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ScoreKeeper Has Been Seduced by the New "The Music of THE LORD OF THE RINGS Films" Book by Doug Adams!

Greetings! ScoreKeeper here strongly encouraging you to get your ass to class before the tardy bell rings. You may be thinking about skipping out but believe me, you don't want to miss this lesson. Studying music has never been so cool! For almost five years, I've been following the development of film music journalist Doug Adams' progress writing a new book on the music of THE LORD OF THE RINGS (2001-2003). When I first heard he was working on it, I was immediately captivated by the idea but Doug kept it pretty much under wraps so I really didn't know what to expect. How deep would he examine the material? How comprehensive would his analyses be? Would this book be more suited for casual listeners or staunch academics? What about the presentation of the book? Would it be a roughshod assembly of cheap-paper pages or crafted with the same grand aesthetic appeal associated with the films themselves? Well, the waiting is over. This week I finally received an advanced copy from the publisher which I immediately freed from its cardboard confines. I sat for nearly an hour caressing each meticulous page beguiled by its contents. It didn't take me long to realize what I had was holding. The Music of THE LORD OF THE RINGS Films by Doug Adams could easily be one of the most significant and important books ever written on the analysis of a film score. While there have been a handful of film scores which have been deconstructed and analyzed as the focus of a book, none have proven so monstrously daunting as Howard Shore's eleven hour score for THE LORD THE RINGS. What began as an an invitation by Shore himself to scribe an article chronicling his work on THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, is now a masterwork of musical wizardry unlike anything we've seen before. This impressively hefty hardbound edition features 401 pages of expertly composed musical analysis, exquisite artwork, beautiful color photography, hundreds of engraved musical snippets, Shore's pencil sketches, complete vocal texts, and full orchestral manuscripts of select scenes. The proliferation of John Howe and Alan Lee's elegant pre-production artwork adds beautiful layers of sophistication which serves as a visual complement to the aural focus of the book.

I'm a music theory and analysis junkie. I'll formally analyze a movement of a Bartok string quartet just for giggles and snorts. Books analyzing masterworks are commonplace amongst the classical sphere. Unfortunately, they are a rare commodity in the film music world due primarily to the lack of accessible materials. As Howard Shore and Doug Adams nurtured their relationship, Shore slowly increased his trust in the demonstratively capable Adams. "He began researching and over time the trust built," Shore is quoted in the book. "I gave him more and more access to my archives -- sketches, scores, notebooks, recordings, film and video." This level of penetration within the creative mind of a film composer during the scoring process is simply unprecedented. The fruits of Shore and Adams' unique collaboration are wholly apparent in each and every page of this magnificent book. Here's a passage from a chapter focusing on the thematic relationships of the various One Ring themes:
Although the SEDUCTION theme's melody line seems to suggest D minor harmonies the line, in fact, begins on the fourth degree of an A minor scale. The B-natural that ends the line, therefore, concludes the melody on the second degree of the A minor scale, suspending the appoggiatura that is suggested by the first nine notes of the HISTORY OF THE RING.

The text is followed by two engraved musical passages clearly outlining Adams' point. This type of analytical language resonates within my theory-starved ears like the listing of delicious sundae ingredients to a die-hard lover of ice cream. The fact that this book is chock-full of these types of observations is what makes it so incredibly valuable to me; however, perhaps music theory bores you or you just don't know music well enough to even understand what Adams is talking about. Don't fret. While Adams is not afraid to get technical in his writing, much of the book is written with the casual listener or non-musical LORD OF THE RINGS fan in mind. This book is littered with behind-the-scenes accounts, general music observations, and utilizes language that even non-musical lovers of Shore's work can wholly appreciate. I suspected that this was going to be a niche book. I don't view it like that now. I wouldn't hesitate to purchase this for anybody who loves Howard Shore's monumental score to THE LORD OF THE RINGS whether they are musical nor not. As if the book itself wasn't enough to titillate the consummate middle-earth music lover, Adams has included a CD filled with unreleased rarities from Shore's archives. Alternate versions of the "Prologue: One Ring to Rule Them All," "The Argonath," and "The Siege of Gondor," demo mockups of "The Shire," "The Hobbits," "Moria," "The Rohan Fanfare," and "The Ent Theme," and the complete unreleased version of "Arwen's Song" from RETURN OF THE KING are just a few of the highlights featured on this CD. The book is currently available for pre-order at and other major retailers. Doug Adams has been maintaining a blog for the past couple years chronicling news and recent developments surrounding the book. You can check that out HERE.

