Here comes the latest from the Hall of Fire topic think tank:

Music and Middle-earth

From its creation down to the last chapter of Middle-earth’s history, music is a powerful and significant presence in the writing of J.R.R. Tolkien. Music and song is a common theme not only to the passage of time in Arda, but also to all the peoples of Middle-earth. We find singing orcs, hobbits, dwarves, goblins, ents, elves, humans, gods, and demi-gods. I’ll wager Sauron himself hummed a dark ditty as he crafted the One Ring at Mount Doom.

What does Tolkien achieve and evoke with all of this music and song? How is music used as metaphore, image, emotion, magic, or even substance? What resonnates with you and the music of Middle-earth?

On another note, do you ever listen to music while reading Tolkien? What kind and by whom? I have spoken with many people who enjoy playing a favorite composer as they read The Professor.

There are many bands who have been inspired by JRRT; one famous example is Led Zeppelin’s Misty Mountain Hop, and Barliman’s chatroom old timer Mongvar’s favorite Blind Guardian. Enjoy any of that? Have you ever written any LotR-inspired music or lyrics?

We’ll also explore music in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptation. The mucic on New Line’s internet preview certainly caused a stir; what are your comments? What are you looking for in the score of the movies themselves? Do you want to see poems and songs from the text, or would you prefer they were left out? What appeals to you, a Braveheart-type score or something with more a more robust, operatic lean? Or perhaps you’d like to see something more modern, like the soundtrack to the film The Matrix.

Warm up those fingers and vocal cords and come join the throng. This chat is scheduled for Saturday, July 29, at 5:30 p.m. EDT [10:30 p.m. GMT]. If this time doesn’t work for you, come to our European-time session, which is on Sunday, July 30, at 6:00 p.m. GMT [7:00 p.m. Central Europe Time and 1:00 p.m. EDT].

Your comments and ideas are welcome, so send ’em in here! Thanks.