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Welcome & Themes

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  • **TTT Music for Middle-earth Appendices Discussion** — aMagpie, 12/4 @ 8:50 (7/43)

     

    • **The Rohan Theme & music for Éowyn — aMagpie, 12/4 @ 8:53 (5/19)
      • Rohan music — Menelwyn, 12/4 @ 19:31 (1/1)
        • I agree — aMagpie, 12/5 @ 9:15 (0/0)
      • Well.... — Darkstone, 12/5 @ 9:27 (1/7)
        • Character Themes — aMagpie, 12/6 @ 9:40 (1/6)
          • Well — Darkstone, 12/6 @ 10:18 (1/5)
            • Thanks. Cool stuff!  (No Text) — aMagpie, 12/6 @ 10:48 (1/4)
              • There's more on tuning on Wikipedia — Owlyross, 12/6 @ 10:57 (1/3)
                 
      • music, images and emotional imprinting... — weaver, 12/5 @ 21:36 (1/4)
        • Rohan and Eowyn — aMagpie, 12/6 @ 9:47 (1/3)
      • Love the Rohan theme — Owlyross, 12/6 @ 6:39 (1/2)
        • I can see how... — aMagpie, 12/6 @ 9:29 (1/1)
          • I just remember being really excited — Owlyross, 12/6 @ 10:54 (0/0)
      • While the Rohan theme — grammaboodawg, 12/8 @ 19:51 (0/0)
         
    • **Gollum's Two Themes — aMagpie, 12/4 @ 8:55 (3/6)
      • Yes. — Darkstone, 12/5 @ 9:35 (1/1)
        • I like this thought — aMagpie, 12/6 @ 9:50 (0/0)
      • Both themes are "elusive"... — weaver, 12/5 @ 21:48 (1/2)
        • It worked! — aMagpie, 12/6 @ 10:04 (1/1)
          • well, you are in good company! — weaver, 12/6 @ 21:57 (0/0)
      • Gollum's theme is — grammaboodawg, 12/8 @ 19:55 (0/0)
         
    • **Fangorn Forest — aMagpie, 12/4 @ 8:56 (3/5)
      • Fangorn is definitely unique — grammaboodawg, 12/8 @ 20:06 (0/0)
      • Hoom... hroom! — weaver, 12/5 @ 21:55 (1/1)
        • I hadn't thought of that — aMagpie, 12/6 @ 10:19 (0/0)
      • Maybe the best example for Shore's abilities — gkgyver, 12/4 @ 11:24 (1/1)
        • fairy tale music — aMagpie, 12/6 @ 10:13 (0/0)
           
    • **The Gondor Theme — aMagpie, 12/4 @ 8:58 (3/3)
      • The Gondor theme is laced — grammaboodawg, 12/8 @ 20:11 (0/0)
      • I love this theme... — weaver, 12/5 @ 22:05 (0/0)
      • Well... — Darkstone, 12/5 @ 9:55 (0/0)
  • aMagpie

    12/04/2006

     

    Welcome to this weeks discussion of The Tower’s appendices material: Music for Middle-earth. I’ve approached this discussion by providing you with a transcript of DVD comments and then following that up with some information of my own and conversation prompts. (Transcripts are in brown, magpie information in black.) I am not one who responds well to lists of questions. I don’t want you to think of my prompts as questions that must be answered. I want them to be starting points for thought and perhaps conversation. If you are moved to answer any of them, that’s fine. If they prompt you to veer off in another direction, that’s fine as well. And if your mind lights on a subject I haven’t even thought of, extra fine.

    Only musicologists need reply. NOT! Discussions of the LOTR soundtrack can take two paths. One is the more analytical, academic tone of the musicologist. The other is the emotional reactions of any fan. Although I provide some of the more analytical information, the discussion could and should follow either path or both. I often am given credit for having way more musical knowledge than I actually do. I understand basic concepts such as bar, phrase, time signatures, and minor/major keys. But most of what Doug Adams says swooshes way over my head. I do find the analytical stuff interesting (when I can understand it) but I think the emotional reaction to the music is what it’s all about and we all can contribute to that discussion. It is sometimes the simplest approach that’s the most meaningful.

    The week’s schedule

    Monday: New Themes for TTT
    Tuesday: Emotional Choices
    Wednesday: Vocals and Lyrics
    Thursday: Postproduction and Deadlines
    Friday: Fun and Gongs
    Saturday: In the End


    Let the discussion begin....

    Scoring The Two Towers
    Paul Broucek: I remember having a conversation towards the end of the final dub of FOTR, in New Zealand with Fran Walsh, and being the eternal optimist that I am, saying to Fran, “heh, you know, it’s.. we’ve learned... Fran, we’ve learned so much I think we can make a lot of improvements in the next film. It should be much easier”. She turned to me and said, “Film two is going to be the hardest film. It has no beginning, it has no end.”

