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Old 12-08-2004, 10:05 PM   #1
Encaitare
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Silmaril Track-by-Track: Soundtrack Discussion and Analysis

For quite a while I've been thinking it would be a cool idea to get a bunch of people together to analyze the LotR soundtracks, to discuss the technical aspects of it as well as how it contributes to the events in the movie, the mood, etc. Since there has been some interest expressed in this idea, it has at last manifested, and I'm putting it in Novices and Newcomers, due to the wise counsel of Esty.

I suppose this will work in much of the same way as the Chapter by Chapter threads -- we'll focus on one track at a time; all aspects of each track are open for discussion. One thing which has been bugging me is how long to provide for each track discussion. CbC starts a new chapter every Monday. Since so many of us are busy during the week (and I need no further distractions from my mountains of homework ) I'm thinking it would make sense to start a new track every Friday; I could do so right after I get home from school. I've also been wondering if we need a full week to discuss each track. I guess we'll see how the first one goes and take it from there!

In light of Mr. Wight's Idea + Example = Better Topic thread, I'll start with Track One of FotR: The Prophecy.

The following Quenya lines are heard during this track:

Quote:
Hlasta!
Quetis Ilfirimain:
Corma turien te
Corma tuvien
Corma tultien te
Huines se nutien.
Tercno Nuruva.
Tuvien Corma tultien te
Huinesse nutien
Corma turien te Corma.


Listen!
It speaks to those who were not born to die:
[One] Ring to rule them [all]
[One] Ring to find [them]
[One] Ring to bring them [all]
[And] in the Darkness bind them
[The] Herald of Death
To find [One] Ring, to bring them [all]
[And] in the Darkness bind them
[One] Ring to rule them [all], [One] Ring
The lyrics and translation are not given in full in the CD booklet; I found them at arwen-undomiel.com, which also features many more Elvish bits from the soundtracks and their translations. If you follow the words along while listening to the track, you can make the words out, more clearly in some places than in others.

At this point in the movie, we have the flashback to Sauron's defeat. It's great that this translation would be what the choir is actually singing. Howard Shore and everyone who worked on the music could have chosen random syllables, and hardly anyone would have known the difference. The attention to detail is great here, and will continue throughout the soundtracks. Also, it is fitting that the words would be in Quenya rather than Sindarin, as the story is one which goes back into history and would merit a more formal tongue.

After we have the grand and terrifying brass, choir, and timpani part (the timpani almost seems like a pounding heartbeat) which accompanies Sauron's presence, the score moves to more mysterious violins, and the movie moves on to Gollum. We hear hints of the Ring theme (I hope you all know what I mean) with the trumpet solo at 2:17.

Towards the end of the track, the sound of the music grows a little lighter, with plucked strings (like the next track will use for the far more light-hearted hobbit music) and softer, calmer dynamics. There is another trumpet solo (3:34) which gives us the Hobbiton theme for the first time, and will tie in nicely to track 2.

Time for me to turn in... hope to see some responses!

Last edited by Encaitare; 12-08-2004 at 10:06 PM. Reason: smiley problems
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:42 PM   #2
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There is another trumpet solo (3:34) which gives us the Hobbiton theme for the first time, and will tie in nicely to track 2.
I love this little trumpet solo; it functions, in a way, to pull one away gently away from the bombastic earlier section toward the Shire. There's what sounds to me like a somewhat distant chord change underneath it (as I recall - I don't have the CD at hand) that is rather nice.

Quote:
Howard Shore and everyone who worked on the music could have chosen random syllables, and hardly anyone would have known the difference.
As indeed Rosenman did for the Bakshi movie. The use of Quenya and Sindarin for the choral sections was an excellent choice, and I agree that a Quenya translation works best here. I do have a few issues with the "neo-Quenya" and "neo-Sindarin", though - I would have used "Alfirimain" instead of "Ilfirimain", for example. But I doubt that many care about such things.

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Old 12-09-2004, 05:03 PM   #3
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chord progressions are fun.

Quote:
I do have a few issues with the "neo-Quenya" and "neo-Sindarin", though - I would have used "Alfirimain" instead of "Ilfirimain", for example. But I doubt that many care about such things.
Would you care to explain this for a poor confused soul? I'm afraid I don't know nearly enough about Elvish to understand the significance or difference here.

