Miscellaneous Old Comments (2001-2004)

An Archive


MISCELLANEOUS OLD COMMENTS - These comments are all quite old. Back in the day, this is how information was gathered and passed along. It is slightly tempting to consider these comments outdated. They may be part of the official published stream of information. They may now be officially considered 'old thinking'. But history is as important as current, up to date knowledge. Think of this page, if nothing else, as an archive. An archive of the early thinking on the soundtrack and an archive of how information was shared. 

When you see this: HS COMMENT elsewhere on the site, it means that Howard Shore has made a comment pertinent to something mentioned there. Click on the link to find out what.


5 Beat Pattern DA 4-29-04

Cultural Subsets for Thematic Development (DA 1-14-04)

Frodo's Theme HS HS 11-20-01

Fellowship Theme HS 11-20-01

Seduction Theme HS 11-14-01

Nature Theme PT 11-07-03

Leitmotifs in LOTR HS 3-2004

Shire Theme HS 2004

Silver Trumpets Theme HS 11-03

Silver Trumpets Theme HS 11-20-03

Silver Trumpets Theme HS 7-03



In Dreams HS HS 11-20-01

Use Well The Days HS



Choir for Rivendell - Lothlórien - Ringwraiths' Themes HS 11-20-01

Moria Voices HS 01



Unused Music DA 12-29-03



I have some new info about 5/4 rhythm from Doug Adams

I've posted here earlier about 5/4 being a rhythm motif for Orcs in general not only Isengard and according to D.A. this is correct.

5/4 represents Isengard and Mordor threat to Middle-earth and Howard used it because of the reasons he explained in FOTR EE DVD commentary.

Difference between Isengard music and the rest 5/4 music is in orchestration and the fact that in Isengard music accents are on first and fourth note so it gives the feeling of irregular two and three combination: 1-2-3-1-2 1-2-3-1-2 while the other 5/4 music doesn't have those specific accents.

Danijel Legin (Bârîn_Katharâd) at the SMME Forum 4-29-04


Cultural Subsets for Thematic Development

Shore's architecture for Lord of the Rings is based entirely on races and cultural interaction. His thematic material is grouped into pools from which his individual settings flow. Upon close inspection, the entire score -- thematically speaking -- can practically be boiled down into three pitches: do, re, mi. Played circularly, it's a Ring theme. Stepwise, it belongs to the Hobbits. Or stepwise in the minor key it's a different Ring theme, which is also the B phrase of the Fellowship theme -- which creates the Gandalf the White theme and the Aragorn theme -- which creates the B phrase of the Gondor theme. Repeating, leaping up and falling it's Rohan. Stacked into a vertical harmony it's the Ring Wraiths. Thread an augmented second later in the scale and you've got the music of the Elves. I could go on, but I won't because even this intricate level of interconnection oversimplifies the detail in the score. I'm not mentioning the fact that within each musical culture Shore's themes develop and reform depending of character arcs and interactions between cultures. And there are catalogues of accompaniment figures and secondary themes that provide new material while adding shadings and layers to the more central themes. In the Rohan music, for example, the character of Éowyn has three separate themes and two characteristic instruments to play to her relationships and to affect our perception of the greater collection of Rohan music.

Doug Adams at Film Score Montly's Mailbag 1-14-04


Fellowship Theme

You'll first hear the Fellowship Theme forming in the film when Frodo leaves Hobbiton with Sam on his way to Bree - but it's just a fragment of the theme. Later on, after they meet up with Merry and Pippin in the cornfield, you hear a more developed version of the theme - it's growing. Then they get to Bree and they meet Strider, and it develops even further as they leave Bree. Once in Rivendell, when they meet Gimli and Legolas and Gandalf arrives, the Fellowship is now in its full orchestrated form. At the end of "The Council of Elrond" cue, you hear the full, grand statement of the Fellowship Theme. So the two and a half hours of score is very carefully shaped in terms of the thematic material - how it's introduced and developed throughout the whole film.

Howard Shore from: And In the Darkness Bind Them
Dan Goldwasser (Soundtrack.Net 11-20-01)


Frodo's Theme

You can hear Frodo's Theme develop throughout the movie - it starts out in a Celtic fashion in Hobbiton, and evolves into a hymn called "In Dreams" written by Fran Walsh, and sung by soloist Edward Roth.

Howard Shore from: And In the Darkness Bind Them
Dan Goldwasser (Soundtrack.Net 11-20-01)


Mixed Choir

A mixed choir was used for Rivendell and Lothlórien, they actually have quite different sounds as you can hear on the CD. They sang in Elvish (Quenya and Sindarin) and Black Speech - they did all of the Wraith singing.

