Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Movie Music Trivia Game #3

Magpie
Immortal


Mar 10 2007, 9:56pm

Post #1 of 15 (935 views)
Shortcut
Movie Music Trivia Game #3 Can't Post

This weekend and the beginning of next week are busy for me, so I'm going to grab the opportunity to post the next music trivia quiz while I can.

Music Trivia Challenge #1 dealt with a theme.
Music Trivia Challenge #2, with the sounds of the Ring.

For our Music Trivia Challenge #3, I'm going in a slightly different direction.

Housekeeping:
First: if anyone reading is curious but thinks they don't enough about music or the soundtrack to play, let me assure you you're wrong. These games aren't so much about what someone knows going in as they are about looking at a particular aspect of the movie and having a discussion about it. Providing answers in a quiz format is all for fun, but not the only way to participate. I don't care how many resources you use to answer, I don't care if you only guess, or just provide general comments. My main goal is to promote conversation among members of this forum. My next goal is to provide members with some light hearted fun. My next goal is to have people come away with more knowledge or insight about something than when they went in.
Second: I enjoy doing these quite a bit, but they do take some time to prepare. I can find the time to do it but I can't always find the time during the week to play hostess. Please, please forgive me if I seem absent during the week. I will be back for answers and comments. But in the meantime, I would be thrilled if you all made yourself at home and conversed with each other while I'm gone. It's not nearly as much fun, IMO, if people just list their answers and thoughts but no interaction ever takes place. Mingle... talk... :D

The Game:
There are different parts to this challenge and different levels. Feel free to complete different part on different days and in different posts.

This weeks challenge has clips from 8 scenes. The clips can be found by following > THIS LINK <.

Listen to all 8 clips in the first section.
Challenge One:
What do all these clips have in common?
Challenge Two:
What scenes are these clips from?

The Clues:
Now, this is pretty much impossible to complete with using the clues. I'm going to let you decide how many and what type of clues you wish to utilize. The first few clues everyone should read. They're not clues so much as parameters. The rest I'll put in hidden text (highlight to read).
  • The first section contains clips from a CD, either an OST (Original Sound Track) or CR (Complete Recording). Listening to all 8 will help you find the commonality. The scenes in the Extra Challenge Section have issues that make them problematic. Read more below.
  • The second section contains clips from the movie or using sound from the movie. Listening to these may be the only way you can answer complete Challenge Two. Since most will be obvious with movie dialog and sound effects, you should give yourself the opportunity to solve without them, but don't consider it 'cheating' to listen.
  • It is possible that multiple clips may come from the same scene.
  • Challenge clips - These clips are somewhat problematic for the following reasons (hidden text / highlight to read):
  • Scene 5: This music - that's heard on the CD - is not in the movie. To identify this clip for Challenge Two, you'll need to listen to the 'movie' clip which mixes the movie dialog and sound effects with the CR music.
  • Scene 6: This music does not, IMO, provide a strong example of the commonality for Challenge One. Don't let this clip, on its own, throw you off your ideas and opinions for the group as a whole.
  • Scene 7: This music - that's heard on the CD - is not in the movie. To identify this clip for Challenge Two, you'll need to listen to the 'movie' clip which mixes the movie dialog and sound effects with the CR music.
  • Scene 8: This music - that's heard on the CD - is not in the movie. To identify this clip for Challenge Two, you'll need to listen to the 'movie' clip which mixes the movie dialog and sound effects with the CR music.

  • Which movie are these clips from: (highlight to read)
  • General hint: all the clips are from either FOTR or TTT. There are surely good examples of the commonality in ROTK, but they aren't included in this game. I will elaborate why when I provide the answers.
  • Of the 8 clips: > 6 < are from > TTT < and > 2 < are from > FOTR <
    Specifically:

  • Scene 1 is from TTT
  • Scene 2 is from FOTR
  • Scene 3 is from TTT
  • Scene 4 is from TTT
  • Scene 5 is from TTT
  • Scene 6 is from TTT
  • Scene 7 is from TTT
  • Scene 8 is from FOTR

  • Which principal characters are involved with these clips (highlight to read)
  • Scene 1 Frodo, Sam, Gollum
  • Scene 2 the Fellowship
  • Scene 3 Frodo, Sam, Gollum
  • Scene 4 the Three Hunters
  • Scene 5 the 4 Hobbits and Strider
  • Scene 6 Frodo, Sam, Gollum
  • Scene 7 Merry and Pippin
  • Scene 8 Frodo and Arwen

  • Clue about the commonality of the music clips: (highlight to read) Pay more attention to how the music sounds than where or how the music is used.




