Musical Analysis of The Fellowship of the Ring

Analysis of Track 9: Many Meetings

First we hear the Rivendell theme that is sung by the female choir accompanied by low strings and harp. The choir starts out by singing unison (everyone singing the same note) then as the sopranos climb the other voices break off and form a thick chord. The low strings play an arpeggio underneath with the top note being just a half step away from the previous note. What this does is create just a bit of tension/release so the phrase feels like it is constantly moving. The harp does a glissando from the bottom of the harp up to the top which gives us an ethereal feel as Frodo views Rivendell.

At the end of each phrase the orchestra and choir does a decrescendo (gets softer) and a ritardando (slows down) and then starts up again with the beginning of the next phrase. This seems very dreamlike and beautiful which matches the setting of Rivendell and our happiness in seeing Frodo well again. This is what I imagine the music to be like in heaven with the angelic voices and harp.

At :38 Frodo sees Bilbo and the music does a little transition to….

Frodo’s theme which is at :42 as he hugs Bilbo. The music is played expansively by the strings to give a sense of sweetness as the two reunite.

At :54 the clarinet plays a variant of Frodo’s theme which has a more playfulness to it as he reads “There and Back Again”. The orchestration here is very light and simple as in "Concerning Hobbits" with the 1 5 8 5 1 played by the low strings. However, it is slower in this case and is played by lower sounding instruments that give it a more nostalgic feeling.

At 1:22 Frodo sees the map of the Shire and the music changes to more of a sense of longing with the low strings, long sustaining chords and a lack of a beat pattern. Bilbo looks down at the book at 1:33 and the chord is lush as HS harmonizes it a little differently than we expect (it’s my favorite chord in the track). Frodo now talks about missing the shire and at

1:51 he says, “I’m not like you, Bilbo” as the clarinet takes up his theme again but the 1 5 8 5 1 accompaniment is missing here and that makes it seem not as playful as before.

We hear the Rivendell music again at 2:05 as we see Sam packing with the loveliness of Rivendell in the background. This time the clarinet plays the arpeggio pattern, the choir sings softer and the harp is missing as we feel the uneasiness of Sam.

At 2:25 Frodo’s theme returns as Sam tries to talk him into going home now that they’ve done what they've set out to do. It almost sounds as though the choir hums in the background with the strings, which adds even more warmth to the sound. This theme is to represent the Shire at this point and Frodo’s longing to return home. As Frodo says the word “home”, the music resolves at 2:54 to signify that he made his decision.

- Talagawen