I noticed today that there will be a book signing in London on September 27th from 5PM until 7PM at Chappell of Bond Street. Both Doug Adams and Howard Shore will be there to sign copies. For more information click HERE. Sadly, I'll be on the other side of the planet which will keep my book unsigned at least for time being. On September 28th, the London Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing Howard Shore's score for THE RETURN OF THE KING (2003) live to picture at the Royal Albert Hall. My creative brain can't even begin to comprehend how insanely awesome that experience will be. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got more reading to attend to...


Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 17, 2010, 10:46 p.m. CST


    by Le Vicious Fishus

    Great score. Great first movie. Good second movie. Shitty third movie.

  • Sept. 17, 2010, 10:54 p.m. CST

    A book about the score?

    by RPLocke

    How nerdy are you to buy THAT!!

  • Sept. 17, 2010, 11:03 p.m. CST

    You've seen the movies...

    by James Westfall

    ... now READ the score! Wait - what??

  • Sept. 17, 2010, 11:07 p.m. CST


    by Anything But Tangerines

    I can think of few things more pointless than a book on music. THIS IS WHY THEY PUT BOOKLETS IN WITH CDS!!!

  • Sept. 17, 2010, 11:20 p.m. CST

    Who the hell is Arewen?

    by RPLocke

    I thought it was Arwen?

  • Sept. 17, 2010, 11:27 p.m. CST


    by Jonatwork

    For me, reading about making films is interesting, and reading about the struggles of painters and writers can be compelling--Jackson Pollack and Nathaniel West are the subjects of some of my favorite nonfiction. Unlike film, literature and paint I have no talent at making music, and yet I don't think I want to know how it works. (A professional musician friend of mine wouldn't let me give him a book about the science behind music and how it interacts with the brain.) Dissecting music causes my brain to cramp. I might check this out but I'd have to actually read some of it to decide if it's even worth buying; just that bit you quoted had me going "Wha...?" Thanks for reporting about this, though--budding film composers must love this stuff.

  • Sept. 17, 2010, 11:49 p.m. CST

    Thanks ScoreKeeper!

    by Auriellis

    Doug Adams must have read my thesis for college which dissected sci-fi/fantasy music with a heavy emphasis on Lord of the Rings score music. I will definately buy this book. Thank you ScoreKeeper for posting about this. I heard about it but I didn't know anything about release dates or what the content would be.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 12:41 a.m. CST

    To naysayers...

    by Admonisher

    Film music is an art form. We don't blink at books about costuming, makeup, cinematography, movie posters, model-making, printed screenplays, special effects ... heck, a quick search turned up a book about lighting. If music doesn't interest you outside of the film and/or the soundtrack album, fine. But don't act all shocked that there are those of us who love and celebrate the music, would be enriched by learning more about how and why it functions the way it does, and are consequently very happy about this book. True, not every film or score would merit this kind of treatment ... but Howard Shore is a magnificent composer with serious chops, and his work can stand up to this kind of examination. The book is also notable for fans of Alan Lee and John Howe -- much of the sketch art showcased within has never been in-print before! Finally, the book comes with a CD of never-before-released material, so you DO get actual music to listen to. Bottom line ... keep an open mind and check the book out. You might be pleasantly surprised.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 12:43 a.m. CST

    View sample pages here...

    by Admonisher

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 12:45 a.m. CST

    Doug Adams and Howard Shore will also be in New York in October.

    by Admonisher ... they'll be at the first show, at least, and they'll also be doing an event at Barnes & Noble on the Thursday before the concerts. Doug's blog at is the place to check for updates.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 2:29 a.m. CST

    No beef here

    by Anything But Tangerines

    Shore's score for this trilogy is miraculous in that it is just as powerfully grand in scope yet diverse and nuanced as the story itself. Williams habitually rips off numerous classical composers and hammers out bombastic tune after ridiculously bombastic wailing tune in Star Wars. Like a previous TBer noted however, unless you "speak the language" and can think musically, the vast majority of information in a book dissecting music will fly right by you. I'm sure Shore, his colleagues, and aspiring colleagues will get a kick out of this but otherwise it is but a melodious fart in a stiff wind.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 2:32 a.m. CST

    by Anything But Tangerines

    and to the "first" TBer who calls Return of the King a SHITTY MOVIE... I'm sorry that you were in the bathroom with diarrhea while it was playing.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 3:58 a.m. CST