(This post was edited by Magpie on Mar 10 2007, 9:57pm)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 12 2007, 5:37pm

Post #2 of 15 (241 views)
Shortcut
Scary! [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I listened to all the clips without any "clues", and the only one I knew for sure was #8. I love that effect of hunting horns randomly calling, like a hunt that has the quarry in its sights, and it fits so perfectly with the moment in the movie when the Black Riders stop at the edge of the ford and Arwen turns at bay, that it seems odd that it's not actually there. (In fact, I think the same effect of random notes is there, but played on softer instruments and very quietly, so the "hunt" effect doesn't come through. You didn't include a "movie" version of this one, but if you have one, I'd be interested to hear how it sounds!)

Of the first four, I got a partial fix on the two from the Dead Marshes, but was completely unable to identify the other two.

What I did notice, though, was the apparently random notes being played, to give an effect of either creepiness or panic (or sometimes both!) I have a feeling there's a technical term for what the instruments are doing - I think they are playing two or three particular notes but at random speed and perhaps in random order, with the notes seeming to go up the scale as the effect of suspense or panic increases. Sometimes these are played on strings, sometimes brass. Sometimes there seems to be a vocal element too. Without checking again to be sure, I have the impression that the higher, lighter string versions are associated with the hobbits, and the brass is introduced for Men (sometimes with a note or two to hint at their identity - I heard Black Rider notes in the Weathertop one (#5), and perhaps Rohan notes in the Fangorn night camp one (#7)). #6, the oliphaunt, does seem quite different from the others - there's a hint of the random strings in the background, but there is a clear, deep melody there too that I associate with Faramir, although I don't know from where. Maybe the Forbidden Pool?

I wish I had time to check out the Annotated Score, or your website, but I'm about to leave on a trip that will keep me off the boards pretty much until next week. I'll be looking forward to seeing your explanations of all this when I get back!

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


Magpie
Immortal


Mar 12 2007, 6:00pm

Post #3 of 15 (211 views)
Shortcut
You are fun to play with... [In reply to] Can't Post

Enjoy your trip. See you when you get back.


weaver
Half-elven

Mar 12 2007, 11:00pm

Post #4 of 15 (266 views)
Shortcut
Tricksier and tricksier... [In reply to] Can't Post

Magpie, you are making me into a better listener -- my husband, kids, friends and co-workers thank you!

Ok, I confess, I could only identify 2 of them without listening to the sound and dialog cues.

Here are my guesses:

1. The scene where Gollum talks about the Dead Marshes
2. The Watcher in the Water attacks Frodo -- I got this one with no clues!
3. Frodo falling in the Dead Marshes
4. Gandalf's return -- I got this one with no clues!
5, Ringwraith attack on Weathertop
6. Frodo and Sam witness the attack Oliphaunts and Faramir's attack on them
7. Pippin attacked by orc, orc attacked by Rohan riders
8. Arwen tricking the Wraiths into going into the water, where she takes them out

Now, what do they have in common...hmmmm....

They are all scenes where something mysterious comes into the picture -- for good or ill. They capture the sense of "awareness" that people have about something about to happen, and then the moment where that force enters into the picture. The style of music is the same in all of them, isn't it? That sort of trembling build up, with new instruments or a choral piece then bursting into the scene.

I don't know if I've even come close to what you were thinking of, but that's my best guess.

Thanks for these -- they are fun to do "after work" when no one is around to wonder what the heck I'm listening to!

Weaver


Trixie Hobbit
The Shire

Mar 17 2007, 1:13pm

Post #5 of 15 (189 views)
Shortcut
Hmmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Right now, I have no idea what all the clips have in common! I'll have to listen again.

Anyways, I think I listened to these scenes:

1.Gollum leading Frodo and Sam through the Dead Marshes. I love watching the bird's eye view of them making their way through this maze.

2.Watcher in the Water dangling Frodo

3.Frodo falls into the water in the Dead Marshes.

