The Music of the Lord of the Rings FAQ

NB: This is the original 2010 press release for The Music oft he Lord of the Rings Films. Information in the section may be specific to past dates.


In-Depth Journey into Howard Shore’s Academy Award®-Winning Score

(July, 28, 2010—New York, NY) Carpentier and Alfred Music Publishing are pleased to announce the release of The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films, a comprehensive account of Howard Shore’s score for the trilogy, by Doug Adams. The book will be available in the European Union on September 28 and in the U.S. and worldwide on October 5, 2010.

The culmination of almost a decade of writing and research, The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films is an unprecedented look at Howard Shore’s Academy Award®-winning score, with extensive music examples, original manuscript scores, a rarities CD, and glimpses into the creative process from the composer, himself.

The 416-page full-color volume features a Foreword by Howard Shore, an Introduction by The Lord of the Rings screenwriter/producer Fran Walsh, original sketches by John Howe and Alan Lee, and numerous images from the films. Also included in the book, courtesy of Howe Records, is “The Lord of the Rings: The Rarities Archive” a CD presenting 21 tracks of previously unreleased music created for the films, and an audio interview with Howard Shore.

The score for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy has been hailed as some of the greatest film music ever written. Sweeping in scope, it is a musical interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth—an operatic tapestry of cultures, histories, languages, and people.

“Howard Shore’s [LOTR] music has touched millions of people the world over,” said Adams. “It’s been my great pleasure to assemble a piece that chronicles the creation of this music, and examines exactly how it tells this classic story.”

“Doug was a detective uncovering clues, tracing how one theme or character related to another,” said Shore. “He not only shows the themes and motifs for characters, cultures, objects, and their connection to Tolkien’s work, but also the ideas that were sometimes buried deep inside the writing.”

“Researching Shore’s music has been a true adventure,” described Adams. “His work is every bit as intricate and passionate as Tolkien’s Middle-earth.”

Doug Adams, a Chicago-based author and musicologist, was invited in 2001 by Howard Shore to observe and document his work on Peter Jackson’s motion picture trilogy. Adams attended recording sessions, examined the original scores, and was given complete access to the composer’s archives. As an acknowledged authority on Howard Shore’s music, Adams has become a regular fixture at concerts and events across the globe. He runs the popular blog, www.musicoflotr.com, which documents his work on this project and brings fans together in ongoing discussions.

September 27 Book signing and Q&A with Howard Shore and Doug Adams (Chappell of Bond Street, 152-160 Wardour St., London, UK)
September 28-29 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King, concert (Royal Albert Hall, London, UK)
October 7 Book signing and Q&A with Howard Shore and Doug Adams (Barnes and Noble, 1972 Broadway, New York, NY)
October 8-9 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, concert (Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY)

Alfred Music Publishing is one of the world’s largest music publishers. Alfred is based in Los Angeles with domestic offices in Miami & New York as well as around the world including Australia, Germany, Singapore & the United Kingdom.




As part of my research for The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films I was granted access to Howard Shore’s full archive of recorded materials. This included every single take from months of recording sessions on Fellowship, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, as well as electronic mock-ups of themes, DVD recording sessions, unused songs and lyrics, etc. All in all, it was enough raw audio to keep me in a listening room for a few hundred hours or so. Fortunately, I was able to space out these review sessions over the course of a year-and-a-half, during which time I catalogued everything I found on CD-Rs, DVDs, and abandoned hard drives, then proceeded to litter Shore’s offices with a self-devised system of post-it notes and red markers … a trail of breadcrumbs I could later use to retrace my steps.

But more pressing than the logistical concerns were the creative ones. How on Earth could this material be properly presented? We toyed with a number of ideas, but ultimately decided to let Tolkien be our guide. The Rarities told two stories, one Tolkien’s, one Shore’s. If we could retain that drama, then shape something beautiful – not simply catalogue it – we’d have a piece worthy of the lineage.