Quote:
There's what sounds to me like a somewhat distant chord change underneath it (as I recall - I don't the CD at hand) that is rather nice.
Yes, three chords underlie this solo. Since I'm firmly against doing my history essay before dinner, I figured out which chords they were: first, D major. Second (not completely sure about this one) a minor, and third is C major. D has always sounded sounded mysterious to me, then it goes to the fifth of the D scale and makes it minor, in a transition of sorts between musical scenes. Finally, the a chord moves to its relative major, C, giving it the lighter, calmer sound I mentioned in my last post.

Thanks for your response, Aiwendil. Come on, guys, join the fun!
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Old 12-09-2004, 08:55 PM   #4
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What I love about this track is the choral opening, with the orchestra slowly easing into the background. It really sets the emotional stage for the film, and the rest of the music. In fact, up until the dropoff at 2:11, the choir is the central force of this track.

Another nice bit is the emphasis of the strings at 0:37; a sort of "Hey, look, the title!" piece, but very delicately arranged.

Quote:
Towards the end of the track, the sound of the music grows a little lighter, with plucked strings (like the next track will use for the far more light-hearted hobbit music) and softer, calmer dynamics. There is another trumpet solo (3:34) which gives us the Hobbiton theme for the first time, and will tie in nicely to track 2.
That is a brilliant lead in. It is a graceful transition into the idyllic setting of Hobbiton and the Shire.

This is a really brilliant thread; thank'ee, Encaitare, for starting this up!

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Old 12-09-2004, 09:38 PM   #5
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Thanks, Saphy; glad you've come to join us.

By the way, Aiwendil, I read your essay over on the Tolkien Forum about music in Middle-earth -- wonderful job on that. I really enjoyed reading it.

A note to all readers: you don't have to have any great musical knowledge to post here. You can post your favorite parts of the track, what emotions it evokes in you, why you think it evoked said emotions, the effect you think was trying to be achieved, the relations to the movie events, the tie-in to the cultures we see, etc. All you have to do is have opinions and a sense of observation, which I know we've all got here! And if you do happen to have a more technical knowledge of music, please share it!
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Old 12-10-2004, 11:50 AM   #6
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Encaitare wrote:
Quote:
Would you care to explain this for a poor confused soul?
Well, il- was at one point a negative prefix, but later on Tolkien seems to have been using al- instead. Of course, it's very difficult to try to take the massive body of Tolkien's linguistic material and try to formulate a single unified version of either Quenya or Sindarin, so differences of opinion are to be expected.

Quote:
By the way, Aiwendil, I read your essay over on the Tolkien Forum about music in Middle-earth -- wonderful job on that. I really enjoyed reading it.
Thanks. I think perhaps the number of musical terms that I used scares some away, even if I'm not really saying anything too complicated.

Sapphire_Flame wrote:
Quote:
Another nice bit is the emphasis of the strings at 0:37; a sort of "Hey, look, the title!" piece, but very delicately arranged.
Yes, this is a very nice little moment, and somehow very evocative (I think) of the sense of ancient history being presented.

Again Encaitare:
Quote:
first, D major. Second (not completely sure about this one) a minor, and third is C major.
This sounds about right to me. I think it's the D - a change that I was thinking of. Not, in fact, distant at all, but the fact that the A is minor makes all the difference (and is accentuated by the fact that the melody climbs here to a C (the note that makes the chord minor)).
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Old 12-11-2004, 09:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sapphire_Flame
What I love about this track is the choral opening, with the orchestra slowly easing into the background. It really sets the emotional stage for the film, and the rest of the music.
I totally agree with that. Not only does it open up the movie for us, it sets the stage for just how powerful and moving the rest of the music will be. It's wonderful how Howard Shore uses different instruments to stir up a wide range of emotions for the listener.

Whenever I listen to my FOTR cd I can see the opening of the movie and hear Galadriel's monologue. It's not often I listen to a soundtrack a can see the scenes from the book and movie. Truly wonderful.
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Old 12-11-2004, 10:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
What I love about this track is the choral opening, with the orchestra slowly easing into the background. It really sets the emotional stage for the film, and the rest of the music. In fact, up until the dropoff at 2:11, the choir is the central force of this track.
The choir is used so much throughout all the soundtracks, probably because it's so versatile. Certain instruments tend to have a characteristic tone to them (for example, it's difficult to make a flute sound angry, or a string bass to sound cheery). Yet a choir can achieve any sort of sound depending on the voicing and the chords. In this case, it definitely does set the emotional stage, and then creates the tension of the battle.

EDIT:

I just received an unsigned rep, which read as follows:

Quote:
Nice idea for a topic...alas that I cannot participate as I am not as talented in music as you obviously are.
Firstly, thanks for the compliment.

