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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
A theme from LOTR

elevorn
Lorien


Jan 11 2013, 7:33pm

Post #1 of 4 (462 views)
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A theme from LOTR Can't Post

This is a follow up to a conversation that came up in a post by Magpie about The Hobbit score. Please fogive me as I am at work and and do not have access to the music in order to place you in the right place in the movie we will have use our imaginations and memory to harken back to FOTR. The idea that musical ideas become reused either accidentally, as a tribute, a way to introduce and idea, or as a way of just plain ripping someone off is not anything new in music. That being said, I am not in any way saying that Howard Shore has done anything malicious or even wrong in this post. On the contrary I believe what he has done, however unintentionally, is open up a new way of hearing the music and placing it with a people group.

In the themes of the Shire, and the Hobbits exists at least the first four bars of the Hymn, "This Is My Father's World". It is a beautiful melody, light and jovial and just full of life when you hear it you know what I amtalking about hear, and it will probably make you smile. he uses these bars and actually builds several dramatic moments in the score, and even alludes to the them with an Ocarina or recorder of some kind when the Hobbits begin there final push up Mt. Doom. Its just a great piece of writing for Howard regardless of where the notes come from. Now why does this matter to me? well it matters because of the words of the hymn and how they can certainly apply to Tolkien, a devout Catholic and religious man. Its actually quite interesting that a poster on Wikipedia claims Shore quoted the first seven notes in LOTR, but I see no back up to that other than the fact that the notes are the same, I have not seen where Shore addressed this directly. Back to the issue read the lyrics of the Hymn
This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres. This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; his hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise, the morning light, the lily white, declare their maker's praise. This is my Father's world, he shines in all that's fair; in the rustling grass I hear him pass; he speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father's world: why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!
To me this embodies Tolkien's ideal of Nature and God (even though this is from a Methodist Hymnal, the Hymn was compased within his lifetime and could possibly have been heard, though it is an American Hymn.) So for Shore to use this kind of thing for Tolkien's Hobbits and the Shire, it just fits. It speaks to the purity of their hearts and their love of nature. and for me it just really brings together the score the movie and the book. (Side note, I used to hum this hymn to my infant son when he could not sleep).

here is a site where you can hear the hymn on Ocarina
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdl1UFRg3ck

Here is a link of the Shire Theme for your comparison
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qy-OP9rGFJE

What are your thoughts on similar instances in the soundtrack?



"clever hobbits to climb so high!"
Check out my writing www.jdstudios.wordpress.com


weaver
Half-elven


Jan 16 2013, 11:18pm

Post #2 of 4 (66 views)
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It's a nice connection, yes... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but I don't know how far Shore went with it...I always thought the "hymn" relationship to the shire theme was more inspiration than homage.

I do think that one of the things that made the LOTR films as significant as they were to many people, even non-book or Tolkien fans, were the times they strayed into "spiritual" territory in the imagery, music or themes. The eagles rescue of Frodo and Sam, and the lighting of the beacons come to mind as scenes that have that kind of sense to them for many folks -- times the films are more than films, if I can put it that way. In those two cases, the imagery is I think pretty universal -- you don't need to have been raised Catholic to have it stir your soul.

There are other moments, like the shire/hymn connection, that not everyone would get on that level, though. I was raised Catholic, and Galadriel's blessing has a very strong association for me with images of the Virgin Mary, for example, than it did for my husband who related to it more on the "artistic" level -- it reminded him of Madonna statues and paintings -- but he did not respond to it on a "faith" level as I did.

Since the hymn hold great personal meaning to you, I can see where having it referenced in the LOTR score would be very powerful for you. And I can see where knowing the words to it strengthens its link and appropriateness for the Shire. That adds a level of connection I did not make before -- so I thank you for your post and the lyrics especially!

Weaver



Magpie
Immortal


Jan 17 2013, 12:17am

Post #3 of 4 (78 views)
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Well, Shore (through Adams) has kind of addressed this [In reply to] Can't Post

..via the quote I used in the other thread:
Howard certainly knows the classical repertoire, but really his only intentional LOTR homage—as indirect as it may be—is in the trilogy's Wagnerian finale. Now that doesn't mean that there aren't some close musical neighbors here and there (and, by all means, check out Magpie's site if you care to discover more), but these are all accidental and, generally, pretty fleeting. Believe it or not, it really was Tolkien's good old opus that fueled Howard's imagination through this project. He had a dog-eared, well-worn copy of the book tucked under his arm nearly every time I saw him during the composing process. I half expected to see it sitting on the podium when I arrived at the recording sessions… though I have no doubt it was at least sitting back at the hotel.
(emphasis mine)

There is only one homage and that's the Wagner one. So that means that this was not a reference to the hymn.

Jeff Barnes wrote to me suggesting that How Can You Name a Love provides an even better comparison. It uses the same tune as This is My Father's World but it is hymn 111 (Eleventy-one) in the United Methodist Hymnal. He writes, "If you think about it, he is quite clever really. Bilbo's is at the heart of the Shire. It is through Bilbo that we are first introduced to the Shire. And he is about to celebrate his 111th birthday." It can't be deliberate if there was no deliberate homage to the hymn in the first place. But it does make for some great serendipity.

You can hear more samples for comparison on this page of my website:
http://www.amagpiesnest.com/...milarities_shire.htm

As to other similarities, I have a whole section on my website of them. To find them, follow the link in my footer, enter the site, and then look for the link along the left that reads: SIMILARITIES TO OTHER MUSIC

Although Shore states none of these (other than than the Wagner-ish finale) is intentional, finding similarities and discussing them is still a pleasant and even worthy endeavor. If we, the listeners, make a connection, then it can impact us in many ways. It doesn't have to be the artist's intent to do that for it to happen.


LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
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weaver
Half-elven


Jan 17 2013, 12:27am

Post #4 of 4 (219 views)
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thanks for this info, magpie... [In reply to] Can't Post

the creative process is an interesting one..

I'm no Howard Shore (ha!), but.I remember someone commenting on a story I did way back in college about how they liked a certain association I had made with my imagery, which they assumed I had done deliberately and for symbolic reasons, when I had done nothing of the sort, at least not consciously! I was glad to know that I had done something that had an impact on that particular reader, but it was not anything I planned, that's for sure.

Weaver


 
 

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