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Music of The Lord of the Rings film series

The music of The Lord of the Rings film series was composed, orchestrated, conducted and produced by Howard Shore. The scores are often considered to represent the greatest achievement in the history of film music[1] in terms of length of the score, the size of the staged forces, the unusual instrumentation, the featured soloists, the multitude of musical styles and the number of leitmotifs used.

Lord of the Rings
Operatic Film Score Cycle by Howard Shore
Related The Hobbit
Text J. R. R. Tolkien, Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh, Howard Shore
Language English, Old English, fictional languages (Sindarin, Quenya, Khuzdul, Black Speech, Adunaic)
Composed 2000 (2000)–2004
Movements 90 movements (in three parts) for the live-to-projection cycle
  • soprano
  • boy soprano
  • alto
  • tenor (Symphony)
  • large male choir (Fellowship of the Ring)
  • large mixed choir
  • large boy choir
  • "Hobbit Band"
  • Large symphony orchestra

Shore wrote many hours of music for The Lord of the Rings, effectively scoring the entire film length. Over 13 hours of the music (including various alternate takes) has been released across various formats. Shore conceived the score as operatic and antiquated-sounding. He made use of an immense ensemble including a large symphony orchestra (principally, the London Philharmonic Orchestra), multiple instrumental "bands", various choirs and vocal and instrumental soloists, requiring an ensemble ranging from 230 to 400 musicians.

Throughout the composition, Shore has woven over 100 identified leitmotifs, which are inter-related and categorized into groups that correspond to the Middle-earth cultures to which they relate,[2] forming the greatest and most intricate collection of themes in the history of the cinema. The music was continued with the music of the Hobbit films, the prequels to Lord of the Rings, with more than 160 leitmotives within over 21 hours of music, making it one of the biggest catalogues of themes in the history of orchestral music.

The score became the most successful of Shore's career, earning three Oscars, two Golden Globes, three Grammy, and several other nominations, and some of his themes (like the Shire theme) and songs earning great popularity. The score was voted for best Soundtrack in cinema history.[3] The score was the subject of a short documentary film called Howard Shore: An Introspective, and has even earned a dedicated research-based book by musicologist Doug Adams. The scores go on being performed by choirs and orchestras around the world as symphony pieces, concert suites and live to-projection concerts.



Shore was chosen by the filmmakers when they found themselves temporarily-tracking parts of the footage to pieces from his existing scores. The films were also temp-tracked sparsely with pieces from the scores to Braveheart[4] and Last of the Mohicans. Shore visited the set and met with the filmmakers and various people involved in the production including conceptual designers Alan Lee and John Howe (who would contribute to his Symphony and Doug Adams' book on the score), actors Elijah Wood, Sean Astin and Andy Serkis, screenwriter Philipha Boyens (who became Shore's principal librettist for the score) and others, and saw assembled footage of all three films.

Howard Shore, composer of The Lord of the Rings series' film score

Shore agreed to take the project in early 2000. He envionsed the scores to all three films as a through-composed cycle, a grand opera told in three parts,[note 1] involving a large network of leitmotives, large choral and orchestral forces (including additional "bands" of instruments besides the main orchestra), frequent use of singing voices, both in choirs and through a wide ensemble of vocal soloists.

The score uses a neo-romantic, 19-century style and structure, derived from Shore's desire to have the music sounding antiquated, but he nevertheless married it to modern and at times avant-garde techniques including atonal sections, unusual instrumental choices and orchestral set-ups, aleatoric writing, sprechstimme voices and syncopated rhythms, as well as borrowing from eastern scales, medieval styles of music, contemporary film music idioms for specific setpieces, classical idioms for some of the music of the Shire, new-age and contemporary idioms for the end-credits songs, etc. However, he insisted on staying away from electronic or synthesized music.

Shore orchestrated the music himself, and conducted all of the orchestral sessions and many of the choral and soloist sessions.[note 2] In keeping with his operatic vision, Shore used the three scripts and the book itself to write themes even before having film reels to compose to. As a result, Shore spent nearly four years on the composition, compared to a period of 6–8 weeks per film, and a week or two of recording, as practiced by most film composers.[note 3] For the recording process, which extended over four weeks per film, he composed the music in long suite-like pieces for the orchestra to go through during a day of playing, rather than short cues, lending greater cohesion to the music. Only a few minutes of finalized music were recorded each day to allow for input from director Peter Jackson and revisions to the music and performance[5] Jackson gave Shore direction and had each theme played to him as a mock-up and by the orchestra before approving it. All of the music production (which overlapped with the films' editing process) was supervised by Jackson who often asked for significant changes to the music, which is unusual for film music.

Shore began his work on the music early during the production of The Fellowship of the Ring in late 2000 and recorded the first pieces of music (the Moria sequence[6]) in spring of 2001 to a 40-minute teaser of the film, as the film was still being shot. The scored section also included a version of the Breaking of the Fellowship sequence, with an extended tin whistle solo, and a montage of footage from the following two films. The rest of the score was recorded in London during the editing of the film in post production. Shore would later return to the finished film, recording additional music and revised takes for the extended DVD version in March 2002.

A similar pattern was followed for The Two Towers (which was scored at a faster pace than the other two) and The Return of the King (with Shore also, unusually, providing an original score with new themes for the trailer, as well) with the final sessions taking place in Watford on 20 March 2004. Shore wrote the music effectively for the entire film length.[note 4] In the finished film, some of the music was dialed out while other parts were looped or tracked and re-tracked, so overall about 90% of the finished film contains music.

The music was performed primarily by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and three choirs: London Voices (for mixed and all-women choral parts), Wellington Maori-Samoan choir (for all-male choral passages in Fellowship of the Ring) and London Oratory School Schola boy choir. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra contributed some of the early Moria music, written for an early edit of the film. A wide variety of instrumental and vocal soloists, including members of the films' cast, contributed to the scores as well. Each film calls for at least one soprano and/or alto soloist and one boy soloist.

The scores for The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King won Academy Awards in 2002 and 2004, with The Two Towers not being nominated simply because of a rule of the Academy to not nominate sequel scores that reuse old themes, a rule that was undone specifically as to allow for the nomination of Return of the King.[7] The latter film also won an Oscar statuette for Best Song, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. Shore's music for The Lord of the Rings has become the most successful composition of his career and one of the most popular motion picture scores in history. Along with his Music of The Hobbit film series, the prequels to the Lord of the Rings, Shore wrote 21 hours of music.[8]

Principal leitmotifsEdit

Howard Shore's composition does not utilize motifs from other scores he had written previously, or from passages of existing film or stage music, with the exception of one intentional nod to Richard Wagner over the end-credits of the third film. Shore wrote a long series of interrelated leitmotifs that were used, developed, combined or fragmented throughout the three scores. The motifs are attached to places, cultures, characters, objects and occurrences, and are divided into sets and subsets of related themes.

While all stage and film composers occasionally deviated from the meaning of their themes and used them "romantically" (i.e. as a suggestion of mood) Shore refrains from using this technique. Several pieces feature intriguing thematic choices like choosing "The History of the One Ring theme" for the passage of the Argonath or the "Ringwraith theme" for the Orc Armies in the Prologue (and again for Azog in The Hobbit) but neither is outright "romantic" in their application and can be explained. The History of the Ring being the main theme of the series, its usage over the Argonath hints that the film is coming to a close with the Ringbearer about to depart east. The "Ringwraith theme", itself derived from "The Power of Mordor" theme, is more of a theme for the servants of Sauron, not just the Nazgul, and makes multiple appearances in that context.[9]

The only outright use of a theme for its romantic sweep was not done by Shore but created by means of tracked music featuring the Moria motif being applied by the filmmakers themselves to the Warg Attack in the Two Towers. Continuing in The Hobbit, Shore would go on to quote the "Gondor Reborn" once in a situation that has nothing to do with Gondor, but otherwise his use of themes is always justified. [note 5]

Shore also uses his themes subtly to inform dramatic connections, rather than serve strictly as a musical stand-in for characters.[note 6] A good example is how Shore forms the first notes of the fellowship theme over Sam joining Frodo, and expanding on it when Merry, Pippin and Strider join the group to hint at the gradual coming together of the Fellowship of the Ring and leading up to the full statement in the council of Elrond. There is even significance as to the order in which themes appear in a scene or to when a theme is absent.

The themes go through a series of variations of orchestration, tempo and harmony to denote changes to characters and the general progression of the plot. Again, the fellowship theme gradually comes together before appearing in a string of full heroic statements as the whole company travels and struggles. After Gandalf's demise, however, the theme appears fragmented, the harmony is changed and the instrumentation is reduced leading up to a dirge-like statement over the death of Boromir. It is gradually remade leading up to a choral statement in the assault on the Black Gate.

Each film, and particularly the first one, starts with an overture: a series of statements of the principal themes of the feature, which extended from the opening credits till after the individual title of the film. The prologue to the first film, for instance, features the History of the One Ring theme, Lothlórien theme, The Mordor accompaniments, Sauron's theme, the Servants of Sauron theme, the Fall of Men, Aragorn's theme and the Shire theme and variations and at some point was to feature the second-age Gondor theme and the Power of Mordor as well. The main Lord of the Rings theme appears on the main title, while the main theme of each individual episode appears on the second title. Shore used the first film to introduce the principle themes, the second film to add more themes and the third film to create conflict and cross-overs between the existing themes and bring them to a resolution, creating in the process new themes for the Fourth Age.

All of these themes were complied into a menu by musicologist Doug Adams, who worked with Shore on the documentation of the score. Doug identified[2][10][11] about 90 motifs[note 7] (some very brief, scarcely used and/or only subtly differentiated from others) in the three Complete Recordings, by far the largest catalog of themes for a theatrical work. Furthermore, in creating The Hobbit scores Shore would not only add another 62 themes or more, but actually went on to reuse some isolated musical gestures from the Lord of the Rings scores, turning them into leitmotives after-the-fact, adding up to over 100 leitmotives used in the Lord of the Rings trilogy alone, and 160 when combined with motives of The Hobbit. There are also leitmotives which Shore only used in alternate forms of pieces from the soundtracks, and even several variations and diegetic pieces that can be added to this count, as well.

By comparison, John Williams' 16-hour composition to Star Wars features about fifty themes overall, and other film compositions (such as James Horner's Titanic) featuring but a handful, thereby making Shore's work on the Lord of the Rings films by far the most thematically-rich of any cinematic work, and when coupled with his work on The Hobbit trilogy, even rivals Wagner's Ring catalog of leitmotifs, making it not the only the most thematically complex film score but one of the most leitmotivically-nuanced works in the history of orchestral music.[note 8]

The themes below are as they appear across the three films, sorted out into their thematic families. Many are provided with a clean audio example. The themes within each family share a soundscape and melodic and harmonic traits, but there are also connections between themes of different families to imply dramatic connections and lend cohesiveness to the score as a whole:

First appearance in The Fellowship of the RingEdit

Themes for the One Ring

  • "The History of the One Ring" or The Lord of the Rings theme: a minor-key string melody plays over the Lord of the Rings title card for all three films. Howard Shore has considered this theme, more so than the Shire or the Fellowship theme, as the "main theme" of the score, given that its basic pitches are the basis for all the themes in the score. It is used as a "main theme" when the Fellowship passes the Argonath, played on brass, but otherwise it usually appears with little variation (except for when it mingles with Smeagol's theme or the other Ring and Mordor themes), showing how evil is static whereas good is dynamic.
  • "The Seduction of the Ring": a slow, melancholic variation of the ring theme, sung by choir. The associated lyrics first appear with a mixed choir when Gandalf finds the account of Isildur. The first proper appearance (when Gandalf warns Frodo never to surrender to the Ring's temptation and put it on) is hummed by a boy choir, and later sung when Boromir is tempted.[note 9] In the Return of the King, it returns when Deagol first finds it, moving from the boys to the women choir.
  • "Sauron (Mordor/The Evil of the Ring)": A more menacing variation, used more as a theme for Sauron (and - by proxy - for Mordor). It is usually played on muted brass and a Moroccan Rhaita, giving it an old, eastern flavor, while also maintaining its more aggressive and nasal sound.

Themes for Mordor

The evil themes are forceful and at times sacrilegious due to use of choir and stacked harmonies. The themes structurally share Middle-Eastern intervals; chromatic progression and descending melodies, as opposed to the Fellowship music which ascends by whole steps. The music of Mordor is the antithesis of the music of The Shire, both having a series of underlying accompaniment figures and main themes that the scores pits one against the other.