4.Gandalf meeting Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli in Fangorn

5.Frodo clutching his shoulder as the wraith flies above the Dead Marshes. I'm not too sure on this one.

6.Frodo and Sam watching the oliphants in Ithilian.

7.Orc about to kill a hobbit (can't remember if it's Merry or Pippin) just outside of Fangorn, Orc gets speared! Yeah!

8.Arwen taking Frodo across the river in FOTR and then the waters wash the Black Riders away.


I answered 1, 2, 3, 6 and 8 with the first set of clues. The sound from the movies helps a lot! My son is majoring in music education, maybe he could help me figure out what the scenes have in common.

Thanks!


Magpie
Immortal


Mar 17 2007, 4:56pm

Post #6 of 15 (213 views)
Shortcut
Here there be Answers! [In reply to] Can't Post

Our players this week were FarFromHome, weaver, and Trixie Hobbit. Since these challenges are more about the process than ‘right answers’, I’m not very interested in tallying up their results. For this challenge, I was more interested in what they had to say about the music. After providing the answers (and more info) below, I’ll reply to this post with a recap of their comments.

First, let’s look at Challenge #2 for this weeks quiz:
What scenes are these clips from?
Scene 1: TTT - Dead Marshes 1: entering the marshes
Scene 2: FOTR - The Watcher in the Water attacks
Scene 3: TTT - Dead Marshes 2: Frodo falls under their spell
Scene 4: TTT - The White Wizard is found

Extra Challenge Clips: Scenes 5-8 presented challenges for one of two reasons. 5, 7, and 8 were not in the movie. Since a lot of this unused music, as heard in either the OST or the CR, is set in the middle of used and familiar music, our brains often tell us it’s in a certain scene even when it isn’t heard in the movie. But, unless you’ve listened to the CDs a lot, you might not have made this inference. For those three clips, I mixed the CR or OST music with the sounds and dialog from the movie for my backup movie clips. Additionally, #6, IMO, was not a strong example of aleatoric music.
Scene 5: TTT - Frodo Faces the Witch King at Weathertop-not in movie
Scene 6: TTT - Look Mr. Frodo, Oliphaunts! - not a strong example
Scene 7: TTT - Attack on Orcs’ Night Camp - not in movie
Scene 8: FOTR - Face off at the Bruinen - not in movie

One of the first general hints I gave was that all these scenes are from FOTR and TTT. That leads us into Challenge #1.
What do all these clips have in common?
The answer is:
they all contain aleatoric music.


Now, I am a magpie and magpies love bright and shiny (interesting / fascinating) things and ‘aleatoric’ was a bright and shiny word I found among Doug Adams’ writings. I had never heard it before and had no idea what it meant so... off to look it up.
The word ‘aleatory’ means: “pertaining to luck”, and derives from the Latin word alea, the rolling of dice. Aleatoric, indeterminate, or chance art is that which exploits the principle of randomness. LINK: Wikipedia: Aleatory
from the Latin aleatorius, from aleator ‘dice-player’, from alea ‘a die’. LINK: Wiktionary: Aleatory
Aleatoric music (aleatory or chance music) is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance or some primary element of a composed work’s realization is left to the determination of its performer(s). LINK: Wikipedia: Aleatoric Music
We had a side conversation at another forum about the aleatoric music in the LOTR movies. One poster wrote this:
“Shore certainly gave guidelines for what he wanted the performers to do (i.e. stay within a given set of pitches or key, crescendos and decrescendos, duration, etc.), but it’s mostly aleatoric, I think. Remember, ‘aleatoric’ doesn’t necessarily mean completely random, only that there is an element of chance and indeterminacy in the performance.” LINK: NeoVoyager
Now, I did not expect anyone to provide the name ‘aleatoric’ nor an understanding that such a concept existed in musical composition. But I thought you might pick up the chaotic sounding nature of all the clips. And I thought you might find this concept, complete with it’s own cool name, as bright and shiny as I did.

My first general clue said that all these clips were from FOTR and TTT. Why no ROTK clips? For the simple reason that I referenced Doug Adams’ writings in the liner notes for CR-FOTR and CR-TTT for finding instances of aleatoric music. There are bound to be some examples in ROTK, but they would be too much work to find.

