A dialog of thoughts and ideas about software, usability, and products, with random science and wacky ideas thrown in for good measure.

In my continuing research of how creative people find inspiration in existing works, I've been exploring the inspiration behind John William's music. I started down this path when I happened to be listening to Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" and I thought it sounded an awful lot like "Anakin's Theme"; within a week, I noticed the similarity between Holst's "Mars, Bringer of War" and the opening theme from Revenge of the Sith.

In the course of my exploration, I discovered a fascinating use of a musical motif that I had to share. You are likely familiar with the "Emperor's Throne Room" theme from Return of the Jedi. This is one of my favorite pieces of dark theme music. The theme includes the following motif:

Perhaps fewer of you will recall, or will want to recall, the celebratory music at the end of The Phantom Menace. This theme, called "Augie's Great Municipal Band," has a chorus of children singing the following motif:

Now here's the cool part: These are the same motif! They are played at very different tempos and with much different instrumentation, but the underlying structure the same. Perhaps this is reminding us that Chancellor Palpatine was the true victor (and perhaps the title character) of The Phantom Menace.

Here is the "Augie's Great Municipal Band" motif slowed down and re-picthed - notice it is now a little closer to the "Emperor's Throne Room" theme:

Pretty cool!