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Mark Richards

The Music of John Williams with Special Guest Mark Richards

September 10, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Join us for a detailed exploration of John Williams’ action music with film music scholar and educator, Mark Richards. Through several decades of study and published research Dr. Richards has uncovered an array of harmonic techniques Williams utilizes for his action writing, including the employment of more exotic scales such octatonic, hexatonic, an Hungarian minor as well as dissonant bass notes and polychords. We’ll discuss how Williams crafts specific action chords from these elements, tailoring them for varied cinematic needs – be it general action sequences, moments of emphasis or conveying particular emotional associations.

For a hands-on understanding, our study will concentrate on two particular cues from the original Star Wars trilogy: “Attacking a Star Destroyer” from “The Empire Strikes Back” and the Rancor Pit scene from “Return of the Jedi.” Through Mark Richards’ expert guidance, attendees will gain invaluable insights into the meticulous crafting of music that has delighted us as filmgoers but frequently puzzled us as composers and analysts.

This is a free event for ASA members! Members will be given the Zoom link the day prior to the event. Sign up to become an ASA member here.