And secondly, no! This is negative thinking! Like I said previously, you don't have to be any sort of musical genius to participate. Music is all about emotion, and in the case of a movie score, it's also about carrying along the story. All you need to know is how the music makes you feel, and how it contributes to the storyline. If whoever sent that rep reads this, please don't be afraid to join in!

Last edited by Encaitare; 12-11-2004 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 12-16-2004, 08:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Encaitare
By the way, Aiwendil, I read your essay over on the Tolkien Forum about music in Middle-earth -- wonderful job on that. I really enjoyed reading it.

A wonderful idea for a thread, Encaitare. Once some of the seasonal hubub slows down, I hope to have time to contribute to this. (And once I've proverbially spread a bit of jam around on other yeasty posts, I can return to 'give a toast' to yours again! Honestly, I dislike that expression, "spread some rep around.' It sounds so crudely suggestive for such a high-minded forum. )

Could either you or Aiwendil provide a link to this essay? Much appreciated ifyou could!
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Old 12-16-2004, 10:07 PM   #10
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The essay may be found hither. Enjoy!
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Old 12-17-2004, 03:33 PM   #11
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Pipe Concerning Hobbits

I hereby commence the analysis of track 2: Concerning Hobbits.

The title is the first of many to be taken from the books (or drafts), as we'll see later in "The Shadow of the Past" and "The Treason of Isengard."

The first few notes have a plodding sort of sound, like we're now settling into a more ordinary and mundane place. Next enters what sounds to me like a wooden flute (played by Sir James Galway?) and a fiddle (I think this is played by Dermot Crehan, who also does the Rohan theme). These two instruments, and the style of playing, with a lot of grace notes, remind me of Celtic music. It definitely creates a tranquil, lush image in my mind.

Then at 0:27, the harpsichord enters and continues as accompaniment under the fiddle. It moves in what is called Alberti bass -- tones 1 5 3 5. The tones do change, but their relation remains mostly the same. This was used widely in 18th century music, and the harpsichord was also popular in England at this time, tying into the idea of Hobbits really just being little Englishmen.

Thanks to all who have responded so far, I hope to see some new faces in here since this is a very popular track.

EDIT: Well, I was over at a music dictionary website, looking up the difference between Alberti bass and an ostinato, when suddenly something caught my eye -- something that looked suspiciously like Oliphaunt. I clicked upon the link and found this definition:

Quote:
Oliphant [pronounced oe-lee-FAHN]

An ivory horn of Medieval Europe, usually ornately decorated and primarily used as a sign of status and wealth rather than as a musical instrument.
Has nothing to do with the track -- just an interesting tidbit of information.

Last edited by Encaitare; 12-17-2004 at 04:05 PM. Reason: fascinating discovery
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Old 12-17-2004, 04:38 PM   #12
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Ah, Concerning Hobbits! Probably the song with the lightest feel to it. It has such a Celtic feel with it's flute and fiddle. Whereever you hear it it can really make you feel like you're at home. It's such an innocent sounding song too.
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Old 12-17-2004, 10:17 PM   #13
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This is one of my favorite tracks.

To be perfectly honest, when I heard exerpts from this track and from the Enya songs prior to the release of the CD, I was afraid that the whole soundtrack would turn out to be "new age"-type Celtic noise. Of course, as it turns out, the tracks I heard happened to be the most Celtic ones there were (a bit like Bilbo thinking Mirkwood was endless since the tree he climbed was in a valley).

And after repeated listenings, I realize that this track is much more than cliched Celtic music. As Encaitare points out, there is something very mid-18th century about it, not only in the fact that a harpsichord is used but also in the manner of its use. The track on the whole is a blend of Celtic and Rococco styles that somehow, in my opinion, perfectly captures the feel of the Shire.

I do wonder what kind of flute that is. It certainly isn't an ordinary transerve concert flute - it could be a wooden baroque flute, I suppose. At first I assumed it was some kind of recorder, but now that I think about it, it doesn't really sound like one.
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Old 12-18-2004, 10:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
I do wonder what kind of flute that is. It certainly isn't an ordinary transerve concert flute - it could be a wooden baroque flute, I suppose. At first I assumed it was some kind of recorder, but now that I think about it, it doesn't really sound like one.
After playing the theme on a tin whistle and a plastic double pennywhistle (basically two little recorders stuck together so I can play my own harmony -- yay!), I still think it's a wooden flute. The tin whistle's sound wasn't clear enough, and the pennywhistles sounded a little too clean. You're right, Aiwendil, it's definintely not an ordinary flute. I originally thought wood because my flute teacher plays this beautiful wooden flute, and it reminds me of that.

