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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
April 2010 Music Notes: "We come to honor that allegiance"
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Loresilme
Valinor


Apr 1 2010, 1:13pm

Post #1 of 30 (2113 views)
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April 2010 Music Notes: "We come to honor that allegiance" Can't Post

Hello Movie TORnsibs!

Welcome to the first edition of "Music Notes", a new discussion series on Movie TORn where we will take a look at recent screencaps in our SCOD series, and discuss them from a musical perspective. First, a word of thanks to our resident LOTR score expert, our very own Magpie :-), whose incredible wealth of knowledge and information on the score make this discussion possible :-). We'll have lots of 'more info' links in these discussions, but be sure to visit Magpie's site for the very best info on the score.

Since this is our first post, please excuse any bugs or tweaks still needing to be worked out, and feel free to share suggestions or comments on the format. Also please be sure to refer to the bottom of this post for explanations of the abbreviations used throughout.

Today we'll be looking at the SCOD "We come to honor that allegiance" which was posted in February. Here's a link to that discussion:

TORn SCOD Discussion - Feb 2010





Just after Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli re-group for the seemingly hopeless battle at Helm's Deep, we hear a horn sound. Legolas says: "That is no Orc Horn!". Theoden is alerted and the gates ordered opened.

A martial version of the Lothlorien Theme plays as we see the Elves in formation marking up the causeway into Helm's Deep. Theoden comes down to meet them. We see Haldir.

Reference Sound Clip: ElvesArriveHelmsDeep.mp3

A stirring moment! Elves to the rescue. Putting aside those fun fan-inspired logistical comments such as, "And ... but ... just how did the Elves get there?" :-), let's take a look at some of the score commentary on the music used to accompany this scene.

AS-TTT: "Hope is rewarded. Haldir of Lórien arrives with a band of Elf archers to assist the Rohirrim. The Lothlórien theme takes a heretofore unheard guise, its florid current solidified into a militant march. Voices and brass in Elf-like unison carry the theme over rhythmic percussion and strings. And yet, optimism is still tempered— The London Voices yet sing the grim “Footsteps of Doom” text associated with the Lothlórien theme" :

CR-TTT: Disc 3: 0:00 - 0:32
Lyrics - Source Text: Footsteps of Doom (0:00 - 0:11); Lament for Gandalf, chorus (0:12 - 0:40)
[0:00] Man
[0:02] ammen toltha
[0:03] i dann hen morn
[0:09] si danna -
[0:11] atha
[0:12] nauva
[0:18] mel
[0:21] memma
[0:22] nóren sina
[0:27] núra lá earo
[0:31] núr(i) il(firin)
[0:37] nair(elma)

Transcript of Elvish Lyrics (more or less :-)): "Who brings to us this token of Doom? That which has stood so long against the darkness will now fall."

TTT-EE, Audio Commentary: Howard Shore comments: "You hear very specifically in the arrival of the Elves, a thematic thread from Lothlórien. But it's done in a much more military, battle mode. I wanted to make a distinction between the worlds of Rivendell and Lothlórien. Lothlórien is darker and it's a bit more of a mystical Elvish culture... older. I used just for the exotic sound of it an Indian bowed lute called a sarangi and a ney flute which is an African flute. I also used the monochord which is a 50 string drone instrument. It's quite large. It's about an 8 foot wooden instrument that has 50 strings that are tuned very sympathetically. And it's also used for healing and that really became the sound of Lothlórien... those three instruments in conjunction with the choir singing in Quenya and the orchestra. So, I think it was just the melody that was used for Lothlórien... you first hear on entering Lothlórien in Fellowship. And that very specific melody was used, almost in an opera way really, in Helm's Deep. It's not sung anymore. (Magpie adds: this is incorrect. It is sung.) It was sung when you first entered Lothlórien but now it's played in unison for trumpets playing it. I mean it's in battle mode and it has a much different rhythmic base to it. I wanted the rhythm to feel somewhat exotic so it uses a bolero rhythm, actually. Which just seems exotic enough for a battle scene in Helm's Deep. And it just seemed to suit the Elves. I can't really tell you why. But as much as the sarangi was the right sound for Lothlórien, if I had to apply a rhythmic idea -- which I didn't really in Lothlórien, it doesn't really have too many rhythmic ideas in it -- but if I had to apply a rhythmic idea to the Elves, that bolero rhythm seemed like an appropriate one for it. It was a rhythm that I felt could best describe the Elves in motion.

Magpie notes: a similarly martial version of the Lothlorien Theme plays again as the Uruk-hai start their attack on Helm's Deep.



A few questions/thought starters:

What did you think when you first saw the Elves and heard this music?

Did it enhance or detract from the action?

Did you recognize which theme it was (that it was from Lothlorien)?

Did it make sense to have the Lothlorien theme rather than the Rivendell theme?
(Reference Sound Clips: RivendellTheme.mp3 & regular LothlorienTheme.mp3)

Is one theme or the other - to you - more representative of the Elves?