Below are the pertinent comments from Doug on each clip.
  • For the Complete Recordings, A, B, or C refers to disc 1, 2, or 3.
  • Information in parenthesis was needed to put context to the pertinent comments, but refer to music heard before or after the clip of aleatoric music.
  • All comments are from the pertinent CR liner notes and were written by Doug Adams.

Scene 1: TTT - Dead Marshes 1: entering the marshes
CR-TTT A-10 The Dead Marshes / 0:39 - 1:00
With a limb-weary, incomplete utterance of the Shire theme, Gollum leads Frodo and Sam out of Emyn Muil and into the Dead Marshes. The Dead Marshes are a cryptic, haunted land, yet, as Gollum knows, they also provide a usefully covert path to Mordor. Bb minor and F# minor, the opening harmonies of Gollum’s Pity theme, swell and ebb as the wretch leads the hobbits forward. But a veil of gauzy tones descends as the trio enters the bog, knots of aleatoric strings, timpani and the metallic wails of a bowed tam-tam tangling the sickening air.

Scene 2: FOTR - The Watcher in the Water attacks
CR-FOTR B-11 Doors of Durin / 5:01 - 5:34
The music for the Watcher in the Water’s attack is almost entirely aleatoric—built primarily of controlled streams of orchestral wriggles, for which Shore strictly dictated pitch, entrances, material and performance style. The composer grins: “This is science fiction”

Scene 3: TTT - Dead Marshes 2: Frodo falls under their spell
CR-TTT A-10 The Dead Marshes / 2:46-3:10
The veil of aleatoric strings and timpani again lowers and Frodo is bewitched. (He falls into the murky waters where he’s wrapped in a smear of Schönbergesque Sprechstimme voices, half singing, half speaking the text “The Dead Marshes.”)

Sprechgesang and sprechstimme (German for spoken-song and spoken-voice) are musical terms used to refer to a vocal technique that falls between singing and speaking. Though sometimes used interchangeably, sprechgesang is a term more directly related to the operatic recitative manner of singing (in which pitches are sung, but the articulation is rapid and loose like speech), whereas sprechstimme is closer to speech itself (not having emphasis on particular pitches)
LINK: Wikipedia: Spechstimme

Scene 4: TTT - The White Wizard is found
CR-TTT A-13 Gandalf the White / 2:00 - 2:12
(With a sudden upward sweep of staggered brass, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas turn to attack the interloper, but their assaults are effortlessly turned away. A pulsing pedal tone beats below dense minor harmonies as intense white light engulfs the trio.) Following one last tuft of aleatoric strings, the music dissolves into clear, pure brightness. (High strings consolidate into octaves while female voices chant in repeating triplet figures.)

Scene 5: TTT - Frodo Faces the Witch King at Weathertop - not in movie
CR-FOTR B-1 Weathertop / 1:41 - 2:31
When Frodo places the Ring on his finger and experiences his vision in the Shadow World, Shore introduces a tangle of aleatoric woodwinds, strings and bowed cymbals that was replaced by sound effects in the final film.

Scene 6: TTT - Look Mr. Frodo, Oliphaunts! - not a strong example
CR-TT B-06 The Forests of Ithlien / 3:5 7- 4:21
...two elephantine beasts emerge following the soldiers. These are Mûmakil, the Haradrim’s beasts of burden, and Shore’s scoring for them sets up not a permanent melody, but a distinct treatment of the orchestra. Weighty lines in the depths of the orchestral palette (here unison celli and basses) sway beneath a prickling haze of aleatoric flute and clarinets, discordant harp glissandi and sizzling dilruba (bowed sitar). (magpie: although this melody is heard when the Haradrim first appear, it was written for, and intended to be used solely for, the Oliphaunts.)

Scene 7: TTT - Attack on Orcs’ Night Camp - not in movie
CR-TTT A-8 Night Camp / 2:17-2:39
In a dashing flourish of strings and brass, Merry and Pippin’s salvation is again provided in the nick of time, in this instance by the Riders of Rohan. As the Orcs are slaughtered by the Riders, Shore’s score whips into a paroxysmal stampede of pounding percussion, knifelike trumpet lines and the yelping howls of high, aleatoric French horns.The wild scoring for the Riders’ attack on the Orcs was replaced in the film with music written for another Two Towers scene. Heard in The Complete Recordings is Shore’s riotous final draft of the music, which plays up the confusion and brutality of the scene.

