Musical Similarities




The first two don't exactly fit this section where the intention here was to document when people heard similarities in melodies. But they're in the same vein so I will note them.

  • O Fortuna & The Ringwraiths Theme - The two melodies here aren't the same but, early on especially, people thought of Carl Orff's O Fortuna when they heard the Ringwraiths Theme. In fact, some really old comments on the web indicated that people believed the music was O Fortuna.

  • In another section of the site, I noted that the combination of the music, voices and sound effects in the Dead Marshes created an effect similar to György Ligeti' s work. Go HERE to read more about that.

The rest are similarities that people have sent me that I'm not able, at this time, to research to the extent that they deserve. They've sat in my 'to do' list for way too long and I will admit that I don't see my researching them at any point - near or far - in the future. So, I will present them here intact as sent to me. Make of them what you will.

  • Whilst listening in depth to the LOTR soundtracks, I found four more themes that might have been derived from other composers' works.

    • In 'The Return of the King', when the hobbits reunite in the Houses of Healing, the Shire theme is played on the cor anglais. This sounds very like the 2nd movement of Dvorak's 9th symphony, appropriately based on the folksong 'Goin' Home'.

    • The relentless 5/4 beat of the Isengard theme (all movies) recalls Mars from Holst's Planets suite - both emphasize the brutishness and stupidity of war.

    • Gollum's theme in 'The Taming of Sméagol' (The Two Towers) recalls 'The Gnome' from 'Pictures at an Exhibition' by Mussorgsky - both representing twisted slyness.

    • The most unexpected similarity, however, occurs in 'The Two Towers', again with Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition' as the source. The martial version of the Lothlórien theme (as the Elves march into the Battle of Helm's Deep) is very like the 'Bydlo' (Ox-cart) movement, although it is difficult to connect battling elves with peasants driving ox-carts !

    • The 'Isengard / Mars' comparison and perhaps 'The Gnome / Gollum' have more of a similarity in mood rather than precise note-matching - they were both musical characterizations of war (Isengard) and 'slippery' characters (Gollum).  ~ Mark Kudlowski

  • I thought an interesting addition to your page about music that's similar to Lord of the Rings, is that the first portion of the Hobbit Theme has the same chord progression as Heart and Soul. This is, of course, not exactly a rare chord progression, but the reason it is noteworthy that Howard Shore used it is that, for the end credits of 'Big' starring Tom Hanks, Howard Shore supplied seemingly innumerable variations on Heart and Soul. It's a wonder he could possibly ever get them out of his head again! (or could he?) This similarity is best heard in 'Concerning Hobbits' around 1:18 as the two-step pattern begins again. I also think that the beginning of the Black Rider, where the solo flute plays the Hobbit Theme may actually be a better example of those chords being used to accompany the Hobbit Theme, as Concerning Hobbits actually has a slightly different chord progression. ~Abbi

  • Have you noticed that right at the end (probably the last 5 seconds) of the first three minutes of Vivaldi's "La Notte" flute concert(op.10,nr.2;i have a 9:55 minutes version) you can hear a resemblance to about 3-4 seconds of the beginning of the Sméagol/Déagol scene in Rotk-when we first see the worm; around 3-4 seconds of that scene seemed to coincide with the part I mentioned from Vivaldi's concerto. Actually that part begins with the 00:44th second from "A Storm Is Coming" ~ Beren

  • Today I listened to the collector edition from Williams' 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'.... In the track 'Who Are You People' at 0:35 until 0:43 I heard the harp clearly playing the Gollum/Stinker Motif! You should all listen... ~ Jelle on old SMME

  • ¿did you know the resemblance between the 4th Age Gondor (Reborn) Theme and "Middle Age Suite" by Alexander Glazunov? ~ AlexPerez

    short excerpts of Gondor & Glazunov- more examples HERE. (clip prepared by Alex. track/recording info unavailable)