How do you feel about the theme when the sarangi and other instruments are not used? Does it still sound "Elvish"? What exactly *is* Elvish, in your opinion?

What do you think of HS choosing a monochord as one of the instruments used for the Lothlorien theme and his mention of the fact that this instrument is 'also used for healing'?

And what about the bolero rhythm? I love how HS says, it suited the Elves and he can't really say why, it just does :-)... does it sound to you as he describes, like "Elves in motion"?

What did you think about the use of this theme when the Uruk-hai begin their attack? Here we have Uruk-hai attacking Men, and yet the music chosen for that moment was an Elvish theme. What are your thoughts on that choice?



The above questions are just to get the discussion ball rolling :-) .... please feel free to share any comments or other thoughts you have ... and thanks so much for your enthusiasm and support of our new Movie board discussion series :-)!






***************************************************************
Abbreviations:

SCOD
Screencap of the Day. Series on Movie TORn that discusses screencaps from the trilogy in chronological order. Currently in discussion: The Two Towers.

CR
Complete Recordings. Sets of the movies' entire soundtrack from start to finish. Includes 3 CDs of soundtrack, one Audio DVD, and liner notes. Each film has its own CR set. The CR plays the movies' complete soundtracks in the order in which it appears in the film. (more info)

OST
Original SoundTrack. The soundtrack CDs, one CD for each movie. Includes selected pieces of music from the films, generally not in the order in which they appear. The OST CDs both omit music which was used in the films and includes some music which ultimately was not used in the films. (more info)

AS-TTT
Annotated Score-The Two Towers. Refers to a free PDF download of the films' score, authored by Doug Adams. There is an Annotated Score paired with each of the three Complete Recordings. They include a track by track discussion of the music (as heard on the Complete Recordings), the source text for lyrics used in that movie, and instruments and artists heard in that movie. (link to AS-TTT pdf - click to open, right click to download)

TTT-EE
The Two Towers-Extended Edition. The films' Extended Editions contain additional features, such as commentaries. This discussion quotes some of the "Audio Commentary" from the Extended Editions.

Understanding Soundclip References
Example: CR-TTT: Disc 3: 0:32 - 0:41
This means the selected piece of music appears on the Complete Recordings of The Two Towers, on Disc #3, starting at 32 seconds into the disc and ending at 41 seconds. All DVD times stamps are NTSC Standard

Dialog and scene descriptions are from The Council of Elrond




OhioHobbit
Gondor

Apr 1 2010, 3:14pm

Post #2 of 30 (548 views)
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Yippee! [In reply to] Can't Post

What did you think when you first saw the Elves and heard this music?

The first thing that I thought was, “COOL!” The next thing that I thought was that the marching didn’t seem to match the music. They seemed to me to be bobbing along. I would have had them marching in just a bit of slow motion and had the camera down low, looking up at them. The music was terrific though!

Did it enhance or detract from the action?

I thought that it enhanced the action. Anytime you have Elven warriors it has to enhance the action.

Did you recognize which theme it was (that it was from Lothlorien)?

Yep, right off.

Did it make sense to have the Lothlorien theme rather than the Rivendell theme?

I think so, story-wise. I just now tried to imaging what the Rivendell theme would sound like in battle mode and the first thing that popped into my head is a theme from the original Star Trek TV series. I think that they probably used it a lot, but I remember it specifically from “The Corbomite Maneuver” when they first encounter the mother ship.

Is one theme or the other - to you - more representative of the Elves?

I think the Lothlorien theme. It seems very “other worldly” to me.

How do you feel about the theme when the sarangi and other instruments are not used? Does it still sound "Elvish"?

Not as much.

What exactly *is* Elvish, in your opinion?

If you can explain it – it isn’t Elvish.

What do you think of HS choosing a monochord as one of the instruments used for the Lothlorien theme and his mention of the fact that this instrument is 'also used for healing'?

Cool!

And what about the bolero rhythm? I love how HS says, it suited the Elves and he can't really say why, it just does :-)... does it sound to you as he describes, like "Elves in motion"?

Apparently, it is all about feelings. I think that somewhere HS said that.

What did you think about the use of this theme when the Uruk-hai begin their attack? Here we have Uruk-hai attacking Men, and yet the music chosen for that moment was an Elvish theme. What are your thoughts on that choice?

I’m not sure why that was chosen, but it seems to work.

This is great! Thank you!

Movie Technical Discussion -- Index


Flammifer
The Shire


Apr 1 2010, 8:45pm

Post #3 of 30 (514 views)
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Wow, these questions are intense. [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess I'll answer these in the same format as the above commenter, since it seems to make sense.

What did you think when you first saw the Elves and heard this music?
The emotion of the moment was pretty amazing. Just when you think all hope is lost, in come the Elves to honor an alliegance that was formed hundreds of years ago. Awesome.
Did it enhance or detract from the action?
Enhanced it, for sure. The way the music swells is just perfect, and I personally loved the adition of the Elves at Helm's Deep, even though they weren't present in the book.