Tracks were chosen to present all our major discoveries – and believe me, it was an incredible task to ensure we squeezed everything in. They were then set into story order so as to both illustrate Shore’s creative process and echo Tolkien’s narrative voice. Finally, the music was cleaned up and remastered by Jonathan Schultz, who worked on the film scores, the original soundtrack CDs, and The Complete Recordings. As a special bonus, we included a short discussion between Howard Shore and myself at the end of the album.

The result is something that can be either studied as a fascinating collection of rare materials, or listened to as a well-rounded album experience. I think this disc is every bit as unique as the book it accompanies, and a beautiful finale to the music of The Lord of the Rings. I’m incredibly thankful to Howard Shore and Howe Records for allowing me to be a part of it.

-Doug Adams



01 Prologue: One Ring to Rule Them All (Alternate)
02 The Shire/The Hobbits (Mock-up)
03 Out From Bree (Theatrical Version & Alternate)
04 Flight to the Ford (Alternate)
05 Moria (Mock-up)
06 The Fighting Uruk-hai (Alternate)
07 The Argonath (Alternate)


08 Gwenwin in în (“Arwen’s Song” Alternate/Mock-up)
09 Arwen’s Song (Complete)
10 Emyn Muil (Alternate)
11 The Rohan Fanfare (Mock-up)
12 The Eaves of Fangorn (Alternate)
13 The Ent Theme (Mock-up)


14 The Return of the King Trailer
15 The Gondor Theme (Mock-up)
16 The Muster of Rohan (Alternate)
17 The Siege of Gondor (Alternate)
18 Shieldmaiden of Rohan (Theatrical Version)
19 Sammath Naur (Alternate)
20 Frodo’s Song (“Into the West” Alternate/Mock-up)
21 Elanor (Alternate)


22 In Conversation (Part 1)
23 In Conversation (Part 2)




If you'd rather not order through Amazon or other online retailers, you can also ask your local bookstore to carry The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films. Domestic and International contact for Alfred is included below. Simply put your favorite dealer in contact with the nearest Alfred distribution center.

P.O.Box 10003
Van Nuys, CA 91410-0003
Phone: (818) 891-5999
Fax: (818) 891-2369

Burnt Mill Elizabeth Way
Harlow, Essex CM20 2HX
Phone: 44-1279-828960
Fax: 44-1279-828961

123 Dry Road
Oriskany, NY 13424
Phone: (315) 736-1572
Fax: (315) 736-7281

10214 Commerce Parkway
Miramar, FL 33025
Phone: (954) 213-6000
Fax: (954) 885-4808
Sales Fax: (954) 885-4806

Luetzerathstr. 127
D-51107 Koeln
Phone: +49 (0) 221-93 35 39 0
Fax: +49 (0) 221-93 35 39 16

(Hong Kong, Korea, Japan &
Taiwan, India)
Christina Pao-Cohen
Sales Manager
Tel: +65-6324 7082
Fax: +65-6324 7083

P.O.Box 2355
Taren Point NSW 2229
Phone: 61-2-9524-0033
Fax: 61-2-9524-0023

(Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Indo-China, Phillillines & Indonesia, People's Republic of China)
#03-01 Tan Chong Tower
Singapore 188537
Republic of Singapore
Larry Bong
Marketing Manager
Tel: +65-6337 1629
Fax: +65-6337 6319
Email: enquiries@alfred.com.sg



Q: Who are you/how did this project come to be?
A: My name is Doug Adams. I'm a Chicago-based musician and writer. I've been an associate of Howard Shore since 2001 when he invited me to cover his work on The Lord of the Rings in hope that we could come up with "something" as an end product. That "something" would come to dominate the better part of a decade. 

Q: Why did you write this book?
A: Because I believe in the quality of the music. I think that Howard Shore has created something of integrity with The Lord of the Rings scores. I think this unique piece is worth exploring in terms both academic and accessible. Film music is an emerging branch of art music, and it deserves the same in-depth consideration as do concert hall works, ballets, chamber pieces, operas, etc. I believe this work offers something new to serious students of the art, and invites younger musicians to continue their journeys.

