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The Themes of Howard Shore's The Hobbit

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If I understand you correctly, you're implying that Shore had already written The House of Durin theme before scoring AUJ, and then chose to write a "combo" melody to be used under the opening company logos that "seeds" both the House of Durin and the History of the Ring themes at the same time. Is that right?

*I think* Doug's implying that it was the other way round. The House of Durin was constructed from the outline of theme in My Dear Frodo and A Good Omen, along with Thorin's Theme/Erebor.

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No, I think Doug means that the wrote The House Of Durin along with his other material for AuJ and seeded it into that score. A brilliant case of foreshadowing.

Similar to the Gondor theme being written in time for Fellowship but not getting fully utilized until ROTK.

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No, I think Doug means that the wrote The House Of Durin along with his other material for AuJ and seeded it into that score. A brilliant case of foreshadowing.

Similar to the Gondor theme being written in time for Fellowship but not getting fully utilized until ROTK.

Yeah pretty neat foreshadowing indeed! :)

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Why not just use the straight forward House of Durin there?

Because of the tone of the film, I should think.

I don't hear it there. Only what appears to be some variant of Bard's theme.

Bards theme and some element of the History theme! ;)

What is the theme at 1:02 of Feast of Starlight, its also at 2:48 of The Woodland Realm.

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OK, two things I've discovered in Flies And Spiders. First, at 1'28 in the video below, you have the Erebor theme playing (makes sense, since Bilbo sees the mountain at that moment).

Then, there's something I'm not entirely sure about. Below is the Crochet cue from AUJ. Listen to the first 10 seconds or so of that track, then listen to 4'20 in the video above (which underscores Bilbo freeing the Dwarves). Does it sound like an heroic variation of the motif heard in Crochet to anyone else?

http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/bjicqdynrc/Crochet.mp3

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OK, two things I've discovered in Flies And Spiders.

So, LeBlanc, any thoughts on that?

Well I am sure thoughts are paltry compared to Leblanc's but the second skipping motif sounds very similar to some of the fast Hobbit material to me. It reminds me of the similar passage found e.g. in Gandalf the White in TTT when the fellowship is departing Fangorn at 4:26. Is that just the Hobbit End Cap figure repeated quickly in succession as that is what Doug mentions in his book for that moment.

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OK, two things I've discovered in Flies And Spiders.

So, LeBlanc, any thoughts on that?

Sheesh, you can't even wait 24 hours for a response? I barely JWFan on weekends!

Well first of all, of course that's the Erebor theme at 1:28, I've always known it and I don't know how it got neglected on the master list. I'll put it in with my next round of updates.

As for the bit at 4:20, that doesn't really sound like Crochet to me. I think it's just a coincidence.

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What is the theme at 1:02 of Feast of Starlight? its also at 2:48 of The Woodland Realm.

the-desolation-of-smaug-reelgood.jpg

That my lad is a dragon....erm I mean a good question.

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2 questions:

Are the pounding notes that end "Barrels Out Of Bond" related to the Shire theme? Or another theme?

What about the loud burst from 2:44-2:58 of Durin's Folk?

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What about the loud burst from 2:44-2:58 of Durin's Folk?

I think that's the Laketown theme.

But played in an aggressive manner and rhythm which makes it reminiscent of The Threat of Mordor.

No, I take that Laketown comment back. I'm not sure now where in the film (if at all) it appears, and it may just be at Dol Guldur...

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It was replaced in the film with a revised version that is similar. It plays when the company gets captured trying to steal weapons in Lake-town.

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Well, it doesn't sound like Lake-town to me. Like you said, it sounds more like one of the supporting Sauron themes.

How about 1:28 to 1:33 of Bard, a Man of Lake-town (which plays as Bard knocks the dwarfs weapons away) is that related to his theme? Or a different theme?

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It plays when the company gets captured trying to steal weapons in Lake-town.

I think that is an inverted version of the "Politicians of Laketown" theme. You know, the one played on the clavicord.

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Well, it doesn't sound like Lake-town to me. Like you said, it sounds more like one of the supporting Sauron themes.

If you listen to 2:51-2:55 on its own, I think the skeleton of the Laketown theme is apparent.