Scene 8: FOTR - Face off at the Bruinen - not in movie
CR-FOTR B-3 Give Up the Halfling / 3:27-3:33
Shore wrote several versions of the Flight to the Ford chase. Originally the piece concluded with a brief spate of stillness followed by mounting strings and chorus phrases (set to a text entitled “Flood at the Ford of Bruinen”) and a timpani statement of the Mordor Outline. This take was abandoned before the chorus was ever recorded. In its place, Shore recorded an ending that included a wild panic of aleatoric French horns heard just as the Wraiths reach the river’s edge.In the film, Peter Jackson decided to use Shore’s first approach, but to dissolve the mu­sic as the river’s waters rushed in. (No attempt was ever made to record the choral line once it was decided that passage was not to be included in the final film.) “Pete liked the quiet,” Shore recalls, “just the sound of the standoff.” Heard on this CD is Shore’s preferred setting, including the French horns.




Magpie
Immortal


Mar 17 2007, 5:37pm

Post #7 of 15 (203 views)
Shortcut
Recap of answers [In reply to] Can't Post

FarFromHome wrote:

Quote
What I did notice, though, was the apparently random notes being played, to give an effect of either creepiness or panic (or sometimes both!) I have a feeling there's a technical term for what the instruments are doing - I think they are playing two or three particular notes but at random speed and perhaps in random order, with the notes seeming to go up the scale as the effect of suspense or panic increases. Sometimes these are played on strings, sometimes brass. Sometimes there seems to be a vocal element too. Without checking again to be sure, I have the impression that the higher, lighter string versions are associated with the hobbits, and the brass is introduced for Men (sometimes with a note or two to hint at their identity - I heard Black Rider notes in the Weathertop one (#5), and perhaps Rohan notes in the Fangorn night camp one (#7)). #6, the oliphaunt, does seem quite different from the others - there's a hint of the random strings in the background, but there is a clear, deep melody there too that I associate with Faramir, although I don't know from where. Maybe the Forbidden Pool?



weaver wrote:

Quote
They are all scenes where something mysterious comes into the picture -- for good or ill. They capture the sense of "awareness" that people have about something about to happen, and then the moment where that force enters into the picture. The style of music is the same in all of them, isn't it? That sort of trembling build up, with new instruments or a choral piece then bursting into the scene.


FFH definitely picked up on the 'random notes'. She goes on to note that the randomness is sometimes expressed by one or two groups of instruments (rather than the whole orchestra). Weaver heard the random nature of the music as a 'trembling build up'.

I would have been thrilled with just catching the chaotic, random notes. To move past a description of the music to explore what mood it evokes, how it's used, and why is the exciting part.

FFH makes these notes:
give an effect of either creepiness or panic (or sometimes both!)
Magpie replies: I agree.
notes seeming to go up the scale as the effect of suspense or panic increases
Magpie replies: Interesting observation. I hadn't noted it specifically here but I have noticed rising pitch, intensity or volume being used in many, many places. Perhaps it's used often in all kinds of music and soundtrack but I just never noticed it.
I have the impression that the higher, lighter string versions are associated with the hobbits

brass is introduced for Men
(sometimes with a note or two to hint at their identity - I heard Black Rider notes in the Weathertop one (#5), and perhaps Rohan notes in the Fangorn night camp one (#7))
#6, the oliphaunt, does seem quite different from the others - there's a hint of the random strings in the background, but there is a clear, deep melody there too that I associate with Faramir, although I don't know from where. Maybe the Forbidden Pool?
Magpie replies: This is very interesting. I wouldn't be surprised that this is the case. Doug talks a lot about using certain clusters and keys and modalities to represent and tie together different things. Most of that goes over my head when explained with text. I was excited to hear that he had a piano with him at ORC since many of the moviemusic posters have advocated for a multimedia approach to his book and I, the non-musicologist of the group, have made the point a few times that I could just cry when I know I'm missing a lot of what he's talking about by not understanding or being able to apply the terminology he uses.

