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Solo clarinet returns the story to Frodo, Sam and Gollum. The clarinet, of course, relates to the two citizens of the Shire, but the melodic line is anything but hobbit-like. Lifting through an F-minor arpeggio then descending, the clarinet seems to be toying with the opening of The Pity of Gollum. “It’s tying the two of them—Frodo and Gollum—together,” Shore acknowledges. “Frodo could become Gollum.”

Soon the hobbits retire for the night and Gollum is alone with himself. Fractures of the Pity theme tumble through the orchestra. Violins and bass clarinet examine the telltale ascending minor arpeggios under flittering celesta trills as the subservient Sméagol and the treacherous Gollum vie for dominance—the winner being announced, not with a blast of trumpets, but with the squawk of a contrabass clarinet.

Needy Sméagol has cast nasty Gollum aside, and is busy at work pleasing his master. The contrabass clarinet, supported from below by pizzicato bass, plays an irreparably damaged variation on the chipper Hobbit Outline figure, the highest pitch swinging downwards on its rotting hinge. Over this, Sméagol has repurposed the cimbalom from Gollum’s Menace, wrenching it into a servile, toothless grin. Contrabassoon enters the mix, deepening the composition’s timbre just before Sam cuts short Sméagol’s moment of giddy triumph. “It is a strange little thing,” Shore says with a smile, “almost comedic.”

In the bustle, Frodo wanders off to follow the odd calls of the forest. Field drums stiffen the writing alongside a militaristic motif based off ascending minor triads, and the forest unlooses a band of Haradrim soldiers. But with a shudder of timpani and bass drum, two elephantine beasts emerge following the soldiers. These are Mûmakil, the Haradrim’s beasts of burden, and Shore’s scoring for them sets up not a permanent melody, but a distinct treatment of the orchestra. Weighty lines in the depths of the orchestral palette (here unison celli and basses) sway beneath a prickling haze of aleatoric flute and clarinets, discordant harp glissandi and sizzling dilruba (bowed sitar).

The forest’s odd calls sound again, signaling a group of Rangers of Ithilien to ambush the Haradrim. Again the score adopts a militaristic edge with a strikingly similar motif. The Haradrim emerged with the pitches of a minor scale ordered 1-3-5, the Rangers with 1-3-2. It’s an odd symmetry that ties the new villains to the new heroes. Upon Faramir’s appearance, this is clarified. At the skirmish’s end, Faramir stands over a fallen Haradrim soldier and wonders how the man may have come to follow this path. “You wonder what his name is… where he came from. And if he was really evil at heart.” Shore’s score roams questioningly through minor harmonies, uncertain and restless. Faramir continues, “What lies or threats led him on this long march from home. if he would not have rather have stayed there…” and for two chords the music compassionately warms with low brass and timpani, “…in peace.” He pauses. “War will make corpses of us all.”

In the film the sequence featuring Gollum’s warped contrabass clarinet variation of the Hobbit Outline was not used.

The militaristic minor triad figure meant for the Haradrim’s first appearance was cut from the film and replaced by the Mûmakil’s low, swaying music minus a few of the accompanying instruments. Since the Mûmakil’s music makes its intended entrance just seconds later, the film edit results in two sequential readings, which appear to lend the line greater significance than Shore intended. In fact, this line is only meant to play once in The Two Towers, although it sets up a scoring style that returns, like the Mûmakil, with a vengeance in The Return of the King.

The Complete Recordings features “The Forest of Ithilien” as Shore composed it—the military motif plays as the Haradrim enter and the low 3/4 music plays as the Mûmakil enter.


Listening Example: Disc Two | Track Six| 3:57
Shore’s score calls for dilruba when Frodo, Sam and Gollum espy the wicked men and their Mûmakil traveling towards Mordor in The Two Towers. This is a type of a sarangi, comprised of 6 or 7 playing strings, 11 to 13 sympathetic strings and a skin head stretched at the base of the bridge. Traditionally, sitars are plucked with a metal pick, but in order to create a unique haze of sustained tones, Shore’s score calls for the instrument to be bowed.

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

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