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The Themes of Howard Shore's The Hobbit

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Huh? The Erebor theme plays in the trumpets and choir while the Rivendell arpeggio plays underneath on the low strings. What's not to understand?

I don't know what an arpeggio is.

Anyway, the Moonlight Reveal theme doesn't sound like Erebor to me... Different amount of notes!

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Moonlight Reveal theme? You mean Erebor? That moon runes cue is an Erebor variation over the Rivendell arpeggio.

But what about the #4? (C-B-C-B etc. in the 1st violins and flute)

What about it? Not just an ominous figure?

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That horses surrounding the company bit reminds me more of the Moonlight Reveal theme than Rivendell.

Exactly. That's why I said it sounds like the Erebor theme to me (even though you think the Moonlight Reveal theme doesn't sound like the Erebor theme).

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There's a big statement of Smaug's Theme at 2:20-2:27 of "Flies and Spiders" that I haven't seen any discussion of. Is anyone else hearing it? I can't recall there being a thematic significance for it during that part of the movie.

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There's a big statement of Smaug's Theme at 2:20-2:27 of "Flies and Spiders" that I haven't seen any discussion of. Is anyone else hearing it? I can't recall there being a thematic significance for it during that part of the movie.

That's not Smaug's Theme, that's the Mirkwood theme.

Don't forget the main posts of this thread list all the theme appearances!

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There's a big statement of Smaug's Theme at 2:20-2:27 of "Flies and Spiders" that I haven't seen any discussion of. Is anyone else hearing it? I can't recall there being a thematic significance for it during that part of the movie.

That's not Smaug's Theme, that's the Mirkwood theme.

Don't forget the main posts of this thread list all the theme appearances!

Jason, I don't see the "Mirkwood Theme" or any other as being listed at that moment in your (impressive) analysis, which is why I posted. I still think it sounds more like Smaug's Theme. If you're right the question becomes, why are they so similiar?

Mirkwood

DOS 1-04 1:02-1:18

DOS 1-05 0:24-0:36

DOS 1-05 1:12-1:37

DOS 1-05 1:46-2:23

DOS 1-05 2:45-3:01

DOS 1-05 3:10-3:16

DOS 1-05 3:31-3:38

DOS 1-05 3:58-4:13

DOS 1-06 0:10-0:26 (First 2 notes repeated)

DOS 1-07 0:11-0:15

DOS 1-07 2:07-2:20

DOS 1-06 Flies and Spiders

0:10-0:26 Mirkwood (First 2 notes repeated)

1:28-1:32 Erebor

1:53-1:59 Mirkwood Spiders Theme

6:43-7:08 The History of the Ring

7:32-7:41 The Woodland Realm (Legolas Variation)

7:51-8:05 Tauriel’s Theme

8:37-8:55 Thorin's Pride

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OK, how do musically educated people make the difference between the Mirkwood theme and Smaug's theme? Because, personally, the only reason I knew the Mirkwood theme was in fact for Mirkwood is because it appears during scenes taking place in Mirkwood. If it wasn't for that, I would have called it Smaug's theme.

So, is there a subtle difference between the two?

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OK, how do musically educated people make the difference between the Mirkwood theme and Smaug's theme? Because, personally, the only reason I knew the Mirkwood theme was in fact for Mirkwood is because it appears during scenes taking place in Mirkwood. If it wasn't for that, I would have called it Smaug's theme.

So, is there a subtle difference between the two?

Yes. More musically educated could probably put up some kind of quick notation to show you the differences and common elements of these two motifs.

Oh and I can tell the difference without any notes or notations. To my ears both sound distinctive but I guess I am just weird that way, spotting this stuff.

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Oh and I can tell the difference without any notes or notations. To my ears both sound distinctive but I guess I am just weird that way, spotting this stuff.

That's because you're a Shore apologist and don't want to admit he was just being lazy!

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Oh and I can tell the difference without any notes or notations. To my ears both sound distinctive but I guess I am just weird that way, spotting this stuff.

That's because you're a Shore apologist and don't want to admit he was just being lazy!

You are just your own deafness apologist and can't admit that you are lazy! Listen harder goddammit!