Did you recognize which theme it was (that it was from Lothlorien)?
Not right off the bat. I think I was eight the first time I saw that movie, so I was probably just excited that there was going to be a big fight. But yes, as I began to take the movie more seriously and really step into true nerdiness, I definitely noticed at a later viewing.

Did it make sense to have the Lothlorien theme rather than the Rivendell theme?
Most certainly. As Howard Shore said, Lothlorien is darker and more mystical. The Elves of Lothlorien seem to be more serious, more battle-ready, more intense and prepared. The Rivendell Elves are amazing, but their culture feels different and their music, being too quiet and peaceful, would not have fit the scene at all.

Is one theme or the other - to you - more representative of the Elves?
Since both cultures that are represented in the themes are Elvish, I can't really give an answer that makes sense. But yes, for me, the Lothlorien theme encompases everything about the Elves that I love.

How do you feel about the theme when the
sarangi and other instruments are not used? Does it still sound "Elvish"? What exactly *is* Elvish, in your opinion?
I'll steal my answer here from commenter #1 - If you can explain it, it's not Elvish. The closest I can come is that they are very ethereal and otherworldly. They don't seem to quite belong in Middle-Earth.

What do you think of HS choosing a monochord as one of the instruments used for the Lothlorien theme and his mention of the fact that this instrument is 'also used for healing'?
I don't know what to make of that statement. I think it was a good choice for the song, but apart from that, I am no monochord expert.

And what about the bolero rhythm? I love how HS says, it suited the Elves and he can't really say why, it just does :-)... does it sound to you as he describes, like "Elves in motion"?
I think it's absolutely perfect. I am a big fan of rhythm stuff, so I remember that being one of the first things I noticed about the scene even as a young child. It turns the theme into a less mystical one, and more of a serious battle theme.

What did you think about the use of this theme when the Uruk-hai begin their attack? Here we have Uruk-hai attacking Men, and yet the music chosen for that moment was an Elvish theme. What are your thoughts on that choice?

Well, I don't know if I could say that another choice wouldn't have been better, but I think it sounds amazing as it is and doesn't seem strange or out of place within the scene.

"You speak of danger, but you do not understand. This is no treasure hunt, no there-and-back journey. I am flying from deadly peril into deadly peril."
"Of course we understand," said Merry firmly. "That is why we have decided to come."


Arandiel
Grey Havens

Apr 1 2010, 9:27pm

Post #4 of 30 (549 views)
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Now that I've tested my ideas against the sound clips... [In reply to] Can't Post

What did you think when you first saw the Elves and heard this music?
I got all teary (happens at the drop of a hat in my family) at the in-their-hour-of-need save. I didn't know at the time that this was the film's one depiction of the way the Elves fought for ME (it didn't happen in the books that way, but at least the filmmakers found a way to show their military contribution and losses).

Did it enhance or detract from the action?
For me it was a definite plus, but I'm a musician by training and inclination.

Did you recognize which theme it was (that it was from Lothlorien)?
I knew it was one of the Elves' themes.

Did it make sense to have the Lothlorien theme rather than the Rivendell theme?
Yes, because the Rivendell theme plays with tonality the way I would expect to hear in a Debussy piece, while the Lothlorien theme sounds more modal to my ears (think Gregorian Chant-like). Lothlorien therefore sounds older, reinforcing Haldir's speech about the antiquity of the alliance between humans and elves.

Is one theme or the other - to you - more representative of the Elves?

No - they just get at who particular groups of Elves are and, perhaps, a hint at how they've changed over time.

And what about the bolero rhythm? I love how HS says, it suited the Elves and he can't really say why, it just does :-)... does it sound to you as he describes, like "Elves in motion"?

The rhythm has a kick to it that hints that there's more to these Elves than meets the eye. The fact that the Bolero is a dance (in 3/4 time) harks to one of Tolkien's recurring motifs - dancing Elves - that, again, the movies didn't depict otherwise. That they're marching to it means they're putting 3 against 4, which brings another point out - see my answer to the last question...

What did you think about the use of this theme when the Uruk-hai begin their attack? Here we have Uruk-hai attacking Men, and yet the music chosen for that moment was an Elvish theme. What are your thoughts on that choice?

Here's where the ethicist/theologian in me gangs up with the musician in me and has fun! I like the use of this musical theme for the Uruk-hai attack, because I think it plays with an important literary theme in Tolkien's work. I know this is controversial, but I believe (with others here) that the Orcs are Elves who have been tortured and maimed into becoming Orcs - and Sauron went a step further with the Uruk-hai. Partly this is because, in most literary worlds, only Good has the power to create ex nihilo (from nothing); Evil can only bend, pervert, subvert, etc. - and I get the impression that Tolkien adhered to that particular view. So, back to the music... Lothlorien reinforces the common origins of the Elves and Uruk-hai in that moment - a subtle nod to the depth of the tragedy of the Elves in Middle Earth. Also, marching happens in 4 (or 2) beats to the measure, but as I already noted, Lothlorien's Bolero is in 3 - and the Uruk-hai, along with the Mordor Orcs, have a theme that is in 5. (it's also a very close riff on the Dies Irae, but I digress... :) So... both Elves and Orcs/Uruk-hai march to different beats than the humans, they are intimately connected enemies, and Shore gives us that whole tragedy musically in one moment.

