YouTube Uploads for Season 4

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
So it is a new season for SilmFilm, season 4 in fact. To start it off I have rehashed one of my earlier compositions. This was my second composition and looking back it was very short, so I have fleshed it out a bit more, improved the audio by using my orchestral library rather than a midi file, added some impressive artwork and some text from Tolkien himself. I hope you enjoy this bigger and better version of Varda.

 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
It is amazing how a commission can inspire one. I have been struggling with about 3 or 4 tracks for months but as soon as the hosts announce "Phillip Menzies, we need a musical track for dragons and the dragonhelm" well it just seems to pour out of me. So here it is, Dragon/Dragonhlem. It is very ambitious and I have really gone to town on the video, more than usual, but it indicates what was going through my head while I was working on it. Dragon is based on a five note downward scale and the chord progression starting with a minor chord based on these notes. The dragonhelm is based on the same chord progression but this time starting with a major chord, much slower and majestic with more and more instruments joining in with variations to imply how the dragonhelm inspires, finishing with the theme being stated again with horns. The two are linked by a short transitional piece in the middle with scenes of Glaurung from the Dagor Bragollach. I may make this onto a dwarf piece.
I hope you enjoy Dragon Dragonhelm.

 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
Here is another piece inspired by the bad guy discussion on the Spell of Bottomless Dread. I have tried to get into the head of the elves who have the spell cast upon them and show the trauma they experience. The first image evokes an external threat (albeit in their imagination), the second is Morgoth with already established Melkor themes and finally the face of terror that experiences the dread. I have used my already established Melkor themes and this piece is a variation on those. You will hear the four slowly rising bass notes, only half of Melkor's theme. The other signature part is the braying trumpet triplet, the timing of which is now a bit uneven. As Melkor puts his will into others he is starting to fray at the edges. This triplet once loud and strong originating with Melkor will eventually musically disappear in scenes with him as he leaves nothing for himself. The screeching violins are an effect on my Garritan Virtual Orchestra which I am using to good effect. Underlying the whole piece is the drum beat which sounds like a heart beat. At the end the only thing that can be heard is the heart beat and the screeches signifying that as long as the person can hear their heart beat they will still experience Melkor's dread. This is a disturbing piece so I won't say enjoy it.

 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
Here is a new SilmFilm tune. Hope!
I have gone back quite a way for this one probably because I have been working on it for months. After I did the Girdle of Melian and worked out Theme 1 for the Ainulindale I was struck by a small motif which leaped out at me as being significant. I have taken this motif and worked it into a new theme which shows that Hope was there in the Iluvatar's original plan for the music. Being hope, it is intrinsically associated with Estel, young Aragorn and may end up being his theme throughout the rest of the series.

 
Last edited:

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
What better way to start a weekend than with some tunes. I have two that go hand in hand. The first is a rehash of my tune for Manwe that I published very early on in SilnFilm. I have remixed it so it is not a midi file anymore but has been run through my virtual orchestra to give it more realistic sounding instruments. I have also fiddled with the dynamics and slightly with the instrumentation to give it a more rounded sound. I have redone this one now because it relates directly to the next one I am going to publish. Here is Manwe with some artwork by Bre.

This one has been updated again on 30/12/2019 to reflect a variation of Manwe's theme that I used in the piece Resistance is Fruitful. When I wrote Resistance is Fruitful (see the next post) I based it on Manwe's theme and chord structure, but it couldn't be a direct copy, it had to be inspired by Manwe's theme, so all I did was change the opening chord from C major to A minor which is only one note, from CEG to ACE. This meant though that I could not play Manwe's theme over the top as the G & A would clash and Manwe has no discord. Instead I played Manwe's theme a few notes higher. The other complication is that I can't just transpose a minor chord into a higher major chord. Instead I kept similar intervals between the notes, allowing the major chord to come through and keeping the same timing and general movement of the notes without keeping exactly the same notes. This is a more complicated thing to do than just putting it into a higher key. I will speak about this more at the SilmFilm music session on the 16th of January 2020 and I hope to compare what I have done here to what John Williams did with Yoda's theme in the Empire Strikes Back.
So here is Manwe Re-Imagined.
 
