Overview of Themes for

 Mordor

 

In The Music of the LOTR Books, Doug Adams identifies eight themes and three accompaniments for Mordor.

 

MORDOR/SAURON (THE EVIL OF THE RING) - this theme, which is the same as The Evil of the Ring theme, represents "the Ring's "character... (and its) effect on the world." (Doug Adams, CR--FOTR liner notes, page 29) It is listed in the One Ring section as The Evil of the Ring and in the Mordor section as the Mordor/Sauron theme. At this site, I use the name Sauron's Theme to describe this music.

 

FIVE BEAT PATTERN - clanking, clamoring Five Beat Pattern that represents "the industrial might of Middle-earth." (Howard Shore per Doug Adams, CR-FOTR liner notes, page 20) In the FOTR and TTT, it can be heard alone to represent Isengard, underlying the Isengard theme, or alone to represent forces of Mordor (other than Isengard). In the ROTK with the dimming of Isengard's power, the Five Beat Pattern was realigned from Isengard to Mordor.

 

THE RINGWRAITHS - this theme is often defined by singing taken from The Revelation of the Ringwraiths.

 

FOOTSTEPS OF DOOM END-CAP - This short motif is essentially the first two 'beats' of the Ringwraith theme ominously repeated over and over. For more information, see "The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films."

 

THREAT OF MORDOR - This motif first ominously cycles over and over in a descending manner and later, in ROTK becomes more aggressive with ascending cycles. 

 

THE WAY TO MORDOR is a 'truncated variant' of The Threat of Mordor. This three note phrase only appears a few times in the TTT and ROTK. I have placed those instances within the Threat of Mordor list.

 

 

CRUELTY OF THE ORCS - A blaring, discordant, descending phrase heard just a few times in TTT. In the ROTK with the dimming of Isengard's power, the Cruelty of the Orcs music was realigned from Isengard to Mordor.

 

 

MOUNT DOOM - the liner notes of the CR-ROTK describe this as a 'blistering pair of chords' drawn from the opening harmonies of the Pity of Gollum. (Doug Adams, CR--ROTK liner notes, page 32). But the musical notation shown as an example indicates that the theme is probably more than just those two chords. All iterations are sung by a pounding choir singing either up/down chords or driving triplets. (It's interesting to note that the opening three notes of the Pity of Gollum also are played as triplets.) All iterations are also paired with the Mordor Outline Figure.

 

THE FOURTH AGE OF MIDDLE-EARTH

 

THE POWER OF MORDOR (Fourth Age of Middle-earth) - this theme, heard only once in the ROTK as the Winged Nazgul descend on Minas Tirith, is the Fourth Age elaboration of the Ringwraiths theme which is where I've placed that one instance.

 

THE WITCH KING/THE ORCS OF MORDOR (Fourth Age of Middle-earth) - this theme is an extrapolation of the Isengard Theme. Where as Isengard was the tool for Sauron in FOTR and TTT, the Witch King and the Orcs of Mordor do his bidding in ROTK. Where as Isengard employed an up-down-up movement for its first three notes, the WK/OM theme's first three notes ascend which ties it to the inverted Threat of Mordor heard in ROTK.

 

THE MORDOR ACCOMPANIMENTS

 

 DESCENDING THIRD - signals "impending doom"

 

MORDOR SKIP BEAT - called on my site the Skip Beat Ostinato, this three note pattern is "used for more kinetic moments". It has three variations:

 ~ each note pitched differently - ABC

 ~ each note pitched the same - AAA - used "during a number of chase scenes" (Doug Adams, CR-FOTR liner notes, page 30)

 ~ two pitches used - ABA - used in the "most intense and nerve-wracking moments" (Doug Adams, CR-FOTR liner notes, page 30)

 

MORDOR OUTLINE FIGURE - this is basically an ostinato up-down martial beat played on tympani. The rhythm changes with iterations. Sometimes it's just up-down-up-down with even beats. Sometimes is more up-down-down-up with the Morse Code rhythm of dash-dot-dot-dash.