Popular Music Lesson

The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)

You must be logged in to comment.

Loading comments


Hello and welcome back. I'm Joseph Hoffman.
Today we're learning the "Imperial March” from Star Wars.
Some people call it the Darth Vader theme.  Let's take a listen.

To help you learn the rhythm of “Imperial March" I've invited a special guest.
I'll go invite him in now.

I am Darth Vader. But you may call me Lord Vader.
Mr. Hoffman has requested that I train you in the ways of the rhythm.
So join me at the heartbeat mat.
This is the rhythm for "Imperial March."
Observe the dotted eighth sixteenth note rhythm.
It will make a sound like this: TIM-KI TIM-KI.
Now observe the sound of this rhythm.
Now you will attempt to say the rhythm with me. Ready begin.
Impressive. Most impressive.
Once you have mastered this song, you must remember to practice it every day.
Do not fail me.  Mr. Hoffman will now complete your training.

Thanks Lord Vader.
Okay let's practice moving our fingers how we'll need to for this song.
Please hold up your right hand with me.
Now I'm going to use finger numbers so let’s review quickly.
We have finger one, two, three, four and five.
For starters we'll go with three finger threes like this:
Three three three. Now your turn.
Good. Now my turn.
After that we go one, five, three. Your turn.
Good now that one is actually the rhythm that Lord Vader showed us,
where it goes TIM-KI TA.
So it kind of goes quickly with this finger five.
One five three. One five three.

So let's practice that a few times.  Ready, go:
One, five, three.
Again: One, five, three.
One more time: One, five, three.
Now let's put it together like this:
Three, three, three, one, five, three, one, five, three.
Good one more time. Ready, go:
Three, three, three, one, five, three, one, five, three.

Good. Now let's try that on the piano.
So for this song we're going to use the C major pentascale,
which means you'll put fingers one, two, three, four, five
on C, D, E, F and G on the piano.
Okay I'll play it once, then it will be your turn.
Now you try:

Now let's go back to holding our fingers in the air so I can show you the next part.
Okay, for the next section,
our right hand is actually going to slide up to a higher position,
which I'll show you in a second.
And then we'll have three finger threes again.
Three, three, three, four, one. Your turn.
So these three finger threes are quarter notes, so it will be TA TA TA TIM-KI.
So we have TIM-KI. Let's try it together. Ready, go:
And at that point our hand shifts back down to the C pentascale,
and I'll show you the rest in a minute.

Let's try that on the piano.
So here is our original position to play the beginning of the song like this.
For the next phrase we slide up to the G major pentascale,
and again we're going to start on finger three.
But now our thumb, or finger one, is on G.
So now we have three, three, three, four, one.
Now your turn to try that.
Good, and after we do three, three, three, four, one,
then we're going to slide our finger three over our thumb kind of like this,
and land on this E Flat for a quarter note.

So watch that once.
Notice how I played the G with my thumb finger one,
and then finger three kind of glides across my thumb to land on E flat.
And then we end with TIM-KI TA, the same three notes we started with.
One, five, three.
So watch that whole thing again from the second phrase.
Now press pause and practice the whole thing on your own.
Press play when you're ready to watch the entire "Imperial March.”

All right here is "Imperial March" with the right hand playing.
Now let's add some extra challenge.
We're going to add some chords in the left hand.
For the chords we'll use an E chord with just E and B,
and we'll use fingers one and five in the left hand.
And then the other chord we'll use is a C chord.
We're going to shift down from E and B down to C and G.
And our left hand will play that chord.
So we have E and B sometimes, and C and G.
But I'll call that an E chord or a C chord.
And here's how they go together:

So now I'll say the chords out loud as I play them,
so you can hear the sequence.
We have E, E, E C, E, C, E.
E, E, E, C, C, E.
Now if that's too complicated to add in the chords,
just keep practicing the right hand,
and when you're ready later on, you can add the chords of the left hand.

Great job working on "Imperial March" today.
And now it's time to get back to light saber practice.
Mr. Hoffman, I am your father.
N ...