The Source Songs, Poems and Text

for the lyrics of the "Lord of the Rings" movies







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What is meant by 'Source' Text

These are the entire bodies of text from which were drawn the lyrics as sung in the movie's soundtrack. Sometimes, the source text exactly agrees with what is sung. Sometimes, only select lines are sung. Sometimes, only syllables are sung. A particular source text might be drawn upon for more than one instance of singing.

I use the terms Source Text, Source Poems, and Source Songs interchangeably. Sometimes the piece is a song from the book. Sometimes it's a poem from the book. Sometimes it's just text from the book or something written by Fran Walsh or Philippa Boyens. So one of those terms doesn't quite cover the entire body of work. I just use what seems most appropriate at the moment.

There were many origins for lyrics sung in the Lord of the Rings movies. Some are taken right from the books, either a song or text directly quoted or used as inspiration. Many lyrics were written by Philippa Boyens. Fran Walsh wrote a couple. If the source wasn't already in a Tolkien language but needed to be, David Salo would translate Tolkien's, Boyen's or Walsh's words into Quenya, Sindarin, Adűnaic, Neo-Khuzdűl, or Old English.

Where do the Source Texts presented on this site come from?

Originally, many places:

the liner notes of the standard jewel case edition soundtracks and the limited edition soundtracks

online content available with certain standard or limited edition soundtracks

Sheet Music

Sometimes, fans worked backwards. They listened to the singing, tried to imagine what the Elvish words were and then translated those back into English.

But the Annotated Scores that have been released with the Complete Recordings Sets provide the most recent and most complete resource for Source texts. However, numerous mistakes have been found in these Annotated Scores. So I still try hard to cross reference any information I can find. It's always been my habit to provide my references and you'll often find a statement such as:

Title, Original English and Sindarin Translation found on the DVD that came with the ROTK Special Edition Soundtrack CD. The English Original and the use of the Sindarin translation in the lyrics are found in the MusicNotes sheet music. the reader can determine, for themselves, how accurate the information is.

What info can be found on these pages:

composer (who wrote the music, usually Howard Shore)

lyricist (who wrote the words, usually Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh, or J.R.R. Tolkien

translator (David Salo or J.R.R. Tolkien)

vocalists: choirs and soloists

language used for sung version (in blue)

what portion of the text was used in the movie's soundtrack and what wasn't
Text in green indicates that text was used for lyrics somewhere in the movie
Text in brown indicates that text was not used for lyrics anywhere in the movie

English translation or original text (text in black)

textual connections to the LOTR book

How to find what is being sung in any particular place:

This information comes under the category of Lyrics.

What's the difference between Lyrics and Source text?

How can one figure out what is being sung in a particular scene?

Naming the Songs, Poems or Source Text:

This was more of an issue before we started getting 'official' names for the songs. Even so, there's one way in which the organization of my site is at odds with the 'official' naming of songs. I strove to create a resource that would provide a source poem, song, or text for any singing. It was conceivable, and in fact a reality, that one particular source text could (and was) used for more than one incidence of singing. I wanted to name the source song, and then provide the incidences in which it was used.

The official protocol has been to create a named song for every instance. The same text might have different names. And when more than one source text was used for a song, it was lumped under the same name. I'm trying to use the official names as much as possible to allow an easier interface between my site and official material. I've done my best to integrate both ways of thinking about a 'song'. Hopefully I haven't been too confusing.


Most of the lyrics are in one of Tolkien's constructed languages - Elven Quenya or Sindarin - Dwarven Khuzdűl - Adűnaic, the ancient language of Men, Black Speech of Mordor - or in Old English, the representative language of Rohan.. The only English songs were Hobbit songs, Gollum's Fish Song and the songs used at the end of each movie. (oops... it seems that isn't true. Arwen's Prayer and Arwen's song at the House of Healing are both in English.) David Salo needed to extrapolate on Tolkien's own work, since the construction of the languages only went so far. The source texts are sorted by language on THIS PAGE with a small amount of information about each language.

The Choirs:

The London Voices - under the direction of Terry Edwards, this 60 - 85 member adult choir of mixed voices sang in all three movies. In the FOTR Annotated Score, Doug Adams mentions a female chorus... or female voices. I haven't heard anything about recording a particular all female choir, like the all male choir for Moria. I suspect it was just the female members of the London Voices.

The London Oratory School Schola - this 30 piece boy's choir also sang in all three movies. Edward Ross was their soloist in FOTR and Ben Del Maestro was for TTT & ROTK. The boy's choir sang during the wounding of Boromir, the Seduction of the Ring, and Bilbo's Song.

The Maori Samoan Choir - under the direction of Inglese Ete, a 60 member all male choir, sang in the Moria scenes in FOTR.

The Soloists/Artists:

Bayrakdarian, Isabel - Evenstar, The Missing

Chandra, Sheila - Grace of the Valar (Breath of Life)

Cole, Aivale (nee Mabel Faletolu) - Hymn for Gandalf

del Maestro, Ben - The March of the Ents, The Mearas, The White Rider, The Eagles

Enya - Aníron, May It Be

Faletolu, Mabel - now Aivale Cole

Fleming, Renée - The Evening Star, The Destruction of the Ring, The Eagles, The Song of Lúthien

Elizabeth Fraser - Lament for Gandalf, verses, Haldir's Lament (Namárië),

Kyrkjebř, Sissel - Grace of the Valar (Breath of Life)

Lennox, Annie - Into the West, Use Well the Days

Plan 9 (Janet Roddick, David Donaldson, Stephen Roche and David Long) - The Elvish Lament

Ross, Edward - A Moth in Isengard , In Dreams

Sissel - see Kyrkjebř, Sissel

Stockley, Miriam - Footsteps of Doom (Lothlórien Theme in TTT)

Summers, Hilary - Gilraen's Song

Torrini, Emiliana - Gollum's Song

Cast Performers:

Boyd, Billy - Hey, Ho! To the Bottle I Go, Green Dragon Beer, Edge of Night

Holm, Ian - The Road Goes Ever On

McKellen, Ian - The Road Goes Ever On

Monaghan, Dominic - Hey, Ho! To the Bottle I Go, Green Dragon Beer

Mortensen, Viggo - Song of Lúthien, Elessar's Oath

Otto, Miranda - Lament for Theodred

Rhys-Davies, John - Song of the Entwives, Bregalad's Song

Serkis, Andy - Gollum's Fish Song

Tyler, Liv - Arwen's Song


Besides the Annotated Scores, this site contains a compilation of what I've found at Gwaith-I-Phethdain, Elfling, official soundtrack sites and closed captioning of the movies --- conversations I've had with numerous individuals, most specially Danijel, Kurt, Jelle, Gwen Lloyd, Sabsi Fronek, Zigur, minasmorgul, Elvenscribe07, Angela "Aty" Ferreira, Imladir, Ainu Laire, and Lisa Graves* --- and stuff I've teased out on my own, with the help of my son who's ears are better than mine. It was a labor of love. I hope you enjoy.


*As I am able to slowly replace some of these fan speculations with official lyrics, I pull off those tags, "taken from the work of ____". Remarkably, many of these speculations were pretty spot on, especially Danijel's. I almost regret removing these credits since the work they did was monumental. Please know that, even if we're using their work for fewer and fewer songs, their contribution was invaluable. I believe that the interest and work of the fans have guided the sorts of material we are finding in the Complete Recordings information and I truly believe that all that we've collectively done will endure beyond any mention of it.