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Music Notes - June 2010


Jun 11 2010, 3:14pm

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Music Notes - June 2010 Can't Post

June 2010 Music Notes

Greetings to our many musically-minded members of TORn Movie Board!

Welcome to the second edition of "Music Notes" our Movie TORn discussion series, where we take a look at recent screencaps in our SCOD series, and discuss them from a musical perspective. A round of applause first to our score expert, Magpie, for compiling background and technical info. In addition, many links herein are from her site, and if ever you want to know all the details on the LOTR score, check out her amazing site.

Today we'll be looking at the SCOD "The Chaaaarge!" from back in April.

What a truly iconic moment from the trilogy. Gandalf and the Rohirrim save the day at Helm's Deep. A goosebumps moment, both visually and musically! Let's take a look at it from the perspective of the music used. I was surprised to learn that there are several themes packed into this relatively short amount of time. To better understand them, let's look at them in separate sections:

Section ONE: Aragorn looks up to see a White Rider at the top of the hill. The horse rears with a whinny.

AS-TTT: "Expectantly, Aragorn casts his eyes eastwards towards the rising sun, where they are met by a horse, a rider and a most welcome choral performance of a single word: “Sceadufæx,” or Shadowfax." (see note below re: lyrics)

Music: the closing notes of the Rohan Theme that started when Theoden's party rode out from the Hornburg to 'meet them'.

Reference Sound Clip: http://www.amagpiesnest.com/...MusicNotes/index.htm --- 1GandalfEomerAppearOnRidge.mp3

Lyrics: "(Ir)kat-lu(khud)". From Magpie's site: "This appears to be from The Abyss -- The Abyss was used primarily for Gandalf's battle with the Balrog. It is in Neo-Khuzdul, a language created by David Salo by using the few phrases in Khuzdul found in Tolkien's writings. Doug Adams said in the AS-TTT that its lyrics here were "Sceadufæx" but those working on the lyrics just couldn't feel comfortable with this. The TTT Live choir lyrics give the phonetic syllables KAHT LOO which could be from The Abyss: Irkat-lukhud ma. This doesn't quite make sense in terms of context, but when has that ever stopped anyone :-)."
The line, Irkat-lukhud ma, translates to "No shaft of light".

TTT-OST, Track 16, Forth Eorlingas 1:42 - although the choir does not sing the lyrics.
CR-TTT, Disc 3, Track 12, Theoden Rides Forth 0:42 - 0:46

It's interesting to see the sequence of music chosen. Just as Rohan's very valiant attempts at victory are winding down, the closing notes of the Rohan Theme are playing (are they leaving us wondering, would they have been victorious ... or not?). Then as Gandalf and Shadowfax appear, we have music signifying their sudden introduction into the unfolding events. Looking at those lyrics, though, I'm kind of wondering why the lyrics are "NO shaft of light", when Gandalf and Shadowfax are more associated with light, not lack of it. Or maybe this is just one of those instances where, like many a great opera, the melody was considered more important than what they were actually saying :-)? Thoughts?

Section TWO: Aragorn whispers, "Gandalf". Gandalf looks down at the battle. "Théoden King stands alone." Éomer rides up behind him. "Not Alone. Rohirrim!" The Rohirrim come forward. "To the King!"

AS-TTT : "Just as he promised, Gandalf the White has returned, and with him are Éomer and his 3,000 Riders of Rohan."

Music: Fellowship Theme

Reference Sound Clip: http://www.amagpiesnest.com/...MusicNotes/index.htm --- 2TheodenKingStandsNotAlone.mp3

TTT-OST, Track 16, Forth Eorlingas 1:46 - 2:14
CR-TTT, Disc 3, Track 12 Theoden Rides Forth 0:47 - 1:14

The Fellowship Theme! Now that is kind of a surprise to me. I am sure I read somewhere that in many instances, they considered the use of the Fellowship Theme in certain scenes but they always restricted it to events that were truly, well ... Fellowship-oriented, I guess you could say. So what should we make of its use here? Gandalf certainly was part of the Fellowship, but the Rohirrim weren't. Thoughts on that?

Section THREE: Thousands of horses begin a plunge down the steep incline towards the readied pikes of the Uruks.