    Howard Shore: It’s a compositional problem. Now in TTT you’re following three fellowships. And cutting away between the three of them... you know, it’s just by the very idea of numbers it’s become a lot more complicated. How do you move seamlessly from one to the other? And do that musically?

    Peter Jackson: We feel very strongly on these films that they have to have, you know, a musical shape. We want there to be a build and a progression to show that it’s like a sort of opera. So it’s like a 9 hour symphony.

    Howard Shore: LOTR is one book. It’s a novel that was created as a piece. And we’re creating a film called The Lord of the Rings where there is three separate and distinct films but they are of a piece.
    Peter Jackson: There are literally only about 10 or 11 minutes of themes from the first movie reused in the second films.

    Paul Broucek: So Howard initially went into a phase of writing themes.


    Now to the themes discussed in Music for Middle-earth: I’ll start a subthread for each one

    Rohan
    Gollum
    Fangorn Forest
    Gondor

    Subthread 1:

     

    Main Post:

    aMagpie

    12/04/2006

    The Rohan Theme & music for Éowyn

     

    Rohan Theme
    On Screen: score entitled “The King of the Golden Hall” - fade to Meduseld
    Music Playing: Rohan Theme on Hardanger Fiddle

    Peter Jackson: The Rohan Theme was the main theme that was a signature piece of TTT. It doesn’t, you know, exist at all, it wasn’t even written until after the FOTR. And when Howard started playing me his original ideas for the Rohan Theme, I kept saying to him, “I’m humming the Fellowship theme from the first film, I’m humming the Shire Theme but you’ve got to create something that’s hummable.” When I was back in NZ at the end of the year and I was driving in the car with Fran and I started to hum the Rohan Theme and she turned to me and she said, “Look! You’re doing it. You’re humming it. Howard succeeded.” You know.

    Howard Shore: Because of the Viking or the Nordic feeling of Rohan, I wanted to use the Norwegian Fiddle, which is called the Hardanger Fiddle.

    Paul Broucek: It’s more of a folk instrument. It has what you call sympathetic strings that you don’t play. But as you’re playing the main strings, they resonate.

    Howard Shore: So I think what I was doing was trying to create the sounds using very specific folk sounds that may have been part of the real world of Rohan.

    Music Playing: Éowyn’s Theme

    Paul Broucek: In addition to the triumphant Rohan Theme, there’s a whole component that is more moody and dramatic that plays through Éowyn’s issues and challenges and her longing and love, platonic though it might be, for Aragorn.

     

    Magpie Shiny Bits of Information:
    Doug Adams on Éowyn’s Music: “Éowyn has three themes, all of which are intricately interrelated. One of the themes applies to just her, two apply to her relationships with other characters. They all share material in common, but are very specifically applied in the film.” With the release of the CR-TTT, we know those three themes to represent: Éowyn Shieldmaiden, Éowyn & Théoden, and Éowyn & Aragorn.

    Doug Adams on Music for Characters:
    Fan Question: “are there also themes for mini-minor characters? Gamling, Grimbold, Mardil, Uglúk, Grishnak, Lurtz, Gorbag, etc?”

    DA: “No sir. But, that goes back to Shore’s approach. What, in LOTR, gets musical themes? How is the score constructed? It always echoes Tolkien’s writing, which was based on hierarchal structures. A character is not just a stand-alone cipher. He/she has parents, those parents represent a lineage, that lineage is tied to a culture, that culture has neighbors, allies, enemies, traditions, etc. There are actually relatively few “character” themes in Shore’s LOTR… and those that do have them are presented as an offshoot of a culture. That’s another connection to Wagner, in a way… the idea of a hierarchy of material, not just tunes for character for the sake of having a melody to fall back on.”

    Fan Comment: I think minor characters/people-as-a-whole are treated as extensions off major themes.

    DA: Absolutely true. Same holds for major characters, for the most part.

    Fan Comment: I think the music would become too complex and would just burst if minor characters would have their own theme, it’s already that complex with just major persons and things their themes.

    DA: I don’t know that it’s a question of complexity. I’m sure Shore could write a killer tune for Fatty Bolger were he so inclined. But what would be the purpose? It’s a question of appropriateness, I think. What story was Shore telling? What music was important for the story? How can that story be properly populated with leitmotifs?
    All quotes from MovieMusic.com’s forums

     

    Magpie Conversation Prompts:
    Rohan: Any thoughts on the Rohan Theme? Did it achieve hummability for you?

