On our message boards, there was a note posted from Doug Adams’ official blog regarding Howard Shore and his future work on The Hobbit soundtrack. [Located here]

Doug Adams:

“Howard had his first extensive Hobbit conference with PJ last night. Incredibly exciting to see that ball beginning to roll . . .”

I know I found this to be very exciting news, more so than I could have anticipated. I’m sure I’m not the only fan of the films who considers the soundtracks to be one of the main points of enjoyment. And with the new films coming, we not only get to return to Middle-earth, but we get to re-enter that beautifully aural landscape as well. This got me thinking about what musical themes will carry over from the previous music, and what new themes we have to look forward to. Not being a musician at all, this is just an informal rundown, me thinking out loud, of what I hope to hear from the future The Hobbit score. (Please note, if you are unfamiliar with the story of The Hobbit, then this summary will contain spoilers)

I believe it’s safe to assume we get to hear more The Hobbit themes. The book opens with a similar pastoral sequence seen in FOTR, and I don’t doubt this film will do the same. It will be interesting to see how this melds with the dwarves’ music since it has been mentioned that we get to hear some musical renderings during the Unexpected Party. Previously, the only dwarf musical theme we heard was in the mines of Moria, especially when Gandalf lights up the great hall of Dwarrowdelf. I’m very much looking forward to hearing both an extension of this big, grand music when we see the caverns under the Lonely Mountain and hearing the sounds of dwarven drinking songs. I’m quite sure they can party with the best of them, and I predict we will be hearing fans singing these ditties at The Hobbit parties in the future.

There is a return to Rivendell as well, so I’m sure there will be some Elven themes we are familiar with. The book has the Elves of Rivendell singing happy songs, I’m not entirely sure I’m looking forward to Tra-la-la-la elves, but I’m sure Howard will find a way to make the elves sound not quite so silly. And with Cate Blanchett set to return, for what should be the White Council, we should also get a return of Lothlorien musical themes as well. And whereas the Elven themes in LOTR sometimes seemed a little sad, to reflect the overall theme from those books of the impending departure of Elves from Middle-earth, my guess is that in The Hobbit, all the Elven themes will be a little lighter. The wildcard are the Mirkwood Elves, I’m expecting they will have themes unique to their realm and yet it will still sound Elven.

And speaking of the White Council, I’m guessing it get’s a theme of it’s own to help impart its importance in the events of Middle-earth. And while it will be nice to see everyone gathered in one place, I’m rather excited to hear a theme for Saruman the White when he was still good, with none of the darkness of Isengard from LOTR. Gandalf already has a musical theme, but we will now get to meet Radagast as well, so that makes at least three wizards with their own themes. At least, I hope we get clearly defined themes for each to help underscore their separate personalities and skill set. And this mostly wraps up what should be known themes and those extended from existing themes.

The Hobbit has several characters and races that are not seen in the later LOTR and so we should get a host of new musical themes to enjoy. The first coming with the Trolls, who I do not believe really had a theme of their own in the trilogy, but I do expect some sort of theme during their imprisonment of our merry band of dwarves and hobbit. The Goblins are also rather new, having been mentioned in LOTR, but we get our first real look at them when our party journeys into the mountains. Since they will be important in the later meet up with the Wargs and then during the Battle of Five Armies, there is no doubt there will be a series of themes for the Goblins. And of course, while in the mountains, Bilbo does have his first encounter with the One Ring and Gollum, both of whom have well defined themes.

Once the dwarves and Bilbo make it out of the mountains and are chased up the trees by the Goblins and Wargs and then set ablaze, we have our first encounter with the Great Eagles. The Eagles already have a theme of their own, but we should get an extension of that as we see their homes high up in the mountains. I’m very much looking forward to this whole sequence since their appearance will include some beautiful shots flying over the mountains accompanied by some glorious music. I’m betting this is a highlight theme for the first film, but that’s just because I love Howard Shore’s soaring themes so much.

Another new character who should have a theme of his own is Beorn. I expect his theme to be very different and unique and can’t wait to hear the variations that should come with this two-natured character. Yes, I am expecting one theme for the Man and one theme for the Bear, and both should be powerful and visceral. A theme you will hear and know instinctively that Beorn is joining the fray, I’m already cheering for his appearance during the Battle of Five Armies.

When it comes to the Mirkwood Spiders, my guess is that they will have a theme that is a variation on what we heard with Shelob, including the battle between an invisible Bilbo and the spiders echoing Sam’s fight with Shelob. Mirkwood on the whole should have a theme, similar to that of Fangorn forest, one that highlights the threat of the stream that puts Bombur to sleep and the other dangers of the forest. And of course, this is where we will hear the first strains of the Mirkwood Elves, the two themes intertwining as the Elven party lures the Dwarves further and further off the established path.

