TORN Conversation

In The End

Below is the 'outline' that was displayed at the old TORn boards.
 

**TTT Music for Middle-earth: In The End...** — aMagpie, 12/8 @ 23:40 (7/19)

  • **Blending the Themes — aMagpie, 12/8 @ 23:43 (1/3)
    • Well.... — Darkstone, 12/12 @ 14:09 (1/2)
       
  • **The Road Goes Ever On — aMagpie, 12/8 @ 23:46 (4/8)
    • my own offerings — aMagpie, 12/8 @ 23:58 (0/0)
    • Well — Darkstone, 12/12 @ 14:58 (1/2)
      • Fellowship of the ring by far my favourite  (No Text) — Fionnan, 12/12 @ 17:40 (1/1)
        • I find it the most divergent from the book  (No Text) — Darkstone, 12/12 @ 17:53 (0/0)
    • Ah... Soundtracks! — grammaboodawg, 12/12 @ 19:19 (0/0)
    • a late response — Elostirion74, 12/15 @ 8:44 (1/2)
      • Thanks, Elostirion. — aMagpie, 12/15 @ 12:53 (1/1)
        • I love and appreciate a — Elostirion74, Tue 1:56 (0/0)

 

  • TTT Vocals — A'mael, 12/10 @ 21:53 (0/0)
  • What a journey! — grammaboodawg, 12/12 @ 19:15 (1/1)
    • ah, gee... you're making me blush — aMagpie, 12/12 @ 22:25 (0/0)
  • As always a superb job!!!  (No Text) — Mortae, 12/13 @ 19:47 (0/0)
  • "why does it matter?" — weaver, 12/13 @ 23:24 (0/0)

 

Main Post:

aMagpie

12/08/2006

 

And in the end...
Rick Porras: In the end, I have to say, no matter how dark it was, I knew it was all going to happen. I didn’t really have a fear of that. It was more just, “Are we all going to be standing?” You know?

Paul Broucek: Everything that’s happened in this music process, things we’ve had to do because of this, that, and the other thing, have really unlocked a better way to do it.

Music Playing: Aragorn’s Theme (Brego riding scene)

Rick Porras: I think it’s very much a sort of precursor to what technology is going to be able to bring to the filmmaking process in the future.

Howard Shore: Even in the darkest hour I’ve always loved it. Because there only is one Lord of the Ring.

On Screen: Aragorn on Brego riding to Helm’s Deep

We’ve come to the end of this discussion for a movie that wasn’t the end. “Long ways to go yet...” To wrap up this leg of the journey we’ll explore an area not covered by the appendices--blending the themes--and we’ll take a more global look at the music--across The Two Towers and beyond. Does this music matter? How does it matter? Why does it matter?

I’ll divide the discussion into two subthreads:

Blending the Themes
The Road Goes Ever On

and a section of responses to the main post

 

Subthread 1:

 

aMagpie

12/08/2006

Blending the Themes

Blending the Themes

Magpie Shiny Bits of Information:
One of the things I noticed almost immediately about The Two Towers score was the blending of themes. I had just wrapped my brain around this new concept (for me) of themes. Although I was recognizing the easy ones, The Shire and the Fellowship Themes, I had to work hard at most of the rest. I knew ‘that music’ sounded familiar but I wasn’t always sure where else I had heard it. I had to listen hard to tell the difference between the similar sounding danger motifs. I pulled hundreds of soundclips from the DVDs and listened and categorized and plopped them into folders with names like: Arwen, Gollum, Shire, Isengard, Sauron. And then came The Two Towers and bam... I was faced with blends.

Although this is not addressed at all in the Music for Middle-earth material, I think it’s a fundamental part of how the story and the score are progressing. Here are a few examples. All text below, excepting anything in parenthesis following “Magpie:”, is from the Annotated Score of The Two Towers, written by Doug Adams and available for free download at the official soundtrack site .

Fellowship/5 Beat Pattern Blend/Isengard: As the forces of evil advance their campaign to overtake middle-earth, the Isengard music adopts a parasitic stance, writhing its way inside any music it encounters in an attempt to corrupt its host. Here Isengard’s Five Beat pattern forces itself upon the Fellowship theme, deforming the melody with its tilting mechanical might.