Last edited:

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
My real tune this week end is this one which I have called Resistance is Fruitful. It is based on Manwe's theme and is a variation. Fragments of Manwe's theme play throughout. Effectively this is my second theme for the Ainulindale, at its core is resistance to Melkor. It needs to be strong to break through Melkor's discord but in the end it cannot overcome Melkor as the elves find out over time. This will be an important theme in Season 4 of SilmFilm underpinning the siege of Angband. I hope you like Resistance is Fruitful.
 
Last edited:

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
I agree that Corey Olsen will have a tough sell on that one! But maybe think more poetry reading than rap battle to get the feel of it....an emphasis on the sound of words.
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
I have just uploaded another tune for SilmFilm, the anthem for season 4, OF BELERIAND AND ITS REALMS. I have been working an this one for quite a while trying to get the sound right. It is a bit jaunty, but I have reduced the jauntiness from what it was.
As the host of the Noldor set in for the long Siege of Angband they spread throughout Beleriand to hem Morgoth and his forces in. This piece does a quick round up of who rules which area of Beleriand. Although this will never be presented in this form in any episode it gets across the idea that whenever a scene shows the Noldor and their allies creating their realms this music would play.
For those attentive listeners you will hear that this is a variation of the Girdle of Melian theme which refers back to the original theme 1 from the Ainulindale (which I have not produced yet if you were to go looking for it). This is based in sub-creation, creating things that are meant to be and expressing the true nature of Iluvatar's original plan.
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
Here is a commission from the SilmFilm hosts during one of the creative sessions. Rather than a theme for "people in love" they asked for a theme for "laughter and joy which fades all too soon". Well finding a name for that took almost as long as it took me to write and arrange this. I have called it Evanescent Lightsomeness and let me tell you my dictionary and thesaurus got a really good workout. It features the stories of Finwe and Miriel now Turin and Lalaith and of Beren and Luthien.
So about the piece. It is in a major key but it goes down a lot with high jumps of joy. It features a solo cello which gives it a tone of lonesomeness and an alto flute which is lower than expected for the flute. Near the end it moves into a series of minor chords for a really dark moment in the Beren and Luthien story before ending with the ultimate fate of all mortal romances. I think this is one of my best ones yet.

EVANESCENT LIGHTSOMENESS
I have re-uploaded the video twice now with some modifications to the audio and some new images that reflect the discussion in Session 4.15 about the theme being used in the story of Turin and Lalaith. I removed the images for Finwe and Miriel and although that story is full of tragedy, it doesn't quite fit the theme as it is about the laughter and joy that fades all too soon for mortals. Finwe and Miriel could have had thousands of years of bliss before their particular tragedy.

 
Last edited:

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
I have been working on this one for weeks. It is The Hiding of Valinor a whopping 8 minutes long as it takes in the last 8 minutes of the final episode of Season 3 from the Rising of the Sun through reactions in Middle Earth, the hiding of Valinor including the making of the "Enchanted Islands and the raising of the Pelori. It has the resolution of the frame story with Estel returning to Rivendell and I have added on the Waking of Men that I did last year as the very final scene. I have a detailed description of the story as shown and a musical description after the link:


This is my longest piece of music to date, a whopping 8 minutes. This represents to the final scenes of the season 3 finale of the Silmarillion Film Project by Mythgard and the Tolkien Professor. The action relocates to Valinor where the Valar have been deciding the doom of Middle Earth. The sun rises for the first time in the west with the maiar Arien bearing the sun on its journey. Life erupts in Middle Earth and the Noldor and Sindar look on in wonder. Morgoth’s creature are dismayed and shun the light and Morgoth cowers in the depths of Angband. The Valar begin the task of walling off the Blessed Realm from Middle Earth. They create the Enchanted Islands as a ring of defence, a place of confusion where sailors lose their bearings and if they alight on the islands will fall asleep only to awaken at the end of Arda. They raise the Pelori to unimaginable heights as a barrier and lock themselves in. Vaire gives us a tantalising glimpse of the future against the backdrop of the Ban of the Valar. The frame story of Estel running away and being found by the sons of Elrond comes to an end as they near home, Rivendell. Estel is reunited with his mother Gilraen and his future is pondered by the wise. The final scene is the teaser for season 4, the Waking of Men. As the sun rises for the first time the camera follows a woman as she wakes and the adventures of men begin.