    Éowyn: What do you think about Doug’s comments above? Do you find them contradictory? Why do you think, in a score where there are few character themes*, Éowyn got three?  (*I can list these themes for characters: Aragorn, Gandalf, Arwen, Gollum, Gríma has some music that’s used a few times, Sauron—although this is kind of a concept of the big bad as opposed to a tangible character. Are there any more?) Does any reason stand out for you as to which characters did get themes?

    Hardanger: How well did the Hardanger fiddle work as an instrument for Rohan? Did you enjoy its use in the movie? Were you familiar with this instrument before The Two Towers?


     

     

    Responses to **The Rohan Theme & music for Éowyn:

    Menelwyn 12/4/2006
    In Reply To: **The Rohan Theme & music for Éowyn — aMagpie
    Rohan music
     
    Message:
    Is it hummable?  Well, since I've been humming it for the last week and a half, I suppose so.  Humming may not be the right word actually, but the music has definitely been in my head, and I've been singing, whistling, whatever.  I have spent way too much time with TTT lately!

    I like the Hardanger fiddle.  I don't think I would have known it wasn't just an ordinary fiddle if I hadn't read about it (mainly because I don't know the capabilities of a regular fiddle), but it definitely has a unique sound. And it does make me think of country, of open places, of a place that's somehow less civilized than other places in LOTR.


    aMagpie 12/5/2006
    In Reply To: Rohan music — Menelwyn
    I agree

    Message:

    ...that the Hardanger evokes this sense of open places. I wonder if that's due to the sound quality or because I have such a strong association with the Hardanger and Eowyn's escape to the open air early in TTT. That scene was one I felt in my body. She flees from the dark room of death and Grima onto the veranda. I can feel, along with her, the sharp bite of cold air. But the bite of this cold air is a relief from the stiffling, fuzzy warmth of that room and Grima's words. She could succumb to that fuzzy warmth and give in to the life being pushed on her... or she could run to the cold bite of a life of her choosing... a life outside a cage.

    I think we all are offered cages at different points in our life and we have to make a choice: the comfortable way that contains compromises or the more difficult way that opens us up to a larger existence. Sometimes, like Eowyn, we choose the cold air not from wisdom but from a sheer and desperate need to live larger... to flee the cage.

    I experienced this scene on a visual level, on a physical level (I could feel that bite of cold air in my nose and throat... it helps to live in Minnesota), and on an auditory level. That sparse Hardanger is completely tied with that scene for me. More so than any other rendition of the Rohan Theme or the use of the Hardanger.


    end subthread

     

    Darkstone 12/5/2006
    In Reply To: **The Rohan Theme & music for Éowyn — aMagpie

    Well....

     

    Message:

    Rohan: Any thoughts on the Rohan Theme? Did it achieve hummability for you?

    Yes, very hummable.  It took a tad getting used to.  In some movies, like The Gallant Hours and the original cut of High Noon, a theme can be repeated so often the audience starts rolling their eyes and laughs every time it's played.  That almost happened for me with the umpteenth repetition of the theme, right as they entered Helm's Deep.  But then the images of Rohan's people, history, and culture merged and the theme and became inspiring, touching, and very moving. 

     
    Éowyn: What do you think about Doug’s comments above?

    Nice.


    Do you find them contradictory?

    Yep.  But that doesn't mean they're wrong.


    Why do you think, in a score where there are few character themes*, Éowyn got three?

    Caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly.

     

    (*I can list these themes for characters: Aragorn, Gandalf, Arwen, Gollum, Gríma has some music that’s used a few times, Sauron—although this is kind of a concept of the big bad as opposed to a tangible character. Are there any more?) Does any reason stand out for you as to which characters did get themes?

    All these characters transcend their cultures, step from the one they were born into over to a new culture.  As such the Gondor theme isn't Aragorn's only identity, nor is the Elven theme Arwen's sole culture.  Gollum is between the cultures of hobbit and wraith, Grima stuck in a triangle of Rohan, Orthanc, and Uruk-Hai.  In contrast Hama and Gamling are Rohirrim through and through, Haldir is an Elf of Elves, and Boromir is a true blue Gondorian.
     

    Hardanger: How well did the Hardanger fiddle work as an instrument for Rohan?

    Very nuch!


    Did you enjoy its use in the movie?

    Yes.  I wonder if they changed the tuning of the fiddle to match various scenes.  For instance, first "troll tuning" and then "greylighting" as the situation for Rohan grew more desperate.   


    Were you familiar with this instrument before The Two Towers?

    I'd listened to a lot of Edvard Grieg's compositions.  I also remember it on the Fargo soundtrack.


    aMagpie 12/6/2006
    In Reply To: Well.... — Darkstone
    Character Themes
     
    Message:
     
    Why do you think, in a score where there are few character themes*, Éowyn got three?

    Caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly.


