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Old 03-27-2003, 11:17 AM   #1
mark12_30
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Sting The most Tolkien-Oriented music you make

Middle-Earth Loving, Tolkien-Addicted Musicians: Here are some Tolkien related things to discuss.

1. What about the music that you make, most reflects your love of Tolkien? Why does it reflect your love of Tolkien? Specifically how does it reflect Middle-Earth?

2. Is there something musical (for example specific songs, a musical style, an instrument) you want to learn in order to be more Middle-Earthy, and why? (Why is VERY important, be descriptive: does a certain M-E character remind you of it, a certain place or moment, etc.)

3. Are there specific Tolkien songs in the books that you desperately want the tunes/ music for but don't know where to find them/ can't afford them? Post their names here, and any other pertinent information (such as for a specific instrument) and see if anybody on the thread can help you find them, online or otherwise.
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Old 03-28-2003, 03:19 AM   #2
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What I like about the Irish music that I play is the relaxed atmosphere it brings. It's music for drinking, dancing and partying. Pour a pint and enjoy yourself, it's pub music. My band is actually considering sticking the small tune from Bilbo's Birthday Party into our repetoire.
Irish music has the friendliness of hobbits, and at the same time a well played pipe or whistle tune can change the character of them music completely, and then you've got Frodo standing on some mountaintop in the middle of the Emyn Muil feeling very lost and alone.
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Old 03-28-2003, 04:23 AM   #3
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Sting

Are there any specific peices that remind you of specific places or people? I can think of a few right off but there must be many more. "The Full Rigged Ship" reminds me of the havens, in a perky sort of way. "The Dark Island" reminds me of Lorien, in a way. "Road to the Isles" seems like something Bilbo would sing while he is out walking. How about you?

I think celtic music lends itself very easily to a lot of Tolkien's people andplaces. Hobbits, Bombadil, and any of the elves (but especially the Mirkwood elves, the simpler more rustic types) seem like they would enjoy celtic music (and produce it.) I think even the numenoreans would like celtic music although I don't know if it would be their main style...

The very celtic flavor of "Concerning Hobbits" from the FOTR soundtrack always seemed very right to me. Has anybody learned to play that, and on what instrument?
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Old 03-28-2003, 06:04 AM   #4
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The tin-whistle player who performs on the soundtrack is a big up-and coming star in Ireland. For a tin-whistle player, I think it's an easy piece to play. though I've never tried to play it myself.
Re: Numenoreans, I think it would be more harp-like music, such as O'Carolan's music and the like. Quiet, regal, elegant.
I recommend you find a band called Nickel Creek and listen to their track "In the House of Tom Bombadil. The rhythm changes and the changes of pace and mood in the music seem to me to be pretty close to old Bombadil himself, although the pace seems to quick for his leisurely being. I think I'll spend my weekend looking for more musical stuff, as I rather like this topic.
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Old 03-28-2003, 08:51 AM   #5
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Sting

Quote:
My band is actually considering sticking the small tune from Bilbo's Birthday Party into our repetoire.
I missed that first time thru, sorry! I thought the tune had promise, although repetitive. You could do the usual trick of making it part of a set. I wonder if there are other LOTR themes that would go well in a set like that?

Alasdair Fraser frequently takes airs (or even, sometimes, laments) and speeds them up into reels (or vice versa.) There's one place (Skyedance) where he plays what sounds like a lament, then another tune, then plays the first tune as a speedy reel. It hardly seems like the same tune but it is. I wonder if that would work for other LOTR themes. When you do it with a lament, you get a wild melancholy in the dance. Very celtic.
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Old 03-28-2003, 01:53 PM   #6
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Sting

It's not that much simpler than most celtic tunes. the misfortune is that the b- part is drowned out by crowd noises and dialogue.
I don't think that the theme from the Fellowship of The Ring could be sped up. Too many long notes, if you ask me. I don't know about The Two Towers, because I don't have the soundtrack to that one, but the theme from Rohan seems much more Norse to me. High, thin violin solo, not so melodic. Seems a bit like the score to 13th Warrior. but generally i mourned the lack of background music in The Two Towers (though the sound system setup was retty bad no matter where I saw it)
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Old 03-29-2003, 10:10 AM   #7
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Sting

Quote:
The very celtic flavor of "Concerning Hobbits" from the FOTR soundtrack always seemed very right to me. Has anybody learned to play that, and on what instrument?
I tried teaching myself to play it on the tuba but it doesn't sound quite right, I should probably stick to working out the base lines. I then tried to play it on the trombone but it doesn't really lend itself to the lower-ranged instruments of the brass section. I'm going to try it on the recorder next but I have a feeling it won't have the range required.