Thank you muchly for this thread, Loresilme!


Wherever you go, there you are.

Why not Elves and Potatoes?


Legalize_Athelas
Lorien

Apr 2 2010, 5:03am

Post #5 of 30 (518 views)
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I'll pick just a couple to get me started... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and I'm SO pumped to follow the musical discussions going forward!

What did you think when you first saw the Elves and heard this music?
Shock, initially. The presence of elves at Helm's Deep was something I didn't expect in the least, and it took me a few seconds to realize that Hey, this isn't a strikingly beautiful violin solo. I was rather impressed that HS was able to so easily take us from the stress of hopeless battle and whisk us to the land of the Lady.

And what about the bolero rhythm? I love how HS says, it suited the Elves and he can't really say why, it just does :-)... does it sound to you as he describes, like "Elves in motion"?

This is an interesting observation. I can't help but think of Ravel's Boléro here, not surprisingly, and I agree that it just fits, at least on some levels. The elves in Middle-earth are on their way out, they're on the last lap. Ravel's Boléro is known as one long crescendo, constantly heading for higher dynamics, ending with fortissimo and a bang. The elves are doing the exact opposite, silently leaving ME, but their rhythmically steady march, as a people, is toward the Havens and not the battles of men. Opposites attract?

Got Necroquestions? I'll give you Necromanswers.


Arandiel
Grey Havens

Apr 2 2010, 5:51am

Post #6 of 30 (569 views)
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Corbomite Maneuver [In reply to] Can't Post

So true! I hadn't thought of it until I saw your post, but you're right!

Wherever you go, there you are.

Why not Elves and Potatoes?


dijomaja
Lorien

Apr 2 2010, 11:54am

Post #7 of 30 (522 views)
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marching in 3/4 time [In reply to] Can't Post

First: great idea; I hope this is the first of many.

I'm still sifting through some of the other posts and much has already been said on the other questions, but...

In a way the idea of a march in 3/4 is perfect. If anyone could figure out how 2-legged creatures would march in triple meter it would be the Elves (and I know it would come out even every other measure - still, it's a great twist, very Elvish).

Thinking of the other Elvish cultures, it would have been interesting to hear a martial version of the Rivendell theme and I'm sure Howard Shore would have come up with just the right twist - something somber but powerful with an air of finality for lack of a better word. The Woodland Elves would probably not have a march as such. It would be more rustic, more like Robin Hood's men singing to a fife and tabor.


weaver
Half-elven

Apr 2 2010, 5:58pm

Post #8 of 30 (502 views)
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*Smacks self on forehead* [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok, so I've listened to these scores hundreds of times by now...and I never realized that the marchlike music here was the Lothlorien theme. D'oh! (But then again, I can't even sing Happy Birthday on key...)

I liked the exotic kind of sense the Elvish music has, whatever Shore did to get it to sound that way -- the Elves always seemed a bit mystical in the way the Orient/eastern cultures can feel that way to me, as a pretty untravelled American.

And I'm Ok with the Elvish theme being the one they use for the start of the Battle of Helm's Deep -- because the Elves do not survive this battle, this really is the "Last Charge of the Elves", so it fits that it's their theme leading the way here... are more "world of men" themes used later, toward the end of the Battle? That would be fitting, if that's what Shore did.

Lovely first post in this series -- nicely done, ladies! Looking forward to more of this kind of fun, when you can bring it to us! Thanks!

Weaver






dijomaja
Lorien

Apr 3 2010, 12:26pm

Post #9 of 30 (488 views)
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on the subject of Elvish music [In reply to] Can't Post

I was sorry the film skipped the banquet scene in Rivendell; I would have liked to hear Shore's version of the music Tolkien describes. The Plan 9 song on the FOTR EE was pretty close to what I'd imagined but I wonder if Howard had anything else in his notebook (hey, M?).

Maybe we can plant an idea in his head: a 2- (or 3, or 5) CD set of music, 'An Evening In...(Rivendell, Lothlorien, etc.).

At least we can look forward to more Shire, Rivendell, Dwarf and Woodland Elf music in 'The Hobbit'.


Magpie
Immortal


Apr 3 2010, 2:45pm

Post #10 of 30 (491 views)
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welcome all [In reply to] Can't Post

Although Loresilme and I are working together, I consider Loresilme to be the heart of the enterprise. She is doing the 'creative' work: deciding on what scene and music to discuss and coming up with discussion questions. I offer her support from the fairly copious amounts of resources I've managed to bank over the years.

