds across the deserts of Jakku.[6] It continues into a number of other pieces from the film, including "The Scavenger,"[5] when Rey is first introduced;[6] "Farewell and The Trip,"[5] as Rey arrives on Ahch-To to find Luke Skywalker;[6] and "The Jedi Steps and Finale," in the end credits.[5] The theme later appeared in the teaser trailer for the film Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi[7] and appears prevalently in certain scenes involving the character on Ahch-To within the film itself.[8] The theme returns again in Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker in several scenes involving Rey.[9]

In other media and merchandise[edit | edit source]

Outside of the film, "Rey's Theme" appears in the video game LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens,[10] and it also appears in the video game Star Wars Battlefront II.[11] Additionally, an upbeat version of the theme is used as introductory music for The Star Wars Show.[12] The theme is used on Rey episodes of the micro-series Star Wars: Forces of Destiny.[13]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Leitmotifs and themes
Introduced in Episode IV
Leitmotifs:
Luke Skywalker · The Rebellion · Princess Leia · Jawa · The Force · Tusken Raider · The Death Star · Dies irae · The Empire

Recurring themes/concert pieces/songs:
"Star Wars Main Title" · "Cantina Band" · "Here They Come!/TIE Fighter Attack" · "The Final Battle" · "The Throne Room"

Introduced in Episode V
Leitmotifs: The Empire/Darth Vader · C-3PO and R2-D2 · Han Solo and Princess Leia · Yoda · Lando Calrissian · Boba Fett

Recurring themes: "The Asteroid Field"

Introduced in Episode VI
Leitmotifs: Jabba the Hutt · Ewoks · Luke and Leia · The Emperor

Concert pieces/songs: "Jabba the Hutt" · "Lapti Nek" · "Jedi Rocks"
"The Forest Battle" · "Ewok Celebration"/Yub Nub · "Victory Celebration" (VI)

Introduced in Holiday Special
"Light the Sky on Fire" · "Goodnight, But Not Goodbye" · "A Day to Celebrate"
Introduced in Droids and Ewoks
"In Trouble Again" · "Ewoks" · "Friends Together, Friends Forever"
Introduced in Rogue Squadron and Shadows of the Empire
"Rogue Squadron Main Title" · Xizor's Theme · Dash's theme
Introduced in Episode I
Leitmotifs: Qui-Gon Jinn · Jar Jar Binks · Darth Maul · Anakin Skywalker · Shmi Skywalker

Recurring themes: "Droid Invasion Theme" · "The Flag Parade" · "Escape from Naboo" · "Duel of the Fates" · Funeral

Introduced in Episode II
Leitmotifs: Mystery motif · "Across the Stars" · The Republic

Themes: "The Meadow Picnic"

Introduced in Episode III
Leitmotifs: General Grievous · Sith mystery · "Anakin's Betrayal" (II) ·"Anakin's Dark Deeds" (II) · "Battle of the Heroes"

Themes: "Padmé's Destiny" · "Padmé's Ruminations"

Introduced in The Clone Wars and Rebels
Leitmotifs: Clone Wars victory · Ahsoka Tano · Padmé Amidala
Rebels · Ezra Bridger · The Grand Inquisitor · Maul · Thrawn

Diegetic music: Glory of the Empire (V)

Introduced in Knights of the Old Republic and The Force Unleashed
Old Republic theme · The Force Unleashed · Rahm Kota · Juno Eclipse · Redemption
Introduced in Rogue One, Solo, and Galaxy's Edge
Leitmotifs: Jyn Erso and Hope (IV) · Galactic Empire · Guardians of the Whills
Han Solo · Enfys Nest

Themes: Galaxy's Edge

Introduced in Episode VII
Leitmotifs: Kylo Ren (V, VI, I, and II) · Rey (VI) · Poe Dameron · The Resistance · "Jedi Steps"

Themes/songs: "Han and Leia" · "Jabba Flow" · "Snoke"

Introduced in Episode VIII and IX
Rose Tico · Desperation · "Last-ditch fanfare" · Luke in exile · Knights of Ren
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Real-world music
Soundtracks
Saga:
I · II · III · IV · V · VI · VII · VIII · IX
Original Soundtrack Anthology · Ultimate Vinyl Collection
Ultimate Soundtrack Edition · Ultimate Digital Collection
Spin-off films & TV:
Ewoks · The Clone Wars movie, seasons 1–6, Season Seven: Episodes 1–4, Episodes 5–8, Episodes 9–12 · Rebels Season One & Season Two · Rogue One · Solo · The Mandalorian (Chapter 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8)
Video games:
Shadows of the Empire · Republic Commando · The Old Republic
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
Oga's Cantina: R3X's Playlist 1
Composers
Clint Bajakian · Peter Bernstein · Paul Dinletir · Michael Giacchino · Patrick Gleeson · Ludwig Göransson · Mark Griskey
Jesse Harlin · Jerry Hey · Chris Hülsbeck · Dean Kiner · Kevin Kiner · Sean Kiner · Frank Klepacki · Joel McNeely
Lin-Manuel Miranda · John Powell · Ryan Shore · Jeremy Soule · James L. Venable · John Williams · Joseph Williams
Performers
London Symphony Orchestra · London Voices
City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra · Royal Scottish National Orchestra
New London Children's Choir · Seattle Sinfonia Orchestra
Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra · Los Angeles Master Chorale · Kathleen Battle
Vienna Philharmonic · Hamburger Symphoniker · Jefferson Starship · The Hu
Sheet music books
The Phantom Menace · Attack of the Clones · Revenge of the Sith
Music from the Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition · Selections from Star Wars
Star Wars: A Musical Journey: Episodes I-VI · Star Wars Episodes I, II & III Instrumental Solos
Star Wars for Beginning Piano Solo · The Force Awakens · Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Music videos
"Lapti Nek": The Music Video from Jabba's Palace · The Duel of the Fates · A Hero Falls
Other
Bantha Music · Christmas in the Stars
Special Extended Dance Remix of Lapti Nek from the Original Soundtrack Recording of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Tusken Music · Headspace
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