Musically this piece has a little of everything and is lots of small pieces strung together. The scene begins with the Doom theme morphing into Manwe’s and Varda’s themes as they decide the fate of Middle Earth. Valinor Rising theme begins to play signifying creation in Valinor. The music of the sun rising is from the birth of Laurelin as the flute steps its way upwards and a new theme, Arien rises borrowing notes from Laurelin. The note steps are left behind as Arien is revealed in all her glory. As new life comes to Middle Earth Yavanna’s theme plays. Arien’s theme makes slight change as she establishes herself and the notes step down now sung by voices of the Children of Iluvatar and she borrows notes again on the down step when the elves of Middle Earth look in wonder. The chords change to menacing stepping up dominated by brass as the sun has its effect upon Morgoth’s creatures and they flee. Finally, Morgoth’s triad plays somewhat raggedly as he cowers in a ray of sunlight. As the action moves again to Valinor we get once again Valinor Rising, this time in a minor key to indicate the change from beauty to pragmatic defensive creation. This section featuring the Valar in action is notable for the timing which alternates between 4 and 3 beats per bar, giving the creation a rushed, staggered feel. The music goes through a challenging transition to the next section, the creation of the Enchanted Islands featuring Este and Irmo’s themes. The enchantments placed upon the islands place mental confusion followed by sleep upon the recipients, this time enforced and not a gift of healing. This piece mixes major and minor keys, uses wind sound effects, harp and chimes to give an uneasy effect. The theme transitions back to Valinor Rising in a minor key with the brass bringing up the slowly rising Pelori which is unresolved. As Manwe and Varda issue the Ban of the Valar, a new theme The Ban sounds, made up of two items, a horn call made from the first two notes of the Grief of Man (Strange Gift) and three peals of the same note from the tubular bells indicating the Call of the Eldar which is a common pattern for the tree kindreds. A final resounding chord plays as the screen goes blank. Vaire is revealed creating a tapestry backed by a soft, mystical rendition of the Silmarils theme with a new theme played over the top (Wingelot) foreshadowing the ending of the ban by Earendil in his ship and her tapestry showing a single star.

The resolution of the frame story is told with Estel returning home after his adventures with Eladan and Elrohir. The theme Hope plays at a slower pace indicating the reflections on his time away from home and his reuniting with his mother.

The final piece The Waking of Men starts with tremolo strings and the slow playing of the Gift of Iluvatar theme (Strange Gift), building to a crescendo with the human voices taking over and ending with a musical climax.
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
It has been couple of months since my last piece of music. Much of my time has been taken up with The Oath, but that is not ready yet.
This piece is based on the creative discussions abut the Mereth Aderthad. I took what the hosts said about the Feast of Reuniting and my question about background music. I have written in a Baroque style but rather that something original I have done what some composers do and ply the theme music in a particular style. I have also used the LOTRO music system and abc files to record them with traditional instrument such as the lute and have single instruments to give the impression of a small ban playing in the background. So I have taken the Noldor and Teleri themes and woven them together. They appear separately in the beginning, the Noldor played by the flute and the Teleri played by the lute. As the piece goes on the instruments swap around, the themes get shorter and the instruments play together indicating the cooperation of the two groups and under Turgon's leadership the merging of the cultures into a new theme which is not truly expressed until the move to the Vale of Tumladen. the armour and shield left in Vinyamar serve as a sign and with the swelling of the full orchestra a new theme based on Noldor and Teleri is finally played in full during the discovery of Tumladen and with the building of Gondolin (although no-one has drawn anything of the construction phase). The theme is played in its fullness finally when Gondolin is complete. Some things to look out for musically are the horns making this a grand theme and the violins who pick up the Valinor pattern that is played when Gondolin is revealed as a homage to Tirion upn Tuna in Valinor. I am very pleased with this and it is appropriately titled A THEME IS BORN
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Hahah, I know that Fingon and Maedhros! I was going to come here and say how cool the music is, but I got distracted ;)

Fingon is portrayed by Celia (Avallone Cosplay), and Maedhros is Vanya (Rattle and Burn). Photo was taken at Katsucon in the National Harbor Gaylord Hotel, by Kenna (Houkakyou). ;)


But yes, I'm excited by the new instrument, and I really like how this piece builds and tells so much of the story in 4 minutes. Pretty awesome what you're doing here! :D

