Diegetic Music

 

 

Jelle turned me onto this term and it enabled me to answer a trivia question that appeared on screen while I waited for ROTK in the theaters. I loved it so much I created this page just so I could use the term!

Diegetic sound is...

Sound whose source is visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film:

  • voices of characters

  • sounds made by objects in the story

  • music represented as coming from instruments in the story space ( = source music)

Diegetic sound is any sound presented as originated from source within the film's world

Diegetic sound can be either on screen or off screen depending on whatever its source is within the frame or outside the frame.

Another term for diegetic sound is actual sound

 

FOTR TTT ROTK

The Road Goes Ever On

Hobbiton Party Music

Drinking at the Green Dragon

Passing Wood Elves

Aragorn Sings in the Marshes

Lament for Gandalf

 

Lament for Théodred

Treebeard Sings to the Hobbits

Gollum's Fish Song

Edoras Drinking Song

Pippin Sings for Denethor

Troll Drumming

Aragorn sings Elendil's Oath

 


The Road Goes Ever On

This song was sung twice in the movie. Once by Gandalf (Ian McKellan) as he enters the outskirts of Hobbiton and then again by Bilbo (Ian Holm) as he leaves Bag End and the Shire. The lyrics are straight from the book, Bilbo sang it as he left... just like in the movie.


Hobbiton Party Music

 

The party music at Bilbo's Long Expected Party was written and performed by Plan 9, a New Zealand band that wrote cultural music for the LOTR films. The song we hear is entitled "Flaming Red Hair". HS COMMENT


Drinking at the Green Dragon

 

Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) sing a drinking song at the Green Dragon. Words are by Tolkien, melody by Fran Walsh.


Passing Wood Elves

 

Frodo and Sam hear the passing Wood Elves sing this song in the FOTR EE. The scene and the lyrics are taken from the book. The song is a hymn to the Vala, Elbereth. The song was written and performed by Plan 9.

 


Aragorn Sings in the Marshes

Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) sang a snippet of The Song of Lúthien in the Midgewater Marshes. Viggo composed the tune himself. The words are from the book... Aragorn sang it to the four Hobbits as they made their way to Bree.


Lament for Gandalf

This is sung by off-screen Elves in Lothlórien as the Fellowship tries to rest. The choir and soloist, Elizabeth Fraser, sing in counterpoint. In the Extended Edition, the song goes on for quite a while as Boromir and Aragorn talk. HS COMMENT


Lament for Théodred

 

Éowyn (Miranda Otto) sings this lament in Old English (TTT EE) at her cousin Théodred's burial. The melody is by Plan 9 and the words were inspired partly by Beowulf. You can view a portion of the scene with English and Old English subtitles in the Appendices of TTT EE DVD.

HS COMMENT


Gollum's Fish Song

 

Gollum (Andy Serkis) sang his happy little fish song as he tenderized the fish he caught in the Forbidden Pool. The words are from a riddle that Gollum asked Sam in the book.

 


Treebeard Sings to the Hobbits

 

I don't actually consider these short additional scenes in the TTT EE with Treebeard to contain singing. It's really more of a recitation. But in the book, both of these pieces are sung and a reader of this site questioned the exclusion of the pieces, so... here they are. The source text is from Bregalad's Song and The Song of the Entwives.

 


Drinking at Edoras

 

Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) sing a drinking song at a post-Helm's Deep Celebration in Edoras. Words are by Philippa Boyens, music by Plan 9.

 


Pippin Sings For Denethor

 

Pippin (Billy Boyd) sings a song at Denethor's request. The words are a verse from a song in the book called (in the book's index) "A Walking Song" with the first line (used as a name by some fans) "Upon the Hearth the Fire is Red." In context of the movie, however, it has been given the name "The Edge of Night." Billy Boyd composed and sung the tune.

 


Troll Drummers

 

There's a short moment as the Orc troops advance on Minas Tirith when we see (and hear) Troll Drummers beating out a rhythm. It makes it onto my website because the rhythm is in 5/4... the off balance rhythm used to represent the forces of Darkness.

 


Aragorn Sings Elendil's Oath

 

During the book version of the coronation, Aragorn recites the oath Elendil made when, leaving ruined Númenor, he came to Middle-earth. In the movie, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) sings it. The words are Tolkien's, the melody Viggo's.