    Yeah Shore

    by SithMenace

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 4:05 a.m. CST

    Yeah Shore's score is one of the greatest

    by SithMenace

    I've ever heard, and is required listening for me every Winter. He himself has even said that it's a musical world he frequently loves to revisit in many different ways, so here's hoping he gets a chance to expand on that world with The Hobbit.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 5:25 a.m. CST

    As a composer myself...let me say something...

    by MelGibsonsRacialTirade

    It looks like the guy who wrote this book thinks music is scientific if you're talented. Only someone who can't feel music has to be scientific. And I don't mean people who can and can not read music. That's not the science of music. I mean people who have to have a reason for a chord or a pattern of notes. That type of musical science. A good composer doesn't live and die by the chord. They don't relentlessly have to cycle through them like a rock guitarist would. Most composers focus on the melody and write a "motion" of chords underneath the music to compliment it. As opposed to a rock guitarist who almost always writed chords and layers vocal patterns on top - it sounds like the guy that wrote this book was writing about the wrong guy. <BR><BR>I believe that whoever Doug Adams is, if he knew much about music he'd be writing music rather than writing ABOUT it.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 5:27 a.m. CST

    Also, the only way I'd read this...

    by MelGibsonsRacialTirade

    is if Doug Adams points out the annoying similarities between the Lord of the Rings score and Gangs of New York. There's really only one theme that Howard Shore has in Gangs of New York and it's almost identical to the Sauron themes in Lord of the Rings. It annoys me so bad. if you want to know what I'm talking about...put in Gangs of New York, and the music that plays as the crane camera fades out over the battlefield after the start battle in the film and tell me is doesnt sound like the Sauron theme.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 5:39 a.m. CST

    The only theme in LOTR I didnt like

    by MelGibsonsRacialTirade

    I dont know what it's called, but it's the theme they kept playing anytime they'd show Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas running around looking for the Hobbits. That theme annoyed me. It was basically a fanfare which was used as a theme, which is odd. You usually don't see fanfares used how Shore uses it in the LOTR films. I felt like that was the one failure in the music, even though I think most people like that theme. He did try using it in the Hobbit theme and I think it may have been used in the Rohan theme (love the solo viola in that theme), but it just sounds so generic and out of place. Bugs me all the time...maybe it's how medieval it is, I dont just never clicked with me.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 6:03 a.m. CST

    Hey Mel, I agree

    by SithMenace

    I could be wrong, but isn't it a variation of the Fellowship's theme from the first film? You're right though, it doesn't work. <p>I think my favorite little piece of music from all three films is something that didn't even make it onto the standard score releases, but it's the short, stirring theme that plays as Aragorn runs up the stairs in Rohan after he sees the torches have been lit in ROTK. That, and the the theme that plays in the first film as Bilbo goes back to his house after the party while still wearing the ring. Good stuff, but neither made the cd.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 6:55 a.m. CST

    My favourite pieces of music are..

    by CeejayNightwing

    The theme that plays when Elron shows Arwen the vision of the future qith Aragorn dying and she is left alone, also the music that plays as Gandalf and Pippen set off for minas Tirith with Merry and Aragorn running up the tower to see them leave, and Gollum's song that plays through the end credits of TTT, both music and lyrics capture the very essence of the characther in all his wretchedness!

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 7:06 a.m. CST

    wonderful music - but if you look at the

    by Seph_J

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 7:54 a.m. CST


    by Admonisher

    In fact, Doug Adams is an extremely proficient musician, composer and educator. It was his fluency writing about Shore's music that prompted Shore to invite him to become part of this, so have a little faith ... or at least read more than one sentence before you decide you know what the author thinks.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 8:17 a.m. CST

    Hey Mel

    by Composerbratt

    I think you may be a little off on your assessment of what Doug Adams has done here. It sounds like Adam has done an extreme service to musicians interested in film music. Writing about music is an ART, and it's not easy. Most REAL composers that I have met, suck at it. If no one writes about music at an intelligent level, then music lives in a vacuum- it ceases to really exist. I write art music because I want it to be discussed, to engage people. Adams is trying to elevate film music to the same category. I wish him luck (I don't think he will be successful). Also, when you say "Most composers focus on the melody and write a "motion" of chords underneath the music to compliment it." read that again. That is very shortsighted. I know many composers but do not know a single one who claims to compose in such a straitjacketed way. I'm off to work on a commission- that's what real composers do...