  • "Mount Doom": A pair of alternating chords, derived from the opening harmonies of Gollum's theme. It first appears when Elrond recalls taking Isildur to the Crack of Doom, and returns only when the Hobbits are on the side of the Mountain, fighting Gollum, where it is sung by the full choir.
  • "The Threat of Mordor":[note 10] this, along with the accompaniment motifs, is one of several danger motifs associated with Mordor, but this acts as a main melody. By Return of the King, it becomes much more powerful, ascending rather than descending and forms the basis to the Witch King's theme.
  • "The Servants of Sauron":[note 11] This theme is a combination of a choir singing the pitches of the Ring theme stacked over each other, while the different Mordor accompaniments are combined underneath, and the Skip-Beat used as an ostinato. It is first heard in the Battle of the Last Alliance in the prologue, applied first to the Orc Armies and then to Sauron himself. Afterwards it is used almost (but not always) only with the Ringwraiths.
  • "The Power of Mordor": An elaboration on the Ringwraith theme, this music was originally used by Shore in the initial takes on the Prologue (presented in the Original Soundtrack Release), but were later decided to appear in the third installment, with only a short quote at the Council of Elrond.
  • The Footsteps of Doom (End-Cap): This is the first beats of the Ringwraith theme repeated on the percussion as a figure of impending doom.
  • Mordor Accompaniment Figures: These are three (or more) motifs that accompany the music of Mordor, especially that of the Ringwraiths:
    • "Descending Thirds" motif:[note 12] This is the background music to a lot of the more forceful Mordor themes, especially Sauron's theme, but it also appears on its own: for instance, when Bilbo leaves the Ring behind in Bag End. It is the basis to the Dol Guldur theme and to Azog and Bolg's themes from The Hobbit.
    • The Mordor Skip-Beat: This is a "chase" ostinato used with the Ringwraith theme. It has several variations, including a distinct two-pitch variant, used predominantly in the Flight to the Ford sequence.[12]
    • The Mordor Outline: This is just a martial drumbeat. It is used in association with the forces of Sauron (like his armies at the Black Gate) and with forces allied with him, such as the Haradrim (it plays under the Mumakil sequence) and Saruman.

Themes for the Hobbits

The Hobbit themes are very Celtic-sounding, scored for Celtic instruments namely fiddle and tin whistle. Their maturation through the story has them not only transform melodically and harmonically, but also make use of the orchestral relatives of the folk instruments with which they are originally played. The music is stepwise and calm, with old-world modal harmonies to evoke familiarity.

  • Main Themes: The basic tune of the Shire theme appeared in several distinct variations, each constituting a theme in its own right:
    • "The Pensive variant":[note 13] The basic, reflective version of the shire theme. On the soundtrack, it starts with a solo tin whistle, followed by a solo fiddle and then the complete orchestra repeating the same phrase. The track then quietens down and the solo tin whistle plays a second melody, again followed by the orchestra. The track ends with the violin and then the tin whistle repeating the first theme.
    • "The Rural variant": usually heard only in Hobbiton, often with a lively fiddle solo with improvised grace notes added to the melody. A variant of this music plays during the Prologue to the final film.
    • "The Playful variant": Usually applied to Merry and Pippin.
    • The Hymn variant": A series of hymn chords, usually used as a harmony to the Shire theme, which is usually played in a slow tempo for this theme. Serves usually as a theme for Frodo Baggins. The chords themselves are first heard when Gandalf and Bilbo talk about Frodo in Bag End.
    • "In Dreams": The song variation of the Hymn Variant used in the End-Credits suite of the film.
  • "A Hobbit's Understanding":[note 14] used when the Hobbits come to understand the hardships and struggles of their journey. It is used when Gandalf advises and encourages Frodo in Moria, and in a more grand setting throughout the Breaking of the Fellowship sequence and again when Sam encourages Frodo in Osgiliath in the following installment.
  • The Hobbit Accompaniments: The Shire themes, especially the Hobbiton or Folk theme, is often accompanied by a series of minor motifs that serve as accompaniment figures. These figures go on to become distinct motives on their own right as the story progresses:
    • The Hobbit Outline:[note 15] An "Expectation" motif played under a lot of the Shire music, most notably the Rural variant. It is usually the one to open a series of accompaniment figure statements, like when Frodo first meets up with Gandalf.
    • The Hobbit Two-Step: A motif for Hobbit Playfullness played under the Shire and Hobbiton music.
    • The Hobbit Skip-Beat: Another motif for hobbit Happiness and playfulness playing under the Shire music, usually directly after the two-step figure. Dark variations of it start to appear later in the series.
    • The Hobbit End-Cap: A finale figure to the Hobbiton theme and the Accompaniment figures, that usually serves as a motif for the Hobbits' Bafflement.

Themes for Gollum

  • "The Pity of Smeagol":[note 16] a slow, gloomy piece which acts as a theme for Smeagol. It is first heard in the prologue when Smeagol discovers the Ring. It is closely related to the Hobbit music but also to the History of the One Ring and the Weakness Arpeggios.

Themes for The Elves

The Music of the Elves is sinuous (in line with the Arts' Department vision of the Elvish architecture) and elegant, being scored for women voices, violins and chimes. It is however also ancient, exotic and at times closed off to the outside world, like the Elves, and is than scored for Middle-Eastern or Indian and African instruments and contains melodic intervals prevalent in Eastern music.

  • Rivendell:[note 17] a theme for female chorus, usually accompanied by a series of string arpeggios, which also appear by themselves. While it is written to be very soothing, it becomes more saddened as Arwen leaves in The Two Towers, and when she returns to Rivendell in the last film.
  • "Arwen":[note 18] This theme for female choir and soloist is used when Arwen makes a grand entrance. It is used when she appears before Frodo and again, sung by Renee Fleming, when she appears at Aragorn's coronation.
  • Lothlórien:[note 19] a soft, ethereal chorus accompanied by cellos in the Phrygian mode. It is written in an adapted form the Maqam Hijaz, so as to create a sense of antiquity and provide Lothlórien with a slightly unsettling effect. A more hard-edged, brass-driven version of the theme appears in the second film during the battle of Helm's Deep.
  • "Elvish Pledge": This motif is sung when the Doors of Durin are revealed, a memory of the pledge of the Elves or Eregion (who built the doors) to the Dwarves of Moria. It is reprised when Haldir joins the fight at Helms' Deep.

Themes for Isengard

  • "Isengard" theme": This theme was created to provide a sense of industrialism, and is scored for low brass and accompanied by the percussive Orc theme. Its opening reflects the opening of the Fellowship theme, showing the rivalry of Gandalf, leader of the Fellowship, and Saruman.
  • "Five Beat Pattern": The accompaniment to the Isengard theme, serving as the musical representation of the Orcs in general. It is played on anvils, Bell Plates and other metallic percussion instruments. The 5/4 time signature makes this theme feel off-kilter.
    • Doug Adams lists this motif twice, once for Isengard and once for Mordor, with the musical distinction that the Isengard 5-beat pattern accents the first and forth beats, unlike the rest of the 5/4 music which applies to orcs more generally. Whether the two can be musically categorized as two separate leitmotifs is subjective. Adams also lists the Cruelty of the Orcs twice (since it "realigns with Mordor" in the last film) and the Evil of the Ring (which doubles as Sauron's theme).
  • "The Orc Crawl": A four-pitch motif for the Uruk-Hai band that hunts down the Fellowship, usually sung by choir. It is also used when the three hunters chase said band in the Two Towers.

Themes for Nature

  • "Nature's Reclamation" (commonly referred to by fans as the Nature theme[note 20]): the theme was first heard while Gandalf was trapped in Isengard when a moth serving as a messenger for the Eagles arrived at the pinnacle of Orthanc; the moth and the Eagles represent nature here as well. The theme has a grander version in "The Two Towers" during the "Last March of the Ents". This statement was tracked into the parallel scenes in Helm's Deep to signal the sunrise as the Rohirrim charge. The theme is used in a grand setting as the sun rises again behind the Rohirrim before the battle of the Pelennor fields, and in several statements leading up to that.

Themes for the Dwarves

The Dwarvish music is raw, based on open fifths rather than full chords,. It is scored for all-male voices, often for very deep and rough voices at that, and for blaring brass.

  • "Moria": An ascending, ominous danger motif on brass and male choir. It is first suggested when Gandalf realizes they will have to go through the mines, and stated when the doors first opened in a non-threatening setting. Only as the company escapes the Balrog does it return in its more aggressive setting. It is used as the music for the opening credits of the Two Towers, which starts with a depiction of the Gandalf's duel with the Balrog. It is also tracked into the beginning of the fight between the Rohirrim and Wargs, the theme used here almost "romantically", more for its mood than its thematic meaning.[note 21] There is also a mock-up of an early variation of this theme in the Rarities.
  • "Dwarrowdelf":[note 22] This theme is much more grand and emotional than the other Moria themes, but it is minor and melancholic, representing the ruined grandeur of the Dwarves. Its grand statement is when the fellowship enter the 21st hall of Moria, again more quietly at Balin's Tomb and for the third time as the Battle of the Mazarbul has subsided.
  • "The Dark Places of the World": A danger motif for the Moria sequences. It is associated with the deep chasms of Moria and used both when the Fellowship runs down the stairs and again when Gandalf and the Balrog fall.

Themes for Gondor

The music of Gondor and the World of men and stately and brassy, but not necessarily triumphant, the music lamenting the decay of the mortal world. Only from the later half of the Two Towers and into Return of the King are the themes of the world of men presented in truly heroic settings.

  • "Realm of Gondor" theme: the basic version of this was established during the Council of Elrond in "The Fellowship of the Ring", and also existed in the Extended Edition of "The Two Towers". It becomes the signature theme of Return of the King, earning grand statements over the riding of Gandalf up Minas Tirith and through the Lighting of the Beacons. It occurs in three variants: Gondor in Decline,[note 23] Gondor in Ascension (used in the third film and the trailer), and a "Numenore" variation used in the Rarities Archives, which also presents a mock-up of an early, major-moded variant of the "Ascension" theme.
  • "Minas Tirith" theme:[note 24] the basic version of this was established during a scene with Aragorn and Boromir in Lothlórien in "The Fellowship of the Ring". It reappears in the third film, related to Minas Tirith and the History of Gondor. In the third film, a variant of this theme also stands for Anduril.

Themes for the Fellowship

  • "The Fellowship of the Ring" theme: a heroic, sweeping piece using principally brass and orchestra. It is heard in various versions during the first film (of which it is the signature or main theme), but after "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm," the last time that the entire Fellowship is together, it fractures and can only be heard infrequently and sparingly throughout the next two films until the remainder of The Fellowship charge the Black Gate "The Mouth of Sauron" and "For Frodo" where it is sung by the choir. This theme is colloquially known as the main theme of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Along with The Shire theme, this is the most repeated theme in the series. Curiously, on the album, this theme is used once in conjunction with Haldir's archers as they join Aragorn's cause. Here the theme is extrapolated from its narrow meaning (which only encompasses the nine walkers) and is applied as a general idea of "fellowship" and friendship.
  • "The Drive of the Fellowship": a little string figure that appears when the members of the Fellowship ready themselves to fight the Orcs in the Mines of Moria. It is also heard in Weathertop.
  • "Strider": The embryonic form of Aragorn's theme, which only features the opening figure, starting with a perfect forth. It is used during his introduction and in the battle of Weathertop. There is also a Second-Age variant of it used in the Prologue that pertains to Elendil and Isildur.
  • "The Heroics of Aragorn": The more heroic statements, especially in the third film, are labeled as "The Heroics of Aragorn." They also form the ascending coda of the Gondor in Ascension theme.

Themes for the Monsters of Middle Earth

  • "The Watcher in the Water": Appears several times in the track "The Doors of Durin", this piece is distinct but also informed by the other monster themes. This theme starts as a microtonal contrabass solo and develops into aleatoric music and is in the vein of science-fiction monster themes.
  • "The Cave Troll": This piece is only used (albeit in bracketed fashion) in the battle of the Mazarbul is association with the Cave Troll. It is cumbersome like the Troll but also pitiful, just like the film's depiction of the Troll.
  • "The Balrog": a theme for percussion and male chorus appearing under a lot of the Moria material in the "Bridge of Khazad Dum". It returns in the opening to The Two Towers.