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The first two notes are the same, but then each theme goes off in a different direction. And usually they are orchestrated differently.

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The first two notes are the same, but then each theme goes off in a different direction.

Go off in a different direction? They both have four notes after the first two notes!

And the fact that they are orchestrated differently is not enough. Variations on a theme generally are orchestrated differently.

I just want to know this: if you guys had heard the Mirkwood theme statements out of context, would you have said that these were variations on Smaug's theme, or would you have said that it's a different theme entirely? And I want an honest answer!

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The first two notes are the same, but then each theme goes off in a different direction.

Go off in a different direction? They both have four notes after the first two notes!

And the fact that they are orchestrated differently is not enough. Variations on a theme generally are orchestrated differently.

I just want to know this: if you guys had heard the Mirkwood theme statements out of context, would you have said that these were variations on Smaug's theme, or would you have said that it's a different theme entirely? And I want an honest answer!

Well I heard the music out of context the first time I listened to it and picked up the Mirkwood motif without a problem and never mistook it for Smaug's theme. Honestly, scout's honour and cross my heart and hope to die BB!

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I'll never know about out of context, as the first time I heard it I knew I was listening to a track called Mirkwood.

Same here.

I think BB is talking about out of film context. Naturally the track title gave a hint.

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But that is not what we are here to talk about! Can you hear the Mirkwood theme or not?!!! HOW MANY NOTES DO YOU HEAR?!!!!

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Anyways, Smaug's Theme goes [up down, up down down down] and the Mirkwood Theme goes [up down, up same same same] . At least I think. They are different notes from each other regardless.

Bard's Family Theme is closer to Bilbo's Theme than Mirkwood is to Smaug.

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Indeed. Unless THAT theme is used for Bard's kids in the third movie several times. I don't believe it. Sorry Doug.

Don't put words in my mouth.

Doug said Shore did a sketch for a longer family theme, which remained largely unused because of no space to put it in, and that aforementioned score snippet is a short relict of that sketch.

And if you say you don't believe that unless it's extensively used in TABA, you're clearly implying Doug is telling a lie.

Nobody's putting words in your mouth, they are your words.

Anyways, Smaug's Theme goes [up down, up down down down] and the Mirkwood Theme goes [up down, up same same same] . At least I think. They are different notes from each other regardless.Bard's Family Theme is closer to Bilbo's Theme than Mirkwood is to Smaug.

Now THAT post is Greek to me :D

Are we talking about the circling Mirkwood theme in "Mirkwood"? I don't think it has the same intervals as Smaug's theme. And Smaug has that constantly shifting minor/major chord, which Mirkwood doesn't.

And Mr. Cosman, the moon runes music does have the Erebor theme.

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Mirkwood and Smaug have two distinct thematic patterns. And while orchestration is a key difference, it's also important to understand that with the Mirkwood music, it's not just the little motif in play. Shore makes Mirkwood all about texture and atmosphere (the hazy descending chord progressions, the unfocused aleatoricism making it unclear where the theme begins and ends) all to reflect the hallucinogenic effects of the forest itself. On the other hand, Smaugs material follows a much more character dynamic.

Having said, I will agree that the structural similarities are present enough for me to regard the Mirkwood motif as one of the weaker and more disappointing leitmotifs of Middle-Earth. But again, the motif was never the centrepiece of the forest's music anyway.

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I agree with gkgyver that Stefan is essentially calling Doug a liar, and it isn't appreciated.

It's a fact that Shore wrote a theme for Bard's Family. It's a fact that this theme appears once on the OST, and that it sounds very similar to Bilbo's Theme in that spot. That's literally the end of the story.

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Doug told you the opening of My Dear Frodo wasnt based on House Of Durin initially, you didnt call him a liar.

Why do you assume I call him that?

At this point i'm not convinced. Is it required that I am? Mr. Adams is a GREAT resource for info, and a swell guy for sharing as much as he does. But that doesnt mean I'm not allowed my own opinion and interpretation. It is music afterall, not maths.

Also, isnt Doug a big boy? Does he need people to stand up for him?

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