Moria Voices

From: Odds & Ends - Not quite themes but interesting, nonetheless.


Nowhere, in the LOTR soundtrack, is the cultural music as dependant on voice as in Moria. In fact, Peter Jackson's vision of the music was it should be "voices from hell." (CR-FOTR Liner Notes, page 18)

The journey through Moria starts rather quietly with a 50 piece Maori-Samoan Men Chorus droning lyrics from Durin's Song. Once the Fellowship realizes there is a bigger menace than Orcs in the dark, 10 Maori 'grunters' get added to the choir who begins chanting lyrics from The Balrog. These 'grunters' are, in fact, rugby players. "It’s an all male choir cause the Dwarves were primarily a male race. Tolkien said that female Dwarves looked like the male Dwarves. Like they were hard to tell them apart. It’d be the only place in the film where you hear all male singers. So I mean all of those little details kind of helped create the world that the Fellowship would go to." (FOTR Audio Commentary) The chanting is reprised in the TTT as we follow the two Maiar on their descent into the depths of Moria. Once they break through into the underground cavern, female voices join the men, "signifying that the battle has taken the two into a new realm." (CR-TTT Liner Notes, page 14)

HS COMMENT (FOTR Audio Commentary)

Some of the places this music is heard in FOTR:

For the chanting, Howard Shore took inspiration in the Maori tradition of haka. Haka is a postural dance performed en masse by a group. One form (out of many) of haka was "originally performed by warriors before a battle, proclaiming their strength and prowess in order to intimidate the opposition." (Wikipedia) Today it is most recognized as being used by the New Zealand Rugby Team, the All Blacks. THIS SITE has a nice video about the haka.

HS COMMENT (FOTR Audio Commentary)
HS COMMENT (FOTR Appendices Comment)


 Canoe hauling Haka

At the end of pickup shooting for ROTK, the stunt team did a Haka for the 'two Kings' of LOTR: Viggo (Aragorn) and Bernard (Théoden). Not to diminish their respect for Bernard in any way, but I think this gesture was born from their love for Viggo. It, like the all the extras for ROTK, is moving to watch.


 ROTK Haka for two Kings

-- entire segment : 1.25 MB

 ROTK Haka for two Kings

-- haka only : 730 KB