Fans have noted a number of similarities
between phrases heard in the LOTR movies and other pieces of music
by other composers. Some of these comparisons are quite
interesting. I don't mean to imply, nor do I
think, that Howard Shore has plagiarized anything in his work. I am just immensely fascinated with finding similarities in general. When working with children's books, I collected Cinderella variants
from around the world. I ran across the same basic folk tale told in
China as in South America. I love the variants I've read of 'singing
the world into being'. I've compared the two brothers in David
Wisniewski's "The Warrior and the Wise Man" with Faramir and
Boromir. None of these involve plagiarism. Some involve
the pervasive nature of the folk process. Some involve a reworking
of a traditional or classic tale. Some similarities are just
serendipitous. I don't know the explanation for the
musical similarities described below. I only delight in finding them. It's the Magpie in me. I wish I were more of a musicologist. I
can only tell you what I hear, not give you an explanation that
involves notes or keys or chords.
UPDATE: I wrote above, "I don't know the
explanation for the musical similarities described below." Well, we
know now. Except for one, the explanation is sheer coincidence,
Doug Adams had this to say on the subject:
Howard certainly knows the classical repertoire, but
really his only intentional LOTR homage—as indirect as it may be—is
in the trilogy's Wagnerian finale. Now that doesn't mean that there
aren't some close musical neighbors here and there (and, by all
means, check out Magpie's site if you care to discover more), but
these are all accidental and, generally, pretty fleeting. Believe it
or not, it really was Tolkien's good old opus that fueled Howard's
imagination through this project. He had a dog-eared, well-worn copy
of the book tucked under his arm nearly every time I saw him during
the composing process. I half expected to see it sitting on the
podium when I arrived at the recording sessions… though I have no
doubt it was at least sitting back at the hotel.
A magpie's brain is small and I rarely
look for meaning behind coincidences so I am not chagrined to hear
this confirmation. Nor do I think it invalidates the observations
many have made. The shiny thing/thought is attractive on its own
A note on audio
I have looked at the
laws. Considering that:
I am using samples of music under 30
seconds in length - many are as short as 4 or 5 seconds in
I am using the samples for
educational purposes only...
I make no money from the use of the
samples, nor from the site itself...
Other than pulling them from larger
works, I am not altering the samples in any creative way. What you hear is what the artist released...
I provide as complete an attribution
as possible, with links back to artists' sites when possible...
I don't believe my samples hinder
sales of the artists' work...
I believe I am safely within the
use definition. If I were making comparisons in literature I
would provide quotes from appropriate sources with proper
attribution. In my mind, this is the same. It is only my intent to
educate and not to harm any artist. But if anyone with claim to do
so asks, I will remove any clip on my site.
With regard to the LOTR soundtrack
clips, I don't believe that any of my clips can substitute from
owning a proper and legal copy of any of the soundtrack CDs or the
movie DVDs. In fact, I suspect that most readers of my site already
own these items. I myself own each OST (with a few extra copies) each Limited Edition
Soundtrack CD (and one Internet Limited Edition), each Complete Recording
theatrical version DVDs and extended version DVDs for all three
movies, Music Notes Sheet Music, two magazines with LOTR score
articles, and The
Music of the LOTR Films... all legal
copies. I find the cost of a legal copy well worth the
pleasure it provides. If you enjoy something, reward the creative
talent. Buy a legit copy.