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 8:19 a.m. CST

    As an adamant LOVER of film scores...

    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    I found the LOTR score to be underwhelming, to say the least... <P> In fact, my favorite part of the score is the extremely short piece that's played during each of the film's title sequences. That little 9 or 10 note motif... it's beautiful. <P> The only other piece i love is Gollum's Song. With those haunting vocals. <P> FUCK ME! That's an amazing piece of music... <P> I'm just not a big fan of Howard Shore i guess. Although i do like his work in a couple of Fincher's films (Seven, The Game, Panic Room...) Nice, moody, atmospheric stuff... but nothing i'd ever listen to out of context, like i would some John Williams, Elliot Goldenthall, Jerry Goldsmith, etc...

  • With all due respect Scorekeeper, but if the book is anything like the liner notes that Doug Adams wrote for the complete recordings albums of The Lord of the Rings, which I understand is the case, I think that you are giving people the wrong impression about the book with the quote you chose. My understanding of chords and harmonies and other music theory is near zero but as a fan of Howard Shore's music to these films and film scores in general, I found his writing and insights to be incredibly interesting to me and if anything, the more technical discussions in his notes encouraged me to read a bit more, even if it was just Wikipedia, about music theory. I'm glad that AICN is publicizing this but I just feel that the single quote you posted seems to suggest that the book is for music majors only, and I find that hard to believe given what I have seen from Doug Adams' LOTR writing and what he has said about the book.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 8:25 a.m. CST

    And any true lover of film music absolutely MUST...

    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    checkout the score to "The Red Canvas" by James Peterson. <P> HOLY SHIT. <P> Easily one of the best scores of the past decade... I almost thought for a moment, that it was actually JOHN FUCKING WILLIAMS doing some of the tracks. <P> Craziness...

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Not to be confused with Douglas Adams

    by Aphex Twin

    Author of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy...since, well, he's dead and all that.... Guess it would be pretty tough for him to show up to a book signing....

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Aphex Twin!!!

    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    Big fan of yours ;-)

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 9:16 a.m. CST


    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    Fuckin EPIC track.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Speaking of Aphex Twin...

    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    When the FUCK is Richard James gonna do a score, ala Trent Reznor??

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 9:20 a.m. CST

    The Hartnoll Bros. (aka Orbital) should do a score too...

    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    And "Godspeed You, Black Emperor"... <P> Those guys would make a killer fuckin' score.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 11:30 a.m. CST

    Was interesting to watch him improve over 3 movies

    by BoStrike1

    People will frequently fall in love with something mediocre because it is closely associated with something that is not, which they also love. I can't descibe how let down I was when that beautiful shot of the Fellowship topping the mountain from the trailer ended up being accompanied by a score that sounded like a high schoolers first attempt at an "Indiana Jones" type theme. I have since grown used to it enough that it doesn't hurt anymore, but Oh what could have been. I will give him his due though and say that by RoTK, he had learned how to add layers to his themes and the lighting of the beacons was gorgeous.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 11:32 a.m. CST

    This type of thematic score..

    by BoStrike1

    seems to have already had its heyday, and I believe that, like romantisism was capped by Beethovans 9th, the great thematic scores of 20th century Hollywood was capped by The Empire Strikes Back. The only time I've heard a composer bottle that type of lightening in the past few years was when Williams himself worked with Cuaron on Prisoner of Azkeban.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 11:54 a.m. CST

    The score sure as hell exceeded the woeful screenplays

    by Star Hump

    Christ on a cracker

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 1:59 p.m. CST


    by MeMyselfAndNy_aaan

    Movies suck, the music sucks and the CGI dwarfs suck.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 1:59 p.m. CST

    Wow, are we dissing Lord of the Rings now?

    by RPLocke

    I wonder why that awful Inception gets a free pass around here?

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 2 p.m. CST

    I dont know if we're dissing lord of the rings

    by MeMyselfAndNy_aaan

    I just said it blows cocks. Is that dissing?