Themes for Middle Earth: The Ring Quest themes

  • "The Journey There":[13] This motif is related to the Ring theme. It is used sparingly: once when Frodo and Sam roam the Shire, once when Frodo realizes he has to leave the company after looking into Galadriel's mirror. It is used again when the company rows down the Anduin, and in the Third film when Frodo, Sam and Gollum walk to Mordor.
  • "Dangerous Passes": This theme is used whenever the Ringbearer traverses dangerous and mountainous passes. It scores the Caradhras scenes, but returns for the secrets stairs in Return of the King, albeit being muted in the film.
  • "Evil Times": Whenever the Quest of the Ring brings suffering to a character, this theme is used. It is applied to Gandalf sitting atop Orthanc in the Fellowship of the Ring. It gradually comes to encompass all instances of evils wrought during the War of the Ring, applied for instance to the suffering of the people of Rohan or of Faramir.
  • "Weakness motif" (Weakness and Redemption): this Arpeggio signals weaknesses of the mind and temptation, and the overcoming of them. It is applied to Boromir's weakness for the Ring, and forms the basis of Gollum's theme, signaling his weakness as well. It is related to the Rivendell Arpeggios.

Themes for Middle Earth: "All Shall Come to Darkness" themes

  • "Nameless Fear": This motif appears when Galadriel speaks of a nameless fear and shortly afterwards when Frodo temps Gandalf with taking the Ring. It returns when Galadriel speaks to Elrond of the will of the Ring in the Two Towers.
  • "The Fall of Men": This motif is unique to the first film, being used once when Elendil dies and again when Boromir succumbs to the call of the ring.
  • "A Noble End": This theme is about a death of noble sacrifice. It is used mostly for Boromir's death and revisited when other characters reflect on his death, but it is also applied to Theoden in the Return of the King.

Themes for Middle Earth: "Another Path" theme

  • "Gandalf's Farewells":[note 25] This music is sung by a solo voice immediately after Gandalf falls. It is also used when he eventually departs to Valinor. It is repeated in other occasions, although not necessarily with any direct connection to Gandalf's death, but perhaps in an opposite meaning, of meeting with Gandalf again: When Frodo and Sam lie on the slopes of the collapsed Mount Doom, Gandalf's Farewells is used, perhaps to show that the Hobbits are ready to meet again with Gandalf in death.

Themes recurring from The Hobbit and in Alternate forms of the Soundtrack

  • From alternate forms of the soundtrack: The Prophecy, The Realm of Numenore.
  • From The Hobbit: Bilbo's Birthday, Map of the Lonely Mountain, Smoke Rings, Flaming Red Hair (diegetic), Gandalf's Fireworks, Bree, Elvish Medicine, Mithril Vest, Durin's Folk, Galadriel's Powers.

First appearance in The Two TowersEdit


The History of the One Ring, Seduction of the Ring, Sauron, The Shire, Frodo/Hymn variant, Merry and Pippin, Hobbit Lullaby, Hobbit Outline, Hobbit End-Cap, A Hobbit's Understanding, Pity of Smeagol, The Servants of Sauron, Threat of Mordor, Descending Thirds, Mordor Skip-Beat, Footsteps of Doom, Servants of Sauron, Isengard, Uruk Hai, Orc Crawl, the Realm of Gondor, Fellowship, Strider, Heroics of Aragorn, Rivendell, Lothlorien, Elvish Pledge, Diminishment of the Elves, Evil Times, Weakness Motif, Nameless Fear, The Balrog, Moria, The Dark Places of the World, Nature's Reclamation.

Themes for One Ring

  • "The Fate of the Ring": In and of itself, this theme appears only once, when Gandalf tells Aragorn that the Ring remains hidden from Sauron in the Two Towers. In the soundscape of the Forth age, switched into major mode, it becomes the Destruction of the Ring theme.

Themes for Mordor

  • The Way to Mordor: Shore crafts this truncated variant of the Threat of Mordor to denote proximity to Mordor and the roads leading to it. It is used for Frodo and Sam's journey to Mordor in the Two Towers, and in the Osgiliath skirmish in the Return of the King.

Themes for the Hobbits

  • "The Hobbit Lullaby Variant": This motif first appears as a "lullaby-like" orchestral setting of the main (Pensive) Shire theme, as Sam and Frodo leave the Green Dragon. Its first definitive statement as a separate theme is when Merry and Pippin fall asleep due to Treebeard's recitations. A variation of it is used when Frodo and Sam sleep on the slopes of the Morgul vale.
  • "The Hobbit Antics":[note 26] Merry and Pippin's antics from Fangorn going forward are scored with a motif drawn from the Hobbit End-Cap and Gandalf's Fireworks motifs. A twisted variation of it appears twice when Frodo scrambles in Shelob's lair.

Themes for Gollum

  • "Gollum's Menace":[note 27] This is the theme of the Gollum or "Stinker" side. It features the cimbalom which at once gives it the feeling of the Hobbit music and yet gives it a jittery feeling that mimics Gollum's motions.
  • "Gollum's Song": The melody for the End-Credits Song, Gollum's Song, also appears in the finale of the film and is informed by the other themes for Gollum.

Themes for the Elves

  • "Evenstar": the main love theme of Aragorn and Arwen. It is much more moody than Aniron, since the shadow of death hovers over the love of Aragorn and Arwen.

Themes for Isengard

  • "The Cruelty of the Orcs": This is a descending, dissonant motif on brass. It is used mostly for the Wargs and the war machines of the Orcs and continues in the Return of the King.
  • "The Uruk-Hai in Battle": For the army at Helm's Deep, Shore uses a related motif unique to Isengard. It is used for the gunpowder explosives set under the outer wall and again for the crowbalistas of the Uruk Hai.
  • "Grima Wormtongue": Grima's theme is alienated from the Rohan themes, and rather aligned with the Isengard theme. It is a collection of low notes on brass and deep woodwinds.

Themes for Nature

  • "Gandalf the White in Nature": This theme appears when Gandalf the White is revealed before Aragorn, and when Aragorn remembers his words at sunrise in Helm's Deep, although that was replaced in the film with Nature's Reclamation.
  • "The Ent theme":[note 28] This theme is scored for low, woody sounds like log drums, bassoon and cellos. It is plodding and slow, like the Ents.
  • "Treebeard's Stride": This is more of a theme for Treebeard himself and the forest named after him. It is used when Aragorn first looks into the forest, and again for scenes with Treebeard.
  • "Small Stones": This motif is more active and related to the Shire themes. It is used, sung by choir, when Gandalf comments of the coming of Merry and Pippin to Fangorn, and again when they encourage the Ents to action.

Themes for Rohan

  • "The Rohan Fanfare":[note 29] featuring the hardanger fiddle. This is the signature theme of the Two Towers, playing over the corresponding title. It utilizes brass, violas and the Hardanger fiddle. At its most grand, at the charge of the Pelennor fields, it is played by a brass section twice the size usually deployed in the score.
  • The Riders of Rohan: This short motif is used for Éomer when he leads his rogue band of riders. It is used in the fight with the Uruk Hai and in when they surround Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas.
  • Éowyn's theme:[note 30] using open fifth intervals (lacking the third of the chord – this means that the chords cannot be defined as major or minor) which is common for the music of Gondor, implying Eowyn's eventual connection to Faramir. It is used when we first see her, again when she stands before Edoras. A slow variation of it is played before Theodred's Dirge, and it eventually plays in a very triumphant setting when she rides off to battle.
  • Eowyn and Theoden:[note 31] This theme has a more developed B-section. It is used when Eowyn sees Theoden healed and makes a series of moody appearances before being used very heroically when Eowyn dispatches the Witch King.
  • Eowyn and Aragorn: This theme starts like Eowyn and Theoden but has a different ending. The ending only first appears in Helm's Deep when Eowyn shouts at Aragorn, and earns its last statement on a double fiddle when Aragorn leaves her to go to the paths of the Dead.

Themes for the Fellowship

  • "The White Rider and the Fellowship":[note 32] a waltz-time, sweeping, full-orchestra crescendo with heavy strings that represents Gandalf the White. It is used over wide shots of him riding Shadowfax.
  • "The Fellowship in Rohan": When the Fellowship and the Riders first meet, their themes begin to mingle. This forms a new motif that only matures in the battle of Helm's Deep, appearing heroically when Gimli leaps on the Uruk Hai to save Aragorn.

Themes for the Monsters of Middle Earth

  • "Mumakil theme": This is the only musical theme of the East and South of Middle Earth. It uses a Dilruba. It reappears with the Mumakil at the Pelennor fields.

First appearance in The Return of the KingEdit


  • Shire, Hobbiton, Frodo, Merry and Pippin, Hobbit Lullaby, Hobbit Heroic variant, Hobbit Outline, Two-Step, Skip-Beat, End-cap, Antics, Gollum's Menace, Smeagol's Pity, Fellowship, White Rider, Strider, Aragorn's Heroics, Dwarf End cap, The History of the One Ring, Seduction of the Ring, Fate of the Ring, Sauron, Mount Doom, Threat of Mordor, Footsteps of Doom, Mordor Outline, Skip-Beat, Descending Thirds, Way to Mordor, Servants of Sauron, Power of Mordor, Isengard, Orc theme, Cruelty of the Orcs, Lothlorien, Rivendell, Arwen, Evenstar, Evil Times, Weakness Motif, Journey There, Dangerous Passes, Gandalf's Farewells, Mumakil, Gondor (in Decline), Minas Tirith, Rohan, Eowyn, Eowyn and Theoden, Eowyn and Aragorn.
  • Recurring in "The Hobbit" and in alternate forms of the Soundtrack: The Forces of the Enemy, Legolas' Heroic Feats, Minas Morgul, The Eagles, Breath of Life.

Themes for The One Ring

  • "The Destruction of the Ring" (Fourth Age theme[note 33]): This theme shifts the ring themes into a major mode. It celebrates not only the destruction of the Ring but also that of Mordor and the ushering of the Forth Age, with its own unique soundscape.

Themes for Mordor

  • "The Witch King of Angmar" (Fourth Age theme): After Saruman dies, his theme is extrapolated and used in conjunction with the Threat of Mordor in retrogrades to form the theme for the Witch King. This is one of the Forth Age themes of Mordor, showcasing the possibility of Mordor's triumph.
  • The Orcs of Mordor theme: a variant of the Witch-King's theme, this variation is more devolved and is applied to the Armies of Mordor marching to the Black Gate, well after the demise of the Witch King.

Themes for The Shire

  • "Meriadoc the Warrior": A hybrid of the Shire theme, the Fellowship theme and the Rohan fanfare.
  • "The Shire Heroic Variant": This heroic setting of the Shire theme, interjected with brass fanfares, is applied strictly to Sam, as he races to save Frodo from the Orcs of Cirith Ungol. Adams mentions "several" heroic statements, which perhaps refer to the choral setting of "The Arguement" used on Mount Doom.
  • "The Shire Reborn" (Fourth Age theme[note 34]): This is the Fourth Age Shire theme, used as Sam and Rosie go home and the film closes. It is accompanied by a Fourth Age variant of the Shire Outline figure.
  • "Bilbo's Song" (Fourth Age theme): This is an encore theme that Howard Shore wrote specifically for the end of the fan credits of the Extended Edition of Return of the King. It is the final development of the Shire themes.

Themes for the Elves

  • "Arwen's Song" (Fourth Age theme): Sung by Liv Tyler. It was originally slated for the moment when Arwen has a vision of Eldarion (which in and of itself was originally slated for the Two Towers), but was bumped for a variation of the Evenstar theme, and ended up being used in the Houses of Healing scene.

Themes for the Dwarves

  • "The Dwarf End-Cap": To cap off the Dwarf themes in the final film, Howard Shore scored Gimli and his antics with a motif constructed like the Hobbit End-Cap, but more in the vein of the Dwarvish music.

Themes for Gondor

  • "The Realm of Gondor in Ascension" (Fourth Age theme)
  • "The Stewards of Gondor" (Faramir and Denethor): This theme is usually heard on a pan flute. It is used when Faramir argues with his father as to retaking Osgiliath, and again when he marches down Minas Tirith to fulfill his father's will on the matter.
  • "Battlefield Heroism": Used for the Heroism of the soldiers of Gondor and, by extension, to the heroism of Pippin (a soldier of Gondor) as he rescues Faramir from the fires.
  • "Gondor Reborn" (Fourth Age theme[note 35]): A Fourth-Age theme, based on the Minas Tirith theme. It was also used in the fall of Barad Dur (and in the finale of the first Hobbit film) as a more general "good triumphs over evil" musical idea.

Themes for the Monsters of Middle Earth

  • "Shelob's theme": For Shelob, Howard Shore crafted music that is more in the style of horror film scores, making her feel alien to the texture of the overarching score while also conveying her terror and gait.

Themes for Middle Earth

  • "The Paths of the Dead" ("All Shall Come to Darkness" theme): This theme is scored for low voices and Tibetan Gongs, giving it an ethereal feeling. It is hinted when the apparition of the King of the Dead first appears, and again during Aragorn's dream of Arwen before the Paths of the Dead sequence where it figures prominently.
  • "The Return Journey" (Fourth Age "Ring Quest" theme): Whereas the Journey There is based on the Ring theme, The Return Journey is based on the Shire theme.
  • "The Grey Havens" theme (Fourth Age "Another Path" theme): featured in "Into the West" by Annie Lennox. It is only foreshadowed two times: first when Gandalf describes the vision of Valinor to Pippin, and again triumphantly when Sam lifts Frodo up Mount Doom.

