Gandalf the White

A Theme for Nature

 

GANDALF THE WHITE is a theme associated with Nature. This theme is particular for Gandalf and represents his relationship, not to the Fellowshipas in The White Rider in the Fellowshipbut to Middle-earth as a whole.   (Doug Adams, CR--FOTR liner notes, page 19).

This is the music heard in the movie as Gandalf the White is revealed in Fangorn Forest. It features a series of ascending triplets using Rohirric lyrics from "The Call". Even though we have essentially 6 different versions of the music, it is heard only once in the movie--in Fangorn Forest. Originally written for Gandalf's arrival at Helm's Deep, it was used first as a temporary, and then as a permanent musical cue for the Fangorn Forest scene. DA discusses the music both in the AS-TTT (under tracks, 1-13, Gandalf the White, pg 9 and 3-12, Thoden Rides Forth, pg 26) and in the CR-TTT liner notes (under the section for Nature, pg 32-33)

Historically, this theme was also called Gandalf the White (in Nature)... with the part in parenthesis being part of the actual name.

A similarity between this theme and a phrase in Boito's Prologue to Mefistofele has been noted.

 

The various places this theme is heard:

1. As Gandalf the White is revealed in Fangorn Forest. TTT-TE DVDs (4 'lines' of lyrics)

2. As Gandalf the White is revealed in Fangorn Forest. TTT-EE DVDs (6 'lines' of lyrics)

3. CR-TTT, Disc 1, Track 13, Gandalf the White (2:10 3:00) (4 'lines' of lyrics)

4. CR-TTT, Disc 3, Track 11, The Nazgl Attack (1:45 - end) (11.5 'lines' of lyrics - they seem to drop the last few triplets)

5. OST-TTT, Track 16, Forth Eorlingas (12 'lines' of lyrics) (0:00 - 0:58) (

6. In the TTT Credits (11.5 'lines' of lyrics - the last few triplets may be dropped)

 

For more info regarding which scenes each of these iterations were intended for, jump HERE.


Lyrics for Gandalf the White in Nature (Succinct Version):

What follows is a true and good example of my meticulous attention to detail (which seems to shut itself on and off) and my obsessive nature. My intention is always provide the reader with the information I've found so they can decide for themselves what they think. And many times, I've used these detailed sorts of notes to remind myself of what I was thinking or where I got that idea. But most people probably don't care. The Cliff Notes version is:

 

The choir is singing from one of these two lines (syllables in parenthesis are not sung):

Hwr cwm helm? Hwr cwm byrne? Hwr cwm feax flwende?

Hwr cwm hand on hearpestrenge? Hwr cwm (scir fr) scinende?

   or alternately for this second line:

Hwr cwm hand on hearpestrenge? Hwr cwm (scir) fr (scin)ende?

There is a second choir singing slowly under the primary voices. One source says they're singing first in Sindarin

Tul cui ta ya tu o ol ya l an rin mau ya

and then in Rohirric

hwr cwm helm hwr cwm byr-ne hwr cwm scir fyyr

Another source only lists the Rohirric. I cannot determine definitively what the second choir is singing in any iteration. And the exact syllables the primary choir is singing varies. To find timestamps for particular iterations (when available), follow links above (in numbered list).

Lyrics for Gandalf the White in Nature (Verbose Version):

There is, perhaps, a slight discrepancy between the lyrics as found in the MusicNotes sheet music and the CR-TTT Liner Notes.

 

FIRST: MovieNotes' sheet music

When I first tried to determine the lyrics as heard in Forth Eorlingas, I bought the MusicNotes sheet music.

At the beginning of Forth Eorlingas, the sheet music contains these lyrics:

Hwr cwm helm Hwr cwm byr(ne) Hwr cwm feax flwende
Hwr cwm helm Hwr cwm byr(ne) Hwr cwm feax flwende

 

Hwr cwm hand on hearpestrenge Hwr cwm scnende
Hwr cwm hand on hearpestrenge Hwr cwm scnende

This entire phrase gets repeated 3 times and goes from [0.00 - 0:58] (Actually instead of the word scenende, it is once sonende and once 'sonende. If these arent legitimate words in OE then I would assume that they are misspellings) As I said, they are sung in triplets. There are 4 beats per bar, at a speed of about a beat every second. If you 1-2-3 for every beat you get triplets.

There is a syllable for every count of the triplets making the phrasing thus:

 

Hwr

cwm

helm

Hwr

cwm

byr

Hwr

cwm

feax

flw

en

de

Hwr

cwm

hand

on

hear

pe

strenge

Hwr

cwm

 sc

nen

de

While the chorus is singing the rapid triplets, alternate lyrics are being sung very slowly.

Tul cui ta ya tu o ol ya l an rin mau ya

hwr cwm helm hwr cwm byr-ne hwr cwm scir fyyr

In each bar (4 beats per bar, as above) the sheet music shows two syllables/words (with one exception - ya tu - see below)

The chart below corresponds with the chart above.