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 2:17 p.m. CST

    by Anything But Tangerines

    You're only dissing yourself if all you can do to criticize a film is say that is "blows cocks".

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 2:21 p.m. CST

    by Anything But Tangerines

    sorry and "the CGI dwarfs suck"... just what the fuck is that supposed to mean? Maybe Gimli was CGId for a few action sequences, if only because it's hard to find dwarf stuntmen who can work in all that armor, but other than that you are talking out of your ass, pal. Next time, keep that sphincter puckered and save yourself the humiliation.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 2:22 p.m. CST


    by RPLocke

    People that diss LOTR are either retarded or they're the same assholes that think ESB is the only good Star Wars movie.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 2:38 p.m. CST


    by kwisatzhaderach

    You think Blade Runner is shit. Your opinion, sadly, is worthless.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 2:42 p.m. CST


    by Composerbratt

    Beethoven's 9th capped Romanticism? Are you crazy? Beethoven was the transitional composer from classical TO romantic. Most scholars agree that Romanticism generally ended with Wagner/Brahms/Strauss leading into the 20th C. with Schoenberg.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 2:45 p.m. CST

    As much of a huge film music nut as I am...

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    ...I'm usually lost when reading detailed description of musical forms. I can identify an ostinato or an adagio, ect., but I read a reviewer talking about "4/4 rythmns" and all that shit, my eyes kind of glaze over. I never really studied music back in high school, so a lot of it is greek to me.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 2:46 p.m. CST


    by RPLocke

    LOTS of people think Blade Runner is shit. Also, you never comment on anything in a thread. Why do you even show up?

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 2:49 p.m. CST

    Howard Shore=Genius

    by Joely_Boy

    The notes he chooses for the LOTR scores are some of the best notes ever composed.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 3:32 p.m. CST

    I recently saw the trilogy for the first time

    by Kammich

    A little less than a year ago, I started renting movies from my local library and the LOTR trilogy was one of the first things I grabbed. Knew absolutely nothing of the source material, but I loved Jackson's "Dead Alive" and knew that it was a staple in the geek community. I was skeptical going in, but one thing that immediately grabbed me was the elegant, subdued, and surprisingly downbeat theme that plays when the "LOTR" title card goes up. And from that point on, the score just beautifully accommodates the visuals, from the whimsical to the downright epic. The score is a huge reason why I was really taken by storm by this trilogy. I'm a bit uneducated to read a book about its musical theory, but thats pretty damn cool nonetheless.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 4:34 p.m. CST


    by BoStrike1

    Yup, the moment I posted that in a hurry because work was calling I knew someone would call me on it. I put it the wrong way. "Just like many would argue that, looking back, Beethovans 9th is the greatest work of Romantisism" is what I should have typed. Maybe you disagree with that point as well, but I think it still supports the point I was trying to make. Thanks though.=)

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 6:34 p.m. CST

    I love it when film music is discussed here

    by m_prevette

    ...and the usual idiots act like film music has nothing to do with the film, or any life outside the movie. It is as important , if not more, than most any other technical contribution to a movie. But, the usual asses chime in here and equate film scores with farting. Fucking morons.

  • Sept. 18, 2010, 6:48 p.m. CST


    by Composerbratt

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 3:32 a.m. CST

    LOTR is the greatest example of thematic scoring

    by starlesswinter7

    The LOTR scores have over 80 themes and motifs that are constantly evolving, breaking down, combining, etc. to serve the developments of various characters and plot points. The idiots who criticize "intellectual scoring" are missing the point of Shore's work here (which is more like an opera than a traditional score). Shore's music, like any other aspect of film, has a structure that complements the narrative and adds subtext to it. No one says that cinematography or editing come from just an emotional viewpoint, so why should a film's score be any different? Should it be limited to sad music for a sad scene? No. If Shore's music was a cold, clinical composition, the arguments against intellectual scoring might have a point, but the music is far from that. Can music not be emotional AND intelligent? I never thought I'd see the day when such a thing would be criticized.