A little note: I said maybe this flute part was done by Sir James Galway, but now I think probably not. He's so famous, and I can't find his name anywhere in the CD booklet -- they'd have to credit him. Now I think it likely it was someone from the London Philharmonic or the New Zealand Symphony... I just wish I knew who.
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Old 12-18-2004, 02:05 PM   #15
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I originally thought wood because my flute teacher plays this beautiful wooden flute, and it reminds me of that.
I've only played a wooden flute once (many years ago) - but somehow I don't recall the tone being quite like that in this track. But my memory may be faulty - also I don't doubt that there's significant variation in tone among different wooden flutes. And of course the tone quality I was able to produce was obviously far inferior to what a professional can do - yes, the more I think about it, the more it seems that it is a wooden flute on the track.
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Old 12-24-2004, 04:10 PM   #16
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Ring Track 3: The Shadow of the Past

The first thing that caught my attention when I turned on this track was the recurring flute. In the last track, we had a nice flute and string combination that sounded light and happy. Here, we have the same instruments, but with a far more darker sound. (Oh, I love low notes on the flute -- just listen to that vibrato! Heh. I'm a dork.)

Then it segues very quickly into harsh-sounding brass: the Mordor theme. There's a really creepy noise at 1:48, violins, I think -- reminds me of Shelob and creepy-crawlies and such.

We also hear the repetition of a theme, which was heard in Track 1 (2:17). In this track, the theme is heard at 2:15, and a couple of times after that.It seems to represent history, as "The Shadow of the Past" accompanies Frodo and Gandalf realizing exactly what this golden trinket is and what it means.

Lastly, at the very end of the track (3:24), it sounds like a sped-up version of the Rivendell theme. Whether this has any significance about how they will eventually end up in Rivendell, I'm not sure.

So what are your thoughts on this one?
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Old 12-27-2004, 06:47 AM   #17
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I think the first and third track in FotR soundtrack stand out as representing a very different style than any other piece in the whole trilogy. And maybe it's as it should be considering those songs tell about ancient times when the Numenoreans came to Middle-Earth.

The 3rd piece opens with a soft and kind of eerie feeling. Strings back up the solo wind instrument beatifully. After that (1:00) it's a musical mess of different themes. Of course it supports the film perfectly but as a separate piece it's rather anxious and oppressive. I don't really like this track though it has some very nice elements in it because it makes me feel uneasy.

Like Encaitare already pointed out, there would seem to be a little hint to Shelob's theme i.e. the creepy glissando (sliding).
The brass instruments reflect the Gondorian culture though we don't hear the Gondor theme yet. On the other hand Mordor and Isengard use the brass as well so perhaps those wind instruments we hear on the 3rd track refer to Gondor being somewhat under the influence of Mordor.

Btw, I recommend all of you who are interested in LotR soundtracks to visit http://www.elvish.org/gwaith/movie_soundtrack.htm . There you find the lyrics and translations for almost every piece in the trilogy. And if you can get a copy of Music from the Movies (issue 42...I think it sold out) LotR special with 90 pages or so filled with interviews and pics, read it! It provides a nice survey of the film score.
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Old 12-27-2004, 01:57 PM   #18
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White Tree

Ah, "Shadow of the Past". The first appearance of my all-time favourite theme in LotR: the Ringwraith Choir! That gorgeous chanting in Adunaic at the appearance of the Nazgul riding out from Minas Morgul is really brilliant; creepy, and yet ancient and commanding. Sho shcary! ^^

I also agree with what Enca said, about the music showing that Frodo and Gandalf have just discovered what this little gold ring really is. Brilliantly shown with music. *huggles Howard Shore*

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Old 12-27-2004, 09:14 PM   #19
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Thanks very much for posting those links, ungoliant -- I know I'll be spending a lot of time following the words along the page as I listen to the music!

And speaking of Howard Shore, did anyone yet watch the DVD about the making of the music, which comes with the box set? I've yet to watch it, but I hope it's good.
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Old 01-01-2005, 03:27 PM   #20
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Alas, I don't have the collector's set but just the regular EE. If there's something very interesting on that dvd, it'd be nice if you (or anyone that happens to own that) could share it in this thread - if it's not completely off topic, of course. Anyway, would it be time for track four? I can't wait to get my hands on that piece
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Old 01-01-2005, 09:05 PM   #21
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White-Hand Track Four: The Treason of Isengard

When I get around to watching the DVD, I will definitely tell about it here or start a new thread for it. In a little while you'll probably be able to buy it separately, like the National Geographic DVD which came in the FotR box set.

