Of all the components that go into creating a film score, few are more important than orchestration.
Orchestration is the process whereby a musical theme is transformed into a full-fledged orchestral score. When a composer is hired to create a score for a specific film (like John Williams for Star Wars) they begin the process by watching rough cuts of the film (or storyboards, depending upon how far along the film is in production) and getting a sense of the story the director wants to be told. From there, the composer will go to the studio, sit at the piano and begin to sketch out various musical themes.
The musical themes of a film score are organized into cues. So if you looked at the score for Star Wars you might see “Cue 1: Main Title, Cue 2: Princess Leia, etc.” A film will tend to have about 20-80 cues.
Once the main draft of the score is finished, it is written in what musicians call a piano score, meaning everything is written (for now) for the piano. So, the Imperial March (which has been discussed before on this blog), would look something like this:
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