(Will patiently await the Sauron-vs-Goblin Feet song ;) )
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
Hahah, I know that Fingon and Maedhros! I was going to come here and say how cool the music is, but I got distracted ;)

Fingon is portrayed by Celia (Avallone Cosplay), and Maedhros is Vanya (Rattle and Burn). Photo was taken at Katsucon in the National Harbor Gaylord Hotel, by Kenna (Houkakyou). ;)


But yes, I'm excited by the new instrument, and I really like how this piece builds and tells so much of the story in 4 minutes. Pretty awesome what you're doing here! :D

(Will patiently await the Sauron-vs-Goblin Feet song ;) )
The Sauron Goblin Feet had to wait. It wasn't fitting with what I was doing with this music.
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
Sorry, not Goblin Feet, yet.
Instead the crux of Season 4 music, Reconciliation Spectrum. This highly complex idea that the hosts came up with in Session 4-15 in response to my simple question, do we need a musical theme describing reconciliation? the answer, no, we need a full spectrum of tunes or something that get across all of the different stages of reconciliation that the characters go through, even those characters who do not ever reconcile but head the other way into open conflict. I have copied my YouTube notes here so you can understand what the series of pieces are doing.

An original piece of music for the Silmarillion Film Project in conjunction with Mythgard Institute and Signum University. This sequence of musical vignettes is from the request from the hosts in Session 4-15 in response to my query if the season needed a theme for reconciliation. Well they hit me with not just a theme but a spectrum of musical motifs to signify different stages in the reconciliation journey. This even recognises that some people despite the opportunity and impetus do not travel that path but travel a different path towards conflict. This piece consists of seven different tunes, but they are all linked by the opening. They all start with a run up of the same five notes with the next note determining the path it will follow. Some of the vignettes follow the same or similar chord progression, but often it is what I have done with the instruments that makes the difference.

  • Uncertainty. The spectrum starts in the middle with the clarinet playing with uncertainty and repeats the five notes again before playing the same note and vacillating around it and repeating the same pattern, but never making a clear statement of theme. In the top end of the instruments are the violins swinging from one extreme to the other in pitch.
  • Next is Doubt and Uncertainty. The first five notes sound played by the bassoon and are repeated with the next note being a one note drop. The melody moves around with irregular timing. There is a lot to worry and fret about here.
  • We move to Suspicion with the opening five notes played by the French Horns and repeated before hitting an off note telling us clearly that something is not right. The music rises bringing whatever it is closer. The final notes are the opening to Mairon’s theme giving us a clue as to who to be suspicious of.
  • We land on Open Conflict. The opening five notes played by trombone are now irregular in timing, only played once and the fifth note is wrong, the following note landing where it should have. Something is definitely not right. We descend into darkness and all the while Mairon’s opening notes accompany us on the journey down as he delights in our demise. All the while timpani jostles us around. The music repeats and we are in a situation not wholly of our making but one we cannot escape easily. Mairon’s motif sounds at the end making it clear at the end how we made the journey.
  • The music is back to Uncertainty and this way we are travelling the opposite direction.
  • In Attempts to bridge Gaps, the oboe starts the five-note journey with the following note being one note higher, a note of hope. The notes on the strings that accompany the opening five notes are one tone apart which gives a sense of trepidation. The rise pauses on the fifth note indicating we are not sure which way it is going to go. When it does sound, the higher note is a relief. The piece is in mostly major chords, but there are many other notes in there such as the 2nd and 7th notes and runs played on contrary motion which add to the tentative feel of this piece. The five opening notes are sounded again in the middle of the piece but this time with n hesitation. It is played gently giving a feeling of building trust.
  • Reconciliation has a strong opening with the strings playing one note stridently. The French hors carry the melody. The first note after the opening five raises it to a major chord outside of the scale giving it a surprising lift, the unlooked-for reconciliation. The French horns give this a triumphant feel as if the odds have been overcome. It is still tinged with minor chords and 2nd and 7th notes indicating some sadness.
  • The final piece Forgiveness is full of major chords. The melody is held jointly by violin and flute. The next note after the opening five is a four note jump with no hesitation. The melody is poignant and like the one before reiterates the opening five notes in the middle played quicker with no hesitation and in the second half plays some higher harmonies. At the end the flute and violins split with one reaching up with the five-note opening and the other reaching down with the same sequence showing them meeting in the middle. There are few incidental notes with pure simple chords, there is no deceit here.
I give you the spectrum of reconciliation as depicted in SilmFilm Season 4.