It's time for Track 4: The Treason of Isengard -- I apologize for not posting it yesterday; I have been a bit busy with New Year's and all!

The track opens with soft vocals which sound very mysterious. At this point in the movie, Frodo is still kept a little in the dark, so he is worried about what is going to happen. Yet as the music progresses and as Sam and Frodo travel through the sunlit Shire, it becomes somewhat lighter; again we hear "In Dreams," the Shire theme (1:26), this time on French horn, which becomes the Fellowship theme on various instruments, but only a couple at any one time. The Fellowship in its earliest stages is beginning with the two hobbits.

Then the Fellowship theme is heard again at 2:00, as the style of the music changes completely: it becomes far more serious in tone, and full of brass to announce Gandalf's presence. As it moves on to Saruman, there is a crescendo which heightens the tension and sense of danger. The choir sings the following in Black Speech, part of the poem of the Ring:

Quote:
Ash Burz-Durbagu burzum-ishi [3:10-3:16]
Daghburz-ishi makha gulshu darulu. [2:55-3:09] [3:17, 3.21-3:29]

One for-Dark-Lord in-darkness
in-Mordor where shadows lie.
Or, to put it in normal terms, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne / In the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
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Old 01-04-2005, 04:02 AM   #22
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The choir sings its part softly on top of a pedal point for 35 seconds. It gives very old, ancient feeling. Something that has roots in way back history has put things in motion again. The "walking theme" begins at 00:51. The drums play some kind of a marching comp on the background. The melody doesn't sound completely sad or depressed but a bit plaintive. After all, the two hobbits are leaving their home behind for the first time. Until - a glimpse of hope is delivered by In Dreams and Fellowship themes. As Encaitare said:"The Fellowship in its earliest stages is beginning with the two hobbits." So the Fellowship theme is very soft and rather just predicts the things they are going to go through during their quest.

Between 1:56 and 2:20 as the brass take over the melody, the strings have two different pedal points. I don't know if they're used here to refer to the beginning of this track, but to me it seems like things concerning the same historical event are just beginning to happen in the Shire while in greater cities the coming battle, corruption and such are already more concrete facts.

The choir chanting in Black Speech sounds once again ancient but also majestic. It matches the feeling of Orthanc very well since the setting itself reflects both of those adjectives. The choir, drum and brass end this track in forte without diminuendo or ritardando. The music just suddenly stops without any kind of a warning which is perfect to give emphasis to the shock about Gandalf's capturing.
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Old 01-07-2005, 07:21 PM   #23
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Track 5: The Black Rider

More happy Shire music here!

At the beginning the flute plays the theme again, slightly altered. Also returning is the Alberti bass from Track 2, played this time on bassoon. As the hobbits are running away from the angry farmer Maggot, the music takes on an urgent feel. They crash into one another, and we hear a crash symbol at 0:43. Then as they reach the bottom of the hill, the notes become lower and the tempo more slow, ending at 0:50.

At 1:06, the low strings move in descending thirds. Starting around 1:08 , if you listen really closely, I think there's a flexatone in there, making eerie wavy noises underneath the strings and choir. It seems that the brash horns stand for Mordor. The brass notes are high over the low strings, which could very well be our poor frightened hobbits, looking for somewhere to hide. Once more, the choir sings, this time in Adnaic:

Quote:
Nbbtham Magnan
Ntabdam durad
Npm nd abrat-aglar
d Nidir nnkham
Br 'n Kathard

'We deny our maker.
We cling to the darkness.
We grasp for ourselves power and glory.
Now we come, the Nine,
Lords of Eternal Life.'
By 2:25, the horns and choir fade, and we are left once more with the lower stings, the hobbits.
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Old 01-07-2005, 10:27 PM   #24
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I love the contrast in this song. It starts out with the innocent music and feel of Hobbits and the Shire. Then it morphs into the evil music of the Wraiths.
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Old 01-11-2005, 05:59 AM   #25
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Quote:
if you listen really closely, I think there's a flexatone in there, making eerie wavy noises underneath the strings and choir.
Wow! You are really skillful in recognizing different instruments! Do you play in an orchestra?
The Black Rider - In my opinion it's one of the pieces in FotR that are easiest to get into. Despite the dissonancing chords it's really pleasant to listen to. The middle part of the piece is very distressing. After the dominant brass and choir leave the listener gasping (2:25) the drum plays for a few seconds like imitating a heart beat. The pace of the "heart beat" is quite calm, especially for a hobbit who has been chased by a black rider. But I think it still somehow reflects the feeling that the hobbits managed to evade the danger and they don't have to worry for a while.
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Old 01-14-2005, 02:57 PM   #26
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Track 6: At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

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Wow! You are really skillful in recognizing different instruments! Do you play in an orchestra?
Thanks! I play in the school's wind ensemble and full orchestra, and also in an orchestra outside of school.

