Although I was familiar with Blue Man Group's
tribute to 9-11's Twin Tower tragedy, I didn't initially connect it
with the Hymn for Gandalf
Farewells Theme) that's heard just outside Moria after
Gandalf falls. One day, my son was listening to Exhibit 13 in another
room and I could only slightly hear bits and pieces. At first, I
thought he was listening to the LOTR soundtrack, which surprised me
because he's not the fan I am. I stopped to listen more carefully
and realized it was Blue Man Group. I knew immediately what had made
me mistake the music. I was hearing the same four notes that are
hummed just after Gandalf falls. Well, maybe not exactly.. I can't
transcribe music. But pretty darn close. I would guess this to be a
total coincidence but both pieces are poignant. Both deal with
unexpected and tragic loss. Both, I think, address the concept that
the rest of us go on. It makes me wonder if there's something about
this chord progression that is perfect for evoking those emotions.
Don't let the Blue Man Group beat
distract you. Listen for the sustained notes underneath.
Gandalf, four humming chords - 4:42-4:56,
Track 13, The Bridge of Khazad-Dûm
13, Blue Man Group - full length video
Those same notes - or ones
that were pretty close - were also used in a
Wendy's commercial (just one time through) Just in case you
noticed and wondered if you were nuts.
B. L. Collins wrote to me saying:
The "Hymn for Gandalf" comparison on
your website can be expanded to include the "Dune" theme from
Brian Tyler's Children of Dune soundtrack (possibly also the
prequel: Frank Herbert's Dune, as well (I have only heard the
soundtrack from Children of Dune).
The four chords that make up
"Gandalf's Lament", are, in musical terminology, as follows;
vi, IV, I, V
so, if your tonic (starting) note is
say G, in Gandalf's Lament, the first chord is e minor, followed
by C Major, then G Major, then D Major.
This chord progression is a very
common one, and in the slower arrangements of the Dune theme
from Children of Dune, this progression can clearly be heard
under the melody.
This chord progression is also used
for a very popular dramatic piece used for many movie trailers.
Guessing, I'd say it's from a movie around the era of Crimson
Tide or The Rock.