In regards to what happens on the boards... I'm going to play the part of the participant. :-)


My thoughts


What did you think when you first saw the Elves and heard this music?
Don't I wish I could remember!

Did you recognize which theme it was (that it was from Lothlorien)?
I'm pretty sure I did. If not immediately, soon after. Surely by time I was mapping out the themes in the music for TTT, I had it. ;-)

Did it make sense to have the Lothlorien theme rather than the Rivendell theme?
You know, I never really thought about that. I definitely was confused (like many of PJ's 'additions' to the story) about why Haldir was leading a contingency sent by Elrond, etc. But I never questioned the music. I saw Haldir. Haldir was from Lothlorien. I didn't take it beyond that.

Is one theme or the other - to you - more representative of the Elves?
Another good question I haven't thought about. I think the movie sought to create distinction between different types of Elves and it had to do it without a lot of 'words'. In FOTR, the music supports the concept of Rivendell as a place of respite and healing.. and of Lothlorien as mystery, uncertainty and perhaps some danger. So, in that regards, each theme works well for each location. Is one more representative of Elves? I guess is one type of Elf more representative of Elves? I mean, does Rivendell house the quintessential Elf? Or Lothlorien? I don't think so. Each contribute to the larger concept of Elf. In that way, I don't know if one of the themes can be qualified as more representative of Elves.

How do you feel about the theme when the sarangi and other instruments are not used? Does it still sound "Elvish"? What exactly *is* Elvish, in your opinion?
(in case you don't know and it doesn't seem apparent very quickly... I don't have any musical training to speak of and have very little vocabulary for it). I think this version of the Lorien Theme is still in some minor key or something... right? In that way, it still sounds exotic (which is a word that I believe Shore used for this theme).

If I were to offer a purely instinctual sort of answer (like a response to an ink blot: quick... respond without over thinking): the first versions of the Lorien theme, with all the exotic instruments, sounds a bit personal. This sounds like music the Elves would make for themselves in a fairly private moment. The martial version of the Lorien theme sounds more like a statement: Watch out world... we're coming, we're serious, and you better be 'fraid. So the more quiet, private instruments are set aside for a stronger declaration.

What is Elvish? Not sure I can answer that.

What do you think of HS choosing a monochord as one of the instruments used for the Lothlorien theme and his mention of the fact that this instrument is 'also used for healing'?
In pure musical terms, I love hearing unusual instrumentation. (Bear McCreary is also using a lot of exotic instruments in his scoring). I don't think he chose it because of its connections to healing (this is part of an approach that suggests that sounds, in particular harmonic sound, can affect the body). I think it's just a 'shiny' observation on his part. If he had, it might better have been used in Rivendell. But Shore is big on the 'sound' of things rather than any more literal application of what things represent - whether they be an instrument or words. He will chop up words into meaningless syllables in a heartbeat and has said that what is sung most often functions as texture and can't always be followed in terms of content. I'm sure the monochord was chosen for it's sound, not its association with healing.

I think another shiny observation is the connection of the monochord to Pythagoras. From my website:
From A Brief History of the Monochord we learn:
The monochord consisted of a single string stretched over a sound box, with the strings held taut by pegs or weights on either end. It used a moveable bridge to change pitch, and was usually plucked. It was used as an instrument as early 300 BC by Euclid, and as a scientific instrument by Pythagoras as early as the 6th century BC. No one knows when it first appeared, as its origins extend into prehistory.
Pythagoras' study of ratios on the monochord led philosophers to believe that these ratios also governed the movement of planets and other cosmic matters. This provided the bridge between the world of physical experience and numerical relationships, giving birth to mathematical physics. In addition, this elevated music to one of the highest intellectual pursuits. Furthermore, since the "perfection of sounds" could now be revealed by numbers, all simple numeric ratios could be visualized as sounds. Kepler's "harmony of the spheres" is based on this, as well as harmonically resounding architecture. If the visible proportions of a building can be expressed in numeric ratios, then their relationships can be "heard" as chords. Like the "golden section" of architecture, musical harmony "imposes order in the hearts and minds of men by virtue of their simple, natural relationships". This also helped support the baroque idea that music was a reflection of the divine order (unless you were a minstrel, perhaps).
According to Verlyn Flieger, Pythagoras' concept of 'celestial harmony' was incorporated into his creation story, the Ainulindalë.
(See: Splintered Light, Logos and Languages in Tolkien's World by Verlyn Flieger, Chapter 7, pg. 57-8)

And what about the bolero rhythm? I love how HS says, it suited the Elves and he can't really say why, it just does :-)... does it sound to you as he describes, like "Elves in motion"?
I guess. It does have a motion/marchy feel to it. Bolero is a dance rhythm so it's created to move to. If you pair a rhythm created for moving with a melody associated (through its use in the previous scenes) with Elves.. then I guess you get Elves in motion. :-)

What did you think about the use of this theme when the Uruk-hai begin their attack? Here we have Uruk-hai attacking Men, and yet the music chosen for that moment was an Elvish theme. What are your thoughts on that choice?
I'm going to go check something in the movie and come back with my answer on this.



LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide



Magpie
Immortal


Apr 3 2010, 2:58pm

Post #11 of 30 (471 views)
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not marching in time to the music [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
the marching didn’t seem to match the music. They seemed to me to be bobbing along.


lol.. I think we - of some similar temperament - might be more prone to notice things like this. I recently rewatched quite a few Jane Austen movies. Jane loved English Country dancing and wrote a lot of it into her novels. I also love English Country Dancing, have been doing it for about 20 years, and even taught it for a while. ECD music is written in phrases which are repeated. So you might have 8 bars of a phrase that gets repeated and then 8 bars of another phrase that gets repeated which would be written as AABB. That would be 'one time through the dance' and you might do that dance for 'as long as you will'. So, you have music playing: AABB AABB AABB ....

The dance moves are paired with these phrases. So you do Figure Set 1 for the first A; Figure Set 2 for the second A; Figure Set 3 for the first B; and Figure Set 4 for the final B. And then you repeat those four figure sets for as long as the music plays.

In the movies, the music has to flow continuously because our ears can hear when phrases are chopped up. But because the visuals are focused on individual characters' actions and dialog, editing to suit those needs takes precedence over editing to make what the dancers are doing fit with the music.

The result is, the dancers are often doing Figure Set 1 to music that is not A music. And worse (for the dancer who knows) is when they aren't doing the start of the figure at the start of the phrase but in the middle.

As a dancer, I strive to dance with the music and watching this is a bit akin to fingernails on a chalkboard for me. I get why it happens in film, but it's difficult to watch.






LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide



Magpie
Immortal


Apr 3 2010, 3:27pm

Post #12 of 30 (479 views)
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3/4 and marching 3 against 4 [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
The rhythm has a kick to it that hints that there's more to these Elves than meets the eye. The fact that the Bolero is a dance (in 3/4 time) harks to one of Tolkien's recurring motifs - dancing Elves - that, again, the movies didn't depict otherwise. That they're marching to it means they're putting 3 against 4, which brings another point out - see my answer to the last question...

Also, marching happens in 4 (or 2) beats to the measure, but as I already noted, Lothlorien's Bolero is in 3 - and the Uruk-hai, along with the Mordor Orcs, have a theme that is in 5. (it's also a very close riff on the Dies Irae, but I digress... :) So... both Elves and Orcs/Uruk-hai march to different beats than the humans, they are intimately connected enemies, and Shore gives us that whole tragedy musically in one moment.



From what I read, bolero's were originally in 3/4 time but they are now also composed in 4/4 time. But this martial Lothlorien theme is in 4/4 not 3/4.

To fine tune your follow up comment, the 5 Beat Pattern you speak of was originally written for Isengard but was 'realigned' for Mordor in ROTK. The 5 Beat Pattern is not the one that sounds like the Dies Irae, however. That 'Mordor accompaniment' is called the Descending Third Motif.


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Here's where the ethicist/theologian in me gangs up with the musician in me and has fun! I like the use of this musical theme for the Uruk-hai attack, because I think it plays with an important literary theme in Tolkien's work. I know this is controversial, but I believe (with others here) that the Orcs are Elves who have been tortured and maimed into becoming Orcs - and Sauron went a step further with the Uruk-hai. Partly this is because, in most literary worlds, only Good has the power to create ex nihilo (from nothing); Evil can only bend, pervert, subvert, etc. - and I get the impression that Tolkien adhered to that particular view. So, back to the music... Lothlorien reinforces the common origins of the Elves and Uruk-hai in that moment - a subtle nod to the depth of the tragedy of the Elves in Middle Earth.


great point! I like your thinking.



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Magpie
Immortal


Apr 3 2010, 3:29pm

Post #13 of 30 (465 views)
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fascinating comparison to Ravel's work [In reply to] Can't Post

It's what I love most about discussions: when I get a chance to see things from a different angle or through different eyes.


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Magpie
Immortal


Apr 3 2010, 3:57pm

Post #14 of 30 (483 views)
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subliminal music [In reply to] Can't Post


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and I never realized that the marchlike music here was the Lothlorien theme.



I wonder if the theme worked in subliminal ways. It's hard to tell... when things are subliminal. :-)




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And I'm Ok with the Elvish theme being the one they use for the start of the Battle of Helm's Deep -- because the Elves do not survive this battle, this really is the "Last Charge of the Elves", so it fits that it's their theme leading the way here...



good point.



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are more "world of men" themes used later, toward the end of the Battle? That would be fitting, if that's what Shore did.