How about 1:28 to 1:33 of Bard, a Man of Lake-town (which plays as Bard knocks the dwarfs weapons away) is that relat d to his theme? Or a different theme?

That's basically the Erebor motif, is it not? But with the even-numbered notes each lowered one step. I have a vague notion of having heard something similar elsewhere, but can't quite place it.

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How about 1:28 to 1:33 of Bard, a Man of Lake-town (which plays as Bard knocks the dwarfs weapons away) is that relat d to his theme? Or a different theme?

It seems to me the same theme that we hear at 1:34 of Smaug, and reminds me You Know My Name.
This part, however, is not used in the film, but I think it is a kind of action version of Bard's theme.

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How about 1:28 to 1:33 of Bard, a Man of Lake-town (which plays as Bard knocks the dwarfs weapons away) is that relat d to his theme? Or a different theme?

It seems to me the same theme that we hear at 1:34 of Smaug, and reminds me You Know My Name.

This part, however, is not used in the film, but I think it is a kind of action version of Bard's theme.

It absolutely is used in the film.

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I agree with GK. I think that little fanfare is an inverted variation of the politicians theme. One should also note that there's a different version that plays in film, with a lot more going on underneath the fanfare.

The rhythmic bit that concludes Barrels Out of Bond on the other hand is probably just incidental.

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Does inverted mean the same thing as backwards? If not, what does it mean? Any way for a layman like me to spot inverted themes?

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Nope, backwards would be called retrograde. An inverted line is basically the mirror image of the original line. Take the Shire theme. The opening three pitches rise up the scale, "duh duh duh." The inverted theme would descend with the same intervals instead of rise.


So really, the Smaug theme is retorograded and not inverted. Or do I need to go back to theory 101?

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See I never got this whole backwards Smaug thing. If I hum the main Smaug theme, it's duh-duh (pause) duh-duh-duh-duh (so two notes then four). But the B Smaug Theme is dun (pause) dun-dun-dun (so one note then three). So how can a 4 note theme be a six note theme backwards?

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Retrogrades can be handled differently. An exact/perfect retrograde reverses both all the pitches and the rhythm. But some Retrogrades can just reverse the pitches in an alternative rhythm, or the rhythm with alternative pitches. There's no hard and fast rule really....

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In F minor, the first theme goes C-B, C-B-Ab-G-G. The secondary theme starts G, G-Ab-B. So it's really just the head of the melody that is related, because then the secondary theme slithers up chromatically.


Incidentally, this got me listening to My Dear Frodo at 4:57 with Smaug's secondary theme referenced by the horns under his main theme. What a great moment.

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Incidentally, this got me listening to My Dear Frodo at 4:57 with Smaug's secondary theme referenced by the horns under his main theme. What a great moment.

Wow I finally hear it now! Man, that's pretty subtle/hidden

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I love how that one piece comprehensively explores the main thematic ideas of the trilogy. Great stuff.

Yeap! A brilliant prologue indeed.

Oh and Jason the rising and falling theme from The Woodland Realm you named tentatively as Thranduil's theme underscores his discussion with Thorin so I think it is rather Thorin's Pride motif than anything associated with Thranduil as Thorin flat out refuses the king's bargain (out of pride).

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See I never got this whole backwards Smaug thing. If I hum the main Smaug theme, it's duh-duh (pause) duh-duh-duh-duh (so two notes then four). But the B Smaug Theme is dun (pause) dun-dun-dun (so one note then three). So how can a 4 note theme be a six note theme backwards?

God, thanks for asking. I though I was the only one not getting why it was called "an inverted variation" when it didn't have the same number of notes.

I love how that one piece comprehensively explores the main thematic ideas of the trilogy. Great stuff.

Yeap! A brilliant prologue indeed.

Oh and Jason the rising and falling theme from The Woodland Realm you named tentatively as Thranduil's theme underscores his discussion with Thorin so I think it is rather Thorin's Pride motif than anything associated with Thranduil as Thorin flat out refuses the king's bargain (out of pride).

Shore clearly should have used the Nazgûl theme there. Would have made more sense.

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