The Playful Setting

of Music for the Shire and the Hobbits


THE PLAYFUL SETTING of the Shire/Hobbit Theme is light hearted, almost comical.. When Doug Adams writes, "This is the most physical of the hobbit themes, backing the comical pair with jaunty, dance-like rhythms." (Doug Adams, CR-TTT liner notes, page 10) it's clear this music was created for Merry and Pippin. It is lighthearted in similar ways as the Rural Setting of the Shire/Hobbit Theme and accompanies scenes that show a playful respite from the more serious events surrounding them. It is often followed by the Hobbits' Antics, a Hobbit accompaniment based on the Hobbit End Cap.


HOBBITS AT PLAY - This is a category of my own where I take a closer look at a series of scenes with similar musical settings involving Merry and Pippin (and Sméagol and Déagol)


Places this setting is heard in TTT:

  • When, after awakening from his sleep in Wellinghall a startled Merry realizes that Pippin is taller. Their contentious interchange is delightfully childlike. (EE scene) There's a short bit of Playful Setting then a little 'bump, bump' that is either an End Cap or Hobbits' Antics. (the liner notes and annotated score disagree slightly. Either one is mistaken or Doug is using the term interchangeably here. I think it's the later.) The Playful Setting picks up again as Merry realizes that Pippin is 'taller'. The Hobbits' Antics begin as Pippin chides Merry, "You're what?... 3 foot 6 at the most?"

  • When a hungry Pippin spies an apple floating in the floods of Isengard and looks up to see if it fell from the sky. Merry and he follow the trail of floating apples. The Hobbits' Antics pick up as the wander into the storeroom full of food and smoke.  (EE scene)

  • When, in that storeroom, Merry and Pippin decide perhaps they shouldn't share the South Farthing Leaf with Treebeard. (EE scene)


Places this setting is heard in ROTK:

  • A variant of Hobbits' Antics is heard while Déagol and Sméagol are fishing. This music also bears some similarity to the Rural Setting and/or Playful Setting of Shire music, especially the first three notes, the folky nature of the piece, the accompaniments used. It's strayed far enough that I hesitate to call it a variant, (in fact Adams calls it Hobbit music of a 'different breed' in the AS-ROTK) but I certainly think this was built on the Shire/Hobbit music.  See note below.

  • (two instances of Hobbits' Antics not combined with the Playful Setting can be found on the Hobbit Accompaniment page)