Soundtrack : The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring

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Release Date : 2001

Composer : Howard Shore

1: The Prophecy (3.55)

The fade in from the beginning heightens the brass tones that come towards the songs close, presenting a feeling of dread. The choir vocals echo and present a sense of grandeur.

2: Concerning Hobbits (2.55)

The soundtracks first theme is one that completely suits the principle race of characters (hobbits). The use of strings, and a simple melody present the idyllic lifestyle of this fantasy creation. A country vibe and soft instrumental pieces hint at the lighter side of the films fantasy.

 3: The Shadow of the Past (3.33)

The tone shifts again, into a darker more deep use of the orchestra. The violin segment of this score is impactful, dark and exciting. The use of the vocals also hints at a darker message in the music. Far less idyllic, more threatening in its pace, the score seems to hint at the dark forces behind the films narrative.

4: The Treason of Isengard (4.00)

The subtle use of the female vocals presents a youthful, almost immortal tone to the music. Again the strings work effectively at world building, this times the more magical elements of the filmic universe. Also the first time a true LOTR theme is presented – a mellowed version of the fellowship theme. It is perhaps obvious when considering the idea of threat coming to a principle character.

5: The Black Rider (2.48)

Similar in tone to the hobbit theme, the sound of this one is more sombre soft and happy. Created for the introduction of the comic relief characters (Merry and Pippin) this music’s beginning hints at the nature of these two characters. The fact that it seamlessly blends into a theme for the Nazgul, the beginning is a complete contrast to the middle. The pick up in tempo also brings a feeling of a chase to the music, creating an excitement.

6: At the Sign of the Prancing Pony (3.14)

Slower than what’s came before, this song is a peaceful rest stop for the characters and introduces men to proceedings. The themes associated with the antagonists still echo proceedings but overall the song is just a slowed down piece of impactful music. Again a brilliant use of choir vocals (the true villains theme) lifts this piece of music up.

7: A Knife in the Dark (3.34)

The level of threat from this piece of music is immense. Where the male voices in an almost chant of the soft use of percussion, this music is tense throughout. The second and third true theme of music is also placed in this song; Isengard and the eagles (both major players in the narrative) receive their own musical cues. Isengard is very industrial sounding, showing their unnatural state.

8: Flight to the Ford  (4.14)

A soft tone, light instrumental and soothing arrangement lead to a light in the dark approach to proceedings. This is soon shifted however into a faster paced arrangement, perfectly befitting a chase sequence. Again the black rider sequence is presented – although here it is softer and as if the music is battling against their presence.

9: Many Meetings (3.05)

A blend of different instruments really transports the music into an otherworldly location, with the sound completely different to what has come before. This is then arranged with the fellowship theme. The softer female chant is an almost direct binary to what has come before, but offers a hint of mysticism. The strings work well in presenting the elves

10: The Ring Goes South (2.03)

A rest bite to what’s come before, the opening to this track is soft, slow and beautifully arranged. Slowly building to a crescendo, which is both epic and magical – the fellowship has arrived and befitting their importance their theme is majestic, powerful and awesome.

11: A Journey in the Dark (4.20)

The use of echoes works in presenting the dread, and emptiness of the location. Slow tempo works at isolating the imagery, presenting a tormenting sequence. When the music opens up, the effect is that of a grandeur unfelt until this point.

12: The Bridge of Khazud-düm (5.57)

Opening with the fellowship theme, just played at a higher pitch, this musical score instantly outlines the danger facing the characters – with the tempo soon pushed to a faster pace, to show the intense moment befalling the characters. The breaks to slow male chanting, with a soft background percussion outlines the pursuer, formulating in the darkness threatening to consume the characters. With the speed of the chanting growing throughout this piece, the proximity of the darkness is always presented to the listener. The fact that two thirds in showcases a energetic arrangement of the films main theme, hints at a change in outcome. Alas this does not last, as the final sequence of wails, presents the listener with an understanding of a loss. The films best piece of music.

14: Lothlorien (4.33)

A different type of magical creature is introduced, and as such this piece of music plays on the archetype elven music shown throughout the soundtrack. However, this music is more foreboding, more enchanting and mystical – hinting at the danger the location is to characters, while also presenting an idea of magic.

15: The Great River (2.42)

Again a softer piece of music that gives a rest to the high impactful, high paced music that has come before. Two different versions of the fellowship theme are also interlaced into the softer string and brass section of the music. This states the importance of the characters in the music, but also presents a discontent between the characters perhaps. The use of strings and high bass notes, really presents an idea of scale with the group lost in a wilderness of immeasurable size.

16: Amon Hen (5.02)

The music in this piece really hints at the confusion befalling the heroes, while also showcasing a slight threat (compared to what’s come before that is) the music is impactful but not in the same scale of what’s come before. Isengard’s theme is once again presented as the main score of this piece, and with the industrial manner in which the music works (individual drum beats, metal sounding moments) the unnatural force is at the forefront to the listeners understanding. The ending, with the slowest version of the fellowship theme, hints at overcoming the threat – but at a cost.

17: The Breaking of the Fellowship (7.20)

A rift on the hobbit theme, the opening slowly raises to a heavy brass segment that is repeats various tones and a friendly melody that creates a feeling of friendship, respect and love. The use of flute really lowers the threat, and presents a nice instrumental change to what’s come before. The music doesn’t rush, nor does it move from the hobbit sequence too quickly. When it does, it alters to a blend of the fellowship theme and easy listening melodies to present an idea of harmony, and new teaming.

The use of child singers placing lyrics on the main theme, this harmony is further pushed into the listeners, as if the equilibrium is restored, the narrative is closed and yet the characters are in a place of some salience.

18: May It Be by Enya (4.17)

Almost prayer like, this rendition is a perfect compliment to what has come before. Both wishing for a safe continuance of the characters while also a reflection on what has come before? The song ends with a powerful final rendition of the fellowship theme, triumphant and epic. The song is closed.

Total Length : 71 Minutes

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