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Merry and Pippin awaken in Fangorn, rejuvenated from a long overdue sleep. Well-rested, they are back to their waggish hobbit ways, and so Shore brings back the whistle for the first time in The Two Towers, presenting an early version of a new Shire theme variation, the Playful Setting. Merry and Pippin, more than Frodo and Sam, have maintained their wily demeanors during their quest, so most of the score’s new Shire variations develop during their adventures.

The one-two bump of the hobbits’ End Cap figure precedes a stiff bit of Ent music as Merry absorbs the forest’s deep sounds, but soon the two friends are caught up squabbling over a musty jug of Ent-draught. Solo clarinet adopts the fully formed Playful Setting, running the three rising pitches of the Shire music over a number of gracefully springy harmonies. The same elegantly comical developments then expand the End Cap figure, embellishing it into the new Hobbits’ Antics accompaniment.

Meanwhile, the hobbits’ disagreement devolves into a mad dash for the woodland beverage, and the Hobbits’ Antics transforms into a lightweight action motif, fitfully punctuated by high string settings of the Ent theme that meet the hobbits’ music on its own sonic terms. Fangorn’s trees are not so enamored of these new three-foot-plus visitors who gallop carelessly across their roots. True, it is not the Ents themselves that Merry and Pippin have irritated; yet both the Ents and the trees make up Fangorn Forest and neither can be rightly classified apart from their surroundings. Thus, Shore uses the Ent theme as a kind of a Fangorn catch-all. The trees awaken, ensnaring the hobbits and dragging them beneath the forest floor as the score sets the Ent theme contrapuntally in the two extreme registers of the orchestra. Low voices carry the prim figure in nervous rapidity while the upper voices take the line at half speed, compounding the dangerous tension as the music accelerates. All is well, however. Treebeard returns and orders the trees to sleep again and leave the hobbits be.


Listening Example: Disc One | Track Sixteen | 0:00
The Irish whistle (also known as the penny whistle, vertical flute, flagolet, stáin or feadóg) may be the oldest instrument in Celtic music. Originally carved from bone, today’s whistles are generally made of wood or metal.

© The Annotated Score (The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films)

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