Pity of Gollum/Ring Theme Blend: Violins rise through the three opening pitches of Gollum’s Pity. But instead of proceeding back down the line, the strings leerily divert up for two sighing pitches a half-step apart—the first notes of the History of the Ring. Frodo probes Gollum’s history, even calling him Sméagol for the first time in the story, but in one short passage, the score tells us everything we need to know. Gollum’s sad theme now interweaves with the Ring’s History theme. The Pity of Gollum and the History of the Ring have twisted into a single, tortured whole. Gollum’s history is the Ring’s history.

Gondor/Rivendell Arpeggios Blend: In The Realm of Gondor’s opening pitches we are reminded of (Aragorn’s) heritage, and his regal birthright. But Aragorn is not yet ready to claim that birthright. His mind is torn between his responsibilities in Middle-earth, fears of his own potential weaknesses, and his love for Arwen. Beneath the Gondor theme the Rivendell arpeggios begin to flow, warm but somber, devoid of the lucent orchestrations that colored the lines in The Fellowship of the Ring. (Magpie: I’m not sure if this is a blend as much as it is one theme overlapping another as the scene shifts. The Rivendell Arpeggios follow the scenes segue from Rohan to Aragorn’s flashback of Arwen in Rivendell. I have a whole theory about the Rivendell Arpeggios... but perhaps that’s pushing the topic too far afield for today.)

Rohan/5 Beat Pattern Blend: The Uruks gradually begin to bleed through the Elves’ defenses, scrabbling deeper inside. Having passed the Elves, the Five Beat Pattern meets the Rohan Fanfare, trampling not up against it, but directly through it. The score sounds the two lines in counterpoint, deforming Rohan’s rural beauty with the Uruk’s cumbrous brutality.

Rohan/Fellowship/Lothlórien Blend: The main gate (of Helm’s Deep) is about to fall. With no choice left, Théoden commands all troops to fall back to the keep. French horn sounds a proclamatory call of the Rohan Fanfare, which closes with the opening three pitches of the Fellowship theme. Trumpet echoes the call, likewise beginning with Rohan’s Fanfare, then concluding with a turn from the Lothlórien theme.

Magpie Conversation Prompts:
Three Movies, Three Scores: Had you noticed these blends? In what ways do you think The Two Towers Score differs from the Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King scores?


Responses to Blending the Themes:

 

Darkstone

12/21/2006

Well...

 

...yeah, the music is a blend because the story is a blend.  Here where the Faerie of Elves (FOTR) blends with the Mundane of Men (TTT), which then blends with the Stuff of Legend (ROTK).  It's like a giant jigsaw puzzle that breaks apart, puts itself back together in a new way, then shatters and does it again.

 

End of Responses for Blending the Themes

Subthread 2:

 

 

aMagpie

12/08/2006

Blending the Themes

The Road Goes Ever On

Magpie Thoughts:

ANSWER:

Aleatoric: 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). (Wikipedia)
Diegetic Music: refers to the function of the music within a work’s theatrical narrative, with particular relevance to the role of song. (Wikipedia)
A Magpie’s Nest: an extensive website created by a slightly mad, obsessive personality self taught in web design
QUESTION:
What are three examples of shiny new bits of knowledge (or skills) that Magpie collected solely from her passion for the Lord of the Rings soundtrack?
My passion for this music has taken me down paths I never dreamed of. I’ve learned new things. I’ve corresponded with students, composers, teachers, and conductors from places like Belgium, China, Australia, Croatia, Netherlands, Germany and Finland. I’ve learned web design, how to rip sound files from DVDs, and how to set up forums. I’ve listened to the music as I slept and carefully, over and over again... paying close attention to each note or phrase. I am, by nature, a bit obsessive and I’m always looking for a new thing to learn more about. But there’s something unique about this music. It has shaped who I am today, and where I am going, and what I am doing.

Magpie Conversation Prompts:
I would like this final day to be an open forum on any and all thoughts you wish to explore. Below are my conversation prompts but if they don’t suit you, this is certainly the time to speak out in a way that does suit you.

