Lightsabers don’t make just one sound, they make many different sounds depending on the situation. Collectively called a sound font, the series of sounds made by a lightsaber adds richness, depth and personality to the elegant weapon.
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Some lightsaber sounds are activated manually by pressing a button on the lightsaber hilt (e.g. ignition or lockup), while others are activated automatically with sensors within the lightsaber hilt (e.g. swing or clash). Let’s take a closer look at the 8 most common types of lightsaber sounds.
Some lightsabers ‘talk’ when they are first turned on. The initial boot sound is commonly comprised of: the character’s name, the name of the lightsaber’s sound font or sound board, or a phrase spoken by a character. A boot sound precedes the power on (ignition) sound. Not all lightsabers use a boot sound.
How to Activate: When you first press the ‘on/off’ button, the boot sound will be the first sound (if applicable).
power on (ignition)
Ignition is the sound the lightsaber makes as the blade is being ignited (follows the boot sound, if applicable). The ‘power on’ sound coincides with the visual lightsaber scroll effect (if applicable).
How to Activate: When you first press the ‘on/off’ button, the ignition sound will be the first sound (if there’s no boot sound) or second sound (if there is a boot sound).
power off (retraction)
Retraction is the sound the lightsaber makes as the blade is being retracted or turned off. The power off sound coincides with visual lightsaber scroll effect (if applicable).
How to Activate: When you press the ‘on/off’ button to turn off the lightsaber, the retraction sound will be the final sound the lightsaber makes before going silent.
The idle hum is a resting sound of the lightsaber when it’s ignited, but not being swung around or moved. Think Darth Vader waiting for Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Death Star hanger in Star Wars: A New Hope.
How to Activate: If the lightsaber is turned on, the device will automatically make the idle hum sound if it’s not being moved.
A swing sound is the sound the lightsaber makes when it’s being swung around in the air, without making contact with lightsabers or any other objects.
How to Activate: If the lightsaber is turned on, the device will make the swing sound or a collection of swing sounds when the wielder is swinging or spinning the lightsaber around.
The clash sound is the sound the lightsaber makes when the blade comes in contact with another lightsaber or another object. The clash sound may be accompanied by the Flash on Clash visual effect, where the lightsaber blade briefly changes to another color (often white) upon impact.
How to Activate: If the lightsaber is turned on, the device will make the clash sound when the lightsaber blade comes in contact with another object.
The lockup sound is the sound a lightsaber makes when two or more lightsabers are locked together in battle, like two deer with locked antlers.
How to Activate: Lockup sound is typically activated manually by pressing a main button or an auxiliary button on the lightsaber hilt.
blaster bolt deflect
The blaster bolt deflect sound is the sound the lightsaber makes when a blaster bolt ricochets off the blade. The blast bolt deflect sound may be accompanied with a visual effect that temporarily changes the color of the blaster impacted spot on the blade.
How to Activate: Blaster bolt deflect is typically activated manually by pressing a main button or an auxiliary button on the lightsaber hilt.
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Additional, more nuanced lightsaber sounds exist, some of which are subtle variations on the sounds listed above. Consider that some lightsabers use just a few different sounds, while others use many different sounds. The number of sounds and variety and depth of the sounds may depend on the sound font or the capability of the lightsaber sound board itself.
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COVER IMAGE CREDIT: Disney/Lucasfilm
Darth Vader waits for Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Death Star hanger area in Star Wars: A New Hope.