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Tag Archive: Skywalker Sound


You can expect to hear a familiar tune at every other instrumental band concert and from keyboard artists and other musical groups this year beginning this Memorial Day weekend.  For the annual anniversary of the release of Star Wars on May 25, 2018, and the celebration of the 35th anniversary of the first time most of us first heard of George Lucas’s sound company, THX Ltd. publicly released its sheet music for its theater ad promo with the theatrical release of Solo: A Star Wars Story.  It’s hard to believe that sound, which appears to most like a twisting, slowly deafening noise, has been around so long.  If you were around in 1983 you probably first heard it along with the movie trailers before screenings of Return of the Jedi starting May 25, 1983.

The music, a “synthesized crescendo that glissandos from a low rumble to a high pitch,” is called Deep Note.  First recorded by Lucasfilm employee Dr. James A. Moorer in 1982, it’s a trademark of the THX brand.  Categorized as a federal sensory trademark first filed in 1992, the original U.S Patent and Trademark Office registration defines Deep Note in more technical terms: “The THX logo theme consists of 30 voices over seven measures, starting in a narrow range, 200 to 400 Hz, and slowly diverting to preselected pitches encompassing three octaves.  The 30 voices begin at pitches between 200 Hz and 400 Hz and arrive at pre-selected pitches spanning three octaves by the fourth measure.  The highest pitch is slightly detuned while there are double the number of voices of the lowest two pitches.”  The sound aired before all movies from June 1, 1983, until August 31, 1996.  Here is the post from THX on social media:

Back in the early 1980s George Lucas created THX (named for sound engineer Tomlinson Holman and an homage to Lucas’s film THX-1138, which was said to have been derived from a Lucas phone number: 849-1138) when attempting to perfect the movie-going experience along with his Skywalker Sound company.  So what’s the difference between THX and Skywalker Sound?  THX is a standards company first created to ensure the vision (err… the ear) of a filmmaker made it to the audience’s final in-theater experience (more recently branching out to car stereos, video games, and home theaters).  Skywalker Sound is a Lucasfilm/Disney company that specializes in the sound effects, sound editing, sound design, sound mixing and music recording for various award-winning projects.  THX was spun-off before Disney acquired Lucasfilm.

Here is a brief YouTube history of the THX Deep Note recording and trailer:

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Lucasfilm intends to create the next generation of gaming with its game-in-the-works, Star Wars 1313.  Bringing together the entire Lucasfilm family, LucasArts is teaming up with Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound, and Lucasfilm Animation, to render a real-time production the company expects will provide an incredibly detailed playing experience.  Lucasfilm says it is using full performance capture, mixing voice actors with full motion capture to record facial expressions and movements, so actors can fully perform what the characters are doing and this will translated to the gaming screen like never before.  This is expected to be a big step toward the convergence of movies and gaming.

Don’t expect to get Star Wars 1313 any time soon for your PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.  LucasArts is designing this complex game for bigger game machines and so Star Wars 1313 will likely not be out in final form for a few years.

As for the substance of the game and story, this action adventure will veer away from the Jedi world that has monopolized Star Wars gaming, and feature a darker, more mature adventure.  From the preview this has the feel of the early Star Wars comic books that took place after the original Star Wars.  In fact the game is to take place between the first and second trilogies.  The background is the seedy underworld of the capital of the Republic, Coruscant.  Think Mos Eisley but in a dense urban area.  The game is to have interesting new weaponry and will feature a bounty hunter stalking his prey in the city.  Whether or not this will include Boba Fett has not yet been disclosed–the character in the preview is an example of a character you might find in the final game.  Supposedly there are some 5,000 levels to the city of Coruscant, and the number 1313 in the title refers to a particular underworld in the city that will serve as the center of the story.

Here is the preview footage:

I think the editing of the music is the best part, plus the explosion sequences look great.

Of course the trailer only shows some apparently spice smuggler inspired scenes in someone’s space vessel–nothing yet about how the city scenes will look.  There is no release date for Star Wars 1313 but the buzz is already building across the Web.  Check out the Star Wars 1313 website for updates as they are released.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com