"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]

A rendition of the theme is played in the light side menu screens of Star Wars: Starfighter Missions. A rendition of the "The Force Theme" in the game also incorporates "Rey's Theme."[14] A rendition of "Rey's Theme" in the light side menu screens of LEGO Star Wars Battles also enjoys the accompaniment of "The Force Theme."[15]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Themes and leitmotifs
Introduced in Episode IV
Main Title (Luke) · Rebels · Imperials · the Force (Ben Kenobi) · Princess Leia · Death Star · Jawa · Tusken Raider · dies irae
"Star Wars Main Title" · "Mad About Me" (Cantina Band) (IV) · "Dune Sea Special" (Cantina Band #2)
"Here They Come!/TIE Fighter Attack" · "The Final Battle" · "The Throne Room"
Introduced in Episode V
the Empire/Darth Vader · droids · dark side · walkers · "Han Solo and the Princess" (IV) · Yoda · Boba Fett I
Lando Calrissian · "May the Force Be with You" · "The Asteroid Field"
Introduced in Episode VI
Jabba · funeral · "Parade of the Ewoks" · Luke and Leia (IV, IV) · The Emperor (Sith) · trap
Jabba the Hutt" · "The Forest Battle" (V) · "Victory Celebration" (VI)
Introduced in Dark Forces, Shadows of the Empire, and Rogue Squadron
mystery (IV, V) · Xizor's Theme · Dash's theme · Rogue Squadron theme
Introduced in Episode I
droid march · "Duel of the Fates" · Qui-Gon · Jar Jar · Darth Maul · Anakin Skywalker (V) · Shmi
"The Flag Parade" · "Escape from Naboo" · "Symponik Nabooalla" ("Augie's Great Municipal Band") (VI)
Introduced in Episode II
conspiracy (IV, II) · "Across the Stars" (IV, IV, IV) · "The Meadow Picnic"
descent (IV, II) · "The Arena" (Republic) · Palpatine's machinations
Introduced in Episode III
General Grievous · Sith mystery · "Padmé's Ruminations" (III) · "Anakin's Betrayal" (II)
"Anakin's Dark Deeds" (V, II, III) · "Battle of the Heroes" · "Padmé's Destiny"
Introduced in Knights of the Old Republic I and II
Revan · Bastila Shan · Kreia · Sith Triumvirate (II) · Nar Shaddaa · Korriban
Introduced in Clone Wars and Empire at War
Advanced Recon Commandoes · Zann Consortium
Introduced in The Force Unleashed and The Old Republic
The Force Unleashed · Rahm Kota · Juno Eclipse · Redemption · the Commander · Valkorion
Introduced in The Clone Wars and Rebels
Admiral Yularen (V) · clones · Ahsoka Tano · Plo Koon · Padmé Amidala
Savage Opress · the Force (mystery) (IV) · Satine Kryze
Rebels (VI) · Ezra Bridger · the Grand Inquisitor · "Glory of the Empire" (V) · Maul · Thrawn
Introduced in Anthology Series
Galactic Empire · Jyn Erso & Hope Suite (Jyn Erso (IV) · hope (IV)Guardians of the Whills · messenger (IV) · Rogue One (IV)
Secrets · Han Solo · Han and Qi'ra · "Empire Recruitment" · Enfys Nest · L3-37 (VI)
Introduced in Episode VII
Kylo Ren (V, V, VI, I, I, II, VII) · Rey (IV, V, VI, II, II, III, VII) · Poe Dameron · the Resistance · tension (II) · Snoke · "Jedi Steps"
"Adagio" · "Scherzo for X-Wings"
Introduced in Episode VIII
"The Rebellion Is Reborn" · Rose Tico · desperation (VII) · Luke in exile
Introduced in Episode IX
"Anthem of Evil" (II, II, III, VI, VII, VIII) · Knights of Ren · "The Rise of Skywalker" (victory motif (II, VII) · friendship motif)
Introduced in Battlefront II, Jedi: Fallen Order, and Squadrons
Iden Versio's Theme · Cal Kestis · Second Sister · Eno Cordova · Main Theme
Introduced in The Freemaker Adventures, Galaxy's Edge, and LEGO Holiday Special
Main Title (Freemakers) · Symphonic Suite · "Tara's Theme" · "Pinteeka Dub" · "Age of Jedi" · connection
Introduced in The Mandalorian
Din Djarin (main theme) · Grogu · Gideon · Bo-Katan Kryze · Boba Fett II
See also: Songs
[edit]
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: film, Seasons 1–6, Season Seven (1–4, 5–8, 9–12) · Rebels: One, Two
Rogue One · Solo · The Mandalorian (Chapter 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9-12 · 13-16)
Video games:
Shadows of the Empire · Republic Commando · The Old Republic: Collector's Edition · YouTube playlist
Battlefront · Battlefront II · Jedi: Fallen Order · Squadrons
Galaxy's Edge:
Oga's Cantina: R3X's Playlist 1
Composers
Brennan Anderson · Clint Bajakian · Stephen Barton · Peter Bernstein · Paul Dinletir · Michael Giacchino · Patrick Gleeson
Ludwig Göransson · Mark Griskey · Gordy Haab · Jesse Harlin · Jerry Hey · Chris Hülsbeck · Nick von Kaenel · Dean Kiner
Kevin Kiner · Sean Kiner · Frank Klepacki · Peter McConnell · Bear McCreary · Joel McNeely · Lin-Manuel Miranda
Danny Piccione · John Powell · Ryan Shore · Jeremy Soule · Joseph Trapanese · James L. Venable · Paul Webb
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
Los Angeles Master Chorale · 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 Duel of the Fates · A Hero Falls
Other
Bantha Music · Christmas in the Stars · Lapti Nek Dance Remix · Tusken Music · Headspace
[edit]
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