The Skip Beat Ostinato,
an accompaniment for
Mordor, is a three note pattern
that is "used for more
kinetic moments". It has multiple variations:
each note pitched
differently - ABC
each note pitched the same -
AAA - used "during a number of chase scenes"
CR-FOTR liner notes, page 30)
first note low, next two the same and higher - ABB
two pitches used - ABA -
used in the "most intense and nerve-wracking moments"
(Doug Adams, CR-FOTR liner notes, page 30)
It is usually a rapid, repetitive, ascending phrase of 3 notes
but variants can be slower. It also mutates easily to 4 beats or 2
beats. From the CR-FOTR liner notes, "The Skip
Beat also has a variation used in the film's most intense and
nerve-wracking moments. This heartbeat-like figure captures the
shape of the Skip Beat, but limits it to two pulsing pitches."
(Doug Adams, CR-FOTR liner notes, page 30) Whether these can be
considered variants (as DA sometimes labels them) or just the Skip
Beat moving into and out of other material is subjective. Like the
Descending Third Motif and the
Threat of Mordor motif, it is sometimes used as an ostinato
and sometimes alone. When it is used as an ostinato, it is (to
my ears) difficult to hear. Like the other two danger motifs, it
seems to have been used more in FOTR than the other two movies.
The rhythm structure is very similar to the
Threat of Mordor'. In fact, one iteration is identified in
the AS-ROTK as being 'somewhere between an inverted
Threat of Mordor and the Mordor Skip Beat.' (Doug Adams,
Places this theme is heard in FOTR
In the Prologue as Sauron forges the
One Ring in secret. A slow, AAA figure which each AAA phrase
ascending plays first under sustained notes and then under a
simple melodic figure.
In the Prologue as Isildur takes up
'his father's sword'. A slow, AAA figure--with each AAA phrase
ascending and increasing in tempo--plays under a melody.
As Gandalf catches site of
Minas Tirith. This version is quite fast creating the effect
of pulses of music. ABA phrases moving, each set moving up and
down in pitch, play alone for a few seconds, then under a brass
fanfare as Minas Tirith comes into sight.
As Gandalf walks through the
streets of Minas Tirith on his
way to the library. The motif, an ABC version, can be heard clearly here
as it plays alone under sparse percussive beats.
Gandalf rides to madly to Isengard the Skip-beat Ostinato
plays under a loud and brassy Fellowship Theme.
After the 4 Hobbits initial
encounter with a Black Rider as Frodo tells them he must leave
the Shire and Merry suggest Buckleberry Ferry. This ABA version
plays rather quietly under sustained strings and is easier to
hear on the CR-FOTR than it is in the movie.
The FOTR OST has some music heard at 1:28 Track 5:
The Black Rider
that is not in the movie. It's position amongst the other cues
indicates it may be an alternate cue for the scene described
above. The version here is ABC and is more aggressive and easier
to hear than in the movie or on the CR.
There is a cue at 2:22 in FOTR Track 6:
At The Sign Of The Prancing Pony that is not in the movie
but was probably written for the scene when the Ringwraiths
approach the beds in the Prancing Pony. The. A frantic ABA
version of the Skip Beat plays under a brassy (non-sung) version
of the Ringwraith Theme.
Hobbits run to the top of Amon
Sūl. The 'Skip beat Ostinato' starts with an ABC variation,
pauses and then resumes with an ABB variation.
Ringwraiths chase Arwen and
Frodo on Asfoloth a quiet ABA version plays under a non-brassy
(for once) variant of Sauron's Theme. That moves into some brassier music
that uses a two beat variant of the Skip. The pounding
heart-beat like motif continues for a bit and then moves an
increasingly faster 3-beat version under the Ringwraiths' Theme.
This is easier to hear on the
CR-FOTR than on the
Places this theme is
heard in TTT:
When Sauron says, "Who now has the
strength to stand against the armies of Isengard and Mordor." We
see (for the first time in this movie) Barad-dur and the Skip
Beat pounds away under Sauron's
As Grishnįkh emerges from the
undergrowth of Fangorn Forest and Merry and Pippin realize they
have not 'lost him'. The Skip Beat is combined with the
5 Beat Pattern and varies every
few repetitions until it finally doesn't skip a beat anymore.
Places this motif is
A phrase 'somewhere between an
Threat of Mordor and the Mordor Skip Beat' is heard as
Gandalf and Pippin discuss Mordor on the balcony of their rooms
in Minas Tirith. (EE version) This version is an ABC version
with the notes descending. I would say it bears more similarity
to the Threat of Mordor than to the Mordor Skip Beat.
An interesting variation is heard as
Sam accuses Gollum of stealing the lembas, and then Gollum
returns the favor. This is an AAA version in that all the notes
are the same. But the timing is in bars of six counts: 3 notes
-- 3 silent counts then 5 notes -- 1 silent count.