ANH 7: Laser Sword Sound Design (Minutes 31-35)

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By Chrysanthe Tan. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Lightsaber Sound Design: an extreme deep dive in 4 levels.

NOTE: This episode contains a plethora of lightsaber sound effects that may be jarring for some listeners. You may want to have the volume controls handy. Furthermore, headphones or a quiet environment may be helpful for part 3 (starting at the 1-hour mark) if you want to hear the details in the sound design demonstration.

Discussion Guide:

  • 0:00:00 - Hello there.
  • 0:00:30 - Description of action in minutes 31-35 of Star Wars.
  • 0:17:14 - Level 1: What do lightsabers sound like in various states of operation? (ignition, retraction, hum-buzz, swing, clash, etc)
  • 0:33:08 - Level 2: Historical/documentarian perspective. How did Ben Burtt make the first lightsaber sounds, and what were his aims?
  • 0:59:38 - Level 3: Mega sound design nerd stuff. We break down the lightsaber sound in extreme detail and talk about how to recreate it.
  • 1:49:31 - Level 4: Big picture discussion, the future of lightsaber sound design, why old lightsaber sounds were re-recorded.
  • 2:18:53 - SWMM Questionnaire

Musical Themes:

  • 12) Distress
  • 3. Force
  • 6a. Imperials (Motif) (when O-W is telling Luke about his father)
  • Note: For consistency, I use the theme names and numbers established in Frank Lehman's Complete Catalogue of the Musical Themes of Star Wars. You can download it free at his website: https://franklehman.com/starwars/.

Where we are in the soundtrack album:

  • "Landspeeder Search/Attack of the Sand People"

Sound Sources and Other References:

STAR WARS MUSIC MINUTE QUESTIONNAIRE:

1. In exactly 3 words, what does Star Wars sound like?

  • pwsh vrrrrum shhpt

2. What's something related to Star Wars music or sound that you want to learn more about?

  • "Duel of the Fates" orchestration

3. What's a score or soundtrack you're fond of besides anything Star Wars?

  • I, Robot (composed by Marco Beltrami)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) (composed by John Du Prez)
  • Spirited Away (composed by Joe Hisaishi)

GUEST LINKS:

Follow Justin Leo Kennedy!

SWMM LINKS:

Star Wars Music Minute:

Xanthe:

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