    For those that might not have checked out my supplemental pages, the three Éowyn themes are:
    Éowyn Shieldmaiden
    Éowyn and her relationship with Théoden
    Éowyn and her relationship with Aragorn

    So my question to you Darkstone, did you make the association between three themes and caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly because of the number three or were you thinking that each of themes represented either the caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly.

    I love your observations about 'why' characters get their own themes. When you hang with soundtrack people, sometimes the conversation gets overly focused on identifying, listing, and cataloging themes. Then there's all the sideways stepping Dminor Dorian mode stuff (that was all Dilithium crystal talk... I have no idea what that kind of stuff means). It's refreshing to step back from the MUSIC and think about the purpose the music serves. ahh...

    Were 'trolling' and 'greylighting' your own terms (showing total lack of knowledge here)? I think it's a fascinating question. Do you (at the top of your head) have instances that caught your attention? In my cursory glancing at the TTT material asst. with the Complete Recordings, I didn't notice any discussion of tuning but I haven't been able to give it my full attention. (I don't think it was in the Themes section but it could be in the Track discussion section of the Annotated Score). A musicologist like gkgyver would probably know.


    Darkstone 12/6/2006
    In Reply To: Character Themes — aMagpie
    Well
     
    Message:
    Caterpillar:  Éowyn and her relationship with Théoden
    Chrysalis:  Éowyn and her relationship with Aragorn
    Butterfly:  Éowyn Shieldmaiden

    I could have said "Maiden, Matron, Crone".  The Éowyn storyline seems to have many features of the feminine trinity. 

    As for the fiddle, most works are played in "common tuning".  "Troll tuning" is used for "Devil's tunes", or tunes that aren't very melodic.   "Greylight tuning" refers to tunes played at the end of a session, usually in the grey light of the dawn.  My ear isn't quite good enough, but it seems like the entrance to Helm's Deep is troll tuned.


    Owlyross 12/6/2006
    In Reply To: Thanks. Cool stuff!  (No Text) — aMagpie
    There's more on tuning on Wikipedia

    Message:
    on the Hardanger Fiddle page, which references all the tuning styles Darkstone mentions...

    end subthread

     

     

    weaver 12/5/2006
    In Reply To: **The Rohan Theme & music for Éowyn — aMagpie
    music, images and emotional imprinting...
     
    Message:
    The Rohan and Eowyn themes, to me, stand out more than some of the others used in the films...I'm wondering if it's because of the context in which we first hear them. Eowyn, Rohan and Theoden are all very much "victims" when we first encounter them, and the images we see, combined with the music used, immediately gets our sympathy; they get "imprinted" emotionally, into the audience, so we are compelled to care about them and pay attention to their storylines.

    In the books, I know, it took me awhile to warm up to Rohan and its people -- I didn't really want to let go of the Shire and the Fellowship and it took awhile to embrace a whole new cast of characters. But in the films, it's pretty instantaneous, in terms of how quickly we start to care about Rohan.  The music, I'm thinking, has much to do with that.

    I didn't realize that there were three themes for Éowyn -- but now that I listened to them each, thanks to you, I can see the differences between then and how they each do "say" something about her.  Your soundclips are wonderfully presented and organized. Thank you so much!


    aMagpie 12/6/2006
     In Reply To: music, images and emotional imprinting... — weaver
    Rohan and Eowyn
     
    Message:
    Yes, I agree that they are easy to identify. Owlyross said he couldn't immediately evoke the Fellowship Theme in his head. I often have to imagine that definitive scene as the newly formed Fellowship top the rise, one by one, and 'hear' the music from that scene to evoke the Fellowship Theme. It's a little easier now after three movies and three years of obsession. But  it's not 'the' most evocative.

    The Shire was easier because it was the melody of In Dreams and I memorized the lyrics and sang it.

    But beyond that, Rohan and Éowyn's themes are most recognizable. I wonder if some of it because they are so melodic. And our association with Éowyn is much more personal than with, say, Lothlórien. We feel we can reach out and touch Éowyn. Lothlórien is 'beyond us' as Sam once described the Elves. We are on the outside looking in.


    end subthread

     

    Owlyross 12/6/2006
    In Reply To: **The Rohan Theme & music for Éowyn — aMagpie
    Love the Rohan theme
     
    Message:
    It certainly has hummability and it's the one that comes back to me the most from the movie, aside from the fellowship theme... Actually, thinking about it now, I 'can't recall the sound of the Fellowship theme' but I can picture in my head the sound of the Rohan theme.

    Little tidbit of knowledge... The BBC used the Rohan theme in a lot of its coverage of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, so they obviously made a link with a wise and ancient culture... It fitted very well actually, over all the shots of the Acropolis and Greek islands...

