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Re: Fellowship theme..Is Howard Shore a Plagiarist??
• Posted by: roybatty   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Sunday, October 8, 2006, at 10:08 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Fellowship theme.. (Sjanger)

> I just read a review at and someone claimed that the Fellowship
> Theme is actually a rip from the NFL Sunday Night TV theme, played during
> football season. He also claimed that the first phrase from the "This
> is my father's world" Hymn is identical to the first notes of the
> Hobbit's Theme. This last statement is correct, listen (link below), and I
> would really like to know wether his other statement, about the Fellowship
> theme might be correct. If so, I hope Shore didn't do it on purpose, but
> can anyone help me out wether he is right or not? Thanks,

> Sjanger

I dont Know about the T.V. Theme but when I first heard the fellowship theme in the cinema I kept thinking how it reminded me of Michael Kamen's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and it clearly is. BUT, I have since discovered equally striking similarities elsewhere: the opening five notes of the theme are almost identical to a portion of the fourth movement of Dvorek's From the New World Symphony (No.9), while the subsequent nine note sequence is very similar to a phrase in Sibelius's 3rd. Has Howard Shore plagiarised from one of these sources or some of them or all of them? Or is it all just innocent and coincidental, or completely unconscious on the composer's part? We will never have the true answer to those questions, I guess. Many of the themes and phrases in the score seem to bear similarities with more than one other piece of music. You mentioned "This is My Father's World" and the Shire theme, and there is a clear resemblance. But when I first heard it it I thought it sounded like a ripp-off of James Horner's Titanic, Main Theme. It may well be that Shore took the Titanic melody and just turned it upside-down and inside-out, but it's equally possible that it is derived from Holst's "Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity" from "The planets" like "For the Love of a Princess" i Horner's Braveheart is. And besides, although classical purists would probably deny it, "Jupiter" itself is nothing if not a reworking of Hubert Parry's 1916 hymn "Jerusalem": since the structures of both melodies are nigh-on identical it seems that, in this case, Gustav Holst is more of a plagiarist than Horner or Shore.

Other similarities I have noticed between Lord of the Rings score and other music:

* The "Isengard/Uruk-Hai" Theme resembles three other pieces of music that I know of. The sequence of notes is virtually the same as one in Sibelius's 2nd Symphony while it also strongly resembles one of the themes in Horner's Aliens (in the film, this music plays over the scene with Ripley fighting the mother Alien at the end. The clanging metalic sound is almost to the exact same tempo.) So, I then assumed that Shore had composited the two pieces. But listen to Brad Fidel's "Terminator" Theme and it's virtually the same sequence but with different tonality. So who knows? Also...

*the descending third motif=the "Dies Irae" chant,

*The History of the Ring Theme is very similar to the central melody out of Holst's "Venus, Bringer of Peace", "The Planets".

*The Balrog music is identical to a piece in one of Phillip Glass's "Quatsi" scores (sorry, can't recall which one as i'm unfamiliar with them only I heard it on Classic FM!!!)

* I'm surprised that it's not mentioned that the Gondor/Mnas Tirith theme sounds like "Adante" out of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake". It clearly utilises the patterning of that piece, but then so do both Gershwin's "Summertime" in "Porgy and Bess" and Willams for the "Force Theme" in Star Wars.

* The music that plays after Gandalf falls into the pit with the Balrog in the first movie is quite similar to the hymn "Nearer my God to Thee". At least, Ithink it is.

* The choral passages that underscore the ents fighting outside Isengard strongly resemble those in Boito's oprea "Mefistofele". Maybe it was an influence.

* Finally, I believe that a sequence from Brahmes's "Lullaby" is lifted for the melody of "Into the West" (would make perfect sense that one, wuoldn't it?)

So is this all plagiarism or coincidence? Or a combination of the two. Ileave you to decide. That is unless you are already aware of the above examples and maybe more.

Comments in this Thread:     Expand >>
  • Fellowship theme..  (7124 views)
       Sjanger - Wednesday, October 20, 2004, at 3:22 p.m.
    •      Re: Fellowship theme..Is Howard Shore a Plagiarist??  (19901 views)    We're Here
         roybatty - Sunday, October 8, 2006, at 10:08 p.m.
    •    Re: Fellowship theme..  (6942 views)
         Simoon - Saturday, October 23, 2004, at 2:01 p.m.
    •    Re: Fellowship theme..  (6740 views)
         ritchie s - Friday, October 22, 2004, at 10:28 a.m.

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