TORn Music Trivia

#3

 

 

Original Discussion at TheOneRing.net Forums

 

 

First, let's look at Challenge #2 for this weeks quiz:

What scenes are these clips from?

Scene 1 (TTT - Dead Marshes 1: entering the marshes)
Scene 2 (FOTR - The Watcher in the Water attacks)
Scene 3 (TTT - Dead Marshes 2: Frodo falls under their spell)
Scene 4 (TTT - The White Wizard is found)

Now, Scenes 5-8 presented challenges for one of two reasons. 5, 7, and 8 were not in the movie. Since a lot of this unused music, as heard in either the OST or the CR, is set in the middle of used and familiar music, our brains often tell us it's in a certain scene even when it isn't heard in the movie. But, unless you've listened to the CDs a lot, you might not have made this inference. For those three clips, I mixed the CR or OST music with the sounds and dialog from the movie.

#6 was extra credit for a different reason which I'll attend to in answering Challenge #1.

Extra Challenge Clips

Scene 5 (TTT - Frodo Faces the Witch King at Weathertop-not in movie)
Scene 6 (TTT - Look Mr. Frodo, Oliphaunts! - not a strong example)
Scene 7 (TTT - Attack on Orcs' Night Camp - not in movie)
Scene 8 (FOTR - Face off at the Bruinen - not in movie)

One of the first general hints I gave was that all these scenes are from FOTR and TTT. That leads us into Challenge #2.

What do all these clips have in common?

The answer is: they all contain aleatoric music.

Now, I am a magpie and magpie love bright and shiny (interesting / fascinating) things and 'aleatoric' was a bright and shiny word I found among Doug Adams' writings. The word 'aleatory' means: "pertaining to luck", and derives from the Latin word alea, the rolling of dice. Aleatoric, indeterminate, or chance art is that which exploits the principle of randomness. Wikipedia

Latin aleatorius, from aleator ‘dice-player’, from alea ‘a die’. Wikipedia

Aleatoric music (aleatory or chance music) is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance or some primary element of a composed work's realization is left to the determination of its performer(s).

We had a side conversation at another forum about the aleatoric music in the LOTR movies. One poster wrote this: "Shore certainly gave guidelines for what he wanted the performers to do (i.e. stay within a given set of pitches or key, crescendos and decrescendos, duration, etc.), but it's mostly aleatoric, I think. Remember, 'aleatoric' doesn't necessarily mean completely random, only that there is an element of chance and indeterminacy in the performance."   NeoVoyager

Now, I did not expect anyone to provide the name 'aleatoric' nor an understanding that such a concept existed in musical composition. But I thought you might pick up the chaotic sounding nature of all the clips. And I thought for those you might find this concept, complete with it's own cool name, as bright and shiny as I did.

My first general clue said that all these clips were from FOTR and TTT. Why no ROTK clips? For the simple reason that I referenced Doug Adams' writings, primarily the liner notes for CR-FOTR and CR-TTT, for finding instances of aleatoric music. There are bound to be some examples in ROTK, but they would be too much work to find. Clip/Scene #8 is not on the CR-FOTR nor in the movie but is found on the FOTR-OST. A comment from a moviemusic.com post by Doug was my introduction to the term.

Below are the pertinent comments from Doug and a little more info on each clip. For the Complete Recordings, A, B, or C refers to disc 1, 2, or 3. Information in parenthesis was needed to put context to the pertinent comments, but refer to music heard before or after the clip of aleatoric music. All comments are from the pertinent CR liner notes and were written by Doug Adams.

Scene 1 (TTT - Dead Marshes 1: entering the marshes)
CR-TTT
A-10 The Dead Marshes
0:39 - 1:00
...a veil of gauzy tones descends as the trio enters the bog, knots of aleatoric strings, timpani and the metallic wails of a bowed tam-tam tangling the sickening air.

Scene 2 (FOTR - The Watcher in the Water attacks)
CR-FOTR
B-11 Doors of Durin
5:01 - 5:34
from Annotated Score-FOTR
The music for the Watcher in the Water’s attack is almost entirely aleatoric

Scene 3 (TTT - Dead Marshes 2: Frodo falls under their spell)
CR-TTT
A-10 The Dead Marshes
2:46-3:10
The veil of aleatoric strings and timpani again lowers and Frodo is bewitched. He falls into the murky waters where he’s wrapped in a smear of Schönbergesque Sprechstimme voices, half singing, half speaking the text “The Dead Marshes.”

Scene 4 (TTT - The White Wizard is found)
CR-TTT
A-13 Gandalf the White
2:00 - 2:12
Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas turn to attack the interloper, but their assaults are effortlessly turned away...(an) intense white light engulfsthe trio. Following one last tuft of aleatoric strings, the music dissolves into clear, pure brightness (meaning the vocal triplets of The Call).

Scene 5 (FOTR - Frodo Faces the Witch King at Weathertop-not in movie)
CR-FOTR
B-1 Weathertop
1:41 - 2:31
When Frodo places the Ring on his finger and experiences his vision in the Shadow World, Shore introduces a tangle of aleatoric woodwinds, strings and bowed cymbals that was replaced by sound effects in the final film.

Scene 6 (TTT - Look Mr. Frodo, Oliphaunts! - not a strong example)
CR-TTT
B-06 The Forests of Ithlien
3:5 7- 4:21
...two elephantine beasts emerge following the soldiers...Weighty lines in the depths of the orchestral palette...sway beneath a prickling haze of aleatoric flute and clarinets, discordant harp glissandi and sizzling dilruba (bowed sitar. 

Scene 7 (TTT - Attack on Orcs' Night Camp - not in movie)
CR-TTT
A-8 Night Camp
2:17-2:39
As the Orcs are slaughtered by the Riders, Shore’s score whips into a paroxysmal stampede of pounding percussion, knifelike trumpet lines and the
yelping howls of high, aleatoric French horns.

Scene 8 (FOTR - Face off at the Bruinen - not in movie)
CR-FOTR
B-3 Give Up the Halfling
3:27-3:33
from AS-FOTR:
Shore recorded an ending that included a wild panic of aleatoric French horns heard just as the Wraiths reach the river’s edge.

 

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