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Thanks to littleowl for pointing me towards "Into the West", the feature song for Return of the King. When there were horns, I kept thinking of Gondor rather than westward lure, however. I did particularly like the horns though, even if they kepts giving me the wrong message.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 3rd, 2003 07:19 pm (UTC)
Hmm.. I listened to that and didn't notice any horns, just bass viols. Maybe that's supposed to sound like horns? Anyway, I recorded it... played around with the recording... I liked it better when I added a slight stereo long delay echo. About 900ms to 1000ms seemed best, mixed really well with the lyric cadence. Decay at -10dB and -40dB feedback. Gave the effect of her voice bouncing off a distant wall/cliff. Great song, nevertheless. :)
Dec. 3rd, 2003 07:28 pm (UTC)
Ok.. I listened a little closer and noticed the french horns in the loud passage at about 3:20 in.
Dec. 3rd, 2003 07:32 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, you're better at recognizing instruments than I am. The part I'm particularly thinking of was with the line about white gulls soaring. I only listened the once and I can see how I might think a bass viol sounded hornlike. Anyways, that's the passage which kept making me think horns, which said Gondor to me.

I think part of the reason it said Gondor to me is that there is horn call in the movie or the Shore soundtrack of the same kind of sound. I associate it with Boromir's passionate description of mornings in the white city. If I knew any of the soundtracks better, I could point you to what I mean more precisely.
Dec. 3rd, 2003 07:41 pm (UTC)
(/me giggles) I got a totally different take on it. I was thinking of the grey havens and the eldar leaving middle earth. Of course, that was Legolas' doom, to hear the gulls and then never find peace until he joins the exodus into the west.
Dec. 3rd, 2003 07:52 pm (UTC)
I don't think I'm being clear. I completely agree that the song, especially the lyrics, are about the elves going off to the Grey Havens and leaving Middle Earth. That's very clear. But musically, the horn motif is associated with Gondor and men throughout the movie, which gave the song something of a mixed message to my ears.
Dec. 3rd, 2003 07:59 pm (UTC)
OK.. I think I'm tracking now. I'll have to read the books again to refresh my leaky memory. I think the horns of Gondor were sounded when Faramir led the surviving remains of Osgiliath's garrison to the gates. Also at Aragon's official entrance to the city... and later when he wed Arwen.

I know at Helms Deep the horn was sounded.. and I thought in the movie it sounded rather lame. I was expecting something more like the 'Horn Resounding' from Erik the Viking, darn it. Now that was a horn to shake the heavens.. and wake the gods. :)
Dec. 3rd, 2003 08:05 pm (UTC)
I think there's a bit of diaglog in the first movie (don't know about the book) in which Boromir is waxing sentimental about Gondor to Aragorn, when he's still treating Aragorn with some disgust since Aragorn's the non-king of Gondor and Boromir is its steward to be. Something about horns ringing out over the city in the morning. It's not in a warfare context at all, although I agree, that's the way Tolkein most clearly associated the horn with Gondor.

Why on earth was it Gimli who blew the horn at Helm's Deep, and not one of those who owned the place? Why didn't they blow it sooner? I should reread the books - maybe that would tell me.
Dec. 3rd, 2003 11:18 pm (UTC)
Silver call of trumpets welcoming you back into the city ... or somesuch ...

And oddly enough I'm "reading" the song strongly as being about Frodo, specifically, going into the west after his long journey into pain and decline and more generally about all who sacrificed and worked so hard against the Dark Lord and their well-deserved rest at the end of the road.

But then, the stories have always been about the Hobbits and Gandalf for me - it's Sam and Frodo's story and Merry and Pippin's that most break my heart and give me the biggest upswellings of joy. For some reason the elves and men often seem too remote for me. But then, my introduction to Tolkien also came via The Hobbit as read to me by my Dad.

Not that I can't appreciate the beauty of all things Elvish and the stateliness of Minas Tirith. But I feel most at home in the homebody descriptions of the Shire and the point of view of our Hobbit adventurers.
Dec. 8th, 2003 07:02 am (UTC)
Yes, it was something like that. I keep thinking it's "the clearing of silver trumpets" but I'm not sure what that would mean.

The Shire is the only place in Middle Earth where we are really shown what it would be like to be home there. Really, the only other example of a home operating under everyday conditions we are shown is Tom Bombadil and Goldberry's home, but they are immortal and so different. Every other living place which is depicted in the series is disrupted: The Golden Hall by Theoden's haunting and his son's death, and Gondor by Denethor's madness.
Dec. 8th, 2003 01:09 pm (UTC)
... and Lothlorien and Rivendell are elvish and hence ethereal and arcane by their very nature ... though there is a glimpse of happy homeness with the Hall of Fire and Bilbo. We never do really see humans at home except for that brief glimpse in Minas Tirith of Pippin with Bergil and Beregond, but as you say, it's not normal every day conditions.

And perhaps ... "The clamoring of the trumpets"? I shoulde really re-watch the scene:)
Dec. 4th, 2003 08:10 am (UTC)
the horns also recall the fellowship theme from the first movie, which only sounds in its entirety during the montage when they've just left rivendell and are hiking across scenic vistas.
Dec. 4th, 2003 08:08 am (UTC)
for what it's worth, i hear horns (particularly at the end, as well as at the white gulls part), and i don't hear bass (or any other) viols, just standard orchestral strings.

this is gorgeous; thanks for the link. :) i've gone and ordered myself a soundtrack now.
Dec. 4th, 2003 06:54 pm (UTC)
You need better speakers or some good headphones. On my Altec Lansing super-mega-whoop-*ss set, the bases rattle the neighbor's windows. :)
Dec. 4th, 2003 07:45 pm (UTC)
Small pleasures
It makes me happy to see my two professionally musical friends discussing music - even if only fleetingly.
Dec. 4th, 2003 09:59 pm (UTC)
oh, i hear bass instruments, particularly low strings-- the double basses, celli, and violas holding out those thick fifths. i've got pretty decent headphones that i listen with at work. i was just being nitpicky about your use of the term 'viol,' of which there definitely are none on that track.
Dec. 4th, 2003 11:10 pm (UTC)
Oops! Thanks for the correction. I was thinking the bass viol was the lowest pitched string, but the double bass is an octave lower. And that was what I was hearing. I never knew the bass viol was similar to the cello until your reply made me go to google to look it up. I played in the high school band, not the orchestra, and we didn't have strings, darn it.

I had to use a -20dB filter on the bass to keep it from overpowering the rest of the song when I listened to it. Honestly, I think the sound engineers today optimize recordings for best sound on 3 inch speakers. No wonder I have to wear hearing protectors in the movie theaters.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )