John Williams – The Imperial March (Tab)

John Williams – The Imperial March (Tab)

This year’s Star Wars Day inspired me to work up a version of John Williams’s ultimate bad-guy theme tune The Imperial March. If you’re interested in the theory behind how this tune conjures up the dark, powerful, militaristic images I highly recommend watching 12tone’s video on the tune.

The Vader Strum

The trickiest part of the arrangement is the legendary rhythm at the beginning. It involves three quick triplets. It’s one to practice very slowly and gradually speed it up.

I’m using a slight variation on the traditional Hawaiian triplet strum:

– Down with index finger.
– Down with thumb (indicated by dt in the tab).
– Up with index.

More on that in the Ukulele Strums ebook.

The variation is that I’m strumming down with my index and middle fingers together to give it more power and make sure the force is strong in this one. Here’s how the strum looks slowed down:

I also had problems with this because of the rhythmic mismatch between the triplets in the rhythm part and the dotted eighth notes in the melody (mentioned in the 12tone video). I had a hard time switching between the melody in bar 14 to the strumming in bar 15.


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