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 4:03 a.m. CST


    by starlesswinter7

    Shore did not "learn" how to add layers to his themes. His choices are quite intentional because the music has to have somewhere to go. The Fellowship Theme could not have had a grand version with lots of layers in the first film, because in Shore's structure the group has not yet accomplished what they set out to do. Only when their ultimate purpose is shown onscreen (the "For Frodo" scene) does the theme gets its treatment with full orchestra and choir. The same goes for Smeagol's theme (or "The Pity of Gollum" theme) - in the first film it's a slinking, mysterious melody, but by the third its chord progression becomes the root of the apocalyptic music for Mount Doom, symbolizing that Bilbo's pity of Gollum eventually becomes the very reason the One Ring is able to be destroyed (as Gandalf predicts in the Moria scene in the first film). Or take the Sauron/Mordor theme - normally the last note is off-key (conveying a sense of imbalance) but once the Ring is destroyed, the final note is no longer so.

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 8:29 a.m. CST

    So this is...

    by dancing_jerry

    ...the book of the music of the film of the book. Wow. I can't wait for the movie.

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Excerpt from Chapter 2

    by BrandLoyalist

    Chapter 2 The Fellowship Theme<br><br> Bhaammm baaaamm baaaaam, bhum bhum bhuuuuuum, bhum bhum baaaaaahm, bha bha bhaaaam baaaaam bhhhuuum, bhum bhu bhuuummm, bha bah bahhhhhhm, bhubhu bhuum...

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 10:56 a.m. CST


    by BoStrike1

    I understand what you're talking about, and while I never picked up on every detail, have always recognized that, as an intellectual endeavor, Shore's score is complex and well thought out. The problem I have is that this does not neccessarily translate to heart and emotion in the moment. By introducing the Fellowship theme in its barest form so that he could add layers throughout the story, he presented us with a relatively hollow performance, and that negatively effected the film in the moment. He may have had great reasons "on the page" to begin his score bare bones, but the double edge here is that Fellowship, by and large, sounds like a students first attempt at an epic film score.

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 11:23 a.m. CST

    and also..

    by BoStrike1

    While the gradual addition of layering may have been intentional on Shore's part, you need look no further than the original Star Wars trilogy to see that it is completely unneccessary. The force theme is just as complex and layered when Luke stares at the sunset as it is when he stands in front of his fathers funeral pyre. I'm certainly not saying something should be neccessary to be included in art. I just think that Shore's approach, however well thought out, may have been something of a misguided experiment.

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Funniest talkback ever.

    by onezeroone

    Dissecting and analyzing art never adds value to it, only makes one clinical.

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 12:01 p.m. CST


    by BoStrike1

    What are you talking about? Observing art with an analytical mind teaches you about art. It allows you to detect things that you wouldn't be able to otherwise, and generally informs your own art. If you've ever said "I liked that scene" or "His/her performance was great" then you have analyzed art as well, just on a very basic level. Without analysis there is no evolution, individually or within the canon.

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 1:45 p.m. CST

    Going to see

    by lookylookymoontard

    ROTK in concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London,to hear Shore's score live with the Movie playing on a huge screen will be epic,cant wait :)

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 1:58 p.m. CST

    Been There Done That

    by mara69

    Saw world premiere of The Return of the King with live orchestra and vocals on 11 Sep at Wolf Trap. It was phenomenal. And my copy of the book is on the way - can hardly wait.

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 3:16 p.m. CST

    The live orchestra over the movie sounds great but

    by RPLocke

    wouldn't it be hard to hear the dialog?

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 5:33 p.m. CST


    by BoStrike1

    Anyone who goes to that is likely to be able to mouth the words with the actors anyway. I know I'd be able to.=)

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 9:04 p.m. CST


    by starlesswinter7

    I don't think Shore's work is misguided at all; in fact the emotion of it hits me like no other score. Any failure of the music to strike an emotional chord with a listener is purely a matter of taste. Although there's no way to "prove" the value of any art, take a look around the net at the number of 5/5 reviews (from professional score critics) of FOTR's score. The first score is a work of subtle emotion - the complete opposite of William's work (though that is still great) and far from "student work". It's complex in a different way, through structure rather than through layers, and reveals new subtexts to the story itself with each listen. As much as I love Williams, I can't say that about much of his music. With him it's mostly catchy, obvious stuff, especially with Star Wars. The closest you get to subtext is how the conclusion of Anakin's theme hints at the Imperial March, or the faux-celebratory major key version of the Emperor's theme at the end of Episode 1. If you want student work, look at all of Hans Zimmer's clones and sometimes even Zimmer himself. I don't know why you think something has to have a lot of layers to be good, though. LOTR is FAR from hollow to me.

