J.R.R. Tolkien considered music to be an essential part of life. Not only did he have his characters sing songs throughout the stories of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but in The Silmarillion, he also imagined creation itself as the making of music:
And it came to pass that Ilúvatar called together all the Ainur and declared to them a mighty theme, unfolding to them things greater and more wonderful than he had yet revealed; and the glory of its beginning and the splendor of its end amazed the Ainur, so that they bowed before Ilúvatar and were silent. Then Ilúvatar said to them: ‘Of the theme that I have declared to you, I will now that ye make in harmony together a Great Music. And since I have kindled you with the Flame Imperishable, ye shall show forth your powers in adorning this theme, each with his own thoughts and devices, if he will. But I will sit and hearken, and be glad that through you great beauty has been wakened into song.
When director Peter Jackson produced the film versions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, he turned to composer Howard Shore for the music that would accompany the drama enacted on the silver screen. Mr. Shore’s music brilliantly enhances the story through its use of magnificent Wagnerian leitmotifs (musical themes associated with people, places, or ideas), subtle changes in instrumentation, and musical variations. One analyst has produced the short video below that wonderfully analyzes Mr. Shore’s mastery in terms that all viewers can understand. Enjoy!
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