    The instrument I thought was violins. But now I can hear the resonance in the sound rather than two separate instruments. It works because it brings along the association of mediaevalness, it sounds a little like the sort of music you would expect to hear in a kingly court, much like King Arthur's and that's the sort of association I would expect to hear. Also, the resonance of the non-played strings gives an echoey, lonesome feel to the piece as played on the Hardanger Fiddle. I'd never heard of it before now...


    aMagpie 12/6/2006
    In Reply To: Love the Rohan theme — Owlyross
    I can see how...
     
    Message:
    that music would work for Olympics. You're a magpie for collecting tidbits like that. There's a guy at another soundtrack forum who totally focuses on the music used in the background of sports coverage!

    I like what you said about the echoey feel of the Hardanger emphasising lonliness - at least for Eowyn at that moment. Perhaps it emphasizes the open, empty landscape we see, too. Stuff I hadn't consciously thought about but works when I do.


    Owlyross 12/6/2006
    In Reply To: I can see how... — aMagpie
    I just remember being really excited
     
    Message:
    Because firstly I love the Olympics, and secondly my fiancee lived in Greece for a year and I went running out to her to say that the Rohan music was playing over the Greece montage. It was really cool. The music playing behind sports montages usually tends to be really unknown stuff because it's not as expensive for the TV company to pay the royalties... I've heard a lot of my favourite, lesser known bands playing behind goal compilations and the like...

    The wide open space sound, I saw the comment in Menelwyn's post and tried to think about what in the music or the sound of it creates that effect... It's the resonance I think, the same as using kettle drums for sequences which involve enclosed spaces or to create claustrophobia. The harmony created isn't completely perfect and jars a little, which creates the tension you need for this moment... It doesn't have the "clean-ness" of the later Rohan themes which involve more direct brass instruments.


    end subthread

     

     

    grammaboodawg 12/8/2006
    In Reply To: **The Rohan Theme & music for Éowyn — aMagpie
    While the Rohan theme
     
    Message:
    fits the feel of the Rohirric culture and story, I have to say it's my least favourite of the themes.  That said, however, I'm still stirred by it at the most wonderful moments.  As Theoden talks with a rejected/dejected Eowyn at the sunrise, the music so carries the emotions and tenderness between them.  As he gathers her hands into his and speaks to her of hope and the future... "No more despair"; the music stirs the feelings so perfectly. 

    As the Rohirrim crest the hill at Pelennor with the hint of their theme... then a full-blown, heroic grandeur as they charge the enemy is thrilling!

    End of Responses for The Rohan Theme & music for Éowyn

    Subthread 2:

     

    Main Post:

     

    aMagpie

    12/04/2006

    Gollum’s Theme

    On Screen: score entitled “The Taming of Sméagol”
    Music Playing: The History of the Ring Theme

    Howard Shore: On Gollum’s Theme, you hear fragments of what I call the History of the Ring Theme from Fellowship, cause Gollum has the longest relationship with the Ring. And Gollum also is Frodo’s guide to destroying it. So there’s a very close relationship with Gollum and the Ring.

    Paul Broucek: There’s a couple of sides to the Gollum Theme that Howard weaves throughout the second film.

    Howard Shore: There’s the Sméagol Theme...

    On Screen: score entitled “Slinker”
    Music Playing: Gollum’s theme from the FOTR

    Howard Shore: ...which has a little more pity in it. It’s a little more melancholy, it’s a little sadder really.

    On Screen: score entitled “Stinker” superimposed over Gollum creeping down rock
    Music Playing: The cimbalom, Gollum Theme first heard in TTT

    Howard Shore: And then the second part of Gollum’s Theme is a more schizophrenic theme. It’s more development of the creepier side of Gollum. And that uses the cimbalon which is actually a hammered dulcimer. The hammered dulcimer seemed like a good one because it has that jittery sound and because it was one of the instruments of Hobbiton. And Gollum, at one time in his life, was a Hobbit, a river Hobbit. So the two themes are really playing Slinker/Stinker -- they’re really reflecting both of those ideas of Gollum.

    Magpie Shiny Bits of Information:
    Sméagol’s Slinker Theme: This music has been called Sméagol’s Theme, Slinker, and The Pity of Gollum
    Sméagol’s Stinker Theme: This music has been called Gollum’s Theme, Stinker, and Gollum’s Menace

    Doug Adams on The Pity of Gollum: This first melody stands for Gollum’s sad state of existence, and is tellingly reprised throughout the films when Bilbo and Frodo begin to exhibit the same slavish dedication to the Ring. The theme is based on a series of loosely related minor arpeggios, through which a knobbly, twisted melody traipses, bestowing an unusually slippery profile. Sméagol/Gollum is motivationally the most complicated character, and is appropriately matched with this tonally elusive theme. Throughout Fellowship, Gollum is little more than a shadowy interloper, never more than a few steps behind the Fellowship and his precious. Shore paints him a sad and wretched portrait with the Pity theme, which becomes a central element in film one, representing Gollum and his influence even as the character remains off in the shadows. (DA, from the CR-FOTR liner notes)

