Darth Vader's Theme vs. Beethoven


The organist at a church I used to go to sometimes worked the U of Michigan fight song into the quiet interlude music. I don’t think anyone but the choir ever caught on. He’d sometimes put it in the pedals, sometimes on one of the registers, with the rhythm totally altered to sound hymn like. I think he was trying to make the choir laugh out loud, it was hard to keep from snickering at times.


I’ve listened to this twice, and it’s very pretty, but it’s not really recognizable as the Imperial March, so…

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… making it perfect for the quiz segment on Performance Today.

Yes I thought the same. However, for some reason, the clip starts about a minute in to the actual performance. Make sure you start the clip from the beginning. At about 0:15, it is definitely recognizable (so much so that some members of the audience audibly chuckle).

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Hah, so it does. So the poster managed to skip the 30-second chunk of this seven-minute piece that actually fits the title? Well done.

I think Gary McGath’s Imperial Polka has this beat…

This was absolutely brilliant. Soooo jealous of this mans musical talent.

This probably wasn’t too difficult, considering the original imperial death march was based on (stolen) from chopin to begin with:

well, one of beethoven’s styles, anyway.


I also remember the Imperial March in the style of Meco:

Hmm, I always assumed it was based on Holst’s “Mars, the Bringer of War”, but thanks for this. Perhaps someone challenged Williams to play Chopin in the style of Holst.


Did beethoven ever compose anything that had a similar emotional purpose to the Imperial Marc?. I’ve heard some of his marches, and they definitely appeal to a different kind of esprit de corps than “we are badasses, we wear black, and you will surely die if you oppose us.”

I only listened to the first minute or so, but it seemed like all the badarse triumphalism was replaced with threadbare sadness.

I’m sure others could have better examples but the one that comes to my mind is Symphony 6 mvmt 4…“Sturm” at 6m 50s. I can’t seem to get Discourse to let me use the #t= trick.

So emo-Vader’s theme. This could have been useful in episodes 2 and 3.

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The force is strong with this one.

that and a lot of Black Sabbath

That’s no moonlight sonata.


Well, that would be in keeping with the way Williams himself used the Leitmotif in Darth Vader’s death scene, where Darth asks Luke to remove his mask. Most of the themes that John Williams came up with for Star Wars were repurposed even in the first movie, with the Jedi theme originally as a haunting reminder of faded magic repurposed into a Wagnerian triumph march at the end.

Williams himself has been very open about how he took the idea of a Leitmotif from the romantic composers (Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Holst, and so on) and repurposed it for the modern cinema.