There are some piano pieces I play which, in my opinion, sound Elvish. The sound of the instrument itself doesn't really suit Middle Earth though.

If I were to take up another instrument it would probably be the flute. I would prefer the clarinet because I know the dwarves played them but I've tried to play one before and was hopeless at it. My second choice would be the violin but I know how terrible they can sound when they're not played properly.
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Old 03-29-2003, 11:16 AM   #8
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Sting

Hey, Dragoneyes! Good to see you. I think the recorder wouild be just fine for that song; there's one part on the soundtrack where I think the tune is carried by a recorder or something that sounds prety similar to it. You can get to the second octave on the recorder, right? Check the fingering charts if you have any questions, some of 'em are a ittle wierd.

I have the BBC recording of LOTR, thirteen cd's, which I bought essentially for the music. However I was rather bummed. The BBC version of what the tunes would sound like just didn't do it for me in many cases. My imagination tends much more toward the celtic or scandinavian than they did. But the "Bilbo's Last Song" at the end, with the choir boy, has possibilities.
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Old 03-29-2003, 07:17 PM   #9
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Sting

Quote:
The very celtic flavor of "Concerning Hobbits" from the FOTR soundtrack always seemed very right to me. Has anybody learned to play that, and on what instrument?

I can whistle most of the themes from the soundtrack. My friend Sandy hums it and I whistle. Quite impressive, really.
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Old 03-31-2003, 02:43 AM   #10
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Sting

Dragoneyes, the recorder would be perfect for playing the hobbit-dance. It sounds like its recorder on a tin-whistle, so no problems there. If you want to pick up another instrument without tutoring, I recommend an instrument with frets or where the notes don't go awry if you mess up slightly. eg, Mandolin, guitar, possibly piano, flute, recorder. Instruments that are fretless or require large amounts of intonation, trombone and violin as example, aren't easy to master unless you have a teacher (neither is the piano but at least you can see the notes on the keyboard). How many instruments do you actually play?
Mark12_30, the BBC recordings you mention, is that just the sounds from the movies or is it something different?
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Old 03-31-2003, 12:12 PM   #11
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Sting

I tried 'Concerning Hobbits' on the recorder, both the tenor and treble, but as I feared the range wasn't enough to play it all the way through, if only the recorder went a semitone lower.

tifo_gcs, thankyou for the tips but I would need to start by getting one of the instruments and they aren't cheap. I play four instruments, five if you include church bells but they would be percussion.
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Old 03-31-2003, 01:32 PM   #12
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Dragoneyes, have you ever transcribed something? ...I'm curious now what the range of the tune is.
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Old 03-31-2003, 03:00 PM   #13
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Sting

I don't tend to write music down, no. But the recorder has a range of low C to high D meaning that, in that key, it should go from B to D. Did that make any sense or answer your question at all?

EDIT: actually, listening to it again, the violin (or is it a viola?) goes even lower than that. So I'm not a very reliable source.

[ March 31, 2003: Message edited by: dragoneyes ]
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Old 03-31-2003, 03:14 PM   #14
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Sting

Dragoneyes, sorry, I meant transposed. Changed the key of the music.

tifo_gcs, Sorry I missed this question first time thru:

Quote:
Mark12_30, the BBC recordings you mention, is that just the sounds from the movies or is it something different?
It's an audio production, dramatized for the radio, with lots of actors voicing the characters. Ian Holmes (movie Bilbo) does Frodo... and apparently Holmes doesn't like to sing, because he turns down some wonderful opportunities (argh!) Anyway, there are 13 cds. They are enjoyable. (They do Faramir more justice than the movies, for instance.) But the music just... isn't... well, the tunes aren't something I am dying to learn or play.