 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
I am hoping that this is the penultimate piece of music for SilmFilm Season 4 (fingers crossed that the Oath of Feanor will be ready by the music session this Thursday/ Friday.
Anyway this is the one that the script team have been waiting for, Hurdy Gurdy Goblin Feet is what I have called it. By no means an easy feat. It doesn't follow exactly how it was set out by the script team, but I must refer to an interview with the song writers of Frozen when they said that the story and the songs were written together and often the development of the song would affect the way the story went. this is one of those cases. The video with its static images does not do it justice, but some dynamics I see are Luthien wresting control of the song from Sauron fairly early because I needed to show the beauty of her "nice" version on it's own. This could be done on screen by having the camera focus on her while Sauron's music is very firmly in the background/ I have opted for this version. After she wrests control right in the middle of Sauron playing his own theme music he is shocked and watches the hurdy gurdy play without him touching it. He then tries to take back control and battles with Luthien for the rest of the song, more fervently as the song nears its climax. I have also added some sound effects of Sauron tuning the corrupted instrument at the beginning and at the end some wind down and breaking sound effects as Luthien breaks the device with her will. I also think it would be good to show Sauron loosing his ability to keep his fair form (disguise) during the struggle and reverting to a more evil looking version of the Sauron that we know. This was also influenced by the few hurdy gurdy artwork I could find. the skeleton bard/cleric gives a real creepy feel.
Here are my notes that went up onto YouTube with the video.

Hurdy Gurdy Goblin Feet

An original composition for the Silmarillion Film Project podcast with the Mythgard Institute and Signum University.
My sincere thanks goes to Megan Mosier DeCenzo who provided the vocals for Luthien.

I am used to receiving commissions from the Tolkien Professor for some music but this one came from the script team. They came up with a scenario for the discord that Sauron caused at the Mereth Aderthad (the Feast of Reuniting). The scene is that Sauron disguised as a Noldor takes apart some of the musical instruments and corrupts them into his own invention which resembles a hurdy gurdy. He plays it up on a balcony where he cannot be seen and the music that wafts over the crown at the feast causes some to argue and bicker. Luthien notices this and identifies that the discordant music is the cause and starts to turn the music from its intent into a little humourous ditty. The script team wanted the ditty it be poem by Tolkien, Goblin Feet. The hurdy gurdy itself is a combination of two drone strings continuously playing notes with little variation (violin and cello) with the tune and harmony which is minor with many off notes (viola) and twanging notes played erratically (plucked strings).

Musically this begins with Sauron tuning his invention and then beginning his discordant playing. He gets one run through done, breaking the verses with a rendition of his own musical theme, before Luthien twigs as to what is going on. She then tests her skills by singing ahs that reach out and grab the tune and force it into a different configuration. She sings a chorus and she half turns it from minor to major. When Sauron attempts to play his theme again it is forced into a major key and he loses control completely. Luthien sings her ditty, accompanied by Daeron on the flute, forcing the drone strings to harmonise with her own variation of Sauron’s dirge. She repeats the verse and this time Sauron tries to exert some control over the viola part with little success. In the final verse Sauron pulls out all the stops and tries every trick he knows to try to wrest control back off Luthien playing trills, mordents, treblements and other ornaments. He is still trying in the last repeat and in the last line gives up and transforms into a bad to escape detection. Luthien, exerting her power causes the evil hurdy gurdy to break.

I changed one line as I discussed in the script forum:

Of enchanted leprechauns to
‘neath the berries on Hawthorns
as I did not think that leprechauns really fit into Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

There are another one or two words switched around to reflect what my singer sang. Here are the lyrics for Goblin Feet. they are also shown in the video.

I am off down the road
Where the fairy lanterns glowed
And the little pretty flitter-mice are flying
A slender band of gray
It runs creepily away
And the hedges and the grasses are a-sighing.
The air is full of wings,
And of blundery beetle-things
That warn you with their whirring and their humming.
O! I hear the tiny horns
‘neath the berries on Hawthorns
(Of enchanted leprechauns)
And the padded feet of many gnomes a-coming!

O! the lights! O! the gleams! O! the little twinkly sounds!
O! the rustle of their noiseless little robes!
O! the echo of their feet - of their happy little feet!
O! the swinging lamps in the starlit globes.

