Projecting tolkien's Musical Worlds - A Study of Musical Affect in Howard Shore's Soundtrack to Lord of the Rings by Matthew Young (09.10.07 by Pieter Collier) -
Analyzing Howard Shore's Soundtrack for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Explaining the meaning or affect of a piece of music is by no means an easy task.
However, some success has been found through the work of Philip Tagg
, whose technique consists of breaking down a musical example into minimal units of musical meaning (called musemes), comparing those units to other musical examples possessing sociomusical connotations, and demonstrating a transfer of musical affect from the music possessing sociomusical connotations to the object of analysis.
While Tagg’s studies have focused mostly on television music, this document expands his techniques in an attempt to analyze the musical affect of Howard Shore’s score to Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. This work studies the ability of Shore’s film score not only to accompany the events occurring on-screen, but also to provide the audience with cultural and emotional information pertinent to character and story development.
After a discussion of J.R.R. tolkien's description of the cultures of the inhabitants found in Middle-earth, this work dissects the thematic material of Shore's score, focusing on his incorporation of the music and culture of tolkien's text into his film score through instrumentation and style, as well as utilizing musematic analysis to argue the musical affect of Shore's major themes that is projected on the audience.
Additionally, leitmotiv analysis is used to trace the major themes throughout the trilogy, and to investigate how Shore’s alterations of the themes modify their musical affect. By comparing Shore’s film score to Tolkien’s text, considering the visual representation the score accompanies, as well as by comparing Shore’s themes to other music possessing connotations, an argument is made that Shore’s score does more than accompany Jackson’s screen.
Since Shore’s score reflects music and culture as described by Tolkien, and the themes correlate appropriately to other music which reflect similar cultures, Shore’s score plays an integral part in influencing the audience’s perception of the inhabitants of Middle-earth.
Additionally, Shore’s modification of established themes throughout the trilogy aid in the audience’s emotional understanding of the evolution of the characters of the films.
This book is directed toward any individual, musician or film enthusiast, who appreciates the ability for a film score to heighten the overall movie experience.
Estimate: 92 pages
Publisher: VDM Verlag Dr. Mueller e.K.
Publication date: 20 Aug 2007
Author: Matthew Young
23.8 x 16.2 x 1 cm
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