Dec 152010

The travels of Tuor and Voronwë will soon be accompanied by appropriate music

Things have quieted down in the production process, but only in the figurative sense.  Our main focus right now is the film’s score, which is being worked on by many talented folks.  Oh, and I’m working on it, too.

The film includes many scenes of conversation, some poetics, and long crawls of travelogue, all of which flow together into (hopefully) a sort of symphony of visuals where you never see the same set twice.  My brother and I came up with a goal on the audio side of this cinematic multiverse: about 90% of the movie’s soundtrack should sound like one varying piece of music.  Anna Pauline Kenzie, our resident opera singer who also acts in the film, came up with an excellent song she’s been recording over the course of a month (despite completely losing her voice for the better part of two weeks), and our costume expert, Jen Wicks, wrote a song in Quenya (a form of High Elvish created by Tolkien) and recorded a few demos with her own equipment.  As of now, these two pieces act as our leitmotifs for the film’s score.

Listen to Jen’s song, “Alamenë,” below.


Andrew, Kate Chappell and myself in August 2010

My cousin, Andrew Busone, a multi-talented musician best known for playing in New York City punk band Tied For Last, is also skilled on the keyboard, and will be putting together a few tracks for the film’s non-vocal score.  Laura McCoy, a fellow VCFA graduate, will be providing the flute tracks.  Vermont’s own Red Heart the Ticker also agreed to contribute a nice ambient traveling song.

While editing the rough cut, Philip would sometimes put on music from other artists to help us get a feel for what sort of sound we wanted in the background of a certain scene.  Quite often, I’d say, “Just turn off the music; you can’t hear the dialogue,” but many times we struck gold with this technique.  A certain scene involves a duo of travelers making their way across a narrow bridge that spans a swamp, with an unknown figure awaiting them on the other side.  We need apprehension, suspense, and music you’d imagine playing if a swamp had its own soundtrack.

The challenge of creating the film’s tunes is a journey which parallels, in some ways, the journey of creating the film itself.  It doesn’t involve as much standing out in the cold, driving fifty miles or sustaining open wounds, but sometimes I wonder how close we’ll come.

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  4 Responses to “Wings Over Arda Film Diary 7: Middle-earth Tunes on Zero Budget — Richard Hartshorn”

  1. Rich, Once again, thanks. It’s great to have this record of a unique project.

  2. I LOVE the song. I’m a fellow Tolkein-fangirl who owns the early works (Lost tales, etc) but hasn’t read most of them yet. Maybe this will inspire me. Congrats on finishing up!

    • Thanks, Sarah! I had no idea. I’m sure Jen will be happy to know you like the song.

      I am hoping that, among the people who watch this and have read The Lord of the Rings but think The Silmarillion is “too thick,” it might inspire a read. The Silmarillion was actually always easier for me, but I think it’s because I’m more of a “short story” person. If I can’t do it in one sitting, it eats at me every moment I’m away.

      Thanks again, Sarah; I’ll make sure a DVD (or Blu-Ray) finds its way to you.

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