Shire A Melody

The 'In Dreams' verse melody


SHIRE A is what I call the melody used for the verse of the song, 'In Dreams'. (When the cold of Winter comes, starless night will cover day...) It is sometimes used alone,  and sometimes paired the Shire B or the variant of the Shire B, A Hobbit's Understanding, but the Shire A phrase is the primary phrase and used most often throughout the movie. 

Especially in ROTK, the variants and references of the recognizable "In Dreams" melody were so broad that I created a page just for them. They will not make it into this list.


Some similarities can be heard between the Shire A Theme and the Christian hymn, "This is My Father's World." 
Go HERE to read more.


A full overview of the Shire music is found on The Shire and the Hobbits page.


Places this theme is heard in FOTR:

  • As Bilbo begins his book, “There and Back Again”. (FOTR EE)

  • As Gandalf meets Frodo in the countryside, “It’s wonderful to see you Gandalf.”

  • As Gandalf pulls up in his wagon at Bag End

  • Just after Sam, in the scarecrow field, says, “It’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.” as Frodo encourages him, “Come on Sam.”

  • As Sam rushes into the newly awakened Frodo’s bedroom in Rivendell. HS COMMENT

  • As Frodo reunites with Bilbo at Rivendell   HS COMMENT

  • When Frodo, after reuniting with Bilbo in Rivendell, decides he will return to the Shire

  • As the Hobbits insist on accompanying Frodo on his quest in the Council of Elrond

  • After Bilbo is momentarily possessed by his desire for the Ring in Rivendell

  • A full heroic version over scenes of the Fellowship goes south, passing through various landscapes after leaving Rivendell.

  • As Sam worries about Frodo while resting overnight on the Anduin (FOTR EE)

  • After Frodo pulls Sam out of the water and into the canoe

  • A quick variant is heard as Aragorn tells Gimli and Legolas, "Frodo's fate is no longer in our hands."

  • During the verses of “In Dreams”. Verse 1: When the cold of winter comes.... Verse 2: When the seas and mountains fall...

Places this theme is heard in TTT:

  • As Sam and Frodo eat lembas bread while trying to cross Emyn Muil.

  • As Frodo feels encouraged by Sam's speech in Osgiliath.  Faramir tells Frodo, "I think at last... we understand one another, Frodo Baggins."

Places this theme is heard in ROTK:

  • At the Crossroads, after Frodo says he has a funny feeling. "I don't think I'll be coming back." A short phrase of the Shire A melody plays as Sam scolds him. "Of course you will. That's just morbid thinking. We're going there and back again. Just like Mr. Bilbo."

  • After Frodo, on the stairs of Cirith Ungol, tells Sam to go home.

  • When Sam steps into Frodo's bedroom in Ithilien.

  • A grand version as all the people bow down before the four Hobbits at the coronation of the King.

  • Flute plays a somber, sweet version over the Outline Figure as, after following the map across Middle-earth, we see the Hobbits ride back to the Shire. On the OST and CR, the Shire Pensive Setting continues over a harp plucking double speed (not quite the Skip Beat or Outline Figure). This section is not in the movie. I'm not sure at the moment, but I think this may be the last sweet, pure version we get of this theme/setting.

  • A variant of the Shire A is heard when we cut to Gandalf's wagon pulling up to the Green Dragon to meet with the Hobbits who will escort Bilbo to the Grey Havens and as Bilbo asks to see his old Ring again.

Sept. 2006:

This site started with small intentions and grew as time went by. It was driven, to a large extent, by my obsessive tendency to organize. And having a strong left brain, I organized the music by melody. I suspect Howard Shore is more right brained and his 'organization' of the music was governed by more artistic elements. For most of the themes, our two ways of organizing didn't conflict. But that is not the case with the Shire and Hobbit Music.


I identified the 'Shire Theme' as being the melody of "In Dreams". Then I realized that "In Dreams" had a verse and a chorus and that HS sometimes used both for his Shire music, or sometimes one or the other by themselves. So I separated the Shire Theme into Shire A (the verse) and Shire B (the chorus). Then, through discussion, I started paying more attention to a 'variant' of the Shire Theme which finally got it's own page as the Shire B+... as it seemed to be a variant of the chorus melody.


I had plenty warning before the release of the CR-FOTR that this was not how Howard Shore looked at this music. The liner notes provided us with the first comprehensive look at how he did organize it. The Shire Theme seems to be a term used in general and when used, seems to refer to the melody of "In Dreams". But the music is organized by "Settings", which means (to me) differences in orchestration that provide differences in mood.  As it turns out, the Shire A and the Shire B might have either a Pensive Setting or a Hymn Setting. If I were going to align my organizations with the 'official' material, I would have to deconstruct the theme pages, make new ones, and then go into all the other pages digging out the old references and links and creating new ones. And some information on those pages would be unnecessary, meaning they should be erased altogether.


Not only do I not have the heart to do the work this would involve, I think some of the information on those pages is interesting and potentially useful. I will create new pages that organize the Shire material by Settings and Accompaniments. But I will keep the Shire A and Shire B pages intact as a supplement to the newer information. Therefore, the lists below will contain the Shire A phrase with either a Pensive or Hymn Setting.