The Men of Laketown will have a theme all their own, as unique as Rohan and Gondor, so that they are clearly defined during the Battle of Five Armies and every other encounter we have with the town and its people. It won’t be as ceremonious as Gondor’s theme, but it may have a similar feel of isolation inherent and Rohan’s theme. I can’t wait to hear the signature musical instrument for Laketown, much like Gondor’s trumpets and Rohan’s Norwegian fiddle, there should be a single instrument that embodies Laketown’s themes.

And this brings me to what I think will be the coolest and most magnificent piece of music we should find in the whole series of films. Smaug’s theme should be terrible and magnificent and powerful and awe inspiring, just like the dragon is. From recent casting of Thror and Thrain, it appears we should be seeing Smaug’s initial assault on Laketown and the Lonely Mountain, as well as Bilbo’s encounter and then his attack on the mountainside looking for the thief and his angry retribution on Laketown that ultimately leads to his demise. So there will be variations on Smaug’s theme to account for Smaug in attack mode, and Smaug in private as well. I can only hope we feel the weight of Smaug in his theme, a weight that should be Wagnerian in scope. Next to Beorn’s theme, I am most looking forward to hearing the music that accompanies Smaug on screen.

And now that I’ve rambled on and on about music that does not yet exist, and is partly guesswork on my part, I ask you what you are most looking forward to hearing and seeing in The Hobbit. We’ve got some 18 months to ponder these points, I can’t wait for these films and the accompany soundtracks, how about you?

Share your thoughts in our comments, on the forum or on Facebook!

 

 

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Garfeimao is a long time event coordinator and staffer for TheOneRing.net. She is currently organizing the second  ‘Cruise to Middle-earth’ – click here for more info. You’ve also seen Garfeimao on Comic-Con panels and involved in nearly all of fandom in Southern California.

 

 

Comments

  1. Good selection! I’m looking forward to many of those pieces you mentioned.

    The very first bit of music that came to my mind… The few notes heard in FOTR when Gandalf picks up the map charting the events of The Hobbit, at the beginning, in Bag End. It may well work the same way as the Gondor theme. We first heard that briefly, almost unnoticeably during the Council scene in FOTR and then it came back blazing in ROTK.

  2. Good selection! I’m looking forward to many of those pieces you mentioned.

    The very first bit of music that came to my mind… The few notes heard in FOTR when Gandalf picks up the map charting the events of The Hobbit, at the beginning, in Bag End. It may well work the same way as the Gondor theme. We first heard that briefly, almost unnoticeably during the Council scene in FOTR and then it came back blazing in ROTK.

  3. Anonymous

    Great article, Garfeimao. I think you’ve nailed just about everything we have to look forward to…musically speaking! Still, I’m sure Howard Shore will throw in some pleasant, yet totally unexpected, surprises! The next 18 months will be a sort of blissful pain of anticipation.

  4. rlcharliebrown

    Great thoughts! I will say that if you watch FOTR, when Gandalf looks at the map to the Lonely Mountain in Bag End, there is music that plays on the soundtrack that does not occur anywhere else in the trilogy…could this be an early version of some music Shore planned for a Hobbit movie way back in 2000?

  5. Thelastamigo

    I’m guessing that we’ll be hearing the One Ring theme when Bilbo finds it in Gollum’s cave. I don’t know if Radagast needed his own theme as I don’t think he’s going to be that big of a character. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll be important, but I think his role will be about as big as Grima Wormtongue’s was in TTT. I think that the White Council is going to have its own theme though, do that’s probably enough.

  6. One little note, I believe Saruman was already corrupted (secretly) during the events of the Hobbit.

  7. GillGalad

    I hope we won’t have to wait a few years after the movies for the Complete Recordings to come out!

  8. Thethedew

    Listen again when Gandalf picks up the Map from Bilbo’s table in FotR. There’s a theme that sounds like an echo of an idea for The Hobbit.

  9. Thethedew

    Listen again when Gandalf picks up the Map from Bilbo’s table in FotR. There’s a theme that sounds like an echo of an idea for The Hobbit.

    • Futuredirector

      I agree that vocal piece! in FOTR see smaug flying around the mountain!

  10. Anonymous

    CAN’T WAIT. as soon as you mentioned Smaug’s theme… I got extremely eager.

  11. Anonymous

    CAN’T WAIT. as soon as you mentioned Smaug’s theme… I got extremely eager.

  12. Yerhiness

    So glad Howard Shore is returning to do this score! we were just listening to the LOTR soundtrack last night – wonderful stuff.