Howard Shore from: And In the Darkness Bind Them
Dan Goldwasser (Soundtrack.Net 11-20-01)


Moria Voices

Oh yeah. And in the movie, the dwarves are very stout and warlike. They have axes and big beards and things. The female dwarves are almost indistinguishable from the male dwarves. They live in a mine, below a mountain — all very interior. The director, Peter Jackson, wanted the sound to be rough and kind of masculine. So I contacted a Samoan choirmaster named Inglese Ete, and he put together a Maori-Samoan choir to sing the Dwarvish text. And they weren’t all singers — some of them were football players! [laughs] We recorded it with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. It was quite wonderful.

Howard Shore, interview
Cory Reynolds (IndexMagazine.com 01)


Nature Theme

I had the very good fortune of attending the last session with the LPO for ROTK this Monday. And then interviewing Howard Shore yesterday.  The piece I'm writing is about the whole LOTR music project having been housed in London. It'll be for the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters members' magazine, but when it goes on-line I'll direct any interested folks to the URL.  But the reason for posting here is I wanted to relay an answer to a question I asked Howard specifically for some of the members of this Board.  After TTT, we entered into a thread or 2 about a particular theme. It plays as the moth flutters to Gandalf atop Isengard in FOTR. Then again as the Ents attack Isengard in TTT.  I speculated that this theme represented Nature, & its role in Tolkien's perception of the Industrial Age. That idea was kicked about here for a while, & I recall "Nature Theme" sticking.  Guess what?  Howard was delighted that had been picked up from the 1st two movies. He calls it his "Reclamation of Nature Theme" or "Nature Theme".  It does indeed stand for those very things. It apparently hasn't made it to the album, but is most certainly featured prominently in ROTK. I won't spoil where - but it'll make beautiful sense when you hear it!
Just wanted to share.

Paul Tonks at MovieMusic.com 11-07-2003




     Regarding the use of leitmotifs in film

JA: Howard, if I were to call your scores for Lord of the Rings movies Wagnerian... I'm not saying I would... but if I were to call it that, you would think... what?

HS: I would think leitmotif. Music expressing emotional ideas and the use of leitmotifs.

JA: Is that something you made use of in your scores?

HS: Oh, I think tremendously.

JA: How so?

HS: Well, there's over 50 leitmotifs.. (Oh, really?) used in the piece.

JA: Do they reflect each individual character....

HS: They reflect characters and places and objects.  The Ring itself has four motifs for its different moods.

(History of the Ring Theme plays)

JA: And here's one you may recognize if you've seen the movies.

Howard Shore from The Ring and I: The Passion, The Myth, The Mania

     about 13:00 into the interview (the subject of leitmotifs start about 11:30 in)

Jad Abumrad (WNYC Radio Special 3-2004)


The Seduction Theme

The boys sang in English and in Elvish. The boys I used very specifically in scenes that involved the Hobbits. The first time you hear the boys choir is when Frodo and Sam leave Hobbiton on their way to Bree. Frodo has the ring in his vest pocket and Gandalf leaves them to go to Saruman in Isengard. You hear the boys singing in Elvish and it's used as the seductiveness of the ring. You hear them singing this very pure, beautiful sound. It also has a courageous sound that seemed appropriate. The Hobbits are not boys, but they have a boyish quality because they're half-size to men.

Howard Shore from: An Early Look at Howard Shore's FOTR
Doug Adams (Film Score Monthly 11-14-01)


Shire Theme
Q:And how about James Galway? How did he fit into the mix?
I had this idea that because the hobbits evolve, that when they go back to the Shire, the Shire is the same, but they have changed. Because they have been through this incredible journey, the folk aspect and the tin whistle evolves into a flute, which is a more grown up sound, a more evolved sound. So I asked James Galway if he would play both, and he agreed. So you hear the penny whistle and towards the end of the film the whistle evolves into the flute.

Howard Shore from: Of Dwarvish Chants, Penny Whistles, and Annie Lennox

Official Movie Website Interview (2004)


Silver Trumpets Theme (now known as Minas Tirith)

HS: ...which is more related to Minas Tirith, really. The Silver Trumpets Theme is a Minas Tirith piece. Boromir is talking about his city when you hear a little fragment of that in Fellowship. Of course, that gets much more developed. It becomes a much more important piece in Return of the King. It has a lot to do with Aragorn and Boromir's relationship in Fellowship, but it becomes part of Aragorn becoming King of Gondor. It relates to Anduril and is used around the reforging of Narsil. It's used in the scene where Elrond brings Anduril to Aragorn and tells him to become what he must and release the Army of the Dead and do the things that he was born to do.

DA: When you used those in the first film, were you always planning to bring them back in film three, or did you mine the earlier material and find things that were appropriate?