I did a quick review of the comments from the Annotated Score for TTT. Once the battle begins, the various music for the Shadow forces is used a lot. Once the line of Elves is breached, we hear the Rohan Theme but it's invaded by the 5 Beat Pattern (that off kilter rhythm from Isengard). Doug Adams writes:
The Uruks gradually begin to bleed through the Elves’ defenses, scrabbling deeper inside. Having passed the Elves, the Five Beat Pattern meets the Rohan Fanfare, trampling not up against it, but directly through it. The score sounds the two lines in counterpoint, deforming Rohan’s rural beauty with the Uruk’s cumbrous brutality.
Then, he writes:
With the Elves’ assistance, it appears the Rohirrim are beginning to hold the Uruk-hai at bay. The armies evenly matched, the thematic material momentarily drops out of the score. (DA)
Tension is held, instead, by rhythm and chords. But then the Berserker Orc brings down the wall with his explosives:
Now reflecting the Uruks’ advantage the score is lacerated by the stinging dissonance of The Cruelty of the Orcs (theme). (DA)
The Fellowship Theme is heard as Gimli jumps to Aragorn's aid. And the Lorien theme is heard again as the Elves - lead by Aragorn - advance on foot toward the Uruk-hai streaming in.

The various themes of the Shadow forces again take dominance broken only by a hint of the Fellowship theme when Aragorn and Gimli join efforts again and then a sparse mix of the Rohan and Fellowship themes as Theoden sounds the retreat.


The Rohan Theme is not heard again until Theoden 'Rides out to meet them'. Before riding out, we hear Gandalf's Nature theme and then, as he arrives, Gandalf's Fellowship Theme.




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(This post was edited by Magpie on Apr 3 2010, 3:57pm)


Magpie
Immortal


Apr 3 2010, 4:05pm

Post #15 of 30 (466 views)
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no 3/4 march [In reply to] Can't Post

see my response to Arandiel. This martial version of the Lorien Theme is in 4/4.

btw: you seem to be responding to a comment Arandiel made in a different post that the one yours is in reply to.

Perhaps you were just following up on an older thought from the 3/4 post when you got to the Corbomite Maneuver post. Or perhaps you were reading in flat mode and just hit reply to the last post in the the queue. If you're making a direct comment to one person, you should always hit the reply button on their post. If you're making a general post in response to the original one in the thread, you'd hit reply to that original post. If I confused you.. just holler for clarification. ;-)



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Magpie
Immortal


Apr 3 2010, 4:14pm

Post #16 of 30 (457 views)
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banquet scene [In reply to] Can't Post

I think if there had been a banquet scene, Plan 9 would have done the music for it. They were engaged to do the 'diegetic' music of the movie and did the Hobbiton Party Music, Wood Elves' Song, Lament for Theodred, Merry & Pip's song at the Edoras celebration.

Fran Walsh wrote the melody for "The Road Goes Ever On", the song at the Green Dragon,

Aragorn composed the melody for the Song of Luthien (in the Midgewater Marshes layover) and the coronation version of the Oath. And Billy composed the tune for the song sung to Denethor.

I don't know who composed the melody for Gollum's fish song.

The only diegetic music Shore is responsible for is the lament for Gandalf the Fellowship hear sung by the Lorien Elves.

Is there anything else in Shore's notebook? I wouldn't expect anything for a banquet theme but yes.. there is more in his notebook. There is a disc of Rarities music that will get released in conjunction with Doug Shore's book this fall.



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Magpie
Immortal


Apr 3 2010, 4:34pm

Post #17 of 30 (461 views)
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Lothlorien & Rivendell [In reply to] Can't Post


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The Elves of Lothlorien seem to be more serious, more battle-ready, more intense and prepared. The Rivendell Elves are amazing, but their culture feels different and their music, being too quiet and peaceful, would not have fit the scene at all.


You got me thinking. I agree with your description here - at least it fit for me intuitively. I pushed it to see if what I know about them supports this intuitive sense of them. And, is this a movie thing or is it in the books, too?

I don't think the Elves were as stand-offish against the Fellowship in the book as in the movie. The Fellowship was welcomed and the Elves were willing to 'befriend' them. It is the Dwarf that puts them on their guard and that kind of changes the tone for the experience of traveling into the heart of Lorien to Caras Galadhon.

But, in the books, The Lothlorien Elves are definitely more guarded and private whereas Rivendell is more open and embracing of others, Men and Hobbits included. I think that easily translates into 'more intense and prepared' and perhaps more battle-ready since you can't be guarded w/o guarding ... and guarding is done in a structured, military manner. They certainly are prepared to deal with armed skirmishes as they escort the Fellowship.



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Arwen Skywalker
Lorien

Apr 3 2010, 9:42pm

Post #18 of 30 (465 views)
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amazing [In reply to] Can't Post

What did you think when you first saw the Elves and heard this music?
Yes, the Rohirrim get some much needed help!! IIRC, people in the theater were applauding when the elves came.

Did it enhance or detract from the action?

Enhanced. It makes the stakes of Helm's Deep seem even higher.

Did you recognize which theme it was (that it was from Lothlorien)?
Yes, from the get-go. The Lothlorien music is much more memorable than the Rivendell theme.

