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ScoreKeeper Has Been Seduced by the New "The Music of THE LORD OF THE RINGS Films" Book by Doug Adams!

Greetings! ScoreKeeper here strongly encouraging you to get your ass to class before the tardy bell rings. You may be thinking about skipping out but believe me, you don't want to miss this lesson. Studying music has never been so cool! For almost five years, I've been following the development of film music journalist Doug Adams' progress writing a new book on the music of THE LORD OF THE RINGS (2001-2003). When I first heard he was working on it, I was immediately captivated by the idea but Doug kept it pretty much under wraps so I really didn't know what to expect. How deep would he examine the material? How comprehensive would his analyses be? Would this book be more suited for casual listeners or staunch academics? What about the presentation of the book? Would it be a roughshod assembly of cheap-paper pages or crafted with the same grand aesthetic appeal associated with the films themselves? Well, the waiting is over. This week I finally received an advanced copy from the publisher which I immediately freed from its cardboard confines. I sat for nearly an hour caressing each meticulous page beguiled by its contents. It didn't take me long to realize what I had was holding. The Music of THE LORD OF THE RINGS Films by Doug Adams could easily be one of the most significant and important books ever written on the analysis of a film score. While there have been a handful of film scores which have been deconstructed and analyzed as the focus of a book, none have proven so monstrously daunting as Howard Shore's eleven hour score for THE LORD THE RINGS. What began as an an invitation by Shore himself to scribe an article chronicling his work on THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, is now a masterwork of musical wizardry unlike anything we've seen before. This impressively hefty hardbound edition features 401 pages of expertly composed musical analysis, exquisite artwork, beautiful color photography, hundreds of engraved musical snippets, Shore's pencil sketches, complete vocal texts, and full orchestral manuscripts of select scenes. The proliferation of John Howe and Alan Lee's elegant pre-production artwork adds beautiful layers of sophistication which serves as a visual complement to the aural focus of the book.

I'm a music theory and analysis junkie. I'll formally analyze a movement of a Bartok string quartet just for giggles and snorts. Books analyzing masterworks are commonplace amongst the classical sphere. Unfortunately, they are a rare commodity in the film music world due primarily to the lack of accessible materials. As Howard Shore and Doug Adams nurtured their relationship, Shore slowly increased his trust in the demonstratively capable Adams. "He began researching and over time the trust built," Shore is quoted in the book. "I gave him more and more access to my archives -- sketches, scores, notebooks, recordings, film and video." This level of penetration within the creative mind of a film composer during the scoring process is simply unprecedented. The fruits of Shore and Adams' unique collaboration are wholly apparent in each and every page of this magnificent book. Here's a passage from a chapter focusing on the thematic relationships of the various One Ring themes:
Although the SEDUCTION theme's melody line seems to suggest D minor harmonies the line, in fact, begins on the fourth degree of an A minor scale. The B-natural that ends the line, therefore, concludes the melody on the second degree of the A minor scale, suspending the appoggiatura that is suggested by the first nine notes of the HISTORY OF THE RING.

The text is followed by two engraved musical passages clearly outlining Adams' point. This type of analytical language resonates within my theory-starved ears like the listing of delicious sundae ingredients to a die-hard lover of ice cream. The fact that this book is chock-full of these types of observations is what makes it so incredibly valuable to me; however, perhaps music theory bores you or you just don't know music well enough to even understand what Adams is talking about. Don't fret. While Adams is not afraid to get technical in his writing, much of the book is written with the casual listener or non-musical LORD OF THE RINGS fan in mind. This book is littered with behind-the-scenes accounts, general music observations, and utilizes language that even non-musical lovers of Shore's work can wholly appreciate. I suspected that this was going to be a niche book. I don't view it like that now. I wouldn't hesitate to purchase this for anybody who loves Howard Shore's monumental score to THE LORD OF THE RINGS whether they are musical nor not. As if the book itself wasn't enough to titillate the consummate middle-earth music lover, Adams has included a CD filled with unreleased rarities from Shore's archives. Alternate versions of the "Prologue: One Ring to Rule Them All," "The Argonath," and "The Siege of Gondor," demo mockups of "The Shire," "The Hobbits," "Moria," "The Rohan Fanfare," and "The Ent Theme," and the complete unreleased version of "Arwen's Song" from RETURN OF THE KING are just a few of the highlights featured on this CD. The book is currently available for pre-order at and other major retailers. Doug Adams has been maintaining a blog for the past couple years chronicling news and recent developments surrounding the book. You can check that out HERE.

I noticed today that there will be a book signing in London on September 27th from 5PM until 7PM at Chappell of Bond Street. Both Doug Adams and Howard Shore will be there to sign copies. For more information click HERE. Sadly, I'll be on the other side of the planet which will keep my book unsigned at least for time being. On September 28th, the London Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing Howard Shore's score for THE RETURN OF THE KING (2003) live to picture at the Royal Albert Hall. My creative brain can't even begin to comprehend how insanely awesome that experience will be. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got more reading to attend to...


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