 

Tul

cui

ta

ya

tu

o

l

ya

l

an

rin

mau

ya

hwr

cwm

helm

hwr

cwm

byr

ne

hwr

cwm

scir

fyyr

 


The last half is the Rohirric translation of:
Where is the helm? Where is the hauberk? Where is the red fire?

 

But I didnt off-hand recognize the first half:

Tul cui ta ya tu o ol ya l an rin mau ya

(Im not a student of languages of any kind... I only dabble in the Tolkien language to decipher the soundtrack lyrics.) I wasnt even sure how the syllables might be arranged to make words. It didnt look like Old English. I started searching and very quickly found mauya (translated = compel, force). Then I found tul as a fragment in tulta (send for, summon). I found cui as a fragment in cuiva (awake) and I started thinking about Philippa Boyens poem, The Fight. At first glance, it didn't seem to come from the poem but the math master in me started to sense a pattern. I took the syllables and started to move them around a bit. This is what I created.

 

tul cui ta ya tu o ol ya an rin mau ya  
tul   ta                    

tulta : summon

  cui   ya                  

cuiva : awake ?

        tu   ol ya          

 tuolya : strength

          o       rin    

olórin : Olrin

                  an      

an : for

                      mau ya

mauya : must

(The only snag I ran into was cuiya but it made sense if I made it cuiva and I was assuming that the sheet music had misspelled scende so it was possible 'cuiya' was cuiva misspelled.) These words were all in Philippa Boyens poem. I know that Howard Shore has cut words short, left words out, etc., so this odd order didnt seem too far fetched. The only possible explanation I could think of doing it this way would be if there was a sense of two voices singing whole words over one another.  So, for example, lines 1 - 3 - 5 - 6 (in the chart above) would be sung by Voice 1: Summon strength for (you?) must fight. and Voice 2 would sing lines 2 - 4: Awake Olrin. (Olrin being one of the names of Gandalf.) 

NOTE: The choir's phonetic lyrics for the TT Live Symphony does not include the 'tu' found 3rd line above (between 'ya' and 'o').

NEXT: music notation in the CR-TTT liner notes, pg 33

Although the lyrics for the primary choral part are in a different order from the MusicNotes' version, this doesn't worry me. The liner notes may be showing lyrics for a different cue than Forth Eorlingas or it may be showing notation for only part of a cue. The possible discrepancy may be found in the choir singing the slower counterpoint. The liner notes show only the Rohirric lyrics:

hwr cwm helm hwr cwm byr-ne hwr cwm scir fyyr

But not the Sindarin:

Tul cui ta ya tu o ol ya l an rin mau ya

However, this may be because the liner notes only show the second half of what MusicNotes shows. The liner notes are not 100% comprehensive and often display information representing the first time a cue is heard. It is very difficult to hear these syllables so I will go under the assumption that the Sindarin syllables are present in the Forth Eorlingas cue. Since both notations end with the 2nd choir singing 'fyr', I will assume that the shorter versions have only the Rohirric counterpoint.

As to the other cues, I can't be certain.


Matching music to scenes (or intended scenes)

1. As Gandalf the White is revealed in Fangorn Forest. TTT-TE DVDs (4 'lines' of lyrics)

2. As Gandalf the White is revealed in Fangorn Forest. TTT-EE DVDs (6 'lines' of lyrics)

3. CR-TTT, Disc 1, Track 13, Gandalf the White (2:10 3:00) (4 'lines' of lyrics)

4. CR-TTT, Disc 3, Track 11, The Nazgl Attack (0:00 - 0:58) (11.5 'lines' of lyrics - they seem to drop the last few triplets)

5. OST-TTT, Track 16, Forth Eorlingas (12 'lines' of lyrics)

6. In the TTT Credits (11.5 'lines' of lyrics - the last few triplets may be dropped)

It would make sense to me that numbers 1, 2, & 3 are the same piece of music. They are all shorter in length and in a sound editing program, one can see that the volume of the music remains fairly constant throughout the length of the piece. Numbers 3, 4, & 5 are all longer, and in a sound editing program, one can see a very gradual increase in volume for the first half of the cue, a very short drop in volume and then a dramatic increase in volume for the second half of the cue. But in both the sound editing program and by ear, it seems clear that the cues 3-5 are different in some way. It's harder to tell for 1 & 2 since we have dialog covering the music for 1. (To see how the cues look in an audio editing program, go HERE.)

 

I wanted to think that number 5 was the music recorded for Helm's Deep and that the decision to replace it with the Nature Theme -- and the decision to record a similar piece for the White Wizard's reveal -- came after the TTT-OST was prepared. But Doug Adams seems to indicate that number 5 was actually intended for Fangorn Forest.

Thoden Rides Forth on the OST uses the Gandalf the White theme thats heard when Gandalf appears in Fangorn. The WR(in) theme heard for Thodens ride on the CR (and in the film) is a different performance altogether, not a remix of the earlier performance.

moviemusic.com

I guess it says something about me that I'm not actually convinced... but in the end, it doesn't really matter much which music was actually used where. At least... not in terms of what I want to accomplish for this site.