Did it make sense to have the Lothlorien theme rather than the Rivendell theme?
Yes, the Lorien theme is more solemn. Even the normal version has a little sense of danger. I can't see how you can make a battle version of the Rivendell theme.

Is one theme or the other - to you - more representative of the Elves?
No. They represent different cultures but not Elves as a whole.

What did you think about the use of this theme when the Uruk-hai begin their attack? Here we have Uruk-hai attacking Men, and yet the music chosen for that moment was an Elvish theme. What are your thoughts on that choice?
I don't know why but the music still fits the scene.






dijomaja
Lorien

Apr 4 2010, 12:49pm

Post #19 of 30 (464 views)
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out of sync [In reply to] Can't Post

I think my post was a general response to a couple of different prior posts but I'm not really sure at this point. For all its faults the IMDb board is easier to follow.

My tongue was at least partly in cheek about the 3/4 time marching. Coincidentally, TTT was on TV last night and I happened to catch the scene. Sounded like 4/4 to me, too.

Looking forward to Howard's rarities, unused bits, etc.


Magpie
Immortal


Apr 4 2010, 2:25pm

Post #20 of 30 (451 views)
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most of the time... [In reply to] Can't Post

...we figure it out when a post is 'misplaced'. But once someone is here a while, someone usually does a tap on the shoulder if it seems to be happening. It can be confusing and it can drive a small few kind of nuts but most of us roll with it. All you have to do is hit reply to the post you actually want to reply to. Not the last one in the queue. These boards are unique because we had an odd set up on the old boards and many here we so used to it they tried to work that capability into the new boards. Lots of us chose 'threaded' mode as our default setting and we'll be the ones to notice.

The only reason I wanted to make a note about the 3/4 time in your post is that I didn't want people to mistakenly believe it was 3/4 (and had been stated as such in the other post). I have to tell you, I qualified my statement about 4/4 because I always allow that I can be wrong. But I remembered that I *ahem* am able to access a source that decidedly indicates that passage as 4/4. So I was more definitive about my correction. :-)

The rarities should be a nice breath of fresh air. We've been hashing over a lot of the same stuff for many years. We get more. We get variations. But this stuff could be really different. We'll see.



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weaver
Half-elven

Apr 5 2010, 9:01pm

Post #21 of 30 (440 views)
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thanks for the detailed reply... [In reply to] Can't Post

..the music really does tell the story of the battle, doesn't it?

Thanks for taking the time to spell it out like this...I do like the Helm's Deep music, but in the films it's broken up with other scenes, of course...so it's good to see how it all sequences like this, to get the big picture on it.

**goes off to listen to Helm's Deep track with new appreciation!**

Weaver






One Ringer
Tol Eressea


Apr 6 2010, 12:30pm

Post #22 of 30 (432 views)
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Age ... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the choice to use the Lothlorien theme was made A- because the Elves are from Lothlorien, and B- it's a much more eerie track than Rivendell. Though this is a moment of hope, there is a great sense of doom that still floats about as they march, because we still have to realise that an army of 10,000 is on its way. As well, the theme feels much older than Rivendell's, somber and dying, so to speak. It invokes the element that these Elves have seen many years, many lifetimes, and now it is very likely that they will end here.

Glad to see this discussion started, I love the soundtrack. Smile

"Welcome. Wilkommen to Kino Das Bang Bang Boom Boom 1970 Gjong Hai Ich Habe Diese Nacht Wilkommen, 2004."



Arandiel
Grey Havens

Apr 7 2010, 5:57am

Post #23 of 30 (434 views)
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In the heat of the battle (sortof) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

From what I read, bolero's were originally in 3/4 time but they are now also composed in 4/4 time. But this martial Lothlorien theme is in 4/4 not 3/4.

To fine tune your follow up comment, the 5 Beat Pattern you speak of was originally written for Isengard but was 'realigned' for Mordor in ROTK. The 5 Beat Pattern is not the one that sounds like the Dies Irae, however. That 'Mordor accompaniment' is called the Descending Third Motif.


Quote



Wherever you go, there you are.

Why not Elves and Potatoes?


Magpie
Immortal


Apr 7 2010, 1:34pm

Post #24 of 30 (452 views)
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did you mean to include a comment? [In reply to] Can't Post

You've quoted me but I can't find any comment from you. I'm not sure if it got lost somehow.

the quote function can sometimes mess things up.


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Arandiel
Grey Havens

Apr 7 2010, 7:11pm

Post #25 of 30 (459 views)
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Oh, bother... Yep, sure did! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanking you for the catch on the 3 vs 4 - even with a music degree, I sometimes have a hard time with rhythm - not as bad as my dad does, but still...

And also, maybe because I've listened to the soundtracks so often (long commutes...), I heard a motif in the Isengard/Mordor 5/4 marches that sounded like a borrowing from the Dies Irae - the E-F-E-D at in favilla - in addition to the more explicit quote you mentioned.

Any tips on getting quotes to come out right?

Wherever you go, there you are.

Why not Elves and Potatoes?

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