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As the title implies, I've been wondering for a while what instrument is used in "Minas Morgul" on the LOTR:ROTK soundtrack ("A Coronal of Silver and Gold" on the LOTR:ROTK complete recordings) to create the distinct pitch and sound of Sauron's theme in the track. The instrument produces a screaming, almost satanic sound that I haven't heard anywhere else in the music of LOTR. I've searched the internet looking for what instrument could've been used, but my search was to no avail. So yeah, it'd be great if someone could help me out on this certain topic. Thanks!

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Rhaita (a Moroccan shawm, largely the same instrument as the Egyptian mizmar and the lower-pitched versions of the Armenian zurna).  It's used in unison with muted trumpet(s?) in most prominent statem

I believe so.   The instrument was almost always recorded separately due to it's generally obnoxious volume and unpredictable nature (top tip - don't be in the same room as someone playing one).

3 hours ago, JohnSolo said:

As the title implies, I've been wondering for a while what instrument is used in "Minas Morgul" on the LOTR:ROTK soundtrack ("A Coronal of Silver and Gold" on the LOTR:ROTK complete recordings) to create the distinct pitch and sound of Sauron's theme in the track. The instrument produces a screaming, almost satanic sound that I haven't heard anywhere else in the music of LOTR. I've searched the internet looking for what instrument could've been used, but my search was to no avail. So yeah, it'd be great if someone could help me out on this certain topic. Thanks!

 

Just sounds like a nasty, shrill oboe to me.

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Rhaita (a Moroccan shawm, largely the same instrument as the Egyptian mizmar and the lower-pitched versions of the Armenian zurna).  It's used in unison with muted trumpet(s?) in most prominent statements of Sauron's Theme in the first two scores ("Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe," "The Great Eye, "The Three Hunters," "The Heir of Numenor").  Its appearances in ROTK stand out more because of some changes in orchestration - in "The Palantir," it's a beat (two beats?) behind the brass, and serves almost as an echo.  I think the particularly nasal sound of "Minas Morgul" comes from adding Western oboes to the melody, but I'm not quite as sure on that.  Then, the rhaita is especially prominent in "Grond" because of the octave separation between it and the low brass.

 

Shore's used it on at least four other scores I can think of (Naked Lunch, The Cell, and the first two Hobbit scores), although the first two are within a more standard context for the instrument.  Mychael Danna also used the very similar zurna to great effect in Ararat.

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Is that a rhaita in "The Shadow of The Past" from the FOTR soundtrack? I recall a similar sounding instrument in the part of the track featuring Sauron's theme, just not as intense as the rendition in "Minas Morgul".

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4 hours ago, JohnSolo said:

Is that a rhaita in "The Shadow of The Past" from the FOTR soundtrack? I recall a similar sounding instrument in the part of the track featuring Sauron's theme, just not as intense as the rendition in "Minas Morgul".

 

I believe so.   The instrument was almost always recorded separately due to it's generally obnoxious volume and unpredictable nature (top tip - don't be in the same room as someone playing one).

 

4 hours ago, Fal said:

It is in A Spell of Concealment, you can really hear it in the seperate channela of the 7.1 mix of DOS and BOTFA (where it was tracked into Galadriel Vs. Sauron)

It is also in the Thrain cue.

 

A Spell of Concealment does indeed include a rhaita.

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