Reprised Themes from "The Hobbit"Edit

In The Hobbit film trilogy soundtracks, aside from adding well over 70 new leitmotifs to the Middle Earth catalog, Howard Shore chose to reprise and vary pieces of music that did not initially have thematic significance in the Lord of the Rings, thereby turning them into themes. Since some of these motifs are only short, singular quotes, or a subtle variation on an existing motif, their status as leitmotifs is debatable and they are only listed as possible motifs.

Themes for the Dwarves

  • "Durin's folk": The early Moria sequences in The Fellowship of the Ring were scored with a droning male choir. This piece was reprised in the Prologue to An Unexpected Journey, thereby turning it into a theme for the Dwarves.[14]
  • "The Map of the Lonely Mountain": This melody is heard in "The Fellowship of the Ring" when Gandalf takes a gander at the Map of the Lonely Mountain at Bag-End. It appears several times in The Hobbit, and is connected to Thorin's theme.[15]

Themes for the Shire

  • "Smoke rings": A short variant of the Shire theme, used for Bilbo and Gandalf puffing Smoke Rings from their pipes, was reused for a similar shot at the Beginning of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", with a harmonic hint towards The History of the Ring theme.[16]
  • "Bree": A "dark" variation on the Hobbit Skip-Beat, used as the Hobbits enter the town of Bree in "The Fellowship of the Ring" was reused for shots of Thorin walking in Bree in the prologue to The Desolation of Smaug.[17]
  • "Gandalf's fireworks": In "The Fellowship of the Ring", Gandalf's fireworks, set up by Merry and Pippin, were scored with a tune based on the Hobbit Accompaniment figures. That piece was used twice in The Hobbit to illustrate Bilbo's memories of Gandalf. A menacing variant of it was used over the opening credits to The Desolation of Smaug, connection the firework (which was fashioned in the likeness of Smaug) and the titular dragon.[18]
  • "Mithril vest": An Oboe line that scored Bilbo giving the Mithril Vest to Frodo was used for Thorin giving it to Bilbo.[19]
  • "Bilbo's birthday": In the Fellowship of the Ring, as the banner for Bilbo's Birthday Party is erected, a statement of the Hobbiton theme ends with a "fiddle fanfare". Shore re-used that piece to score Bilbo opening up replies to his Birthday invitations in the beginning of The Hobbit.[20]
  • Some of the playful music that accompanies Merry and Pippin in the cornfield is used when Bilbo is running out of his home. Whether or not there is a recurring leitmotif contained within the music is debatable.

Themes for the Elves

  • "Elvish medicine": Related to Arwen's theme, this was heard in the Fellowship of the Ring when Frodo succumbed to the effect of the Morgul Blade. It was reused in The Hobbit for Tauriel healing Kili.[21]
  • "Legolas' heroic feats": a swirling-string piece used for Legolas taking down a Mumakil from The Return of the King was reused for his scenes in Laketown.[22]
  • "Galadriel's powers": When Galadriel appears in wrath and banishes Sauron, Shore quotes a piece for brass that he used for Galadriel in "The Mirror of Galadriel" from the Fellowship of the Ring.[23]

Themes for Mordor

  • "The Forces of the Enemy": A variation on Sauron's theme, played over Descending Thirds accompaniment, was reused for Sauron's appearance to Gandalf and again in "the Guardians of the Three" from the Battle of the Five Armies.[24]
  • Minas Morgul: In both versions of the "High Fells" piece, a short musical figure from "A Coronal of Gold and Silver" appears, standing for the abode of the Ringwraiths.[25]

Theme for Nature

  • "The Eagles": Both of Shore's compositions for the Eagle rescue (the album and the finished film) are informed by "The Eagles" in Return of the King. The former, in particular, quotes the melody of "the Eagles" briefly.

Themes of The HobbitEdit

In The Hobbit, Howard Shore added about 70 more new themes which are a part of the greater catalogue of themes for the Middle Earth film franchise. The themes are part of the existing thematic families for Dwarves, Hobbits, Elves, Middle Earth, Nature and the Forces of Evil and the World of Men, and are as follows:

Unconfirmed leitmotifsEdit

The themes above have been identified by musicologist Doug Adams, namely in his Liner Notes and "The Music of the Lord of the Rings films" book, based on the intentions of Howard Shore as presented in the Complete Recordings. However, there are other motifs in the score, in three forms: themes that don't recur in the films or the Complete Recordings but do recur in alternate forms of the soundtracks like the Original Soundtrack or Rarities; motifs that are distinctive variants or components of existing themes which are nevertheless not labeled as separate themes by Doug Adams; and pieces of music (mostly diegetic music and musical sound effects) that were not written by Shore but are nevertheless used in conjunction with his score and reappear thematically. The validity with which these motifs are identified as themes varies.

Motifs in the Original Soundtracks, Fan-Credits, Rarities and SymphonyEdit

Some of these motifs went unused in the film (and the Complete Recording), but appeared several times over the course of the original soundtrack release (which are not covered by the book) or the Rarities Archives as well as the Lord of the Ring Symphony or the fan-credits of the extended editions.

Doug Adams identified at least one of them as a theme, the Second-Age Gondor theme. These appear below:

Theme for Gondor

  • "Numenore theme": The rarities introduced an uncut early variation of the prologue, featuring an aforementioned second-age variant of the Gondor theme, that has an ending distinct from both the "Ascension" and "Decline" codas.[26] In drafts of the music of the Lord of the Rings films, this theme was listed in the opening menu as an "unused theme.

Themes for Mordor

  • "The Prophecy": This was used for the original take on the Prologue. A snippet of it appears in the final Prologue and again in the Two Towers when Galadriel and Elrond converse. In both instances, it is related to the corrupting power of the Ring.[27]

Theme for the Shire

  • "Frodo's Song": a flute variation on Frodo's theme. A fragment of it is quoted over the end-credits before "Into the West" but there is also a longer version used under the "In Discussion" track on the Rarities Archive.

Themes for Middle Earth

  • "Emyn Muil": This melancholy melody for chorus was dialed out of the finished film, and appears only once in the Original Soundtrack and the Complete Recordings, yet appears three times in the Rarities Archives version of the track.
  • "Use Well the Days"

Themes for the Fellowship

  • "Breath of Life": This song, by Sheila Chandra, is connected to Aragorn's theme. It is also used in the trailer music for Return of the King, and - in the film version - in the Rivendell scenes during the Two Towers. The song is also informed by one of the settings of "The Missing" when Eowyn thinks Aragorn has died.

Theme for Nature

  • "Shadowfax theme": this choral melody appears only once in the finished film (and the Complete Recordings) where Gandalf, astride Shadowfax, charges with the Rohirrim at the Orcs at Helm's Deep. However, in the Original Soundtrack Release, this melody was also used when Shadowfax makes his first appearance.[28]

There are other "themes" of this nature but their definition is more tenuous. In the Extended Edition, there is technically a reprise of the Argonath music over the fan-credits. The choral piece for Saruman's duel with Gandalf can be seen as a relative of the Servants of Sauron theme (in the Lord of the Rings Symphony, Shore clarifies this connection by attaching this piece, in full, to the end of the composition "The Black Rider"), and even the choral Outburst "Mettanna!" from the prologue to the Two Towers is reprised several times. There are several alternate forms of existing themes that never got past the mock-up stage, like an alternate Moria theme, an alternate, major-key version for the Ascension of Gondor, an alternate Frodo's Song and Arwen's Song.

Variants and fragmentsEdit

Another group of motifs are ones that can be subjectively labeled as distinct variants of the themes in Adams' menu, even though he himself does not list them as separate themes. First, there are multiple gestures that are at the basis of some of themes, like the "there and back again" shape that opens the Fellowship theme and conencts it to its subsidiary themes, which may be considered a leitmotif on its own right. Equally, the inverted figure, which serves as a general gesture for the forces of evil, could be considered a leitmotif, as can other figures as well.

Part of the thematic development in the score also occurs throughout introduction of hybrid figures, although few of those are labeled as separate themes by Adams: there is a recurring hybrid of Smeagol's theme and the Ring theme, which illustrates his connecting to it; In his programs for Live concerts, Adams mentions the hybrid of all of the ring's themes, heard at Mount Doom, as a theme for the Destruction of the Ring. This "'meta'-ring theme" is a culmination of various hybrids that occur, first between the History and Evil themes and followed by the Evil and Seduction theme (in the prologue to Return of the King), but it isn't listed as a theme in Doug's book.[29]

Other notable variations include Shore changing melodies from descending to rising, a device applied to all the Mordor motifs in Return of the King, but not one of those is labeled a separate theme in the book. He also takes the Nazgul harmonies and sets them to a choir for the Witch King's battle with Eowyn and while that figure is non-recurring, it is a device that he also used with other themes like Thorin's in An Unexpected Journey. There is a two-beat variation of the Mordor Skip-Beat used in "the most frenetic situations"[30] which can be described as a separate chase motif.

The Shire theme, because of the malleable and long-winded nature, can be described as two themes, with the B-section being used sparingly and separately from the A-phrase, often in a very different, expansive, orchestral set-up.[31] The underlying bodhran-tapping accompaniment, while too generic to be a proper leitmotif, is a recurring figure across the various scores.[32] While the Shire's theme Forth Age variation is described as a new theme, the undelying accompaniment, a development of the Outline figure, is not. In fact, the outline figure also has a "warped" variation used for Smeagol's antics (when he fetches rabbits for Frodo) which could be considered a second-age variant, as well. Smeagol and Deagol are actually associated with several "second-age" variations on several of the Shire themes, including a variant of the rural or playful Shire theme and a variation of the Hobbit Antics.

Other themes also have such variations: The melody and accompaniments of the Rivendell theme often appear separately, so the Arpeggio accompaniment can be described as a separate motif, possibly for Elrond. The Rohan theme appears twice (although, admittedly, within a single piece) in a "klaxon" variation, as does one of the choral settings of "The Call". Aragorn's theme appears in a "second-age" variation attached to Isildur, mentioned by Doug as "the fleeting shape of the Fellowship theme."[33] For Anduril, Shore introduces a triumphant setting of the otherwise pensive Minas Tirith theme, accompanied by the Rivendell Arpeggios. Since he used those Arpeggios as a device for transforming a theme in The Hobbit, this too may be considered a separate theme. The woodflute tune for Eowyn and Faramir, also, can be seen as a summation of Eowyn's various themes, and hence may be considered a theme, as well.

Diegetic motifs (not by Howard Shore)Edit

Although the score is by Howard Shore, some of the diegetic music in the film is not. Most of it was composed by a New-Zealand musician collective known as Plan 9 (Jannet Roddick, David Donaldson, Stephen Roche) and David Longe, known collectively within the context of the Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) as "The Elvish Impersonators." They composed several vocal and instrumental pieces as well musical sound effects used for the Ring and Sauron, for the Dead Marshes and for Fangorn. Other musical sound effects, added by the films' sound design department, include war horns and bells ringing.[34] Other film compositions were made by Enya, co-producer Fran Walsh and by the actors Viggo Mortensen and Billy Boyd.

The role of these pieces within the structure of the music of the Lord of the Rings is arguable. While the weren't composed by Howard Shore, they often were accompanied by the score: The second verse of "Edge of Night" was accompanied by the string section and picked up by the clarinet, Gandalf's performance of the Old Walking song was harmonized by the orchestra, the underscore to both of Enya's compositions was orchestrated and conducted by Howard Shore. The fiddle accompaniment of the Drinking Score is even featured in the live performances. All of those pieces (excluding "rock and pool" as well as what are outright effects like horn calls) are even featured on the album. Some of it, like Aragorn's coronation chant, even appears in the Lord of the Rings Symphony.

Furthermore, many of the musical sound effects like horn-calls were made to complement the score[34] while other pieces shared a more coincidental connection to the score, such as the stepwise melody of "The Edge of Night" (evoking the Shire music) and its open-fifth opening figure, evoking Gondor, where it is sung in the film. Others like the diegetic 5/4-time drum-beats were outright inspired by the score.

Within the overarching concept of Howard's Middle Earth music (including the music of "the Hobbit" films), the score has occasionally adopted diegetic music (by "the Elvish Impersonators") like the Misty Mountains song, as well as leaked into diegetic music (like "Valley of Imladris") and even into sound effects, with a war horn calling out the Erebor theme. Hence, these compositions can be viewed in much the same way that other composers will use phrases from Dies Irae as themes within their scores.