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 9:14 p.m. CST


    by starlesswinter7

    The sheer variation of moods and textures throughout the three scores (even throughout the first score alone) is more than enough to make me shrug at this "lack of emotion" you speak of. I don't know how anyone isn't affected by the final cue in's gorgeous. And as for layering again: if everything is big and layered all the time, how can the climactic emotions of the music earn their potency? You'd have already heard such music if it was otherwise, which is my concern with Williams. Everything works fantastic on its own, but when you put it into storytelling form, all the bombast eventually loses its power. His first Harry Potter score is particularly guilty of this, while the third is a masterpiece precisely because he does what Shore does in LOTR and holds back for the beginning/middle of the story.

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 10:38 p.m. CST

    So where's the "Symphony" recording??

    by Bibliographer

    A few years ago, I was lucky enough to catch Howard Shore conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra performing the "Lord of the Rings Symphony" at the Royal Albert Hall -- six movements for orchestra and choir. "Insanely awesome"? You bet. But why hasn't this masterful synthesis of the three scores been released as a recording?

  • Sept. 19, 2010, 10:49 p.m. CST

    So LOTR's score gets a book but not Twilight?

    by MST3KPIMP

  • Sept. 20, 2010, 4:59 a.m. CST

    Good discussion guys...

    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    I love this stuff. I particularly enjoyed reading starlesswinter7's posts. You really do exhibit a deep awareness and understanding of the subtleties and nuances of film score... <P> Although i'm not sure if i completely agree with you in regards to John Williams. Are you saying there's nothing "subtle" about his music? You surely can't be serious... And you really underestimate his amazing ability to create and play with melody. He's the absolute BEST at that, of all the composers working in film today... <P> But anyway, good stuff ;-) <P> And to the moron, onezeroone, who said: <P> "Dissecting and analyzing art never adds value to it, only makes one clinical." <P> What the FUCK?? Do you honestly believe that? 'Cause if you do... someone really needs to re-educate you. You absolutely HAVE to analyze/examine/dissect/deconstruct art. You cannot fully appreciate art if you don't actively do this! That philosophy is so opposite to what common sense tells us... I mean, why exactly do you think that? What made you come to that conclusion? <P> I really hope you read this and oblige me by responding... 'cause i'm dumbfounded lol

  • Sept. 20, 2010, 9:59 a.m. CST


    by mara69

    Not hard to hear at all; very clear. And they subtitle just in case. For LOTR this was annoying, but for TTT and RoTK is was not. The symphony is not available as a CD as far as I know but it is available, sort of, in a DVD of the making of the symphony.

  • Sept. 20, 2010, 10:05 a.m. CST

    More Dialog

    by mara69

    I saw the symphony as done by the Fairfax Symphony orchestra in 2005(DC area). The interesting thing is that the young lady who did the solo work is the same one who is doing the solo work for the live orchestra/film versions, Kaitlyn Lusk.

  • Sept. 20, 2010, 11:51 a.m. CST

    What I don't get....

    by Grendy

    ... is that none of you have gone HOLY SHITE would I LOVE to be in London to see Return of the King with live score being played! -- I saw the Shore/Rings orchestra here in Atlanta in 2004. Not only was it sold out, with people of all ages and backgrounds attending, but hearing things the the Balrog Theme live made my brain say again:"Run!" when that deep rumbling comes washing over the crowd. Or hearing movements that brought tears to my eyes with the beauty of it, and seeing others affected the same way. I doubt I'll buy this book, as I am not that analytical about music, but I am glad it's out there for those who are. I just know what moves and affects me, and Shore's works have done that. Thanks for the heads up, Scorekeeper!

  • Sept. 20, 2010, 11:53 a.m. CST


    by Grendy

    Holy Shite would I LOVE to be in there to here the RoTK score played live. I didn't want you to think after my fussin' that I didn't want to see it myself.