After a manner o' speakin'-- they didn't strike a chord in me.

[ March 31, 2003: Message edited by: mark12_30 ]
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Old 04-01-2003, 03:06 AM   #15
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Dragoneyes: OK, I guess I don't need to tell you how to approach another instrument if you already play five. And I agre, musical instruments are expensive. But if you want to play concerning hobbits, get yourself a tin-whistle. The cheapest cost about 7 dollars (rough currency exchange calculation). That's most likely what its been recorded with, and should have the proper range. But be aware that they come in different keys.
When you say the recorder goes to high D, do you mean the D fingered with only second hole covered and all others open or an octave higher thatn that?
Mark12: Any idea where I might get a hold of a sample from that BBC production? And how much music is there actually in it?
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Old 04-01-2003, 04:22 AM   #16
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Sting

tifo: you might check your local library. THe BBC production has been arund for a while and is now (because of the movies) quite popular. I've seen lots of them on ebay.

How much music... oh, not THAT much. Somebody on this board somewhere (brain like sieve [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] ) said that once upon a time there was a tape available of just the music. That was what i really wanted, but it wouldn't have been worth it; actually the a"acting" is better than the music, IMO.

dragoneyes: Are you able to get the second octave out of your recorder? It's easier on a tinwhistle. I completely agree with tifo-- no musician should be without a tinwhistle; they're indestructable (friend of mine dropped one down a cliff-- undamaged.) You can take 'em just about anywhere. It would have been "the Middle-Earth instrument of choice" for rangers and elves, and probably hobbits too, at least travelling hobbits. (Too small and delicate for dwawrves?) Get a "D" for your first one. (I've got a D, C, and G. At seven bucks apeice...)
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Old 04-01-2003, 06:52 AM   #17
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hmm, given as I live in Denmark I doubt it'll be easy to find in english. On the other hand my friend has a few selected songs on a mix tape somwhere that are really well done, including "The Road Goes Ever On and On." It seems to me that a lot of what Tolkien writes is good for the "poet and a one man band" singer-songwriter type of person, especially his songs on travelling and living life.
Going back to an earlier point about specific Celtic tunes. I haven't found any in my collection that remind me of certain instances in LOTR, but I do find some that put me in the mood. Acoustic string music is pretty much the best background music for reading the books, if you like music while you're reading.
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Old 04-02-2003, 07:03 AM   #18
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Dragoneyes: I went home and tinkered around on the mandolin and came up with the following for 'Concerning Hobbits.' it ranges from D (all six fringers on the recorder) to high D, on the tin-whistle bits.
the A part from the fiddle ranges from E (first five fingers) to high F#, and octave higher (or else its high A#, my memory sucks). There is a small B part that I don't think you can reach on a recorder.
Does this sound plausible to anyone else and/or does anyone have the musical score? It would make things much simpler
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Old 04-03-2003, 11:19 AM   #19
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Sting

I remember the music played by the elves that Frodo and Sam sort of bumped into in the extended version. The music they were playing was quite exotic and eerie...

Recently, I bought a cd by Loreena McKennit, and the 4th track, I think, (relatively new...can't remember the title) sounded like what those elves were playing. The track had a Turkish sufi feel, which was exotic enough.

And I'm extremely curious about Viggo's rendition of Luthien's song. I feel that it won't come out in any recording, but parts of it from the extended dvd sounded yummy. Hope that rendition comes out on the market one way or the other.
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Old 04-05-2003, 01:12 PM   #20
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There is one cord in a piece that I play that extremely reminds me of one of the songs on the LotR movie soundtrack. And I play some of the somgs from the movies. That's it, I guess. Oh and I imagine Tolkien scenes for every piece that I play, and it's much more fun that way.
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Old 04-05-2003, 04:02 PM   #21
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I've written a few songs, one of my friends is currently setting it to a chello piece. It's about the arriving of the Noldor in ME.