These "themes" include the piece "Flaming Red Hair on her feet" which would go on to be reprised in The Hobbit, The Old Walking Song, which appears twice in the score; Rock and Pool, which appears three times in the series; The Edge of Night[note 36] which was reprised in the trailer for The Battle of the Five Armies and is related to that film's own end-credit song. These can be, to some extent, attributed to the thematic family of The Shire. Others such as the musically-produced sound-effects associated with the Ring or the Orcish war chants (recorded in a crowded Rugby stadium) can be associated with the Mordor material. Even pieces such as Aniron (which is formally dubbed "theme for Aragorn and Arwen") or the Two Towers trailer music, Requiem for a Tower, could be seen as part of the construction of the music of Middle Earth/


Howard Shore orchestrated the music himself and made use of an immense ensemble: the core of the orchestra[35] ranging from 93 to 120 pieces, as well as a "celtic" band of 9 players or more, an "eastern" band of at least four players, multiple choirs calling for some 210 singers or more, and about 15 vocal soloists, and twenty more in the diegetic music.

In a live performance, a lot of the expanded instrumentation such as sections of double brass or added woodwinds - are removed, and some of the parts can be doubled by a single player, and the various soloist parts are often performed by one soprano. Nevertheless, such performances always require a mimimum of 230 players, and have been knows to exceed 400-pieces,[note 42] with expanded choral forces and sometimes with augmented orchestral forces.[57]

Additionally, Shore's composition for The Hobbit also calls for added pieces in the orchestra and existing bands, as well as a 16-piece Gamelan orchestra, several baroque instruments, and some added instruments (within and outside of the orchestral palette) to be played by the existing ensemble as well as additional soloists. Trailer music, written by Shore or otherwise, featured additional parts (such as added cellos and horns) or was layered and remixed to create such an effect.

Also, the diegetic music[58] and musical sound design in the film [34][59] features additional instruments such as banjolele, harmonium, hurdy-gurdy, goblet drum, castanets, Jew's harp, rommelpot, zither, cowhorn, dungchen, bells, and possibly congas, bongos,[60] hasapi and a home-made Đàn-bầu.[61]

The orchestra, choir, soloists and instruments were recorded at a variety of venues: Watford Town Hall, Abbey Road Studios, Air Lyndhurst, Henry Wood Studio and the Wellington Town Hall. Several of the soloists were recorded in private studios. The symphony version was recorded in KKL Lucerne, and "A Composer's Journey" was recorded in the Montreal Symphony House. Effort was put into creating a unified sound between the various orchestras and venues.

Shore was adamant on creating a unique sound for this series, and created a unique way of handling the orchestra, dividing it by the range of the instruments. The choir, soloists and specialist instruments were often (but not always) recorded apart from the orchestra, with many of the choral sessions being conducted by their respective choirmaster, under Shore's supervision.[62] Shore was insistent on not using any electronic sounds in the recording of the score, although he did use mock-ups in the preparation of the score.[4]

Use of Tolkien languagesEdit

The film score for The Lord of the Rings incorporates extensive vocal music blended with the orchestral arrangements. The great majority of the lyrics used in the libretto are in the invented languages of Middle-earth, representing the various cultures and races in Tolkien's writings. These languages include Quenya and Sindarin associated with Elves, Adûnaic and Rohirric for Men, and Khuzdul of the Dwarves. Old English was used as an analog for Rohirric and English was used as an analog for the Common Tongue. Some of these languages had been developed extensively by Tolkien, while others were extrapolated by linguist David Salo based on the limited examples of vocabulary and linguistic style available.

The libretto was derived from several sources, including songs and poems written by Tolkien, phrases from the screenplay (often sung against the corresponding dialogue or recitation) as well as original and adapted material from Shore and from screenwriters Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and others, all translated by Salo while stressing good choral sounds.[63] The vocal music serves primarily to give texture and cultural aesthetic to the score; there is never any translation of the lyrics in the on-screen presentation, and in some cases only fragments of the source texts are used for their sound more so than their meaning, although overall the use of the choral text remains mostly coherent.


The score includes a series of songs, diegetic and non-diegetic. Some of the songs and the associated underscore were released as single CD releases and music videos featuring footage from the film and the production, prior to the release of the entire soundtracks.[64] Some of the diegetic songs were not composed by Howard Shore, but he orchestrated and conducted the orchestral accompaniment and even reprised some of them in his symphony.[65]

  • "Aníron" (The Fellowship of the Ring) performed and composed by Enya, orchestrated and conducted by Shore. Released as a Single for Enya, the London Philharmonic and London Voices. An alternate take appears on Enya's album.
  • "Arwen's Song" (The Return of the King) performed by Liv Tyler.
  • "Asea Aranion": Performed by Sissel Kyrkjebø.

Diegetic Songs

  • "To the Bottle I Go" (The Fellowship of the Ring) performed by Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Elijah Wood, and other Hobbit cast members. Composed by Fran Walsh.[66]
  • "The Road Goes Ever On": sung by Sir Ian Mckellen and later by Sir Ian Holm. The first appearance is underscored by Shore's whistle music. Composed by the Elvish Impersonators.
  • "Lament for Gandalf": sung in Lothlorien by Elizabeth Fraser and a women choir. It was composed by Howard Shore and forms part of the score, but is heard by the characters.
  • Elvish Lament: Composed by "The Elvish Impersonators": Plan 9 and David Longe. It is the only vocal duet in the score.[66]
  • "The Song of Beren and Lúthien" (The Fellowship of the Ring) composed and performed by Viggo Mortensen.[65]
  • "The Funeral of Théodred" (The Two Towers) composed by Plan 9 and performed by Miranda Otto.[67]
  • "Fishing Song": Sung by Gollum in several spots (as well as in An Unexpected Journey)
  • "The Green Dragon" (The Return of the King) performed by Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan. Composed by Plan 9. Accompanied (in Shore's underscore) with Dermot Crehan on fiddle.[67]
  • "The Edge of Night" (The Return of the King) composed and performed by Billy Boyd.[65]
  • "The Return of The King" (The Return of The King) performed by Viggo Mortensen.[65]

End-credits songs

  • "May It Be" (The Fellowship of the Ring) performed and composed by Enya, underscore orchestrated and conducted by Shore: nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song in 2001 and performed at the ceremony. Released as a Single and as a music video featuring footage from the film.
  • "In Dreams" (The Fellowship of the Ring) performed by Edward Ross.
  • "Gollum's Song" (The Two Towers) performed by Emilíana Torrini is musically related to Gollum's Pity Theme. The lyrics are by Fran Walsh. Released as a Single and as a music video featuring footage from the film. The song was to have been performed by Björk, whose name actually appeared in the closing credits of the film as shown in theaters; Björk had to decline because of her pregnancy, however, and Torrini was credited in the DVD. This track is also titled "Long Ways to Go Yet," in The Complete Recordings. This version of the track includes additional instrumental music at the end, making it a medley of themes to cap off the album. Artist Geoff Keezer has released a jazz piano version of the song. Unrelated to the song of the same name in the book.
  • "Into the West" (The Return of the King) performed by Annie Lennox: won the Academy Award for Best Song in 2004. Alternate acoustic takes were released to the public. Released as a Single and as a music video featuring footage from the film.
  • "Use Well the Days" (The Return of the King, Deluxe Soundtrack) performed by Annie Lennox.

Diegetic musicEdit

Besides the source songs, the films also feature instrumental diegetic music, mostly by The Elvish Impersonators: Including "Flaming Red Hair on her feet", an alternate (and unreleased) "Flowers for Rosie" and a piece for the Bywater Marketplace. The film also includes source drumming (set to Shore's concept of a 5/4-time beat for the Orcs), chanting and horn calls, which were all made to conform to the score.

The underscore goes on to accompany most of those diegetic pieces: Mortensen's chant at the coronation is backed by soft choir and strings. "The Edge of Night" features string accompaniment and ends with the clarinet and than the string repeating the melody, so the contributions grow out of the score.

Deleted tracksEdit

Because a lot of the music was being recorded as the film was being edited and because the recordings were subjected to the direction of Peter Jackson, the process took several weeks for each film and produced a variety of alternate takes and changing compositions. Therefore, several pieces of music written by Howard Shore never made it into the final cut of the film trilogy or any officially released soundtracks. Among these are various alternate takes and small extensions that were micro-edited out of the film and soundtrack releases, but some have been unearthed by fans.

Some additional music, including the most prominent alternate takes, was released in the Rarities Archive or played over the fan-credits of the Extended films. For instance, a special musical arrangement written for the trailer for The Return of the King, which primarily consisted of principal leitmotifs along with movie trailer-like music.[68] Additionally, there was a song entitled "Use Well the Days" sung by Annie Lennox, which can be found on a supplementary DVD included with The Return of the King soundtrack in some packages released in 2003.[69] If all the new material is complied together, it would amount to about 14 hours of music.


For the three films Shore worked with many vocal and instrumental soloists.


Cast Performers


  • The "Elvish Impersonators": Jannet Roddick, David Donaldson, Stephen Roche ("Plan 9") and David Long: Fiddle, Hurdy-Gurdy, Rommelpot, Jaw Harp, Harmonium, Whistle, Bodhran, Goblet Drum, Castanets, Tambourines, drones, Zither; possibly Dan Bau, Hasapi, Conga and Bongos.
  • Dermot Crehan – Fiddle, Sarangi, Hardanger fiddle,[70] Double Fiddle.
  • Sir James Galwayflute, tin whistle, low whistle.[71]
  • Ulrich Herkenhoff – pan flute
  • Edward Cervenka – Hammered Dulcimer, cimbalom.
  • Mike Taylor: Tin Whistle, Low Whistle, Fiddle,
  • Jan Hendrickse: Rhaita, Nay Flute.
  • Sylvia Hallett: Sarangi, Dilruba.
  • Edward Hession: Musette.
  • Tracey Goldsmith: Musette.
  • Jean Kelly: Celtic Harp.
  • Greg Knowles: Dulcimer, Cimbalom.
  • John Parricelli: Six-String Guitar, Twelve-String Guitar.
  • Gillian Tingay: Celtic Harp.
  • Sonia Slany: Monochord.
  • Robert White: Drones/Bodhrán,
  • Alan Doherty: Nay Flute, Tin Whistle.
  • Alan Kelly: Bodhrán

Original soundtracksEdit

Recordings of the score were originally issued on single-disc albums, that closely followed the theatrical release dates of the films or presented earlier versions recorded during the film's editing.[72] The music on the disc was arranged as a concert-piece while also keeping reasonably with the plot progression of the film.[73] Many of the tracks are edited to create Concert Suites of some of the themes such as the Ringwraith theme (in "Black Rider"), the Durin theme (In "Journey in the Dark"), the Rohan theme (in "Riders of Rohan") and the Gondor theme (in "The White Tree").

Fellowship of the Ring The Two Towers The Return of the King
"The Prophecy" (3:55)[1][2] Foundations of Stone" (3:51)[2] "A Storm Is Coming" (2:52)
"Concerning Hobbits" (2:55)[1][2] "The Taming of Sméagol" (2:48)[2] "Hope and Memory" (1:45)[1]
"The Shadow of the Past" (3:32)[1] "The Riders of Rohan" (4:05)[2] "Minas Tirith" (3:37)[2]
"The Treason of Isengard" (4:00)[1] "The Passage of the Marshes" (2:46)[1] "The White Tree" (3:25)[1][2]
"The Black Rider" (2:48)[1][2] "The Uruk-hai" (2:58)[3] "The Steward of Gondor" (3:53)
"At the Sign of the Prancing Pony" (3:14)[1] "The King of the Golden Hall" (3:49)[2] "Minas Morgul" (1:58)[2]
"A Knife in the Dark" (3:34)[1] "The Black Gate Is Closed" (3:17)[3] "The Ride of the Rohirrim" (2:08)[2]
Flight to the Ford" (4:14)[1] "Evenstar" (3:15)[2] "Twilight and Shadow" (3:30)[1][2]
"Many Meetings" (3:05)[1] "The White Rider" (2:28)[1] "Cirith Ungol" (1:44)[1]
"The Council of Elrond" (3:49)[1]

Feat. Aniron (Theme for Aragorn and

Arwen) by Enya

"Treebeard" (2:43)[2] "Andúril" (2:35)[1][2]
"The Ring Goes South" (2:03)[1] "The Leave Taking" (3:41)[2] "Shelob's Lair" (4:07)[2]
"A Journey in the Dark" (4:20)[2] "Helm's Deep" (3:53)[1][2] "Ash and Smoke" (3:25)
"The Bridge of Khazad-dûm" (5:57)[1] "The Forbidden Pool" (5:27)[1][2] "The Fields of the Pelennor" (3:26)
"Lothlórien" (4:33)[1][2] "Breath of Life" (5:07)[2] "Hope Fails" (2:20)[1]
"The Great River" (2:42)[1] "The Hornburg" (4:34) "The Black Gate Opens" (4:01)[1]
"Amon Hen" (5:02) "Forth Eorlingas" (3:15)[1] "The End of All Things" (5:12)[1][2]
"The Breaking of the Fellowship" (7:20)[2] "Isengard Unleashed" (5:01) "The Return of the King" (10:14)
"May It Be" (by Enya; 4:19)[1][2] "Samwise the Brave" (3:46)[2] "The Grey Havens" (5:59)[2]
"Gollum's Song" (5:51) [2] "Into the West" (5:57)[1][2]
Bonus Track:

"Farewell to Lórien" (4:37)[2]

Bonus Track:

"Use Well the Days" (3:10)[1][2]

Total length: 71:26 Total length: 77:38 Total length: 75:15
Total length: 224:19
[1] Contains material not included in the Complete Recordings.

