For fans of The Mandalorian , the music by Ludwig Goransson has undoubtedly been one of the highlights of the series. The composer, previously known for his work on Black Panther , uses organic instruments as a trademark of his style, something heavily present in Mando's theme.
Star Wars music has a long history, obviously beginning with the scores for the saga films by the Maestro himself, John Williams. Kevin Kiner, Michael Giacchino, and John Powell have each had the opportunity to contribute to the glossary of Star Wars themes in various works as well, but Goransson re-defined the music to fit the needs of The Mandalorian .
Jon Favreau has talked at length about wanting to try something different musically for his TV series. The gritty world of The Mandalorian required tech-oriented pieces, but the tribal nature of Mandalorians offered the opportunity to add Goransson's organic instruments into the fray. For those wondering how he did it, a new music video offers a look at the composer constructing the theme for the hit series...
An official music video starring Ludwig Goransson performing the theme for The Mandalorian has been released. The video, which incorporates several instruments used to construct the piece, as well as sets from the show, can be seen below:
Additionally, Vanity Fair interviewed Goransson about his process for creating the musical soundscape in The Mandalorian . The composer explained that many of the instruments heard in the main theme are played by himself:
"Yeah, basically, except for the orchestral instruments that you hear halfway in."
Goransson's approach to writing the music? He wanted to feel like a kid:
"I just started recording myself. It felt like meditation. This was how I used to write music as a kid . I wanted to get back a little bit into that mentality, because I remember watching Star Wars for the first time as a kid. The music, especially, had such an impact on me ."
Because Din Djarin is a largely faceless character, the composer saw it as his job to portray the Mandalorian's emotions:
" I’m the facial expression. The music is the facial expression , telling how he feels going through this journey."
The primary instrument Goransson used was a recorder, which he felt strongly represented the Mandalorian and his story:
"Well, for me, it always resembled or made me think of a lone man’s journey ."
As always, none of this could be possible if not for the Maestro, whom Goransson worked diligently to pay tribute to while taking The Mandalorian's music in a new direction:
"Favreau and Dave Filoni, they were extremely encouraging of experimentation. They left the doors open…. I’m familiar with the Star Wars music, but I think for this show, in particular, I also wanted to pay homage to John Williams ."
WHAT THIS MEANS
Between the music video, the interview, and the Disney Gallery episode focusing on the series' music, it's clear that Ludwig Goransson has put a great deal of effort into crafting something that fits the world of The Mandalorian while still staying true to the roots of John Williams' Star Wars scores.
We're introduced to the recorder as a primary instrument for the first time in Star Wars, alongside a wide array of unique pianos, electric guitars, and synths, but an orchestra is still used in many parts of the show's main theme. Many of the action sequences are accompanied by music with a tech aspect, but Baby Yoda's theme is purely orchestral - all of which demonstrates Goransson's efforts to make things new and familiar.
George Lucas has said that the Star Wars movies could be viewed as silent films. Strip the music from any scene in the films, and the impact of the moment is immediately lost. John Williams' work breathed life into the already brilliant stories that Lucas created, and Goransson has now done the same for The Mandalorian . The music tells the unspoken aspects of the story, and with a tale as rich as The Mandalorian , Ludwig Goransson is heavily responsible for the way the show has resonated with audiences.