weaver observed that:
They are all scenes where something mysterious comes into the picture -- for good or ill
Magpie replies: Yes. I do get a sense of creepiness and panic, as FFH does... but there's a sense of the uncertain... the unknown, as well. That's definitely true for the Oliphaunts music. I think the overwhelming mood here is curious awe, not fear or danger.
They capture the sense of "awareness" that people have about something about to happen, and then the moment where that force enters into the picture.
Magpie replies: This is tapping into a feeling I had about the scenes that has remained nebulous. My sense is this 'awareness' of something about to happen is partly tied into the 'uncertain', 'mysterious' aspect of the scenes. But, in thinking it over, I thought perhaps some of these scenes were moments of change. Like when enough trickling weight is added so that the balance of a scale is changed abruptly. I don't think that works for every clip, but it seems to work for some (the Fords of Bruinen, for example).

Trixie said:

Quote
My son is majoring in music education, maybe he could help me figure out what the scenes have in common.


Magpie replies: I hope he he can add some good insight into this conversation, Trixie. I'd be very interested in his thoughts on the subject.

I guess the question I'm left with is: Is there one overriding criteria that prompts Howard Shore to use aleatoric music? Or are the reasons for scene X different than for scene Y? Doug Adams never addresses why HS uses aleatoric music... only when.

Now that you've gotten more information on the music and read other people's comments, do you have any other thoughts or questions? Even if you didn't play the game, feel free to chime in. I know we've got some knowledgeable film and music people floating around who might be willing to contribute to our understanding, as well?

A new game in two weeks. Thanks for playing.


linkin-artelf
Lorien


Mar 18 2007, 2:26am

Post #8 of 15 (190 views)
Shortcut
Difficult one this week [In reply to] Can't Post

but I'm up for a challenge.

Ok, I'm answering these in the order I (hopefully) solve them.

8. Got it immediately, it's the moment when the 'ford horses' overwhelm the black riders while Frodo and Arwen look on. And I have gramma to thank for that because I didn't have the FOTR cd when she talked about this musical moment in a thread and I asked her to elaborate on it. I have heard the clip since.

1, 3 and 6 I guessed involved Frodo in peril somehow but I needed the clues to place them all in TTT.
1. I guessed as when they begin their passage through the dead marshes, though the movie clip would seem to predate that by a scene.
3. When Frodo falls in the water face first, the movie clip confirmed my guess.
6. When the hobbits and Gollum are on the hill espying the oliphaunts and their riders. Got that one without the movie clip too.

2. Needed the movie clip to confirm that this was the watcher in the water scene. I had placed it in the environs of Moria

4. Needed the moive clip again, I initially guessed the moment when the three hunters are surrounded by the riders of Rohan but it is of course the moment when they are faced with the new, and as yet unknown Gandalf.

5. This one threw me. My first guess was the black riders attacking on Amon Sul but then your clue said it was from TTT. So I listened to the movie clip and it confirmed my guess. The fact that the 4 hobbits are never all together with Strider in TTT helped.

7. First guess was M & P being carried by the orcs as they are running but the movie clip identified it as when they escape from them as the riders of Rohan attack.

Now as for commonality, I would guess an imminent sense of peril or dread. There is a sinister sound to the, um, sounds and a build up of tension as the clips proceed. The one exception is #8, it has more of a climaxing, victorious feel, so I'm not sure how it fits in with the others.
Looking forward to reading the other responses now.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
"I walk along the shore and I gaze
At the light that radiates down
Will it travel forth to you
Far across this shimmering sea?"
formerly linkinparkelf


linkin-artelf
Lorien


Mar 18 2007, 2:36am

Post #9 of 15 (201 views)
Shortcut
Aha! aleatoric! [In reply to] Can't Post

Well I guessed a build up of tension, that's partly right, right?
And #5 was from FOTR and not TTT.
Fun quiz and fascinating discussion of the quality of the music.
Thanks, Magpie.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
"I walk along the shore and I gaze
At the light that radiates down
Will it travel forth to you
Far across this shimmering sea?"
formerly linkinparkelf


Magpie
Immortal


Mar 18 2007, 3:06am

Post #10 of 15 (186 views)
Shortcut
Thanks for participating LA. Your prize is in the mail. ;^) n/t [In reply to] Can't Post

 





weaver
Half-elven

Mar 19 2007, 5:32pm

Post #11 of 15 (176 views)
Shortcut
Aleotoric! I learned something new! [In reply to] Can't Post

Ah, the benefits of hanging around on websites. Thanks for furthering my musical education, magpie. I just hope I spelled that right...

