Overview of Themes for

 Middle-earth

 

In The Music of the LOTR Books, Doug Adams identifies eleven themes. divided into three sub-categories (plus a 'Fourth Age theme), for Middle-earth. "These themes represent an order--a balance between effort and reward, sorrow and joy, fear and comfort" (Doug Adams, CR-FOTR liner notes, page 33)

 

 

RING QUEST THEMES

These themes deal with the "One Ring's passage through the world" (Doug Adams, CR-FOTR liner notes, page 34).

 

THE JOURNEY THERE - a slow, processional melody that conveys the onerous task of walking this Ring to Mordor

 

 

DANGEROUS PASSES - a slow, plodding melody used for not only traveling, but traveling up (or connected with) heights

 

 

EVIL TIMES - "is the only Ring Quest theme applied to any character suffering towards the destruction of the Ring" (Doug Adams, CR-FOTR liner notes, page 34) The others are only used for members of the Fellowship.

 

WEAKNESS AND REDEMPTION -

 

FOURTH AGE OF MIDDLE-EARTH

 

THE JOURNEY BACK AGAIN (Fourth Age of Middle-earth) - "like the other Quest themes, is forever stretching towards some musical destination; but with Sauron defeated and the Ring destroyed, Back Again achieves a cool placidity." (Doug Adams, CR-ROTK liner notes, page 36)

 

ALL SHALL COME TO DARKNESS

These themes connect "to the world of death and despair" (Doug Adams, CR-FOTR liner notes, page 34)

 

THE FALL OF MEN - this is a four note motif heard twice in the FOTR. Once when Elendil falls and later when Boromir tries to take the Ring from Frodo. It represents the weakness of Men. Interestingly, an aspect of the Rivendell Arpeggios had been speculated on this site to represent the Men or the weakness of Men. That has received no notice in the CR-FOTR liner notes.

 

 

A NOBLE END - "relates to Boromir's death in Fellowship, and returns to again reference death sorrow, sacrifice and honor in The Return of the King." (Doug Adams, CR-FOTR liner notes, page 33) 

 

 

NAMELESS FEAR - this theme, previously identified by me as representing the Will of the Ring, was described by DA as representing "Sauron's rising power as a direct threat to the natural order of Middle-earth" (Doug Adams, CR-TTT liner notes, page 35)

 

 

ARMY OF THE DEAD - an eerie mixture of low men's voices and instruments with high, diaphanous strings. Not actually used in direct conjunction with the Army of the Dead, the theme mostly provides a sense of foreboding before the oathbreakers are ever encountered.

 

 

ANOTHER PATH

 

GANDALF'S FAREWELLS - These are four chords sounded alone or underlying a melody. They were heard first outside of Moria and last as Gandalf farewells the Hobbits at the Grey Havens.

 

THE GREY HAVENS - this theme, strongly recognizable as the melody for "Into the West", represents in turn: hope, sacrifice, and blessing. I suspect the theme's name comes from its association with the departure scene at the harbor of the same name.