Yep.., that's me, mix-master Matt.
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Old 04-06-2003, 09:01 PM   #22
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I can play a little of the theme from the movies on the piano. I got the first page from www.musicnotes.com, but figured out the rest on my own. Last year for marching band at school, the theme of our music was Lord of the Rings! One of the songs we played was from the movies, the other was the DeMaij (spelling?-). It was so exciting! So I can play basic passages from those on the flute and piccolo. I'd love to play "Concerning Hobbits" too. I think I'll try to figure it out sometime.
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Old 04-08-2003, 06:16 AM   #23
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Sting

The only pieces of music that I'd actually like to play from the soundtrack are Concerning Hobbtis and the Hobbit Dance from Bilbo's party. Both are simple enough that you should be able to figure them out if you have a good ear. Generally, the bombastic main theme really doesn't lend itself to being played Celtic style, unfortunately.
And I had no idea that Viggo Mortensen can actually sing, I'll have to borrow the extended edition from one of my friends and check it out
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Old 04-10-2003, 12:27 PM   #24
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Sting

Then there's the instrument we were all born with--the voice [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]. Very few people are truly tone deaf, IMO, though we don't all get encouragement or minimal training, which is a shame. Anyhow, that's the most Tolkinesque music I make at the moment, though I fiddle around with the alto recorder now and then. The piano doesn't sound at all ME, I agree. Though I heard some harpsichord on the LotR soundtrack--and you could probably get that, plus some other suitable sounds, from a digital keyboard. Years ago, my sister gave me a copy of "The Road Goes Ever On, A Song Cycle" which was some of the Tolkien songs & poems set to music by Donald Swann (of an English comedy/musical revue team called Flanders&Swann). Not at all Celtic-flavored, but an interesting musical take nonetheless.
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Old 08-05-2003, 01:46 AM   #25
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Since my previous post on this thread, I've found the piano music books for both FotR and TTT. Alas, I have learned only one of the songs in its entirety. But what do you expect from someone who has taught herself the piano? After I've actually have some lessons in my upcoming freshman year of college, I'm sure I'll be able to play lots more of the songs.
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Old 08-05-2003, 08:58 AM   #26
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Sting

I think a combination of being self-taught and having lessons is the best! I imagine that's how most hobbits were... After all, once he came back to the Shire, who taught Bilbo all the elvish he afterwards learned? He must have had a combination of self-taught (rummaging thru scrolls) and loitering with the elves under the trees as they sang in the woods. Oh, dear, I envy Bilbo that. And Frodo.

But we can still learn from their example! At least, that's what I tell myself. A good mix of listening and reading!

Has anyone else bought the CDs by The Tolkien Ensemble? I have one, and two more on order. Some of those songs are quite nice.
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Old 08-05-2003, 01:56 PM   #27
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I play the violin, and I figured out how to play the Rohan theme. And I figured out some other song too, but I can't remember what it was. [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] I'm trying to find any elvish sounding songs. Some symphony songs remind me of Rivendell and the Shire as well. I'll ahve to search to see what songs they were. SOrry I can't be so specific. [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]
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Old 08-05-2003, 11:06 PM   #28
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1. For me.. it's not so much a love of Tolkein, but definitely a love of Middle Earth, most specifically there, the elves. They were a beautiful people, a beautiful race. Some of the higher parts of things I (try to) write sound sort of Elvish.

2. I'm too tired to be VERY specific, but I'm trying to learn things (chords) that sound great for guitar that would eventually lead to Elvish music (such as tracks nine and early ten on the FotR soundtrack). The guitar tuning for Celtic music is DADGAD, I learned not that long ago. I haven't done much with it on my axe, but the little my teacher did was beautiful.

3. I'm trying to learn Kashmir, by Led Zeppelin. Heh. I have the tab, it's just a matter of practice.

And, I really want some Celitc music. I live over in the States, and about all I've found locally is Enya. Anything specific I could possibly buy online?