Nice to know that I picked up a bit on what the commonality was, and to find out what I called "trembling" actually was!

I had no idea that professionally performed music included elements of randomness -- I thought every note was scripted and orchestrated. Interesting!

To answer your follow-up question as to "why" Howard Shore used that approach in these scenes, I can only guess that it helps to contribute a greater sense of chance or uncertainty to the outcome of the scene, which works to make it more dramatically interesting to the viewer. If the score is very clear, that make the outcome of the scene feel more pre-determined -- you would be sure the good guys were going to win or the bad guys going to lose. But if it's still up for grabs, that's more compelling to watch and experience. The random and chaotic score helps the director to keep you guessing, which invests you more emotionally in the story.

I'm thinking that the aleotoric music is the movie equivalent of the way that Tolkien uses the words "seeming" and "as is" in LotR. By never fully confirming what exactly happened in certain settings, the reader is more willing to allow for and accept the workings of higher powers in the setting. By using "less certain" wording, Tolkien helps to make the hidden aspects of his story more "real". Random, chaotic, and uncertain music in the score helps to underscore the times in the story where different forces, good and evil, real world vs. higher world, are all in play.

Neat stuff, magpie! Keep it up, please!!

Weaver


Magpie
Immortal


Mar 19 2007, 5:51pm

Post #12 of 15 (192 views)
Shortcut
OOH... very cool analogy [In reply to] Can't Post

I love your thoughts here, weaver

Quote
If the score is very clear, that make the outcome of the scene feel more pre-determined -- you would be sure the good guys were going to win or the bad guys going to lose. But if it's still up for grabs, that's more compelling to watch and experience. The random and chaotic score helps the director to keep you guessing, which invests you more emotionally in the story.

I'm thinking that the aleotoric music is the movie equivalent of the way that Tolkien uses the words "seeming" and "as is" in LotR.


In doing some other work, I ran across another comment about aleatoric music in the score:

Quote
The Watcher (in the water) music is almost entirely aletoric; Shore defined the pitch material, durations, and playing style, but the members of the London Philharmonic were not required to align their performances. The tangled musical web results from dozens of individual performances gnarling around each other and brassy dissonant eruptions of brass that lay above the mesh. The music does not turn forward with a customary drive; it is a sustained inhalation that hangs in the air as a moment of unreal shock and dread until, at its peak, it lurches and collapses under its own ungainly weight.
Doug Adams, CR-FOTR: Liner Notes, pg 25


This comment, " The music does not turn forward with a customary drive; it is a sustained inhalation that hangs in the air as a moment of unreal shock and dread until, at its peak, it lurches and collapses under its own ungainly weight. " seems to relate to yours, "The random and chaotic score helps the director to keep you guessing, which invests you more emotionally in the story." Both speak about that sense that, without a sense of what's going to happen next, time seems to almost stand still. (Which makes my brain run off in how we perceive the movement of time... Do we keep a tally of what's happened before and project out what we think might happen in a way that evokes a sense of movement so that, when we are in a situation where we cannot predict at all what will happen, we lose that sense of movement and time appears to stand still?)





weaver
Half-elven

Mar 19 2007, 6:16pm

Post #13 of 15 (177 views)
Shortcut
processing time... [In reply to] Can't Post

I do think moments of uncertainty paralyze people -- instinctively, our bodies tell us that we need do something to survive in times of danger, but the mind can't choose the right course until it has enough info to know which way is safest. To run or not to run? The only way to keep you safe is to make you stop until you know which way to go. I think it's an instinctive way to keep you from moving until the right path is clear, which people experience as time "standing still", or at least seeming to pass very slowly.

I can think of two instances in my life where I felt "paralyzed" and my perception of time was very much slowed down. Both of them involved dangerous situations with cars where whether or not I or someone else would be hit could have gone either way. In both cases, I felt literally "stopped", and that was what saved me in one case and my kid in another.

The aleotoric (and I know I keep spelling this wrong) approach to music must, I think, trigger somewhat of the same effect. Because your mind can't pick out a clear pattern or melody, it keeps you in a state of suspension until the score resolves itself. Which is exactly what Tolkien does, I think, with all those "seeming" references in LotR. Glad to know all the homework I did on that topic for a RR discussion paid off!