: not thematic

Reference Sound Clip: http://www.amagpiesnest.com/...MusicNotes/index.htm --- 3RohirrimChargeDownRidge.mp3

Lyrics: Solo: "for thon hé wæs scea hé fæx wæs ford ealra mé du and hé fæx hlá"

from The Mearas, solo by boy soprano, Ben del Maestro -- The lyrics are in Old English (Rohirric)

The lyrics to this piece are a bit chopped up. The Source Text can be translated thusly:

Híe hine sáwon feorran : In the distance they saw him,
And hwíte sunnan in mane : White sun caught in his mane.
Híe lange hine clipodon : Long they called him,
Ac hé ne wolde cuman : But he would not come.
For thon hé waes Sceadufæx : for he was Shadowfax,
Hláford ealra méara : Lord of all Horses.
And hé ne andswarode bútan ánne. : And he answered only to one.

TTT-OST, Track 16, Forth Eorlingas 2:14 - 2:43 (breakdown of solo and choir lyrics as sung)
CR-TTT, Disc 3, Track 12, Theoden Rides Forth 1:14 - 1:42 (breakdown of solo and choir lyrics as sung)

And so just when I'm thinking (above)... oh, maybe lyrics don't matter, here we have these beautiful and fitting lyrics of The Mearas! I always loved this solo for its melody but now that I know the lyrics ... wow. I wonder if they wrote them before or after they filmed the scene where Gandalf calls Shadowfax for the first time in the trilogy (when he first appears)? I mean, I believe they wrote it for that scene, but I wonder if they filmed the scene first and then the lyrics came to them while watching it afterwards? Just one of those 'how does the creative process work?' questions that I always find fascinating :-)....

Section FOUR: Dawn sun rises up behind the horsemen, blinding the Uruks. The horses plow into the Uruk-hai and the battle resumes.

AS-TTT : "The sunlight breaks onto the darkened earth, scorching the Uruks. Gandalf and the Riders charge, laying waste to the Uruk horde. Ben Del Maestro and mixed chorus continue to sing a cresting setting of “The Mearas,” above which luminous violins perform "Gandalf the White (In the Fellowship)". The connection is complete. Gandalf, remade by Nature, has borne Its will to the Fellowship and to the Rohirrim, uniting these forces against Sauron and his minions."

Music: The White Rider in the Fellowship Theme

Reference Sound Clip: http://www.amagpiesnest.com/...MusicNotes/index.htm --- 4DawnSunBlindsUruks.mp3

Lyrics: The soloist sings his last note as the White Rider in the Fellowship music begins. The choir continues singing.

TTT-OST, Track 16, Forth Eorlingas 2:43 - end (breakdown of choir lyrics as sung)
CR-TTT, Disc 3, Track 12, Theoden Rides Forth 1:42 - 2:02 (breakdown of choir lyrics as sung)

Wow... just, wow. Overall this is really one of my most favorite scenes in the entire trilogy. It just never loses its impact.

In putting together this discussion, I found myself wondering particularly about the use of the boy's voice solo. This appears in various places throughout the trilogy. In some places there is a woman's voice solo. So I wondered, when the boy solo was chosen, what was the reasoning, what was Mr. Shore trying to convey with one vs the other. Here are a few comments he has made on the topic:

Regarding the use of boys' voices:

Howard made many comments connecting the use of a boys' choir to the Ring and to Hobbits.
He also says, in regards to Boromir's wounding (in the FOTR Audio Commentary):
"When Boromir’s dying you hear those boys singing and he looks at the Hobbits, cause he knows he’s finished. And you hear those boys singing. It’s just such a wonderful sound. And I did it all based on the shot of Boromir’s eyes as he looks at Merry and Pippin."

This comment was made in the TTT Audio Commentary during the scene where Treebeard discovers the destruction of the forest and calls the Ents to him to march to Isengard:

"In Fangorn, because the Ents were taught to speak by the Elves, we used the more modern form of Elvish, which is Sindarin. Mostly the boys' choir's actually singing and they sing in Elvish for the scenes of the Ents... the march of the Ents. And there's also a relationship between that piece and the moth, the idea of nature in Middle-earth... forms a bond between the Fellowship scene with Gandalf and the moth and the Ents."

The March of the Ents does use a boy soprano with a boys choir as back up. Howard references the choir, not the soprano. I can find no comment where Howard directly refers to the use of a boy soprano.

So hmmm, no specific mention of the solo, only the choir. We cannot go directly to Mr. Shore for a complete explanation of why a boy solo was used. We have to come up with our own interpretation as to why that particular sound was felt to be right, rather than some other, such as an adult voice solo.