I must follow in their train
Down the crooked fairy lane
Where the coney-rabbits long ago have gone.
And where silvery they sing
In a moving moonlit ring
All a twinkle with the jewels they have on.
They are fading round the turn
Where the glow worms palely burn
And the echo of their padding feet is dying!
O! it's knocking at my heart-
Let me go! let me start!
For the little magic hours are all a-flying.

O! the warmth! O! the hum! O! the colours in the dark!
O! the gauzy wings of golden honey-flies!
O! the music of their feet - of their dancing goblin feet!
O! the magic! O! the sorrow when it dies.


This piece was a lot of fun and had its own unique challenges. The writing process was actually in reverse. I started with Goblin Feet and wrote my own music to accompany the words given above .I wrote the flute accompaniment and the drone strings for the base chords and then went about bastardising it. I experimented with changing the key and finally hit on lowering it two semitones and changing it to minor which seemed to fit in well. I found a new chord structure and wound a new melody and harmony with little in the way of repetition to continually keep the audience on edge. When Luthien cones in with her chorus I changed a few notes to follow her major melody but kept the minor harmony so the major and minor clash. After Luthien wrests control for one verse and chorus Sauron tries to regain control. In this section I kept the drone strings accompanying Luthien and wrote in some interesting ornaments and articulations trying to show Sauron trying to wrest back control of his instrument. The final verse sees him exerting a greater amount of pressure without success as the ornaments increase in severity. The final line is played in perfect harmony as Luthien wins this battle.

This was very difficult to find images for as I needed an elf playing a hurdy gurdy. I opted for a number of images to show that as the battle goes on Sauron looses the ability to keep his disguise and he reverts to a more evil form. I also needed some good images of Luthien but they are mostly out of doors in the forest, and of course I needed images of elves arguing which is difficult to find because elves are so serene and never argue. I have settled on some images that do not exactly fit with Tolkien but get across an important element such as disagreeing, while obviously from their dress they are not from Tolkien’s world. My sincere thanks goes to the following art work and artist who give my music that little extra something to get across the ideas:

I give you Hurdy Gurdy Goblin Feet

 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I am hoping that this is the penultimate piece of music for SilmFilm Season 4 (fingers crossed that the Oath of Feanor will be ready by the music session this Thursday/ Friday.
Anyway this is the one that the script team have been waiting for, Hurdy Gurdy Goblin Feet is what I have called it. By no means an easy feat. It doesn't follow exactly how it was set out by the script team, but I must refer to an interview with the song writers of Frozen when they said that the story and the songs were written together and often the development of the song would affect the way the story went. this is one of those cases. The video with its static images does not do it justice, but some dynamics I see are Luthien wresting control of the song from Sauron fairly early because I needed to show the beauty of her "nice" version on it's own. This could be done on screen by having the camera focus on her while Sauron's music is very firmly in the background/ I have opted for this version. After she wrests control right in the middle of Sauron playing his own theme music he is shocked and watches the hurdy gurdy play without him touching it. He then tries to take back control and battles with Luthien for the rest of the song, more fervently as the song nears its climax. I have also added some sound effects of Sauron tuning the corrupted instrument at the beginning and at the end some wind down and breaking sound effects as Luthien breaks the device with her will. I also think it would be good to show Sauron loosing his ability to keep his fair form (disguise) during the struggle and reverting to a more evil looking version of the Sauron that we know. This was also influenced by the few hurdy gurdy artwork I could find. the skeleton bard/cleric gives a real creepy feel.
Here are my notes that went up onto YouTube with the video.

Hurdy Gurdy Goblin Feet

An original composition for the Silmarillion Film Project podcast with the Mythgard Institute and Signum University.
My sincere thanks goes to Megan Mosier DeCenzo who provided the vocals for Luthien.

I am used to receiving commissions from the Tolkien Professor for some music but this one came from the script team. They came up with a scenario for the discord that Sauron caused at the Mereth Aderthad (the Feast of Reuniting). The scene is that Sauron disguised as a Noldor takes apart some of the musical instruments and corrupts them into his own invention which resembles a hurdy gurdy. He plays it up on a balcony where he cannot be seen and the music that wafts over the crown at the feast causes some to argue and bicker. Luthien notices this and identifies that the discordant music is the cause and starts to turn the music from its intent into a little humourous ditty. The script team wanted the ditty it be poem by Tolkien, Goblin Feet. The hurdy gurdy itself is a combination of two drone strings continuously playing notes with little variation (violin and cello) with the tune and harmony which is minor with many off notes (viola) and twanging notes played erratically (plucked strings).