I watched the Creating the Lord of the Rings Symphony DVD and I would recommend it to anyone who is serious about music. It's mostly just the music being played by the orchestra/choir with a few short interview clips with Howard Shore, but it's fascinating to watch. I learned several things from it as well. Seems I was wrong about the Shire theme; it is a tin whistle in Track 2 after all. And where I've been saying oboe, it's often been an English horn. Ah, well. I was close.

Track six:

The very beginning (very as in just the first few notes) reminds me of the Mordor theme, a reminder that the Nazgul are still out there somewhere. At 0:24, it becomes distinctly hobbitish again, with a smidge of bounce to it.

Side note, not really LotR related: at 0:53, I was trying to figure out what theme that would be... I realized that for a few seconds it sounds similar to the music from Pirates of the Caribbean!

Around 1:15, the timpani slowly starts to make an appearance in the background, which as ungoliant said, is rather like a heartbeat. Then the pace really beings to pick up, and a gong enters, adding to the traces of Mordor which can already be detected. When the brass and choir are added, it is evident that things cannot be pleasant for our poor hobbits.

Suddenly things grow dangerously quiet. When we played Beethoven's Fifth in orchestra, there is a Grand Pause in which nobody plays, and it lasts a beat longer than anyone listening would expect it to. The conductor, who is a fascinatingly deep guy, told us that that one beat of silence should be the loudest thing in the entire symphony. While there is not total silence, it somehow feels even worse, making you feel uneasy, like you are in hiding while one of those black riders is about somewhere outside. Low brass, a soft gong, and some more of the discordant strings, so much like in Shelob's lair, break the silence and then we are back to the loud brass once more.

This transforms into the Isengard theme, at which I always get excited because it's in five. I always kind of move in time with the music when I hear it.... ONE two three FOUR five ONE two three FOUR five... It gives an impression that's slightly off kilter, and the accented beats are like strong hammer falls, giving the image of the orcs forging away in Isengard. As I learned from the LotR Symphony DVD, they actually had a guy banging with a mallet or hammer on a huge, suspended piece of metal.

Then it slows and becomes gentler. I am not sure what part of the movie this corresponds with; I'm thinking Gandalf on top of Orthanc, although I'm not sure.

And as a last note, this track is pi minutes long.
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Old 01-15-2005, 03:56 PM   #27
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Ah! The Isengard theme is in 5/4 time? No wonder it kept throwing me off! Time is not my strong point by any means, but I know enough to get really confused. And that's really neat about how they added that metallic, unmusical clash.
Quote:
Then it slows and becomes gentler. I am not sure what part of the movie this corresponds with; I'm thinking Gandalf on top of Orthanc, although I'm not sure.
You have me curious, so I just got out my extended DVD (only one I've got) and watched the Pony sequence. I think most parts in that track are there, but not connected together, understandably. However, I never heard the hobbity part at 0:24 at all, nor did I find the final bit. There's no scene at Orthanc until the hobbits and Strider are well into the wilderness, and then it opens with Saruman and the palantr.

Awesome thread, by the way. Although I definitely lack your orchestral background, Encaitare, I'm a reasonably proficient pianist. (Strong point memorization, not sight-reading. So although it takes me ages to learn a pieces well, once I do it's stuck for good. And I've always loved movie soundtracks. I guess that comes from growing up with a father who played his Star Wars, Superman, etc. records all the time.

Quote:
And as a last note, this track is pi minutes long.
Ha!

Was that pun unintentional?
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Old 01-15-2005, 09:26 PM   #28
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Ah, fresh blood here in the soundtrack thread...

Quote:
You have me curious, so I just got out my extended DVD (only one I've got) and watched the Pony sequence. I think most parts in that track are there, but not connected together, understandably. However, I never heard the hobbity part at 0:24 at all, nor did I find the final bit. There's no scene at Orthanc until the hobbits and Strider are well into the wilderness, and then it opens with Saruman and the palantr.
Yes, in the movies the music is not all connected, nor is all the music on the soundtrack in the movie, and vice versa. I haven't got the regular DVD of FotR either, so I'll take your word for it.

