The Rohan Fanfare

A Theme for Rohan

 

ROHAN FANFARE, this theme for Rohan, is probably the most predominant theme in the TT. Although it manifests in various sorts of orchestrations, it's most distinctive when played on the Hardanger Fiddle. The first part of this theme is heard most often but it's occasionally followed up by a second part. On this site, I refer to this simply as the Rohan Theme.

 

Places this theme is heard in TTT:

Places this theme is heard in ROTK:

  • Hardanger plays the theme as those riding with Gandalf and Théoden approach Edoras (after leaving Helm's Deep and Isengard) while Éowyn waits in front of Meduseld.

  • A rousing version plays as Théoden calls for the Rohirrim to muster after finding the beacon of Amon Anwar is lit.

  • As Théoden, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas ride into the Rohirrim encampment at Harrowdale and take note of the number of troops that have answered the call. This segment of music features various groups of instruments taking turn with the Rohan Theme and variants of the Rohan Theme... sometimes layered one on top of another... sometimes as a call and response. The multiple versions and 'flavors' of the Rohan Theme mirror well the assortment of Rohirrim riders that have gathered from various areas of Rohan. Each group has it's own 'flavor' of Rohan that combines to make Rohan as a whole. The various instruments and versions of the theme make up the Rohan Theme as a whole. (see note below)

  • A variant is heard as the Rohirrim break camp at Harrowdale and then a full martial version as they ride off for Gondor.

  • A spare but brave version is heard as Éomer brings Théoden the scout reports that Minas Tirith is surrounded.

  • A somber, quiet version plays as the Rohirrim arrive at the edge of the Pelennor Fields. A short time later, as Gothmog reforms the ranks to face the Riders, four plain notes of the theme are played.

  • An heroic but desperate version on Hardanger, then trumpets, is heard as the Rohirrim ride toward the Orcs on the Fields of the Pelennor.
    HS COMMENT

  • A French horn plays an elegiac version just as Théoden dies.

  • As the Army of the West rides out from Minas Tirith, a brief statement of first the Gondor and then the Rohan themes play. Doug Adams' writes, "both kingdoms now united." (AS-ROTK)


Howard Shore sees the Rohan Theme to be, in some ways, the central theme for TTT. It "creates a latticework of repeated, interweaving phrases, much like the culture's art and architecture." (Doug Adams, CR-TTT liner notes, page 16) This really makes sense as I imagine the ROTK Harrowdale iteration of the theme and the Viking/Celtic influenced knotwork used in the movie for the Rohirric culture.