[ August 06, 2003: Message edited by: QuickSlash ]
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Old 10-30-2003, 11:41 PM   #29
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I know this is kinda old, but as I love music, I wanted to revive it. I'm learning to play the guitar, and it's my first instrument. I also have a recorder and tin whistle which I play around with, and want to get better at.
I figured out how to flatpick The Road Goes Ever On on the guitar. I'm listening to TTT soundtrack, which I bought today, and it's so beautiful!
Anyways, some Irish dance music I have reminds me of something Hobbits would dance to. And some slower Irish music reminds me of the Elves. Especially the cd with the harps on it. It just sounds Elvish to me.
Well, just thought I'd add that in there!
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Old 10-31-2003, 05:40 AM   #30
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Too bad we're scattered across the world... sounds like we could put a pretty cool band together. Violins, pennywhistles, recorders... guitars... piano... this could be good. We could start with Peony acapella and go from there.

Arwen, do you sing? Harmonies... Hey, keyboards are portable, and the cheaper ones can run on D-cells (mine's from Radio Shack [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] ... but really, it sounds fine thru an amp... ) We could even go out and jam in the woods.
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Old 10-31-2003, 12:42 PM   #31
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Quote:
Arwen, do you sing?
Don't all Elves?? [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
But seriously though, yes, I do. I do so love music! And playing with other people is the best, because you have all the instruments coming together, and it's wonderful!!
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Old 11-03-2003, 07:24 PM   #32
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Music pulses through my veins at every moment, every sound of movement I hear are my muses for when I write my melodies down. After all, sounds are the soundtrack of life.
Middle-earth is an especially good place to find beautiful sounds, musics, poetries and anything else that inspires and soothes the soul. When I'm writing, I often think of the long rolling hills of the shire or the bleak, stone silent walls of Gondor. The pictures inspire my writing, and my music gives the pictures more depth and colour.

Mostly I play brass instruments, so if I do write for them, and my theme is something middle-earthish, I tend to write broad fanfares that I imagine would be played by the silver trumpets of Gondor, praising the new morning. I do play piano as well, where all my music is originally born. I don't write much for piano, but if I did, I believe I would write some kind of piano/violin duet, and it would be inspired, I think, Ithilien, it's cool trees playing the voice-like melodies of the violin, and the piano being the wind that gently caresses and pushes the tree melody.

I also sing...and I love the great pure voices on the FOTR soundtrack, I love to sing along with the music.

If anything reminds me more of middle-earth, it's celtic. It's the green fields and the fast running rivers that sing the bright clean uplifting melodies of celtic.

This topic is totally up my alley, loved participating.
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Old 11-03-2003, 07:40 PM   #33
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I play the trumpet, and I tried to teach myself some songs from the movies, but it didn't feel right. I think I'll try to find some pieces on the internet or something. Last year a band came to our school and they played a few pieces from Fellowship of the Ring splendidly. Personally, I would like to learn to play the violin and play the lovely piece from Two Towers in the track Riders of Rohan. Sends chills through me everytime I listen to it. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 11-04-2003, 03:49 PM   #34
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I played some LOTR(Band modified) stuff. It was fine, but it lacked 75% of the original instruments. And nomatter how good they are, clarinets DO NOT sound like violins.
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Old 11-05-2003, 10:44 AM   #35
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What an interesting topic! I really need to spend more time here at the fora.

I am a self-taught musician, from the time I managed to pick out my older-sister's two-hand practice pieces on our family piano at the age of 7. I play piano and other keyboard instruments reasonably well, and I have also taught myself guitar. I have some basic proficiency on the trombone, although nothing to brag about. More practice!

The "Concerning Hobbits" theme is not hard to follow, but difficult to arrange for a single instrument like the piano or guitar, as are most of the other movie-soundtrack themes from LOTR. I prefer to layer in several instruments using my Cakewalk software on my computer. The soundcard I have, however, produces barely-adequate results, and I am saving my pennies for a decent sound card or external MIDI keyboard which has higher-quality instrument-sound reproduction.

Someone mentioned a band using all our talents, and it spawned an interesting (but perhaps impractical) idea. Each of us could play (or play along with) a selected section of the soundtrack using his/her computer's recording software and a cheap microphone. Then someone with a computer and the right software, and more spare time than I currently have, could take e-mailed .wav files from each of us on a selected theme, and layer/merge them into a single wav or mp3 file. Voila! Instant orchestra!

There are of course, several logistical and practical issues involved with such an undertaking, such as which theme to use, what sections to play, how to keep everyone in-tune and in-time (tweaking an out-of-tune or out-of-sync instrument is fairly easy using Cakewalk). But it would be a *really* fascinating exercise.