Soundtracks in general: Did you pay attention to or listen to movie soundtracks before LOTR? How about since? Has this changed at all because of LOTR?

Howard Shore’s work outside LOTR: Have you listened to any of Howard’s other work? If so, before or after hearing LOTR? What did you think of it?

The LOTR soundtracks: How much do you listen to the LOTR soundtracks? How has your feelings about the music changed over time? Do you remember your first listen? If you were to ‘rank’ the three movies against each other, by what criteria would you do it and how would you place them in rank?

Your emotional reaction: What has the music meant to you? How has it impacted your experience with the movies and/or the story of the Lord of the Rings? If you haven’t told us yet, what’s your favorite piece or use of music in The Two Towers? If you found yourself at a party on a couch with Howard Shore, what would you tell him or ask him?

What’s the Matter?: I heard a statement awhile back that kind of struck me, “I just want to matter.” It made me think about that word, ‘matter’. The concept moves around in my head. It seems to mean one thing and then slide right into a different meaning. But... Does this music matter? Why does it matter? How does it matter?  Put on your favorite music from Lord of the Rings and give that a chew. Can’t wait to hear what you think.

 

The Road Goes Ever On.
It’s been a pleasure.
Magpie


 

Responses to The Road Goes Ever On:

 

aMagpie

12/08/2006

my own offerings

 

I realized that, after 3 years of existence, my website addressed all manner of trivia: themes, instruments, scene descriptions, artists, language, etc. But, except for a short note about how it impacted me, I didn't address how it mattered. I would run across comments, like one from this forum by Lossefalme3. And I got emails from people who would try to share their feelings about the music. It was clear this music impacted them greatly and seemed to embody an aching joy. It reminded me of the Field of Cormallen:

And he sang to them, now in the Elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.

Well, I decided I to correct this lapse and created a new page for my site, "Inside a Song". I offer it here in this thread as a glimpse into how I feel about this music.


 

 

Darkstone

12/12/2006

well

 

Soundtracks in general: Did you pay attention to or listen to movie soundtracks before LOTR?

Yeah.  I love John Barry and Maurice Jarre.  I often watch a movie just because they scored it.  I even have records of their soundtracks from movies I've yet to watch!
 

How about since?

Well, yeah.
 

Has this changed at all because of LOTR?

Nope.
 

Howard Shore’s work outside LOTR: Have you listened to any of Howard’s other work?

“Saint James’ Infirmary” by Howard Shore and His All Nurse Band.
 

If so, before or after hearing LOTR?

Waaaaay before.
 

What did you think of it?

Good jazz.
 

The LOTR soundtracks: How much do you listen to the LOTR soundtracks?

When I watch the movies.
 

How has your feelings about the music changed over time? Do you remember your first listen?

I don’t get annoyed at the Rohan theme anymore.
 

If you were to ‘rank’ the three movies against each other, by what criteria would you do it and how would you place them in rank?

Best film, best to worst:

TTT-EE
FOTR-TE
ROTK-TE
TTT-TE
ROTK-EE
FOTR-EE


Your emotional reaction: What has the music meant to you?

You know, it's like as the visual effect of a scene begins to wear out with familiarity over time, the musical effect comes in and I still end up with the same emotions.  Nice trick.
How has it impacted your experience with the movies and/or the story of the Lord of the Rings?

I can still watch the movies over and over and over.  Plus when I hear the music I see the film.


If you haven’t told us yet, what’s your favorite piece or use of music in The Two Towers?

The Nature Theme.


If you found yourself at a party on a couch with Howard Shore, what would you tell him or ask him?

“What’s Kate Bush really like?”

What’s the Matter?: I heard a statement awhile back that kind of struck me, “I just want to matter.” It made me think about that word, ‘matter’. The concept moves around in my head. It seems to mean one thing and then slide right into a different meaning. But...

This particularly rapid, unintelligible patter
Isn't generally heard, and if it is it doesn't matter, matter, matter, matter, matter!
-WS Gilbert, My Eyes Are Fully Open.


Does this music matter? Why does it matter? How does it matter?  Put on your favorite music from Lord of the Rings and give that a chew. Can’t wait to hear what you think.

If it matters to you, it matters.

BTW, Shore makes a cameo appearance on film in The Return of the King (extended edition) as a Guard of Rohan, during the drinking game at Edoras.


 

 

grammaboodawg

12/12/2006

Ah... Soundtracks

 

“Did you pay attention to or listen to movie soundtracks before LOTR? How about since? Has this changed at all because of LOTR?”


   It was so much fun to get the music before the films were released.  Especially for Fellowship of the Ring.  We didn’t have the advantage of anything but hints from trailers and pics of what the characters or story would look like.  Because of the titles of the tracks, I could clearly imagine the story and events from the music; which is normally not possible for me!


   I’ve listened to the soundtracks over and over again.  I find I’m picturing the movies in my mind, and the emotions the music stirs have as much of an impact on me as when I’m watching the films.  The soundtracks haven’t faded at all.  If anything, I’ve come to the point to where I cannot listen to them at work anymore because they move me so much.


   I have listened to Shore’s music in a few other places.  I find it very curious when I’m watching High Fidelity to see the unique music he’s made for that film.  The entire story is based around the mood and sound of the music… and Shore’s a genius when it comes to hitting the mood of a story right on!


   Does the music matter?  Omg… the music is as much a part of the magic of these films as the characters, the landscape or the story.  The music for King Kong is a perfect example of music not capturing the story, imho.  I wish, wish, wish I could have heard Shore’s emotions through his music for that film.  I feel like we’ve lost a child and the beautiful uniqueness that child’s voice would have given to that world.


 

 

Elostirion74

12/15/2006

a late response

 

I would like this final day to be an open forum on any and all thoughts you wish to explore. Below are my conversation prompts but if they don’t suit you, this is certainly the time to speak out in a way that does suit you.

 

First, allow me to bow in honour of the wonderful work you’ve put into this discussion!


“Soundtracks in general: Did you pay attention to or listen to movie soundtracks before LOTR? How about since? Has this changed at all because of LOTR?”

 

I’m a very auditive person, still I’ve only bought a few movie soundtracks till now; some I wish I had bought, but they don’t seem to be available (too obscure films I guess). Perhaps I prefer them to belong to the film rather than be independent? Although I love music on film I’m quite sensitive and sceptical if I think the music is misused by the director. Nothing of this has changed because of LoTR.
 
“Have you listened to any of Howard’s other work? If so, before or after hearing LOTR? What did you think of it?”

 

I noticed Howard Shore as composer or musical director in another movie after LoTR. In that case, his music was just fine, nothing more, nothing less, but I wasn’t too impressed with the movie, so I probably didn’t pay enough attention.

 

The LOTR soundtracks: “How much do you listen to the LOTR soundtracks? How has your feelings about the music changed over time?”

 

*Shrinking* I haven’t bought them yet (perhaps a good New Year’s resolution to buy them, at least a resolution I’m liable to keep), but I remember “many” of the tracks, especially if they include singing, and when I need to I can go back and play the film to listen more closely. My feelings towards the music have become more positive as I have had time to listen more closely and as a consequence of gradually  becoming more familiar with those parts of the films I don’t like. I remember being quite annoyed for some time with the amount of score used and how it was used “on top of the visuals” or obviously manipulate the emotions of the audience, more so in RoTK than in the other films. I usually like music to be more in the background or more suggestive, rather like the music in “The hours”, but again the music of LoTR is on a very different scale from other film music I have heard.


Some music I took to immediately, like Eowyn’s, Pippin’s or Aragorn’s song, or the Ring theme, the music in Moria, while the elven music is the one which has really grown on me. I find that most of the themes fit the characters or places they are meant to describe and I am impressed by how consistently they are composted, but they are not always necessarily in tune with the scenes. If I should pick one piece of music where my feelings have changed a lot, it’s the piece when Gollum & Frodo are fighting and the following solo. The contrast between the grand choir and the solo is so beautiful, while before I was annoyed with the sheer volume of the choir.

