© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Classical 101

The Music of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

Official Star Wars: The Force Awakens image from the film's photo gallery.
This photo of the droid BB-8 in the back of an X-wing depicts a battle on a snowy planet that resembles Hoth. (Although, have you seen those weird trenches in the trailer?... Hmm.)

If you can hum the Overture from the opening credits, the Imperial March is the ringtone for your mother, and John Williams is your version of Beethoven; you might be a nerd.

It's okay. To emulate Obi Wan: "This is the blog you are looking for."

Although most people know me as a Musicologist and Trekkie- live long and prosper, y'all- I am definitely a huge fan of Star Wars. Obviously, I am not alone in this affinity.

The internet has turned itself inside out over the past few months, and every retail store across the country has basically exploded with 'Tie-fighter this' and 'Imperial that.' In fact, the Los Angeles Times released an article stating that the Star Wars franchise could rake in up to $220 million, this weekend alone. 

So, let's take a break from practicing with our broomstick lightsabers to look at some new music, a great new composer on the bill, and what the soundtrack titles can tell us about the plot, my fellow nerf-herders. 

The Soundtrack 

*** If you do not want to hear the opening music (spoilers), do not watch this video, jedi. ***


The New Cantina Scene Music by Lin Manuel-Miranda

You may be familiar with Miranda's name from his Broadway successes including Hamilton and In the HeightsSo far, it is unclear whether the new bar scene will be set in the same cantina or if it will simply emulate the feeling of that iconic scene.

You may recall the iconic 40's sound of the cantina band, Filgrin D'an and the Modal Nodes, (No, seriously that's their name.) but it Miranda's music may be very different. Here is what director J.J. Abrams said about asking Miranda to write for the score after meeting him: 

“Lin, who wrote [Hamilton] and conceived it and normally stars in it... comes up to me and he says hello, and my mind is blown because he’s so brilliant... He says ‘hey, if you need music for the cantina, I’ll write it’”.

For reference, here is part of the Cantina Scene. (I had this great book when I was a kid, so the music is forever burned into my memory.) 


The Tracklist

Finally, here is the complete list of titles from the soundtrack. Some of them can be heard on the trailer, and others we will simply have to experience in the theater.


Credit Kylie Harwell-Sturgill
May the Force be with you!

1. Main Title and the Attack on the Jakku Village 2. The Scavenger

3. I Can Fly Anything

4. Rey Meets BB-8

5. Follow Me

6. Rey's Theme

7. The Falcon

8. That Girl with the Staff

9. The Rathtars!

10. Finn's Confession

11. Maz's Counsel

12. The Starkiller

13. Kylo Ren Arrives at the Battle

14. The Abduction

15. Han and Leia

16. March of the Resistance

17. Snoke

18. On the Inside

19. Torn Apart

20. The Ways of the Force

21. Scherzo for X-Wings

22. Farewell and the Trip

23. The Jedi Steps and Finale