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Gandalf arrives at Bilbo’s doorstep. “Here’s the Shire theme without whistle,” points out the composer. “It makes it seem a little more nostalgic with just the strings, like an older version of what you heard earlier for Frodo. It’s a bit statelier—a little more elegant than with the whistle.” Once the action moves inside Bag End, Shore plays up both the humorous and enigmatic airs of this little hobbit and the quest he will soon set into motion. “It’s the expectation of the chord progressions, because you know you’re in a new place and you’re excited,” he explains. Of course, yet another kind of expectation is articulated in a passing glance at a rather familiar looking map adorned with a dragon. Shore smiles, “It’s just a little hint of mystery and intrigue.”

The Hobbit/Shire theme’s Rural Setting is most closely connected to these signature hobbit instruments. But
as the hobbits depart the Shire and adventure their way through Middle-earth, these Celtic sounds continually make their way into the edges of the orchestra as a reminder of what the Shire folk have left behind.

Listening Example: Disc One | Track Four| 1:55
Also known as Irish harp, lever harp or simply, folk harp, the Celtic harp is a smaller, more portable version of the orchestral harp, well suited to diatonic music.

Listening Example: Disc One | Track Four| 1:48
A smaller relative of the guitar, the mandolin is a short-necked, eight-stringed lute that is plucked with the fingers. Mandolin does not appear regularly in the Shire music, but a few gently strummed chords back the Bag End scenes.

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

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