I wish I could volunteer to be the nexus of such a project, but work and family issues would make it impossible for me. Anyone want to step forward?
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Old 12-14-2003, 09:41 PM   #36
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I have the music to "Gollum's Song" for piano! Its really pretty! I love all the music in the LotR movies, but I don't have any of the sound tracks.

I've written music for the poem at the beginning of TTT. The one where Aragorn and Legolas are sing as they send Boromir down over the Falls. My Piano teacher really liked it! Thats my favorite poem in all the books.

As you have probably guessed I'm a piano player. I also love to sing.

Hmmm. Music that reminds me of LotR... I recently checked out "The Secret Garden" soundtrack from a local library. It really reminded me of the kind of music a hobbit would have... specially "A bit of Earth".
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Old 12-15-2003, 11:32 AM   #37
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Hey you all might want to check these guys out.http://www.tolkienenensemble.dk/

This group takes songs and poetry from LOTR and makes music,they have some samples on their webpage with a reading from Chritopher Lee doing "A warning of Winter"

So go check them out there a really good group.
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Old 12-15-2003, 01:09 PM   #38
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Thenamir, I like your idea. I can't volunteer, though...

The other idea I had was to assemble regioal jam sessions... New England Middle-Earth Jam... (NEMEJ..?) Anyway, we could agree on several sets of tunes, and the keys we'd play in, and then "moot" and play.

Of course, that raises all the issues about minors, etc.

But what the heck, I'll start a list. For my money:

Anything on "The Starlit Jewel" album (I bought the music book, too)

Half of the stuff by Tolkien Ensemble (some of it's too hard, some of it doesn't sit right, some of it is absolutely fabulously wonderful...)

One or two cuts off of Andi Grimsditch's new album

Some of the old Donald Swann classics (okay, but I like 'em)

Maybe even one or two of the old Rankin/Bass songs, especially from The Hobbit (Tra La La Lally... I like it... okay, so nobody else does...)

And let's not forget:
May It Be (Enya)
Into The West (Lennox)
Fellowship Going South (Leslie Fish)


More to come... I've made a master list (excel spreadsheet) of all the Tolkien songs I have, because I'm going to try and work up several sets that I can play myself. I'm in the process of picking (what I consider to be) the most Tolkien-like, Middle-Earthy version of the songs which have more than one. I should probably post the list here, and see what other people think.

(Problem is, the spreadsheet is several towns away... )
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Old 12-15-2003, 02:05 PM   #39
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Quote:
The "Concerning Hobbits" theme is not hard to follow, but difficult to arrange for a single instrument like the piano or guitar
I hear you, I've been playing around with that song on the piano ever since I got the soundtrack. It's coming along, but you're right, you can't do everything at once, and the arpeggio's in the background are hard to add.
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Old 12-17-2003, 09:05 PM   #40
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I admit I did notice this thread before now but never really felt up to posting. But after an hour of singing and imagining I was playing my tin whistle, as it was not immediately available, I think I could participate a bit.

I taught myself a few tunes from the FotR soundtrack and can play them fairly well on the tin whistle, and I'm mastering the Rohan theme from tTT currently. Every so often I'll play around a bit and make up some tunes, though I've never bothered to write them down, nor placed them to any particular scene in LotR. I've often considered picking up one of the books, opening it to a random spot and creating a nice, fitting tune for the scene, but have never got around to it.

About a year back I spent a little time writing LotR songs and putting them to old Irish tunes, or giving Tolkien's own poems/songs tunes, though I'd never thought of them as anything other than the tunes you'll hear on the BBC radio version. I also very much enjoyed adapting various Irish ballads so they would seem as Middle-Earth ballads.

Your idea, Helen, of putting together a band would be rather amusing... if not absolutely wonderful. Such a pity that many miles and high waves are between all the BD musicians! The Barrow-Downers, or perhaps the Wights, would be fine names for such a band! Singing and playing genuine Middle-Earth songs and tunes. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

And, as a closing note, I am quite pleased to meet all my fellow musicians, though some of you I do already know.
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