Star Wars Music: The Best Instrumental Pieces

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


From the original film’s Cantina Band to John Williams’ “The Imperial March,” we rank the best and most iconic instrumental pieces from the “Star Wars” movies.

“The Imperial March”

“The Imperial March” is a musical theme present in the Star Wars franchise. It was composed by John Williams for the film The Empire Strikes Back. The piece is used as a leitmotif for Darth Vader, the main antagonist of the original trilogy.

The march is characterized by its menacing, dark tone and militaristic feel. It begins with a slow, ominous opening section featuring low brass before transitioning into a fast-paced, dramatic main theme. The march reached widespread popularity after its use in The Empire Strikes Back and has become one of Williams’ most iconic pieces.

“Duel of the Fates”

“Duel of the Fates” is a musical theme included in the score for the 1999 film “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace”. Composed by John Williams, it features choral writing in Latin and was performed by the London Voices and the London Symphony Orchestra. It plays during the climactic lightsaber battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul.

The piece is based on ancient ceremonial music, featuring an ostinato that alternates between E minor and C minor. The main melody is first played by solo violins before being taken up by the full orchestra. The music builds to a tense climax as the three opponents cross lightsabers, before resolving in a victorious D major chord as Obi-Wan defeats Darth Maul.

“Across the Stars”

“Across the Stars” is a beautiful, heart-wrenching love theme from Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. The piece was composed by legendary film composer John Williams, and features some of his best work in the Star Wars franchise.

The track begins with a simple, gentle piano melody that is accompanied by a sweeping orchestral arrangement. This gives way to a more emotive section that features a gorgeous violin solo by famed violinist Itzhak Perlman. The track ends with the original piano melody, giving the piece a sense of resolution and hope.

“Across the Stars” is one of the most popular and beloved pieces of music from the Star Wars franchise, and is an essential listen for any fan of the series.

“Battle of the Heroes”

“Battle of the Heroes” is a musical piece composed by John Williams for the Star Wars film series. The piece is used in the films Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One, as well as in the TV series The Clone Wars. It is one of the most popular pieces of Star Wars music, and has been used in many different media.

“The Throne Room”

One of the most iconic and beloved pieces of music from the Star Wars franchise is “The Throne Room.” This piece, composed by John Williams, is played during the celebration scene after the defeat of the Empire in Return of the Jedi. It is an upbeat, triumphant piece that perfectly captures the mood of the moment.

“The Throne Room” is one of the most popular pieces of Star Wars music, and has been covered by many artists over the years. It remains an enduring classic and a staple of the franchise.

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