  13. I just hope that Howard Shore will finally drive Bashki’s goat man out of my head.

  14. DJMelvill

    Great article, but speaking of the burning of Laketown, I sure hope the producers use real fire, not just digital flame and explosions. The worst part technicaly about ROTK is the digital fire in the mouth of Ground. Any thoughts?

  15. Doctordunc

    On some LOTR forum somewhere way back when the Trilogy was first in pre-production I wrote a long comment about the LOTR score and almost everything I suggested ended up in the film, from Enya in Lorien to a Hardanger fiddle in Rohan. Just a bizarre coincidence no doubt!

    Can promise anything so prescient here, but I suspect as far as possible the themes, even with familiar characters, will be new, because this pre-dates what we have seen. I think there will be similarly “folky” Shire music, but with new themes; similarly celtic/New Age Elven music, but again with new themes. Laketown music is an interesting challenge. Tolkien deliberately had Nordic influences in the Rohirim which is why Howard Shore/PJ and I independently thought of the Hardanger fiddle! Elvish shares some linguistic roots with Celtic which again translated into the score. What is the real-world model for the Lake people? Is it Scandinavian again? (Tolkien was a great lover of Viking and Anglo-Saxon culture) or are they more central European? In order to provide a contrast from the Rohirim, a central European theme for the Lake People might work rather well.

    So those are my thoughts, for what they’re worth!

  16. Andreth

    There’s also a few lines of great music in the extended version of FOTR just as the company sets
    out from Rivendell & Frodo asks Gandalf “Which way?”. I love to listen to the music at the end of
    all 3 extended versions, where the founding fan club names come at the end of the credits.

  17. This article is interesting but also frustrating because the author does not appear to have a particularly detailed knowledge of Shore’s LOTR score*. For example, she states that Gandalf has a theme in LOTR. Gandalf the White has a theme (two, actually), but Gandalf the Grey does not, and we should not expect to hear one for him in TH. The writer further seems to assume that even very minor characters will have their own themes, such as Radagast and both “halves” of Beorn. While it’s possible that one or two will get his own theme, there’s no guarantee. In LOTR, Shore made some unexpected choices as to who got themes (e.g., Eowyn gets three themes, while Boromir, Legolas, Gimli, Eomer, etc. all go without themes). It all depends on the emphases of the films.

    Just guessing, but I tentatively expect to hear the following LOTR themes reprised in TH: The Shire (probably in some variation we haven’t heard yet, as opposed to the Rural, Pensive, “Hobbit’s Understanding,” and Hymn/”In Dreams” settings we heard in LOTR), Nature’s Reclamation, Rivendell, “Slinker”/Pity of Gollum, “Stinker”/Gollum’s Menace, History of the Ring, Evil of the Ring (perhaps), Dangerous Passes (perhaps)…and that’s probably it. Shore has new opportunities in this score to flesh out the music of dwarves (represented in LOTR only by the Dwarrowdelf section and in a few spots by Gimli), trolls (in LOTR, only the Mazarbul cave-troll), orcs/goblins, and spiders (in LOTR, only Shelob). That will be fun.

    New themes might include Lonely Mountain/Quest of Erebor, Smaug, Thorin Oakenshield/Heir of Durin, Beorn (maybe), Elves of Mirkwood, Lake-town, Bard/Heir of Girion, and probably some sort of new “There and Back Again” theme that’s related to “The Journey There” and “The Journey Back Again” themes from LOTR. And of course, motifs (which are not quite the same thing as themes) associated with the trolls, goblins, spiders, Wargs perhaps, ravens (if they make it into the film), and White Council. Also, since Bilbo will be the only hobbit featured in most of the film, it might be more accurate to call TH’s “Shire” theme the Bilbo theme.

    My $0.02.

    * I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on film music or the LOTR score; I’m just a layman with some basic musical knowledge, who has logged hours and hours of listening to Complete Recordings and has read Adams’ stupendous Music of the LOTR Films book.

  18. Jonathan Black

    Dwarves have no theme at all; well, if we don’t take the music in Moria from the FOTR into account. I like this part of the soundtrack from the game The Battle for Middle Earth 2.

    Even the name of the track tells us enough. Pride of the Dwarves! I can very well imagine the epic theme from the book Hobbit There and back again – Smaug lays slain; Thorin and others bask in the ancient heritage of Erebor, their mountain – in so far that they resist to give anything from their heritage to men of Lake-town and the Elves – they’ll rather die than they would share with it.
    The music would emphasize the event.
    As far as I know, the games of The Battle for Middle Earth by EA games use the soundtrack from all the series of the LOTR movie. This time it could be vice versa. Hope that Howard Shore takes at  least the melody and do remake for the movie.

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