    Doug Adams on Gollum’s Menace: Shore’s music for the Shire in Fellowship included, among other Celtic sounds, the hammered dulcimer. In representing Gollum, the most warped of all hobbits, he returned to his original palette, but with at twist. “Because Sméagol was a river hobbit, I wanted to bring an instrument along from the Shire.” recalls Shore. The cimbalom, a distant relative of the dulcimer, was chosen to represent Gollum’s primitive stride (sic). There’s a sadness in the pairing. Gollum’s feral, animalistic side is scored by the instrument that most closely represents what he once was. “It seemed like a good sound for a hobbit that had been corrupted by the Ring. It had an agitato, quivering feeling to it.” This melody line slithers up and down through chromatic harmonies without ever establishing a comfortable tonality. (DA, from the CR-TTT liner notes)

    Magpie Conversation Prompts:
    Gollum and the Ring: I don’t have enough musicology background to understand the melodic connection between Sméagol’s Slinker Theme and the History of the Ring Theme and Doug Adams does not elaborate on HS’s comment above in the CR-FOTR notes. Do you have any thoughts about these two pieces of music? In a later discussion, we’ll talk about an instance when Shore blended these two themes.

    Gollum’s Two Themes: Do you like the idea of two themes for Gollum? How well does each effectively portray either Slinker or Stinker?

    The Cimbalon: How well does the ‘jittery’ nature of the cimbalon work for portraying Gollum?  Does the folk nature of the cimbalon effectively (either subtly or more overtly) connect it with the instruments used for the Shire?


     

    Responses to Gollum's Theme:

     

    Darkstone 12/5/2006
    In Reply To: **Gollum's Two Themes — aMagpie
    Yes.
     
    Message:
    I see the themes as showing Gollum as a hobbit/wraith.  This is similar to Frodo's near miss in FOTR, as he goes from hobbit to wraith at Amon Sul, the Trollshaws, and the Ride to the Ford.
    aMagpie 12/6/2006
    In Reply To: Yes. — Darkstone
    I like this thought
     
    Message:
    Smeagol/Slinker : represents a more Hobbity - a more human creature

    Gollum/Stinker : represents a more wraithlike - less human creature

    I can even think of the 'jittery' nature of the cimbalon as being wraith like.


    end subthread

     

    weaver 12/5/2006
    In Reply To: **Gollum's Two Themes — aMagpie
    Both themes are "elusive"...

    Message:
    I like that term that Doug Adams uses, in terms of Gollum's themes, being "elusive" -- so very appropriate to the character.

    The use of two themes for Gollum is also very fitting, though for me, it's the "stinker" theme, first used when he crawls down the rock, that is the one I mostly associate with Gollum. The "slinker" one is introduced so early, and used in so many different contexts, that I associate it more with the ring than Gollum. But now that I read some of the thinking behind the development of the two themes, it makes perfect sense to musically link the ring with Gollum as they did.

    This is very cool stuff, amagpie!  I'm certainly having fun going through this and I hope it was an enjoyable experience for you to put such a Labor of Love together for us.


    aMagpie 12/6/2006
    In Reply To: Both themes are "elusive"... — weaver
    It worked!

    Message:
    Tying Sméagol's music to the Ring, I mean. Because I didn't have the music background to understand the score in a 'artistic' way, I had to approach it from a mathematical, logical way. If it had the same melody and rhythm, it was a theme. But I had all this music that 'kind of' sounded alike but not alike enough for my logical brain.

    There was one piece of music, I think in the Dead Marshes, that soundtrack fans discussed a lot. Ring Theme?, Sauron's Theme?, Gollum's Theme? It has become now become clear that there's a reason it's hard to tell sometimes. It's all related! (feel free to say DUH! if so moved.)

    The liner notes in the Complete Recordings illustrate just how complexly things are related. I'm surprised Howard's brain didn't explode.

    weaver wrote:

    I'm certainly having fun going through this and I hope it was an enjoyable experience for you to put such a Labor of Love together for us.
    ha... I have to laugh because I wonder if you sense what my driving attribute is: obsessive behavior.

    Yes, I did enjoy it. Some of what you see is motivated by my desire to teach. Teaching is all about presenting information in a way that is useful for the student. It's not that I'm 'teaching' anything. Only that I'm assembling the materials to help people come together for discussion.

    Some of what you see is the desire to share. What good is all this information I've accumulated if I don't share it?

    Some of what you see in the supplemental material is motivated by the desire to design. I can use all the experience I can get and no effort is wasted.