What are your thoughts?

Mine, to start ... my UUT (Utterly Unsupported Theory), is that the child's voice represents a time of purity or of innocence, that when it's used it is to refer back to an ancient time where there existed such purity, such as before Numenor was destroyed, or even further back, to when the Ents themselves were young. That would fit its use, for example, in relation to The Moth (at Isengard in FOTR), and at the March of the Ents, and for Gandalf's Arrival at Helm's Deep (from The Mearas). And if it is also used in relation to The Eagles (when, first the moth, then the Eagles arrive at the battle of the Black Gates), then we have a pattern of it representing natural elements, of a time absent the influence of Men, or Elves.
Now, what about the song "In Dreams", also sung by a boy soloist. I'm not sure if there's anything in those lyrics to support the above. I have to admit, I am unclear on the lyrics to this particular song. I can't really tell what it is supposed to be about. (Suggestions?) However there is a difference, because this song is in "Westron/English", as opposed to an Elvish language. I wasn't sure so I asked Magpie to confirm, if the boy solo lyrics in the above instances are all in Elvish. And she found the following:

The Moth (heard when the moth appears in Isengard): Quenya
The March of the Ents (heard when the Ents destroy Isengard): Sindarin
The White Rider (heard when Gandalf repels the Nazgul on the Pelennor Fields): Sindarin
The Eagles (heard at the moth's and Eagles' arrival at the battle of the Black Gates): Sindarin
The Mearas (heard at Gandalf's arrival at Helm's Deep) : Sindarin

Yes! So then I would say the use of a boy soloist in In Dreams is for another reason, artistically speaking. So there is my totally unsupported, simply-a-fan opinion on why a child's voice was used in those other instances. That it is meant to represent an ancient state of existence, that either at the moment is influencing current events, or maybe is always influencing current events in the background but is clearly stepping in at that particular moment. To me there is something so gripping about those solos, something that just grabs my attention completely, everything 'seems' to happen in slow motion when I hear it. As if something outside of normal time or normal human events is stepping in at that moment and intervening. What are your thoughts?

I hope you've enjoyed "Gandalf and the Rohirrim's Arrival at Helm's Deep" from a musical perspective :-). Please share your thoughts and observations and feelings as well! How do you feel about how the music used affected this scene? Did you recognize any of the themes used? Did the music enhance or take away from the action on screen? Looking forward to reading your thoughts and comments :-).




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

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)

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)

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)

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

Subject User Time
Music Notes - June 2010 Loresilme Send a private message to Loresilme Jun 11 2010, 3:14pm
    No Shaft of Light, Fellowship Theme Legalize_Athelas Send a private message to Legalize_Athelas Jun 11 2010, 5:17pm
        Expanded fellowship Loresilme Send a private message to Loresilme Jun 11 2010, 6:37pm
        sometimes it feels good to stretch! Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Jun 12 2010, 4:00pm
    The Lord of Horses; Take It Away, Violins. Legalize_Athelas Send a private message to Legalize_Athelas Jun 11 2010, 5:47pm
        "Shadowfax's internal monologue" Loresilme Send a private message to Loresilme Jun 11 2010, 7:06pm
        woah... your posts are a delight to read! Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Jun 12 2010, 4:04pm
    wow, a music buffet here... weaver Send a private message to weaver Jun 12 2010, 4:22pm
        wow. more great thoughts from another perspective/experience Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Jun 12 2010, 4:30pm
        And yours is a dessert tray, as well :-) Loresilme Send a private message to Loresilme Jun 12 2010, 11:06pm
    Whoa, can it be? One Ringer Send a private message to One Ringer Jun 13 2010, 2:01am
        a few general comments dijomaja Send a private message to dijomaja Jun 13 2010, 11:46am
            Gandalf's themes Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Jun 13 2010, 3:34pm
                thanks dijomaja Send a private message to dijomaja Jun 15 2010, 7:30pm
            The many ways the music works beautifully Loresilme Send a private message to Loresilme Jun 13 2010, 10:27pm
                HOH Arwen Skywalker Send a private message to Arwen Skywalker Jun 14 2010, 2:13am
        One of my favorites also Loresilme Send a private message to Loresilme Jun 13 2010, 9:59pm
            Probably the purpose One Ringer Send a private message to One Ringer Jun 14 2010, 8:09pm


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