Quote:
Was that pun unintentional?
Wow. Yes, it was. Heh.. that was pretty bad.
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Old 01-15-2005, 10:52 PM   #29
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Yes, in the movies the music is not all connected, nor is all the music on the soundtrack in the movie, and vice versa.
That's what I figured. I don't know it well enough - "well enough" meaning I can sing an entire track - to know when the soundtrack and the movie sound correspond and diverge. I did think it was curious that those bits weren't anywhere near the Prancing Pony sequence. For all I know, of course, that may happen throughout all three movies.

I guess John Williams's style has spoiled me. I'm most familiar with his Indiana Jones scores; well, the 1st and the 3rd... I was entranced immediately by how tightly each track followed the movie. The best examples are the two long chase scenes: the truck in Raiders, and the tank in the Last Crusade. They're 8 and 5.5 minutes long, respectively, and each could be the same recording that's on the film. Except the Raiders one - there's an extra phrase added in the film. That really stuck out to me when I first saw it.

Not saying that one's style is better than the other, by any means! That's just where I'm coming from, and I was curious how closely the soundtrack followed the movie. My favorite pieces of music are those associated with things that I like: When I hear them, I think of "my favorite things." Always a plus!
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Old 01-16-2005, 08:39 AM   #30
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After reading your post, Encaitare, I listened to the song to see if there really is the Hobbit theme in it. And sure enough, there it was. Only it wasn't the happy Hobbit music we heard at the beginning, it's a sadder, more serious version of the theme. Like the Hobbits are no longer living in a peaceful little world as they once had.
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Old 01-19-2005, 11:50 AM   #31
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Ah, this is a very gloomy track and a real mixture of various themes. At 1:56 there's the choir again chanting in Adnaic. I spotted an extract that I believe is from the same poem that is heard in The Black Rider. Br 'n Kathard d Nidir...
At 2:18 the low calm notes are really frightful! Then the strings start a Shelob-like sliding and tremolo. It's maybe the creepiest part on the whole cd.

It's rather hard to me to think this track as a whole since the themes keep varying and changing so quickly. It consists of beautiful elements, though.
Quote:
I realized that for a few seconds it sounds similar to the music from Pirates of the Caribbean!
Now that you said it, I noticed it too. This is even more off topic but on the soundtrack of King Arthur there's one piece where I could swear the choir is chanting Grond! Grond! Grond!. Wrong movie, perhaps?
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this track is pi minutes long
...Which reminded me of my math homework that I haven't done yet.
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Old 01-21-2005, 02:40 PM   #32
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Track 7: A Knife in the Dark

Once more, we begin with the Mordor theme: brass and a big timpani roll. You know what I was thinking is interesting about the timpani? It's one of those instruments that is felt rather than heard, much like a bass guitar in a rock band. Unless you're listening closely you don't even think about it, but it just gives the music this great sense of depth.

After a cool gong ring, the strings kick in, sounding rather frantic as the hobbits await that terrible something that they know is coming for them.

Oh, how Howard Shore loves his descending thirds and string glissandos/tremolos.

Something I never noticed before: as the descending thirds continue, there are strings playing sixteenth notes softly beneath them, adding to the tension without it actually registering in your mind. Then arrives the choir, singing more or less the same words as in the past two tracks, only this time it is much more soft and whispery. They sound almost persuasive at first. This reminded me of a passage from the book, in the chapter of the same title:

Quote:
He [Frodo] was quaking as if he was bitter cold, but his terror was swallowed up in a sudden temptation to put on the Ring. The desire to do this laid hold of him, and he could think of nothing else.
The Ringwraiths of course wanted him to do this so they could get at him. Now, in the movie, this soft singing occurs while they are surrounding the hobbits, so it is in different context. Still, the choice of dynamics is interesting.

The choir swells, and then fades. Quickly, it switches to the Isengard theme, which I must say is one of my favorite parts. You can headbang to it... go on, try it out. I can't see you.

Then this too fades as we come to Gandalf upon the top of Orthanc while he does his little moth trick. I wish I knew what the male soloist was singing; unfortunately Gwaith i Phethdain doesn't have these lyrics listed, and arwen-undomiel.com's daily bandwidth has been exceeded. *sigh* A Google search has not been of aid... as soon as the site is back up I will check to see if the lyrics are listed there.