    Some of what you see is the result of "I know I can get it all and it can be perfect." This personality trait of mine is the motivator for a couple of conversation prompts in this discussion overall.

    Some of what you see is the result of 'it seemed like a good idea at the time'.

    But, overall, it was a pleasurable experience. Thanks for asking. Thanks for the compliment. ;^)


    weaver  12/6/2006
    In Reply To: It worked! — aMagpie
    well, you are in good company!
     
    Message:
    Tolkien was certainly a "bit" of an obsessive, about things he cared about, and so are many like you who lovingly spend hours and hours crafting discussion posts for these Boards -- I think as long as your motivation is a "good one", to do something that advances your skills, or knowledge, and which invites others to do the same, well... the world could do with a bit more obsessiveness like the kind I find around here.

    end subthread

     

    grammaboodawg 12/8/2006
    In Reply To: **Gollum's Two Themes — aMagpie
    Gollum's theme is
     
    Message:
    my favourite after the Fellowship theme.  I think it hauntingly beautiful.  It has the hobbity beauty to it, yet is so sad.  The warbly sound does hold it just off-balance enough to be sinister or unstable... however it is applied to whomever.

     

    End of Responses for Gollum's Theme

    Subthread 3:

     

    Main Post:

     

    aMagpie

    12/04/2006

     

    Fangorn Forest

    On Screen: score entitled “Fangorn Forest”
    Music Playing: music from beginning of “Treebeard” track on CD

    Howard Shore: Peter was always giving me mock-ups and Alan Lee drawings of Fangorn, because I didn’t get to see Treebeard until he was very formed, until the end of the process. It’s interesting because writing music is about how you’re feeling about certain imagery. So seeing as much of the imagery as I can is actually a fantastic thing. Because of the nature of the woods, I used all wooden percussion. So you hear wood logs and bass marimbas and, I mean, it’s essentially the sound of wooden and natural elements.

    Magpie Shiny Bits of Information:
    Wood Instruments: The last minute of the track, Treebeard, is a better place than the beginning (which is used for the appendices segment) to hear the wood instruments.

    Palette and Texture: In the CR-TTT liner notes, Doug Adams says that Howard Shore created a palette of wood instruments--bass marimba, wooden logs, bassoon and double basses--and put the emphasis on texture rather than melody.

    Magpie Conversation Prompts:
    Fangorn’s Music: What do you think of this music? Do you enjoy it’s use in the movie? How about when recreationally listening to the soundtrack?


    Responses to Fangorn Forest:

    gkgyver 12/4/2006
    In Reply To: **Fangorn Forest — aMagpie
    Maybe the best example for Shore's abilities
     
    Message:
    Fangorn's music strikes me as the most unique element of all three scores. Only the Shire itself is equally recognisable.
    I think the Treebeard music shows how Shore is able to inject a healthy dose of classic fairy tale music into his score without ever losing the more serious, down-to-earth and drama- like approach of the entire work.

    It's a great tragedy that so much Fangorn music was excluded from the finished film. As it is right now, practically the only relatively intact Fangorn cue can be heard during Treebeard's first scene with Merry and Pippin - and even there the solo bassoon was cut.


    aMagpie 12/6/2006
    In Reply To: Maybe the best example for Shore's abilities — gkgyver
    fairy tale music
     
    Message:
    Darn, gkygyver. I answered this post yesterday but there's no sign of it today. Lately, I've been hitting preview and, after editing, forgetting to hit send. I don't know if I'll ever remember what I said.

    I liked thinking about the Ent music as 'fairy tale'. The wood instruments work well for me. Partly in that they kind of round out the whole concept of this woody creature. Partly in that the instruments and the composition of the music make it 'exotic'. But 'exotic' in a very different way than Lothlorien, for example. Lothlorien's music seems more melodic and therefore 'more human?'. Treebeard's music is one more step removed from familiar and comfortable music. (to my ears, anyhow... I tend to like melodic pieces and I'm not a big jazz fan either)

    But I can't say I like listening to it recreationally. I'm pretty sure it's not meant to serve that purpose here. I think it's supposed to make us unsure and uneasy - we are strangers in a strange land and the music supports that.

    Thinking of it as 'fairy tale' helps me appreciate it more in it's own right. If you're able to elaborate more on this thought, I'd love to hear it.


    end subthread

    weaver 12/5/2006
    In Reply To: **Fangorn Forest — aMagpie
    Hoom... hroom!

    Message:
    Treebeard's music is very "alien" to me, and probably my least favorite to listen to; but in playing the clips you provided, I realized how much the score captures the "hoom hroom" way Treebeard talks. It's like an Entish aria, I guess. 