HS: The architecture of it came from Peter Jackson's mind. And from Fran Walsh's. They had worked on the piece for years before I started, so Peter knew in the Council of Elrond there was an important moment when Boromir talks about his father. He knew it was an important moment when Boromir talks about his city in Fellowship [in Lothlórien]. He knew we were going to be going to those places. I knew it as well, but Peter gave me the idea to create little fragments of themes and put them in that film, because he knew that they were going to be developed into a Gondor Theme and a Minas Tirith Theme. There are so many little fragments of things in Fellowship because of that. It was partly intuitive on my account, and partly Peter leading me, guiding me and showing me these important moments.

Howard Shore from: Seven Days in September

Doug Adams interview (Film Score Monthly Vol. 8, No. 10, pg. 18 -- Nov/Dec 2003)

Also returning after their brief Fellowship premiere are the shimmering brass figures heard behind Boromir and Aragorn's "White Tower" chat in Lothlórien, here used as a History of Gondor Theme relating to the city's former glory and future potential, and put to welcome use in the lustrous "Andúril" track.
The Return of the King CD Review

By Doug Adams in The Return of the King CD Review
Film Score Monthly (11-20-03)

The 'Gondor Theme', like all of the music, is simply not just one piece of music, there are many motifs connected to it.  One of the motifs of Gondor is the Minas Tirith theme, which I call 'The Silver Trumpets Theme'.  It is part of a speech that Boromir gives in The Fellowship when he's in Lothlórien.  It's late at night, he's talking to Aragorn about his city and beauty of it.  You hear this trumpet theme that becomes 'The Silver Trumpets Theme' in The Return of the King and the very first time you hear that is when Aragorn is given Andúril.  So it's kind of like a sub-theme to the 'Gondorian Theme', which is describing the culture and not necessarily the place.  I drop these little thematic hints along the way.

There's even a little fragment of Minas Tirith in The Fellowship, so when you watch watch the entire piece you will have these connections.  That music not only helped to tell the story and its drama, but it was used for clarity to understand that Boromir was Denethor's son and they lived in Minas Tirith, which is a Gondorian city.  The music had to be very precise to do that, so it was used for clarity as well so when you hear certain pieces of music you understood that Minas Tirith was a Gondorian city and that's where the sword came from.

Howard Shore in The Return of the King
Music from the Movies magazine, Issue 42, page 68, July 2004


Unused music

There was actually quite a bit of music written for each film that never made it to theaters. Fellowship, for example, had that great bit with the aleatoric French horns that was meant to underscore Arwen's arrival at the river just before washing away the Ring Wraiths. That bit made it on the CD and not the film, but there was even more music as the waves crashed in that hasn't been heard. Two Towers had a song for Arwen that never appeared anywhere, and the CD debut of Shadowfax is different than the film. (The LOTR Symphony, by the way, uses the film version.) ROTK had the mentioned Seduction of the Ring / Evil of the Ring combination in the Gollum opening that wasn't in the film, as well as a whole host of other things. Shore was often writing--especially in the case of ROTK--as the film was being edited, but instead of hacking and slashing the recordings, if something changed, he'd go back and write new music. That's part of the reason these films included three months of nearly non-stop recording sessions, as opposed to the week or so usually afforded.

Doug Adams in moviemusic.com forum post (12-29-2003)


Use Well The Days

... was a piece I started writing after thinking about Annie Lennox.  I went to New Zealand in April, and met with Fran Walsh, who collaborated with me on "In Dreams" and “Gollum’s Song” and we thought about different artists that we might want to work with.  Annie Lennox was at the top of the list.

On the way back to New York from New Zealand, I wrote Annie a letter talking about my process for the months ahead, and the film, to see if she was interested in it.  When I got back, I wrote a piece called "Use Well The Days" that used words adapted from Tolkien's lyrics, because Fran hadn't started the process yet.  Then when I met Annie in New York for the first time, I played her that piece - it was something I had written with her in mind.  I had just put together a demo. Then she recorded it at Abbey Road during the summer.

As we've worked on all these films, we've created so many things, and so many ideas - they lead you on a path - and "Use Well The Days" did exactly that.  It was like an early version of "Into the West".  So it's on this bonus DVD - you can hear Annie singing it.  It's not in the film, and it's not on the CD, but it was recorded during the making of his movie. 

Howard Shore from: Music From Returning Kings 11-19-03

Dan Goldwasser


RCMH-NYC FOTR EVENTS - Howard Shore & Doug Adams - October 2009



Barnes and Noble, Lincoln Square, NYC (HS & DA)

Pre-Concert-Film Discussion (HS & DA)

Angel Orensanz presentation (HS & DS)