I love that image of the music crashing in on itself, from its own weight. Perfectly fits the Watcher in the Water scene, especially, but really, all of the moments you picked.

Weaver


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 22 2007, 9:41am

Post #14 of 15 (191 views)
Shortcut
Thank you, Magpie! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm finally back online, and have just read your very enlightening explanation about 'aleatoric' music. So that's what it was! I was in my school's orchestra many, many decades ago, so I was vaguely aware that there are sometimes directions to play notes at the player's own discretion, and that this gives a very different effect from playing as a group. It's interesting to watch too - I've been at concerts where the violin bows are all going wildly up and down randomly, instead of smoothly moving as a group!

I really like weaver's point about time seeming to stand still, and I imagine one element that causes this is that with aleatoric music there is no clear pattern, no line of melody that seems to move the music forward. It really does echo that sense of being frozen, with the senses in turmoil.

The other way movies show this 'time standing still' effect is with slo-mo, and in the movies I think this is often accompanied by no music at all. I'm thinking particularly of the moment when Aragorn turns and runs up the steps after Gandalf falls at the Bridge of Khazad-Dum. I haven't had a chance to check though - perhaps there is music (humming maybe?). I'm going to be looking out for examples of this too, the next time I watch the movies!

I'd be interested to know how much this technique of aleatoric music is used in "mainstream" (18th-19th century) classical music. It seems very appropriate for a film score, which has to convey very specific emotions and sensations, but I'm pretty sure it's used in symphonic music too. One obvious example might be to simulate hunting-horns, as Shore does with the music designed for the Black Riders at the Ford. (The Wikipedia entry seems to be about something much more technical and modern, where the actual music is determined by chance.)

Thanks again, Magpie, for a very interesting quiz. I love the way these movies (like the book) keep leading me to new discoveries, thanks to people like you!

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


Magpie
Immortal


Mar 22 2007, 11:36am

Post #15 of 15 (224 views)
Shortcut
some references to aleatoric music [In reply to] Can't Post

...that I've seen at movie music include these passages:

Quote

Peteris Vasks Cantabile, written in 1979, good example of aleatoric writing
>JJH




Quote
Re: Soundtrack for movie, Evolution: Track 4. I have a couple of favorite tracks. I think my very favorite is "The Amoeba Emerges." It's a very over-the-top slow march. That starts off with just a very slow drum beat and aleatoric trumpet playing- and then Powell gradually adds in more and more instruments and layers until it's really cooking at the end. Reminds me very much of early-Elfman and the manic energy found in scores like Nightbreed and Darkman. In fact, the whole score is very reminiscent of MEN IN BLACK. I think Powell and Gregson-Williams are both big Elfman fans. I also thoroughly enjoy "The Forest" and "Monitors Out." I might add that there's a LOT of Mickey-mousing in this score, but where I usually find mickey-mousing annoying, I find it enjoyable in this score. Go figure.
>Tim P




Quote
Q: In cases where there are radically different takes between two versions of a cue, will there be moments when both will be presented, or is it entirely a matter of choosing which take to use?

Is it being based upon what's on the albums (as aspects of FOTR, including the "Farewell to Lorien" track were, the theatrical version of which is beautiful... and preserved on the original CD).
>Incanus

A: The Lorien track was unique in that it was a case where Shore went back and rewrote the entire scene. If memory serves, the DVD version of this music was actually written first, and so the complete score uses this, the original and ultimately final version of the composition. (And I agree, the theatrical version is beautiful in a different way, and I’m thrilled it’s on the original album.) TTT doesn’t have cases where an entire sequence was rewritten like this, but there are sections within theatrical compositions that were rewritten to mesh with the DVD music. Right now, they are discussing ways to make sure people hear as much of everything as possible, but since nothing’s been finalized, there’s not much more I can say right now. Due to the nature of the music, which often segued into DVD music via aleatoric passages, it looks like it won’t be too difficult to give the listener everything in a musically (and dramatically) logical presentation.
>Doug Adams



I don't know that they add much to the discussion, but I knew they were there and I thought it was worth bringing them over here.

Googling brought up lots of bits and pieces of information... the kind of stuff one peruses when one is studiously avoiding other work!




 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.