  • Sept. 20, 2010, 12:06 p.m. CST


    by BoStrike1

    Whassup man. I understand that Shore was taking a different approach to the epic score than composers like Williams and Zimmer (who I agree with you about 100%). That said, the reason that I think his experiment may have been misguided was because he was not working in a bubble, and all of the other aspects at work in the LoTR films (especially the 2nd and 3rd) were very much grounded in the standardized hollywood structure for that type of film. Therefore, for me at least, Shore's attempt at a more operatic score grated as it was being juxtaposed with visual and spoken storytelling that had evolved up till that point very much in synch with the type of music that accompanied it. Also, I have to say that the fellowship theme, as introduced, just never tasted right to me. It didn't have a sense of flow and the lifting and falling strains seemed incredibly simplistic. Now I clearly don't have the theoretical knowledge you do when it comes to composition, but good art should be able to work as well for the layman as it does for the connossior, and that theme (again, as introduced in that shot, which is the focal point of my argument) just sounds incredibly simplistic to me as it presents it's whopping two notes with such grandiosity and pomp, only to follow them up with the equally simplistic rising and falling of the next strain (sorry if my terminology sucks)....

  • Sept. 20, 2010, 12:08 p.m. CST

    monkey boy can't figure out paragraphs....(part 2)

    by BoStrike1

    I realize that simplicity in and of itself is not a fault, yet it still stands out to me when I hear that theme in ways that it doesn't when I hear, say, James Newton Howards falling strain in King Kong for example. As for the number of good reviews, I don't believe that the argument from popularity should carry much weight. Not only would that line of thinking lead us to the conclusion that Lady Gaga is twice the musician that John Maglaughlin ever was, but I imagine that my first point in this thread is also appicable here. People will apologize for the less than stellar aspects of art that they have generally fallen in love with. If you connect with Frodo's story, then you will tie the music that accompanies it to those feelings. Everyone does it, but in my experience, many people don't recognize it when it happens to them. In regards to the final cue in FoTR, I agree. I adore the Fellowship score from the moment the canoes are pulled onto the beach to the moment Enya opens her pie hole, especially the variation on the hobbit theme as sung by the choir boy.

  • Sept. 20, 2010, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Wanted: black monolith (diatribe part 3)

    by BoStrike1

    Again, I think that the gradual build, while a great idea, does not always work out as intended. The charge from the keep in Two Towers is another of those "what could have been" moments for me as he is clearly holding back for the bigger charge down the hill that is soon to follow. As much sense as that seems to make in theory, we are still left with a sequence that is not having its ass forcibly propelled forward by the power of its music, which is exactly what the moment calls for in every other facet of the film making on display. Out of curiosity, do you have a problem with the stroy telling aspect of the music in Empire? The escape from Hoth through the Asteroid Field is my favorite example of epic scoring in film, and does not in any way diminish the cues at the end when, for example, Vader gets serious with Luke and the strings sound like they're about to explode all over the screen. I'm still in the same place here. I think it was a great idea on his part, but did not completely work within the context of the films that were being made. Loving this discussion though, thanks man.

  • Sept. 21, 2010, 4:51 a.m. CST


    by zhongqui

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  • Sept. 21, 2010, 5:24 a.m. CST

    The one thing I have against Shore's work on LOTR...

    by Toilet_Terror that the hobbits NEVER get beyond the EXACT happy-flutey version of their theme that's used from beginning to end. It's just a bit disconnected from the progressive grimness of their story. Whenever one stops and looks soulfully into the others' eyes, it's HAPPY-FLUTE-FLUTEY-FLUTE. <P>Otherwise it's probably my favorite film score since CE3K.

  • Oct. 25, 2010, 6:53 a.m. CST

    Great scores - s**t CDs


    Shores scores are almost as amazing an accomplishment as the films (I've been reading Tolkien for 30+ years - no-one could have fixed LOTR's many flaws better than Boyens/Jackson), but f**k me the CDs are awful. The single disc "Reprise" editions were rushed out with badly contracted, mashed up or edited down selections. I appreciate there's limited space on a single disc, but omitting the One Ring's theme or Houses of Healing (Liv Tyler's vocals still send a chill down my spine) is unforgivable. The extended collections are pretty complete, but at £45 ($100) are priced to fleece music fans. All the versions suffer from the same muddy production, the brass sounding particularly muddy. The time's right for a definitive re-mastered 10 disc set. Favourite track is Rivendell - anything with Liz Fraser's vocals is fine by me.

  • Oct. 25, 2010, 7:03 a.m. CST

    Caras Galadhon


    ^That's the track I mean, not Rivendell. Doh.