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Re: Why does everybody seem to think this is so great?
• Posted by: Pedestrian Wolf   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Sunday, December 29, 2002, at 11:04 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Why does everybody seem to think this is so gr... (Trond H)

Don't be so caught up in your specific perception of what the score should be that you lose track of the completely different approach the composer's taking to the music. Shore's thematic material for this epic evolves in ways that we simply haven't seen to this extent in the past.

The thing about the thematic structure of Lord of the Rings is that what a theme represents can evolve and changes as the story evolves. Take for example, the theme we first hear in Fellowship when Gandolf is atop Sauruman's tower and grabs a small bug (the solo choir boy). We hear the theme again when Gandolf is saved by the giant bird-like creature, and again in Towers when Merry describes the "Tree People" to Pippin. It would seem then, that we have a theme for the "nature" element of the story. But then at the end of the movie, the theme is used as a call to arms (extremely effectively, I might add) when the Ents discover the ruins in Isengard and make the decision to go to war. It returns again as a call to arms when Theoden makes the decision to ride out into a seemingly hopeless battle; and this scene has nothin to do with the nature elements. For the "nature" theme begins as a nature theme, but when it turns into a powerful call-to-arms for the ents, it becomes a powerful call to arms for the race of men as well. It's no longer just the nature theme, it's the rise-up-against-seeming-doom theme, even though that element may have not been associated with the theme to begin with. The same goes for the theme that plays when the elves march into Helms Deep to declare their decision to ally once again with the race of men and fight back Isengard. Originally, this theme was their "Lament for Gandalf," but it now carries as their own call to arms. The theme appears again in the course of the battle itself, and not necessarily with any direct connection to the elves. So this theme has now evolves from an Elvish requiem, to an Elvish call-to-arms, to a theme for the alliance of Elves and Men in general. It's akin to what Williams did with the original thematic material in the Star Wars trilogy - what originated as Luke's theme became the all-purpose Star Wars Theme and what originated as Obi-Wan's theme became the all-purpose Force theme - but Williams never did this anywhere near the extent that Shore takes it to. Shore takes this sort of development to a whole new level, where everything fits completely in the over-all structure as a whole, as though he's been taking everything in this direction from the start (Williams' shifts seem like he just changes his mind from movie to movie). Wow, that was a long post. Any of that quasi-coherent? :-)

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