Hobbits at Play

From: Odds & Ends - Not quite themes but interesting, nonetheless.

 

"Hobbits at Play" was my old name for the music that is now called the Playful Setting of the Shire Theme. But now I can use the phrase for this batch of music. My early reaction to the Sméagol/Déagol fishing music was that it reminded me of Merry and Pippin's antics in the cornfield. After looking more closely at the Playful Setting and Hobbits' Antics, I was more impressed by the similarities in a number of scenes involving (except for the one) Merry and Pippin's antics. I'm not even going to try to group them into a 'theme' or variants of theme. They're not the same. But I'm sure they all draw from the same source whether explicitly or subconsciously. I just thought you might enjoy taking a closer listen to them too. The sound samples concentrate on the part of the music that increases in tempo.

And, after all this attention I am left wondering... does anyone ever say Pippin and Merry?


MERRY AND PIPPIN PLAY WITH FIRE

CR-FOTR, disc 1, track 6, Farewell Dear Bilbo 1:00-end

An accompaniment like figure repeats the same up/down notes in a slightly syncopated way as Merry and Pippin light the 'large' firework they've stolen from Gandalf's cart only to realize they've forgotten a few details. In the earlier Hobbiton music we often heard the Hobbit Two Step interspersed with two spurts of the Hobbit Skip Beat Figure. Here, this up/down figure is interspersed with a little flurry of strings. The Hobbiton music, though folky and lighthearted, is tranquil and relaxed. No adventures there. This music is full of nervous excitement and energy. The fireworks explodes and escapes the confines of the tent and the music gradually but steadily ramps up in tempo and franticness. Doug Adams, in the CR-FOTR liner notes, writes, "The roots of The Hobbits' Antics reach as far back as the first Shire scenes in The Fellowship of the Ring, where Merry and Pippin's fireworks fiasco was scored with similarly animated rhythmic chords." (Doug Adams, CR-TTT liner notes, page 11)

 

MERRY AND PIPPIN IN THE GARDEN

CR-FOTR, disc 1, track 12, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, 0:00-1:06

FOTR-OST, track 5, The Black Rider, 0:00-1:06

There's a startling moment as Frodo is blindsided in the cornfield by Merry and Pippin. The Rural Setting of the Shire Theme is played on whistle over the Outline Figure as things get sorted out. The Skip Beat sneaks in as Sam realizes what the two are up to. So does Farmer Maggot and his dogs. As they all flee, a bit of running music takes up that relies on light strings and accompaniments in the style of all those staccato Hobbit Accompaniments. This music increases in tempo and energy until it--and they--met an 'obstacle' that brings a pause to the excitement. But only for a moment. The energy resumes long enough for the Hobbits to tumble down the hill and finally come to rest at the bottom.

 

MERRY AND PIPPIN WRESTLE BOROMIR

CR-FOTR, disc 2, track 10, The Pass of Caradhras, 0:04-0:15

Boromir is momentarily abashed when, during his sword lessons for Merry and Pippin, he delivers a slight injury to a 'little one'. Merry and Pippin prove, however, that two Hobbits can better one man.. The music utilizes a lyrical Skip Beat like melody that, again, slightly builds in tempo and energy as the two take down the laughing Boromir 'for the Shire'. (This is a lovely moment for Boromir and Merry and Pippin that connects well with his desire to save them at Amon Hen.)

 

MERRY AND PIPPIN WRESTLE EACH OTHER

CR-TTT, disc 1, track 16, Ent-draught, 1:31-1:46

The scene starts out with a Playful Setting of the Shire Theme (see above) as Pippin relates his dream of the being back in the Shire. This Playful Setting continues as Merry suddenly realizes that Pippin is taller than he. It moves into Hobbits' Antics as Pippin disagrees with Merry's memory of being the taller of the two. Hobbits' Antics increases in volume and energy as Pippin rubs it in a little and Merry works it out. It's the Ent-draught. As the two begin wrestling for the draught, the music moves into the high energy sort of frenetic music we've come to associate with these Merry and Pippin moments.

 

SMÉAGOL AND DÉAGOL GO FISHING

ROTK-OST, track 1, A Storm is Coming, 1:12-1:38

This music bears some similarity to the Rural Setting and/or Playful Setting of Shire music, especially the first three notes, the folky nature of the piece, the accompaniments used. It's strayed far enough that I hesitate to call it a variant, (in fact Adams calls it Hobbit music of a different breed in the AS-ROTK) but I certainly think this was built on the Shire/Hobbit music. Once the fish takes Déagol's hook, we hear a variant of the accompaniment, Hobbits' Antics. Like in the previous scenes, the music increases in tempo and excitement. (The music on the OST is longer than in the movie.) Gandalf said this about Sméagol's people, "I guess they were of hobbit-kind; akin to the fathers of the fathers of the Stoors" (Stoors being a breed of Hobbit) FOTR, Book 1, Chapter II, The Shadow of the Past.  It is not inappropriate, therefore, to use Hobbity music to accompany Sméagol, especially in his happier, pre-Ring-degraded life.