    I think I'm going to try singing along with it next time I'm on a backroad in my car where no one can hear me... "hoom, hoom, hoom, hoom..."

    Shore does perfectly capture the essence of the characters and cultures, doesn't he?


    aMagpie 12/6/2006
    In Reply To: Hoom... hroom! — weaver
    I hadn't thought of that
     
    Message:
    I think you're right, though.

    You know, one of my disappointments about what was left out was the marching to Isengard song the Ents sing. I so wanted to hear this. The music we get is wonderful, but I wanted the book scene to come to life. Someone once asked what the Ents language might have sounded like and I thought it was the hoom hoom, runda rom stuff that was their language.


    end subthread

     

    grammaboodawg 12/8/2006
    In Reply To: **Fangorn Forest — aMagpie
    Fangorn is definitely unique

    Message:
    not just as the theme of Fangorn, but in the combination of sounds and instruments and how they're used.  It rattles and plods, but does not at all overpower any of the scenes it's tied to during the films.

     

    End of Responses for Fangorn Forest

    Subthread 4:

    Main Post:

    aMagpie

    12/04/2006

     

    Gondor Theme

    Barry M Osborne: Howard Shore’s composed new music to cover the additional 40 minutes of film that’s incorporated in the longer version.

    Paul Broucek: It gives Howard a chance to set up those themes that he would have liked to have had.

    On Screen: score entitled Gondor superimposed on Boromir’s victory speech at Osgiliath
    Music Playing: Triumphant version of The Realm of Gondor Theme

    Howard Shore: The Gondorian Theme is a real central theme that’s introduced in the extended DVD of TTT* and then, of course, leading us to Return of the King. I mean, this places a major part in Return of the King.

    *This isn’t completely accurate. The theme was introduced in FOTR at the Council of Elrond.

    On Screen: flag of Gondor flying over Osgiliath - fade to Boromir and then Faramir
    Music Playing: Somber version of The Realm of Gondor Theme

    Magpie Conversation Prompts:
    Gondor Theme: If you were really into the soundtrack, you might remember that Hirgon provided a clip of the Council Gondor Theme (before we knew it was the Gondor Theme) from the FOTR with the dialog removed. Had you paid any attention to this in FOTR? If not, did it pop for you in TTT EE?

    New Music for the Extended Edition: Did any other music used in extended or new scenes for TTT EE catch your attention? How about “The Dream of Trees”, Treebeard’s songs to the Hobbits? Or the music used as Éomer returns to Meduseld with the mortally wounded Théodred?


    Responses to the Gondor Theme:

    Darkstone 12/5/2006
    In Reply To: **The Gondor Theme — aMagpie, 12/4 @ 8:58 (3/3) Subject:
    Well...
     
    Message:
    Well, yeah, I noticed the Gondor theme at the Council.  I'd heard Shore really hadn't conceived of it as "The Gondor Theme" at the time.  It's nice that it's a mere wisp at the Council, as is Aragorn's potential destiny as king.  In TTT we see it is strong in Boromir, and we saw that strength being transferred to Aragorn at the end of FOTR, along with vambraces and oaths.  But still Aragorn is a mixture of Numenor, Sindar, and Ranger.  He must find his strengths from each before he can achieve his destiny.

    As for the other music, I loved The Nature Theme intertwining the decisions of Treebeard and Théoden, and their march/ride into battle.  Definitely shows musically the Arthurian theme from the Celtic tradition that "The King and the Land are One."  Very nice!!

    I especially liked the music as Treebeard sang about Fimbrethil.  Beautiful smooth, flowing undercurrent to his own rasping, halting emotions.


    weaver 12/5/2006
    In Reply To: **The Gondor Theme — aMagpie
    I love this theme...

    Message:
    Even though it's used so little in FOTR, and only in the extended TTT, it is one that stayed with me, so that you immediately recognize it when it shows up so strongly in ROTK.

    The Gondor and Rohan themes are both great "king" themes, but Shore manages to make the Gondor one sound "higher" to me.  Very Numenorean really.

    I bet Tolkien would have loved this music...Shore treats the themes very much like Tolkien treated his languages.


    grammaboodawg 12/8/2006
    In Reply To: **The Gondor Theme — aMagpie
    The Gondor theme is laced

    Message:
    throughout all the films.  It's as meaningful as the Fellowship them to me.  It's so strong and versatile.  Whenever I hear Howard Shore speaking about it, I get the impression it's some of his favourite.  Like listening to Tolkien talk about (or read portions of) Gollum and Treebeard.  There's an excitement in their voices.

    The Gondorian music is so heroic, imho.  Fellowship is warm and homelike to me... but any time the menfolk have their theme representation moving along with their speech or situations, I feel an energy surrounding every scene.

     

    End of Responses for the Gondor Theme

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