Musically this begins with Sauron tuning his invention and then beginning his discordant playing. He gets one run through done, breaking the verses with a rendition of his own musical theme, before Luthien twigs as to what is going on. She then tests her skills by singing ahs that reach out and grab the tune and force it into a different configuration. She sings a chorus and she half turns it from minor to major. When Sauron attempts to play his theme again it is forced into a major key and he loses control completely. Luthien sings her ditty, accompanied by Daeron on the flute, forcing the drone strings to harmonise with her own variation of Sauron’s dirge. She repeats the verse and this time Sauron tries to exert some control over the viola part with little success. In the final verse Sauron pulls out all the stops and tries every trick he knows to try to wrest control back off Luthien playing trills, mordents, treblements and other ornaments. He is still trying in the last repeat and in the last line gives up and transforms into a bad to escape detection. Luthien, exerting her power causes the evil hurdy gurdy to break.

I changed one line as I discussed in the script forum:

Of enchanted leprechauns to
‘neath the berries on Hawthorns
as I did not think that leprechauns really fit into Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

There are another one or two words switched around to reflect what my singer sang. Here are the lyrics for Goblin Feet. they are also shown in the video.

I am off down the road
Where the fairy lanterns glowed
And the little pretty flitter-mice are flying
A slender band of gray
It runs creepily away
And the hedges and the grasses are a-sighing.
The air is full of wings,
And of blundery beetle-things
That warn you with their whirring and their humming.
O! I hear the tiny horns
‘neath the berries on Hawthorns
(Of enchanted leprechauns)
And the padded feet of many gnomes a-coming!

O! the lights! O! the gleams! O! the little twinkly sounds!
O! the rustle of their noiseless little robes!
O! the echo of their feet - of their happy little feet!
O! the swinging lamps in the starlit globes.

I must follow in their train
Down the crooked fairy lane
Where the coney-rabbits long ago have gone.
And where silvery they sing
In a moving moonlit ring
All a twinkle with the jewels they have on.
They are fading round the turn
Where the glow worms palely burn
And the echo of their padding feet is dying!
O! it's knocking at my heart-
Let me go! let me start!
For the little magic hours are all a-flying.

O! the warmth! O! the hum! O! the colours in the dark!
O! the gauzy wings of golden honey-flies!
O! the music of their feet - of their dancing goblin feet!
O! the magic! O! the sorrow when it dies.


This piece was a lot of fun and had its own unique challenges. The writing process was actually in reverse. I started with Goblin Feet and wrote my own music to accompany the words given above .I wrote the flute accompaniment and the drone strings for the base chords and then went about bastardising it. I experimented with changing the key and finally hit on lowering it two semitones and changing it to minor which seemed to fit in well. I found a new chord structure and wound a new melody and harmony with little in the way of repetition to continually keep the audience on edge. When Luthien cones in with her chorus I changed a few notes to follow her major melody but kept the minor harmony so the major and minor clash. After Luthien wrests control for one verse and chorus Sauron tries to regain control. In this section I kept the drone strings accompanying Luthien and wrote in some interesting ornaments and articulations trying to show Sauron trying to wrest back control of his instrument. The final verse sees him exerting a greater amount of pressure without success as the ornaments increase in severity. The final line is played in perfect harmony as Luthien wins this battle.

This was very difficult to find images for as I needed an elf playing a hurdy gurdy. I opted for a number of images to show that as the battle goes on Sauron looses the ability to keep his disguise and he reverts to a more evil form. I also needed some good images of Luthien but they are mostly out of doors in the forest, and of course I needed images of elves arguing which is difficult to find because elves are so serene and never argue. I have settled on some images that do not exactly fit with Tolkien but get across an important element such as disagreeing, while obviously from their dress they are not from Tolkien’s world. My sincere thanks goes to the following art work and artist who give my music that little extra something to get across the ideas:

I give you Hurdy Gurdy Goblin Feet

You had little Nessa a-dancing, for what that's worth!
 
Top