Gandalf's Farewells

A Theme for Middle-earth: Another Path


GANDALF'S FAREWELLS is a theme for Middle-earth in the subcategory of Another Path. The theme consists of four chords sounded alone or underlying a melody. I had originally thought some iterations of these chords were similar to and/or connected to the chords of the Shire Hymn Setting. There hasn't been any discussion in any of Doug Adams' writings (so far) confirming this. He did, however, seem to connect the motif, Evil Times to Gandalf's Farewells. (see first listing for ROTK below)

The name Hymn for Gandalf is found in the recording notes for FOTR*, but that may be the name of the particular piece heard in FOTR and may not apply to other iterations of the music. The voices singing outside Moria are not singing lyrics, there were just vocal sounds. I don't think lyrics are employed for any other iterations that have voices, either.   *Music From The Movies magazine, issue #42, page 36

Additionally, I could heard some similarities between the four chords of Gandalf's Farewells and a tribute piece to 9-11 by Blue Man Group.


Places this theme is heard in FOTR:

  • After Gandalf falls in Moria and the Fellowship stumbles out into the bright, harsh light of the Dimrill Dale. The choir starts by humming slow notes. A solo soprano's voice joins in soaring over top of the humming chorus with a simple melody (neither part contains actual words). As the piece progresses, strings take up the slow notes and the humming choir takes the soprano's part.

Places this theme is heard in ROTK:

  • After the destruction of the Ring, as Frodo and Sam run from Sammath Naur and the destructing mountain, four hymn like notes play multiple times. In the AS-ROTK, Adams identifies this as Evil Times but connects it to Gandalf's Farewells. To my ears, I can hear no difference between this iteration of Evil Times and the version of Gandalf's Farewells heard outside of Moria although the difference may lay in the key signature, which I can't 'hear' by ear. I'm curious if there was some intention (from the beginning) to have the two themes converge or it happened unintentionally (unconsciously).

  • After the Destruction of the Ring, as Frodo and Sam sit in the midst of the lava and remember the Shire.

  • At the Grey Havens as Gandalf begins his farewells to the Hobbits. Soft strings take the slow notes with soft choral voices. A distinct string part plays the simple melody we heard back at the Dimrill Dale.