[2] Concertized piece

[2] Edited-down in the Deluxe Edition to accommodate for the Bonus track.

All soundtrack albums of the trilogy have been released through Reprise Records, Enya's label at that time of the first soundtrack's release. While the cover art for The Fellowship of the Ring uses an original compilation of film characters, the covers for The Two Towers and The Return of the King reflect the respective film posters.

Limited Deluxe versions of the Original Soundtracks were also released, with bonus tracks covering Farwell to Lorien (from the Extended Edition) and the song Use Well the Days, as well as a documentary (made by Shore's wife, Elizabeth Conotoir, following Shore's creation of the music and his work with the soloists and director.

List of original soundtracks, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications

The Fellowship of the Ring 29 2 8 2 2 3 7 21 8 10
The Two Towers 43 2 31 11 3 8 20 14 28
The Return of the King 36 2 33 5 5 10 19 9 8 34
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

The Complete RecordingsEdit

Starting in 2005, a year after the extended release of The Return of the King, Reprise Records began to release one multi-disc set for each part of the trilogy. These annually published collections, titled The Complete Recordings, contain the entire score for the extended versions of the films on CD, along with an additional DVD-Audio disc that offers 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround mixes of the soundtrack. Each album also comes with extensive liner notes by music journalist Doug Adams which reviews all of the tracks and provides information about the process of composing and recording the score, as well as a detailed list of all musical instruments, people and organizations involved. These Annotated Scores have been made freely available by New Line on the promotional website for the soundtracks (see below). The cover artwork uses common elements for the three albums like the film series' logo and an inscription in Tolkien's tengwar letters. The background of each album cover differs though in that it shows an aspect from the map of Middle-earth drawn by Christopher Tolkien that fits the title of the release and the location of the plot: The Fellowship of the Ring depicts the Shire, Rhudaur and Eregion in dark red, the cover for The Two Towers shows Rohan and Fangorn in dark blue while The Return of the King shows a map of Gondor in dark green.

The Fellowship of the RingEdit

The Lord of the Rings:
The Fellowship of the Ring:
The Complete Recordings
Soundtrack album by Howard Shore
Released 13 December 2005
Length 180:35
Label Reprise

The Complete Recordings for The Fellowship of the Ring span just over three hours of music on three CDs. The set was released on 13 December 2005.

Track listing
Disc one
No. Title Length
1. "Prologue: One Ring to Rule Them All" 7:16
2. "The Shire" 2:29
3. "Bag End" (feat. "The Road Goes Ever On", performed by Ian McKellen) 4:35
4. "Very Old Friends" 3:12
5. "Flaming Red Hair" 2:39
6. "Farewell Dear Bilbo" 1:45
7. "Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe" (feat. "The Road Goes Ever On", performed by Ian Holm; feat. Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan) 8:54
8. "A Conspiracy Unmasked" 6:09
9. "Three Is Company" 1:58
10. "The Passing of the Elves" 2:39
11. "Saruman the White" 4:09
12. "A Shortcut to Mushrooms" 4:07
13. "Strider" 2:34
14. "The Nazgûl" (feat. "The Song of Beren and Lúthien", performed by Viggo Mortensen) 6:04
Total length: 58:30
Disc two
No. Title Length
1. "Weathertop" 2:14
2. "The Caverns of Isengard" 4:54
3. "Give Up the Halfling" 4:49
4. "Orthanc" 1:06
5. "Rivendell" 3:26
6. "The Sword That Was Broken" 3:34
7. "The Council of Elrond Assembles" (feat. "Aníron (Theme for Aragorn and Arwen)", composed & performed by Enya) 4:01
8. "The Great Eye" 5:30
9. "Gilraen's Memorial" 5:01
10. "The Pass of Caradhras" 5:04
11. "The Doors of Durin" 6:03
12. "Moria" 2:27
13. "Gollum" 2:26
14. "Balin's Tomb" 8:30
Total length: 59:05
Disc three
No. Title Length
1. "Khazad-dûm" 8:00
2. "Caras Galadhon" (feat. "Lament for Gandalf", performed by Elizabeth Fraser) 9:20
3. "The Mirror of Galadriel" 6:21
4. "The Fighting Uruk-hai" 11:32
5. "Parth Galen" 9:13
6. "The Departure of Boromir" 5:29
7. "The Road Goes Ever On... (Part 1)" 5:58
8. "May It Be" (composed & performed by Enya) 3:26
9. "The Road Goes Ever On... (Part 2)" (feat. "In Dreams", performed by Edward Ross) 3:41
Total length: 63:01

The Two TowersEdit

The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers:
The Complete Recordings
Soundtrack album by Howard Shore
Released 7 November 2006
Length 188:13
Label Reprise

The Complete Recordings for The Two Towers span over three hours of music on three CDs. The set was released on 7 November 2006.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic      [90]
ScoreNotes A[89]
Track listing
Disc one
No. Title Length
1. "Glamdring" 3:50
2. "Elven Rope" 2:19
3. "Lost in Emyn Muil" 4:15
4. "My Precious" 2:56
5. "Uglúk's Warriors" 1:41
6. "The Three Hunters" 6:12
7. "The Banishment of Éomer" 3:55
8. "Night Camp" 2:50
9. "The Plains of Rohan" 4:15
10. "Fangorn" 5:13
11. "The Dead Marshes" 5:08
12. ""Wraiths on Wings"" 2:08
13. "Gandalf the White" 6:48
14. "The Dreams of Trees" 1:55
15. "The Heir of Númenor" 6:51
16. "Ent-Draught" 2:54
Total length: 63:10
Disc two
No. Title Length
1. "Edoras" 4:34
2. "The Court of Meduseld" 3:11
3. "Théoden King" (feat. "The Funeral of Théodred", performed by Miranda Otto) 6:12
4. "The King's Decision" 2:08
5. "Exodus from Edoras" 5:43
6. "The Forests of Ithilien" 6:38
7. "One of the Dúnedain" (feat. "Evenstar", performed by Isabel Bayrakdarian) 7:13
8. "The Wolves of Isengard" 4:22
9. "Refuge at Helm's Deep" 4:00
10. "The Voice of Saruman" 1:12
11. "Arwen's Fate" (feat. "The Grace of the Valar", performed by Sheila Chandra) 3:59
12. "The Story Foretold" 3:39
13. "Sons of the Steward" 6:03
14. "Rock and Pool" 2:55
15. "Faramir's Good Council" 2:21
Total length: 63:59
Disc three
No. Title Length
1. "Aragorn's Return" 2:12
2. "War Is Upon Us" 3:36
3. ""Where Is the Horse and the Rider?"" 6:16
4. "The Host of the Eldar" 2:51
5. "The Battle of the Hornburg" 2:53
6. "The Breach of the Deeping Wall" 3:03
7. "The Entmoot Decides" 2:06
8. "Retreat" (feat. "Haldir's Lament", performed by Elizabeth Fraser) 4:41
9. "Master Peregrin's Plan" 2:32
10. "The Last March of the Ents" (feat. Ben Del Maestro) 2:31
11. "The Nazgûl Attack" 2:45
12. "Théoden Rides Forth" (feat. Ben Del Maestro) 5:48
13. "The Tales That Really Matter" 12:01
14. ""Long Ways to Go Yet"" (feat. "Gollum's Song", performed by Emilíana Torrini) 8:06
Total length: 61:12

The Return of the KingEdit

The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King:
The Complete Recordings
Soundtrack album by Howard Shore
Released 20 November 2007
Length 229:17
Label Reprise

The Complete Recordings for The Return of the King span almost three hours and fifty minutes on four CDs. The accompanying DVD-audio disc is double-sided to accommodate all of the material. The set was released on 20 November 2007 and is currently the only of the three to be available for digital download.[91]

Track listing
Disc one
No. Title Length
1. "Roots and Beginnings" 6:31
2. "Journey to the Crossroads" 2:17
3. "The Road to Isengard" 2:18
4. "The Foot of Orthanc" 4:45
5. "Return to Edoras" 1:51
6. "The Chalice Passed" 1:51
7. "The Green Dragon" (feat. Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan) 0:35
8. "Gollum's Villainy" 2:10
9. "Éowyn's Dream" 1:24
10. "The Palantír" 3:10
11. "Flight from Edoras" 2:19
12. "The Grace of Undómiel" (feat. Renée Fleming) 6:21
13. "The Eyes of the White Tower" 4:33
14. "A Coronal of Silver and Gold" 8:27
15. "The Lighting of the Beacons" 9:03
Total length: 57:32
Disc two
No. Title Length
1. "Osgiliath Invaded" (feat. Ben Del Maestro) 8:48
2. "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol" 2:41
3. "Allegiance to Denethor" 3:20
4. "The Sacrifice of Faramir" (feat. "The Edge of Night", performed by Billy Boyd) 4:09
5. "The Parting of Sam and Frodo" 4:04
6. "Marshalling at Dunharrow" 4:57
7. "Andúril - Flame of the West" 3:28
8. "The Passing of the Grey Company" 4:12
9. "Dwimorberg - The Haunted Mountain" 2:26
10. "Master Meriadoc, Swordthain" 1:40
11. "The Paths of the Dead" 6:22
12. "The Siege of Gondor" 9:01
13. "Shelob's Lair" 8:53
14. "Merry's Simple Courage" 2:09
Total length: 66:03
Disc three
No. Title Length
1. "Grond - The Hammer of the Underworld" 1:33
2. "Shelob the Great" 5:13
3. "The Tomb of the Stewards" 3:58
4. "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields" 4:10
5. "The Pyre of Denethor" 2:59
6. "The Mûmakil" 0:57
7. "Dernhelm in Battle" 2:06
8. "A Far Green Country" 1:28
9. "Shieldmaiden of Rohan" 5:07
10. "The Passing of Théoden" 2:16
11. "The Houses of Healing" (feat. Liv Tyler) 2:58
12. "The Tower of Cirith Ungol" 4:41
13. "The Last Debate" (feat. "Asëa Aranion", performed by Sissel) 4:21
14. "The Land of Shadow" 6:29
15. "The Mouth of Sauron" (feat. Sir James Galway) 8:16
16. ""For Frodo"" (feat. Ben Del Maestro) 3:17
Total length: 59:44
Disc four
No. Title Length
1. "Mount Doom" (feat. Renée Fleming) 4:09
2. "The Crack of Doom" 4:02
3. "The Eagles" (feat. Renée Fleming) 2:24
4. "The Fellowship Reunited" (feat. Sir James Galway, Viggo Mortensen, and Renée Fleming) 12:18
5. "The Journey to the Grey Havens" (feat. Sir James Galway) 7:35
6. "Elanor" (feat. Sir James Galway) 1:28
7. "Days of the Ring" (feat. "Into the West", performed by Annie Lennox) 11:10
8. "Bilbo's Song" 2:58
Total length: 45:58

Theme presentations and Concert SuitesEdit

Howard Shore crafted a series of concert suites that develop a single theme, either by means of editing down material written for alternate forms of the film (which was scored during editing), thematic presentations (in mock-up and orchestral renditions) made for Peter Jackson, and several theme presentations written largely for the end-credits or during the Lord of the Rings Symphony.[92]

The Fellowship of the Ring

  • "Seduction of the Ring": The Symphony features a concert presentation of the Seduction theme with the associated lyrics and a monochord accompaniment.
  • "Concerning Hobbits": This famous piece from the original soundtrack is edited from material written for an alternate edit of the introduction of the Shire.[93] It was reworked into The Lord of the Rings Symphony.
  • Aníron: This song exists in a longer, album version, which appears on "The Very Best of Enya."
  • "A Journey in the Dark": The credits present an edited down "concert score" version of the music written for the Moria scenes.
  • "The Fellowship of the Ring": On the original Soundtrack release, the statement of the Fellowship theme (which precedes "In Dreams" in the credits) segues directly into the final crescendo of the theme, rather than returning to a tracked statement from "The Great Eye" as it does in the credits, thereby creating a fleshed out, concert-form theme presentation for the Fellowship theme.

