How ‘Star Wars Battlefront’ created the B-side to John Williams’ score – Los Angeles Times

Some of the first sounds you hear in “Star Wars Battlefront” are instantly recognizable. The exuberant brass notes strike a triumphant tone from John Williams‘ signature score, welcoming players before any action has begun. Then things start to change.

Much of “Star Wars Battlefront” (the Dice-developed video game, released Tuesday for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PCs) boasts an original score from composer Gordy Haab. His mission: to re-create the sound of the original trilogy without out-and-out copying Williams. Throughout the game, 30-or-so second snippets of Williams’ music are inter-spliced with longer, newer works from Haab.

“The request for the sound of ‘Battlefront’ was to sound as though it was the B-side of the original trilogy soundtrack album — the lost tracks from John Williams that you didn’t get to hear,” Haab said last week. “My goal was to live very much in that world.”

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Haab has worked in the “Star Wars” gaming universe before. He has composed scores for “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” a game set thousands of years before the events of the original trilogy, and the more lighthearted “Kinect: Star Wars,” a title that pulls from the era of the prequels. 

Haab, then, has become something of a student of “Star Wars,” and, in particular, the sounds of Williams. Haab was asked what makes “Star Wars” sound like “Star Wars.”

“The music of ‘Star Wars’ is defined by a culmination of many factors,” he said. “One of which is the use of the full range of the orchestra, from the highest piccolo notes to the lowest lows, which creates a sense of vast size and space. And of course, brass. From the solo French horn to the full brass section fanfares, and in particular, the heroic use of the trumpet section.”

Haab said there are vast differences between the music of the two trilogies. 

“The original trilogy is much more thematic, in the sense that every character has a very short light motif that he pulls from constantly,” Haab said. “It kind of jumps around from theme to theme, based on who’s on screen. It’s much more about that concept of the leitmotif and the short melodies. Then there’s the big moments where he opens up these broad melodies.”