 

“If you were to ‘rank’ the three movies against each other, by what criteria would you do it and how would you place them in rank?”

 

Musically I wouldn’t rank them. Each film has its strengths and its weaknesses. Maybe I like the music of RoTK a little less simply because there is too much of it, at times it doesn’t have the necessary space to unfold itself and be absorbed properly.

 

“What has the music meant to you? How has it impacted your experience with the movies and/or the story of the Lord of the Rings?”

 

Well, the negative impact the music has had from time to time is more due to how PJ is using it than the music itself. Sometimes the music has weakened a scene when used wrongly (take for instance Dwarrowdelf in FoTR). I’m sorry, but I think PJ is more imaginative when he’s directing sound motifs than when he’s reflecting on the music of the films. The songs and music I have liked, though, has enriched the movies quite a lot, since they allow for a more timeless and universal dimension to the images and let the messages sort of reverberate more strongly in the heart as well as the mind. Music simply affects your body as well as your spirit on more levels than an image.

“If you haven’t told us yet, what’s your favorite piece or use of music in The Two Towers?”

 

Well, it must be Éowyn's song.


 

End of Responses for The Road Goes Ever On

Responses to:

In The End...

 

A'mael

12/10/2006

TTT Vocals

 

I think I listen to this soundtrack more than any of the others. There are so many emotional themes in this one. The " Horse and Rider" music splits my heart every time.

 

You have accomplished quite an extra ordinary Music Discussion aMagpie! It has been a pleasure to read and learn from it.

There are more subtle nuances in this film, more  " pieces of music" if you will. The music ( and I know there is a proper word for it other than " music", I just cannot think of it right now. Of course, watching TTT at the moment isn't helping! :-) )

 

I love the " music" that accompanies Aragorn as he prepares for battle.

 

The best music in the whole film remains the tinkling of rain on Théoden's armor.

 

Must run...the battle for Helm's Deep is beginning...

 

I'd love to do your long insightful posts justice but I am sorely lacking in the knowledge.


 

 

grammaboodawg

12/12/2006

What a journey!

 

Howard Shore: “Even in the darkest hour I’ve always loved it. Because there only is one Lord of the Rings.”

 

Shore really does say it all here, doesn’t he?  We’re so blessed to have his voice and his passion with these films.  He’s as important to them as Peter’s work or any of the players.

 

Thank you so much for this incredible journey, aMagpie.  This has been absolutely brilliant!  Your passion and understanding of how to express your thoughts and bring the music and voices to such a high level of examination has been a real inspiration for me!  Thank you.  :)  *bows deeply*


aMagpie

12/12/2006

ah, gee... you're making me blush

 

Thank you, gramma. Treebeard says something like, "we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say." Well, I am cursed with the mindset that anything I want to do is worth taking the time to do well. After going through an intense need to share all my thoughts on Tolkien, I find I'm almost shy about them sometimes. They seem precious now... not to be sown lightly. So I enjoyed getting back into the swing of things again. Thanks to all you who participated.


 

 

weaver

12/13/2006

"why does it matter?"

 

I think I asked that question once around here when we were in the middle of all kinds of strong debate about changes from the book -- I was trying to get at why some changes were tolerated and others weren't, and why people reacted so strongly at times to certain ones.  My question was -- why the heck does it matter so much?  Why do we all feel so passionate about certain things?

 

There was no clear answer, alas!  But I do remember that it generally came down to if the change was something that hit you on a personal level, that meant it mattered.

 

Does the music matter?  Oh, yes, you bet.  Music has that power to get into you and affect you very deeply, in ways you can't express -- well, perhaps you can, but not me!  It matters because it says things that no image, no dialogue, no setting, no sound can say. 

 

My husband has a very fine ear for music, and an appreciation of it on a level I typically don't "get". The LOTR scores are the first thing that helped me to bridge the divide between the surface and deeper levels of music.  They are profound and accessible.  Not an easy thing to be, but somehow Howard Shore does it.

 

Thank you so much for this great week.  I learned so much and am glad this was such a good experience for you as well.

You're a gem!


End of Responses for In the End

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