A trumpet accompanies the vocalist, which I am beginning to think is a representation of Gandalf. When he was riding to Orthanc and the Fellowship theme was playing, the instrument was a trumpet. Just an idea for now; we'll see if it is supported in later tracks.

It then slips back into the Isengard theme, with some lovely jangling chains creating a very industrial feel. Around 3:15 it changes completely for the remaining seconds of the track, which I believe is for the hobbits and Aragorn in the woods. It will provide a nice transition to Track 8, when Arwen appears.
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Old 01-21-2005, 03:40 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Encaitare
Then arrives the choir, singing more or less the same words as in the past two tracks, only this time it is much more soft and whispery.
Woohoo! Ringwraith choir! And, after this, they disappear until the RotK soundtrack. *cries*

Enca, I think it might be the same soloist from Track 3 of RotK that sings in this track (cannae remember his name! *headdesk*), but I'm not sure. Sounds right though.

~ Saphy ~
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Old 01-21-2005, 10:38 PM   #34
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That would be the honorable Ben Del Maestro, Saphy. They could very well be one and the same... huzzah for the musical talents of pre-pubescent boys.
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Old 01-26-2005, 02:37 PM   #35
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Just watched the LOTR symphony DVD and it was excellent. Makes me wish I was good enough to be involved in something like that.
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Old 01-28-2005, 01:39 AM   #36
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I think another person sings in FOTR and that Ben Del Meastro only sings in TTT and ROTK. I think it is actually a guy named Edward Ross because he sings In Dreams as well. It says that he is the soloist in my soundtrack booklet. At first I also thought it was Ben del Meastro but I guess not.

Still that solo is my favourite. I love it when you hear the Isengard theme in an awkward 5/4 time and then it changes into this beautiful flowing melody that is sung by one clear voice.

To me it shows how peace can soar over the noise of evil. (Not that the Isengard theme is noise!!!!)

Kitanna, I also saw the LOTR symphony DVD and I too wish I could play in that orchestra. sadly my parents don't want me to follow music as a career. snif. I would just love to play in the London Philharmonic.
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Old 01-28-2005, 02:05 PM   #37
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sadly my parents don't want me to follow music as a career. snif. I would just love to play in the London Philharmonic.
Psh... go for it, girl. If you've got the passion and the talent, there is nothing that can stop you. New York Philharmonic for me, if I can achieve that sort of prestigiousness.

Next track later this evening; I'm going out soon and don't have time to do it just now.
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Old 01-28-2005, 04:04 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Lathriel
sadly my parents don't want me to follow music as a career. snif. I would just love to play in the London Philharmonic.
That sucks! You should at least try for it, even if it doesn't work out. My parents (at least my mom) would be thrilled if I tried to get into the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, too bad for me I'm no good. Hopefully you'll get the chance to get in the London Philharmonic, Lathriel!

Encaitare~ Can't wait for the next track.
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Old 01-28-2005, 07:28 PM   #39
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Track 8: Flight to the Ford

We begin here with a single sung note, which is then harmonized by a children's choir. Most of the harmonies sound like minor thirds to me. Then strings and eventually an English horn join in. This beginning part is Arwen doing her dreamy white glowy vision self.

It continues with strings and what sounds like a French horn, all very quiet and romantic for Arwen and Aragorn to have their moment.

At 1:38, the brass comes in, which is -- ta da! -- the Ringwraiths, back for another go at getting that pesky short dude who just keeps on evading them. Nice timpani and a gong are used to build up the tension, and then there is an awesome upper brass bit as the Ringwraiths chase Glorfindel -- whoops, I mean Arwen, and Frodo.

2:31, the choir comes in with the same Adunaic we've been hearing for several tracks, in a slightly different order, though, for anyone who cares to follow along as s/he listens:

Quote:
Br 'n Kathard
d nd npm
Ntabdam durad
Nidir npm
Npm nd aglar
A fanfare follows this as Arwen challenges the Nazgul; a loud gong seems to be what signals their being swept away by the river. After this it all becomes very soft once more as Frodo fades and turns a nice shade of green. There are strings and a soft choir with some very subtle chord progressions.

So, here is where we first actually meet an Elf -- does the music sound elvish enough to you?
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Old 01-28-2005, 10:35 PM   #40
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The music that is played when Arwen first appears doesn't seem all that Elvish. It's more dreamy and trallala. I suppose though that Elves themselves are too dreamy and tralala. I like this becasue is has that same contrast as The Black Riders. Starting with the music of good and then bringing in the theme of evil
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