The Two Towers

  • "Rohan": The original soundtrack presents a version of Eowyn and Theoden's theme played on violas before transitioning into an alternate of the final statement of the Rohan theme that closes the theatrical credits.
  • "Evenstar": Featured in the credits. It does not include the solo voice.
  • "Gandalf the White": featured only in the credits.

The Return of the King

  • "The End of All Things": an edited alternate of the music of the finale at Mount Doom, with a concert-finale missing the big crescendos of the complete recording's version of the piece.
  • "Days of the Ring": The theatrical credits end with a tribute to Richard Wagner's music of the Ring Cycle (particularly the last of the cycle, Götterdämmerung), which was in inspiration of Shore in terms of the structure of the work. The section isn't an outright quote of any specific passage of Wagner's Opera, but more of an allusion to his sound and several of his melodic ideas. The Original Soundtrack release has a concert-setting of this finale, which is missing the big crescendo of the film version.
  • "The Journey Back": featured over the credits before "Into the West" begins.
  • "Frodo's Song": A flute rendition of the theme which is played under the "In Discussion" rarities track. Only a snippet of it appears in the finished credits.

Shore also created a suite of Fellowship of the Ring, played in his "Film Music of Howard Shore" concerts, and a suite for chamber orchestra and flute created for Sir James Galway. The Live to Projection concerts also feature variations of some of those suites as entr'acte music.[94]

The Music of the Lord of the Rings FilmsEdit

The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films (ISBN 978-0-7390-7157-1) is a book which was written by Doug Adams and released on 5 October 2010. The book contains a detailed look at the themes and leitmotifs in the films' music.[95] It also contains snippets of sheet music and illustrations. The book was released with a companion CD, The Rarities Archives. The CD has 21 tracks of previously unreleased music created for the films, as well as an audio interview with Howard Shore.

The Rarities ArchivesEdit

The Lord of the Rings: The Rarities Archives
Soundtrack album by Howard Shore
Released European Union on 28 September and in the U.S. and worldwide on 5 October 2010
Length 1:19:25
Label Howe Records
Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Prologue: One Ring to Rule Them All (Alternate)" 5:56
2. "The Shire/The Hobbits (Mock-up)" 2:00
3. "Out From Bree (Theatrical Version & Alternate)" 4:04
4. "Flight to the Ford (Alternate)" 4:04
5. "Moria (Mock-up)" 1:44
6. "The Fighting Uruk-hai (Alternate)" 1:47
7. "The Argonath (Alternate)" 2:18
8. "Gwenwin in în ("Arwen's Song" Alternate/Mock-up)" 2:02
9. "Arwen's Song (Complete)" 2:11
10. "Emyn Muil (Alternate)" 3:23
11. "The Rohan Fanfare (Mock-up)" 3:09
12. "The Eaves of Fangorn (Alternate)" 5:25
13. "The Ent Theme (Mock-up)" 2:00
14. "The Return of the King Trailer" 2:34
15. "The Gondor Theme (Mock-up)" 2:18
16. "The Muster of Rohan (Alternate)" 6:43
17. "The Siege of Gondor (Alternate)" 3:13
18. "Shieldmaiden of Rohan (Theatrical Version)" 2:00
19. "Sammath Naur (Alternate)" 8:51
20. "Frodo's Song ("Into the West" Alternate/Mock-up)" 2:23
21. "Elanor (Alternate)" 1:30
22. "In Conversation (Audio Interview Part 1)" 5:05
23. "In Conversation (Audio Interview Part 2)" 4:27



The Lord of the Rings Symphony
Soundtrack album by Howard Shore
Released 13 September 2011
Recorded Lucerne, Switzerland
Length 1:55:15
Label Howe Records

Following the theatrical release of each of the films, Howard Shore reworked the music from the films and original soundtrack releases into movements for the concert hall, eventually creating the complete The Lord of the Rings Symphony, a more structured six-movement work for orchestra, choir and soloist.

This suite has been performed in various concert halls around the world, accompanied by a light and visual art show by Alan Lee and John Howe. A DVD titled Howard Shore: Creating the Lord of the Rings Symphony—a composer's journey through Middle Earth has been released. The 50-minute-long DVD features extensive excerpts of the concert given by Shore and the Montreal Orchestra, Grand Choir and Children choir at the "Montreal en Lumiere" Festival, interspersed with spoken commentary by Shore, who recounts his approach in composing the music for the three films and then reworking it into the LOTR symphony.

On 13 September 2011, Shore released "The Lord of the Rings Symphony" on CD and MP3 format. The double-album was recorded in Lucerne, Switzerland and performed by the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus (including treble Loris Sikora, Boy Soprano Manuelle Polli, Mezzo-Soprano Kaitlyn Lusk and Bass-Bartione Marc-Olivier Oetterli) under the direction of Ludwig Wicki.

Track listingEdit

"Movement 1" - 11:25

  1. The Prophecy
  2. Concerning Hobbits
  3. The Black Rider and Treason of Isengard

"Movement 2" - 34:04

  1. Rivendell
  2. The Ring Goes South
  3. A Journey in the Dark
  4. The Bridge of Khazad Dum
  5. Lothlorien
  6. The Great River
  7. Amon Hen
  8. The Breaking of the Fellowship

"Movement 3" - 18:15

  1. Foundations of Stone/Glamdring
  2. Gollum
  3. Rohan
  4. The Black Gate Is Closed
  5. Evenstar
  6. The White Rider
  7. Treebeard
  8. The Forbidden Pool

"Movement 4" - 10:28

  1. The Hornburg
  2. Forth Eorlingas
  3. The Last March of the Ents.
  4. Gollum's Song

"Movement 5" - 15:26

  1. Flight from Edoras.
  2. Minas Tirith
  3. The Lighting of the Beacons.
  4. The Steward of Gondor
  5. Cirith Ungol
  6. Anduril

"Movement 6" - 26:13

  1. The Fields of the Pelennor
  2. The Paths of the Dead.
  3. The End of All Things
  4. The Return of the King
  5. The Grey Havens
  6. Into the West.

Live to ProjectionEdit

Live to Projection is a series where The Lord of the Rings theatrical films (which only had dialogue and sound effects) are projected while the music is performed live in sync with the films. It is conducted by Ludwig Wicki and Erik Eino Ochsner[96] and was performed around the world, including Switzerland, Australia and the United States.[97]

The concerts, which consist of multiple movements,[98] restore unused or alternate sections of the soundtrack (where other concerts of this kind for other films repeat the final film music) and even required Shore to edit several bars of the music,[99] including a feature entr'acte suite. Sometimes they are performed as a cycle featuring the Lord of the Rings Symphony followed by each theatrical film on four consecutive nights. The choir and orchestra are amplified for sake of control over the sound mix with the film, which is supplied with subtitles in the local language.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The emotional aspect of the music has been modeled after early Italian Opera while the structure was more in line with the Late-Romantic German Operas. While there are recited and narrated sections in the film, they are performed in spoken language rather than as an operatic recitative, making the music more of an operetta. Although, with composers like Wagner diminishing the distinction of the recitative and aria, and with others like John Adams, John Corigliano, Philip Glass, John Harbison and even Andre Previn instilling further changes to the medium, Shore's work on the films can be "set at the edges of opera pretty easily" or at least compared to recordings of operas where the recitative parts are dailed out.
  2. ^ The early sessions saw Shore conduct the orchestra, choir and stage bands simultaneously. Later, the choirs would be conducted by their director after the orchestral sessions on the relevant part of the picture were recorded earlier that day.
  3. ^ John Williams famously took 10-14 weeks to compose and record each installment in the Star Wars saga.
  4. ^ The Complete Recordings' length is about 90% of the film length (without added credits), and additional music, including (but not limited to) alternate passages, exists as well. However, the difference arises mostly from short stops of music during scene transitions (of which there are many given the film's length) rather than drawn out passages that go unscored.
  5. ^ Even here, however, the music is not entirely without reason. Since "Gondor Reborn" has a strong association of "good triumphs over evil" Shore extrapolated that meaning from its specific Gondor association and applied it more generally here. Shore also uses this technique when he applies "The Fellowship theme" to Haldir in "The Two Towers", using it once as an extrapolation of its companionship association from the narrow application to the nine walkers. It can also be argued that there is a connection, however tenuous, with the success of the Quest of Erebor and the ultimate salvation of Gondor, as later expressed in "the Battle of the Five Armies." Even the Moria theme, being associated with the perils of Moria and its Orcs, can be argued to be vaguely relevant. In fact, the Two Towers opens with the Moria theme, as Gandalf's battles with the Balrog, and there is a strain of Dwarvish-styled music that continues to follow Gimli in the film leading up to the tracked statement.
  6. ^ This form of using leitmotifs is more in the vein of Wagner and less in the "devolved" form, for which film music was criticised by the likes of Theodor Adorno. See Leitmotif: Critique of the leitmotif concept.
  7. ^ Doug Identified 93 motifs (although the book at one point was said to include 104 motifs), including four motifs that are counted under two different categories and three none-recurring ideas. This figure does not include an unused, second-age variation of the Gondor theme nor 3-4 additional motifs that only appear in alternate forms of the soundtrack, neither does it include 11-14 isolated motifs that were reprised in The Hobbit scores, or diegetic motives not written by Shore but woven into the score, all of which bring the theme count from anywhere between 100 and 120, not counting for 62-70 leitmotives that appear in The Hobbit trilogy. There is an argument as to whether the musical gestures that form the basis of the themes (like the "there and back again" figure that forms the basis of all of the fellowship themes) can also be counted among the musical themes of the series.
  8. ^ Wagner's Ring Cycle nevertheless remains the most thematically dense work, featuring 178 leitmotifs within the framework of a 15-hour work, compared to a roughly similar number in Shore's 21-hour Middle Earth scores.
  9. ^ The Seduction of the Ring (listening Sample)
  10. ^ The Threat of Mordor (listening example)
  11. ^ The Servants of Sauron" theme (listening sample)
  12. ^ Descending Thirds (listening sample)
  13. ^ The Shire/Hobbit main theme (listening sample)
  14. ^ A Hobbit's Understanding (listening sample)
  15. ^ Hobbit Outline motif (listening sample)
  16. ^ The Pity of Smeagol (listening sample)
  17. ^ Listening sample: Rivendell theme (melody and arpeggio accompaniment)
  18. ^ Arwen Revealed (listening example)
  19. ^ Lothlorien/Galadriel theme (listening sample)
  20. ^ Nature's reclamation theme (listening sample)
  21. ^ Although it is technically calling back to the use of the Moria theme in the opening. The Two Towers also introduces a Dwarvish variant of the Fellowship theme so there is a consistent vein of Dwarvish music throughout the film.
  22. ^ Dwarrowdelf theme (listening sample)
  23. ^ Gondor in Decline theme (listening example)
  24. ^ Minas Tirith/White Tree theme (listening example)
  25. ^ Gandalf's Farewells (listening example)
  26. ^ Hobbit Antics ostinato (listening sample)
  27. ^ Stinker/Gollum's Menace theme (listening sample)
  28. ^ The Ent/Fangorn theme (listening sample)
  29. ^ Rohan theme and fanfare (listening sample)
  30. ^ Eowyn Shieldmaiden's theme (listening example)
  31. ^ Eowyn and Theoden theme (sample)
  32. ^ The White Rider theme (listening sample)
  33. ^ Destruction of the Ring/Destruction of Mordor theme (listening sample)
  34. ^ The Shire Reborn (listening sample)
  35. ^ Gondor Reborn theme (listening sample)
  36. ^
  37. ^ Shore's basic brass lineup is five horns, four trumpets, three trombones and tuba, but he added a sixth horn (e.g. Return of the King, The Annotated Score, p. 27.) and a fourth trombone for the most dramatic passages. For the charge of the Rohirrim, Shore, apparently, doubled the brass. The trumpets had to be recorded separately with the Hardanger to avoid either from being overpowered by the horns: "Dermot’s fondest recollection of performing on this Hardanger was when Howard asked him to join an eight strong trumpet session to play the ‘Rohan’ theme." ( This is typically not used in live performances. The recorded Lord of the Rings Symphony uses six horns throughout, while the passages using the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra use a bass trombone throughout. Several passages, particularly of those pertaining to the forces of evil, use mutes on the brass instruments to produce a more nasal sound.
  38. ^ Shore requires a large assortment (as many at eight) snare drums of various sorts, including deep field or marching snares, a military drum with rope snares, and shallow "guilotine" snares.
  39. ^ The score requires two sets of taiko drums (which are, in one instance, played simultaneously), and includes various types of drums: small Shime-daikos, medium size chū-daikos, and several large drum: an o-daiko, a hira-daiko, and two okedo-daiko drums: an elongated one used in the Moria sequence and a short one used in the Montreal Symphony Orchestra recording. Sometimes, the large drum is played on both drumheads by two players.
  40. ^ Shore called for a piano where the sustain pedal is pressed by a sandbag. The wires which are then struck by a steel chain wrapped around (and glued to) a gardening glove worn over the player's hand. The original recording uses a Grand Piano (besides the one played by the keyboard section). A Composer's Journey uses a console Piano where the front panel is removed. The recorded Lord of the Rings Symphony uses a soundboard which is removed from the piano for the player to strike. The Chains themselves are also used as rattles and dragged over the floor.
  41. ^ According to the Annotated Score (p. 24) this is not a Musette bagpipe but a small, Musette-like button accordion, tuned diatonically. In some live performances, including the recorded performance of the Lord of the Rings Symphony, it is replaced by a standard keyboard accordion.
  42. ^ The Sydney premier of the Return of the King featured an expanded string section (36 violins divided, 14 violas, 11 cellos and 9 contrabasses) and added woodwind parts for two cor anglais, a bass clarinet and two contrabassoons and some of the added brass instruments for The Ride of the Rohirrim. The overall size of the choir has been known to reach up to 225 singers. The Orensaz performance had 400 musicians on stage.


  1. ^ The score has been repeatedly voted to be the best film score, and even review sites such as Filmtracks named Shore's score "arguably the most respected and impressive trilogy of music of all time: Howard Shore's massive work for Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings."
  2. ^ a b Adams, Doug. The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films. (Carpentier, 2010), p. 11.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ Marillyn Miller, A Magpie's Nest.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ See Music of The Hobbit film series.
  9. ^ Another case is that of "Gandalf's Farewells" theme, which is used in several scenes that have nothing to do with saying farewell to the Wizard, such as when Frodo and Sam await their fate on the slopes of Mount Doom, or in the Prologue to The Hobbit. However, the theme can easily be said to be used in opposition to its regular association, here implying meeting again with the Wizard.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ The Journey There theme (listening example)
  14. ^ Mikko Ojala identified the chanting in My Dear Frodo, 3:34-4:10 as the same perfect fifths that were used for Fellowship of the Ring in "A Journey in the Dark". (
  15. ^ Musicologist Doug Adams comments: "It's sort of a hybrid of Thorin, Gandalf, and Bilbo all mixed together. An immensely evocative figure!"
  16. ^ Doug Adams notes: "Bilbo's prophetic line ("... and nothing unexpected ever happened") coupled with the ring imagery has redefined the G#-A. In Fellowship it was a bucolic cadence. In The Hobbit, it's an unmistakable movement from the sharp fourth of the chord to the fifth. It is a veiled reference to The History of the Ring theme."
  17. ^ According to LeBlanc, this motif appears at The Quest for Erebor, 1:04-1:17. Edmund Meinerts identifies it as well.
  18. ^ Jason Leblanc identifies this motif as appearing twice in An Unexpected Journey. Doug Adams identifies it as a motif in his liner notes. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, liner notes, p. 12.
  19. ^ LeBlanc notes it in his list. The theme is also noted in a draft of Doug Adams' book.
  20. ^ According to Mikko Ojala: "a spirited rhythmic reading of the Rural Setting plays and ends in a quote from FotR, the music for the raising of Bilbo’s birthday banner in the Party Field being reprised as a reference to the upcoming event."
  21. ^ Doug Adams mentions another appearance was written for a deleted scene.
  22. ^ LeBlanc dubs this theme as "Elven Heroics".
  23. ^ LeBlanc lists "The Power of Galadriel" as appearing in "The Guardians of the Three" 4:29-5:07.
  24. ^ Mikko Ojala identifies this as a separate variant to Sauron's theme.
  25. ^ Krok identifies a quotation of the choral build in "The High Fells."
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ Marrilyn Miller makes the melody of Shadowfax's appearance on the OST to be the same as that of his appearance at the end of the film.
  29. ^ Doug Adams, The Music of the Lord of the Rings films, part III: The Return of the King, The Annotated Score, p. 28
  30. ^ Marillyn Miller notes several variations of the Mordor Skip-Beat, one or more of which may or may not be considered a separate motif: "Whether these can be considered variants (as DA sometimes labels them) or just the Skip Beat moving into and out of other material is subjective."
  31. ^ Eric Rawlins identified this as a separate variant. Marilynn Miller also originally separated the Shire B theme from the A-phrase. She comments that Doug Adams does not categorise the expansive B-phrase as either the rural or pensive variant - indicating perhaps that it is neither.
  32. ^
  33. ^ Annotated score, fellowship. p. 2. Marillyn Miller identifies it as playing when Isildur stands against Sauron, and cites Melson as supporting her claim, while also noting the Descending Thirds playing over it. Jason LeBlanc lists it as an "UNKNOWN THEME" and identifies two occurrences in the Prologue, both playing with the Mordor Descending Thirds. The Music of Middle Earth lists it as a variant of both Aragorn's Heroics and the Fellowship theme, again in conjunction with the Descending Thirds.
  34. ^ a b c The horn sounds, featuring a variety of natural horns (shofars, dungchens, birch trumpets, olifants, etcetera), were purposefully chosen to work with Shore's score.
  35. ^ There are variations between different parts of the films and different orchestras used on the project. Shore's basic lineup was of a 96-piece core orchestra, but that figure fluctuated and several sections call for additional forces.
  36. ^ Shore calls for four alto flutes as accompaniment for the Breath of Life and Evenstar. Annotated Score, Two Towers, p. 19.
  37. ^ a b The similarly orchestrated The Hobbit, calls for 3 oboes, of which two double on English horns and the same for the second and third bassoons doubling on contrabassoons.
  38. ^ Shore calls for one contrabass clarinet in B-flat for a humoristic rendition of Gollum's theme in the Two Towers. Annotated Score, Two Towers, p. 15.
  39. ^
  40. ^ Various passages call for either two sets of timpani with two players (the Annotated Score, p. 4) or for one large set played by two players. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra, recorded through "A Composer's Journey to Middle Earth", has two timpanists throughout the concert. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, used for the Moria sequences also used two timpanists, which are reportedly the largest set of timpani in the southern hemisphere:
  41. ^ The recording uses a blacksmith anvil, but the recorded Lucern performance uses a brake drum, and bars of metal or railroad anvils are also often used.
  42. ^ Shore often calls for gongs and cymbals to be bowed or even scraped rather than be struck. ( These are often replaced with four Thai or chinese gongs and a large Javanese gong or a wind gong.
  43. ^
  44. ^ In some live performances, it is replaced by Shekere. Shore also uses the rattle to hit the bass drum, as he does specify the use of various drumsticks in different passages.
  45. ^ The log drums used in The Lord of the Rings have a unique stripe of wood over the slit of the drum.
  46. ^ The recorded score uses two, medium-sized, thin-framed, none-tunable bodhrans, which are either struck by hand or by stick in across the scores, and were sometimes heated up to acquire the right sound. Other performances had been known to use deep-frame bodhrain hung on a frame (as is done in the recorded Montreal performance), large bodhran (used, for instance, in The Last Goodbye), and tunable and/or cross-braced versions of the bodhran.
  47. ^ The second piano, used largely as a percussion instrument, may double the first piano in select passages.
  48. ^ The male choir is composed in part of players from the New Zealand national rugby union team that double as "Haka" performers. For Foundations of Stone, two choirs seem to be used.
  49. ^ A fiddle with pairs of strings instead of single strings, crafted specifically at the request of Dermot Crehan, the leader of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and used for one scene with Eowyn. Film Score Monthly, volume 8 number 10, pp. 21, 23.
  50. ^ For "A Composer's Journey", the violin section of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra is somewhat enlarged, as is the case of the New-Zealand Symphony Orchestra recording.
  51. ^
  52. ^ May be replaced by the fourth flautist doubling on whistles.
  53. ^ Adams originally mentioned a Harpsichord being used in the Shire, as well
  54. ^ Shore called for a unique bowing technique unlike the traditional style of bowing the instrument. Annotated Score, Two Towers, p. 40.
  55. ^ The Rhaita is too loud to record or perform with the orchestra and was recorded separately and, in a live performance, may be muted or played offstage. The original score used africa (arabic) Nay flutes, but the Symphony recording utilizes a Turkish nay.
  56. ^ For Live Performances, the Pan Flute may be replaced by a variety of end-blown flutes such as the quena.
  57. ^ Amateur performances such NJYS' Playathon, used over 450-pieces orchestra alone.
  58. ^ Plan 9 and David Longe played this piece on the set of Bilbo's Party. It features bowed Banjolele, Hurdy-Gurdy, Rommelpot, Jaw Harp and Harmonium, Whistle and Bodhran as well as a Goblet drum, castanets and tambourines
  59. ^ Plan 9 created musical sound effects used for the Ring (possibly featuring Plan 9's zither, hasapi and home-made Đàn bầu), the Dead Marshes (featuring violin and voices), Fangorn. They also wrote an unreleased piece titled "Flowers for Rosie."
  60. ^ For the Fangorn sound design.
  61. ^ For the voice of the Ring.
  62. ^
  63. ^ Adams, pp 2-4.
  64. ^
  65. ^ a b c d
  66. ^ a b
  67. ^ a b
  68. ^ The Fellowship of the Ring trailer used music from outside Shore's score, "Gothic Power." Trailers for further films were slated after the credits of the theatrical release, and featured music from Shore, music in the vein of Shore or existing music from Shore's score. The Two Towers trailer featured the debut of the Evenstar theme and a variation of Lux Aeternae from Clint Mansell's Requiem for a Dream score which was reorchestrated to fit with Shore's score, earning the moniker "Requiem for a Tower". The Return of the King trailer was scored in its entirety by Howard Shore, debuting the Gondor in-Ascension theme. Howard Shore also composed the trailer music for An Unexpected Journey and the Gamelan music for the Desolation of Smaug trailer. Billy Boyd's Last Goodbye was used over the first trailer of The Battle of the Five Armies.
  69. ^ "The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King". (in German). Retrieved 26 November 2015. 
  70. ^ "Lord Of The Strings". Gardiner Houlgate. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  71. ^ For Sir James, Shore also wrote a suite that acts like a concerto for flute and orchestra, based on the Shire and Fellowship themes.
  72. ^ JimWare provided a Breakdown of the Original Soundtracks compared to the Complete Recordings.
  73. ^
  74. ^ a b Peak Billboard chart positions:
  75. ^ "Discography Howard Shore". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  76. ^ "Discographie Howard Shore". (in German). Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  77. ^ "Discography Howard Shore". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  78. ^ "Discographie – Howard Shore". (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  79. ^ "Discografie Howard Shore". (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  80. ^ "Discography Howard Shore". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  81. ^ "Discography Howard Shore". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  82. ^ "Howard Shore" (select "Albums" tab). Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  83. ^ a b c "American certifications – Lord of the Rings". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 4 January 2014. [permanent dead link]
  84. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – 2003". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  85. ^ a b c "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original (To access, enter the search parameter "The Lord of the Rings" and select "Search by Title") on 16 July 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  86. ^ "Soundtrack" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  87. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Soundtrack; 'The Lord of the Rings')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  88. ^ a b "Canadian certifications – Lord of the Rings". Music Canada. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  89. ^ "The Two Towers by Howard Shore". ScoreNotes. Archived from the original on 23 November 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  90. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – The Complete Recordings - Howard Shore". Allmusic. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  91. ^ "The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings". Retrieved 26 November 2015. 
  92. ^
  93. ^ An edit of the theatrical cut appears on the extended end-credits suite, whereas the extended cut score is used in the Complete Recordings. The Original Soundtrack version is dissimilar to both.
  94. ^
  95. ^ Burlingame, Jon (7 October 2010). "New book explores 'Lord of the Rings' music". Variety. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  96. ^ "Erik Eino Ochsner to Conduct Lord of the Rings Performance". Wallstreet Online. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011. [dead link]
  97. ^ Morgan, David (6 October 2010). "Middle Earth Returns to Radio City". CBS News. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  98. ^ See the list of movements for Fellowship of the Ring.
  99. ^

Further readingEdit

  • Adams, Doug (2010). The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films. Carpentier.

External linksEdit