Q: Did the book already come out in some form prior to 2010? I thought I saw something about that.
A: When The Complete Recordings project was begun, it was originally planned as a single year release. When we realized that each box set took the better part of a year to complete, the timetable was shifted considerably. So, when Fellowship was in production, The Music of the Lord of the Rings book was scheduled for the following year, thus it is referenced as such in the notes.

Shortly thereafter, the schedule was restructured, and the book was pegged for Fourth Quarter of 2008, which would have immediately followed The Complete Recordings series. In September 2008 the book was moved to Fourth Quarter 2009 in order for The Rarities Archives -- see below -- to properly complete its production. In 2009 we ran into the same legal complications that were tying up production on The Hobbit films. Once these complications were cleared, we set the book for 2010. It's been a long road!

Q: Is the book just the liner notes reproduced?
A: No, it's more than just that. See the next Q.

Q: Is the book just the Annotated Scores printed up?
A: Nope, much more than that The book will contain all the information from The Complete Recordings liners and the Annotated Scores (though somewhat restructured), plus several sections of text never before released.

Q: Are the Annotated Score documents still available for download?
A: The Annotated Score documents consisted of early drafts of material meant for the book. Since The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films is now available, and this material has now been released in its full, expanded form, the Annotated Score documents are no longer available for free download. Any trading of these files is a violation of copyright law, and is, thus, not allowed on this site. In any case, these documents were only meant to represent a work-in-process.  The final versions are much more comprehensive!
Q: Will the book be translated into other languages?
A: This has been discussed with the publishers, and it is something we would like to pursue. 

Q: I have heard rumors of different packaging options (a "Master Box," etc.) Is this still happening?
A: We are not pursuing any additional physical packaging options at this time. 

Q: This site uses so many abbreviations! Can you spell some out?
A: Sure. The basics...

LOTR: Lord of the Rings
FOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
TTT: The Two Towers
ROTK: Return of the King
CR: Complete Recordings
HS: Howard Shore


Q: I can't find some of The Complete Recordings sets at the moment. Have they been discontinued?
A: No. The demand for these sets has continually surpassed expectations. From time to time, supplies run out. It's frustrating to all of us, I assure you. When supplies deplete, Amazon will inaccurately list the set as "discontinued." Secondary market dealers will often charge exorbitant fees for The Complete Recordings when Amazon posts this listing. I strongly advise potential buyers to exercise patience and avoid these unscrupulous sellers.

Q: Why don't The Complete Recordings' packaging colors match the DVDs'?
A: The Complete Recordings' color scheme matches the single-disc Original Soundtrack CDs, which were released at the time of the movies. The OST colors were selected before the DVD colors were finalized. Although they were intended to match, the DVD packaging changed at the last minute. When the CRs were produced, it was decided that it was better to match the color scheme already associated with the soundtracks so as to avoid marketing confusion.

Q: When and where can I next see The Lord of the Rings Symphony/FOTR Live/TTT Live/ROTK Live?
A: A detailed listing of upcoming performances is always listed in the right sidebar.

Q: When will The Lord of the Rings Symphony be coming to my town?
A: For accuracy's sake, the question should be: "When will The Lord of the Rings Symphony be invited to my town." Talk to your local top-level orchestra. Symphonic bookings such as this almost always begin with an invitation from orchestral management. Bookings do not commonly originate with Howard Shore or his managers at CAMI. If you represent an orchestra, contact information for Howard Shore and CAMI is available lower in this FAQ on on Howard Shore's official website. Remember, only invitation from top-level orchestras and large venues are entertained.

Q: What's this I hear about counterfeit LOTR Symphony performances? How can I know if I'm attending a genuine performance?
A: Sadly, a few phony performances of Shore's LOTR music have appeared around Europe in the past years. These performances do not use Shore's original manuscripts--they are (largely inaccurate) takedowns cobbled together by an arranger who has decided to "improve" the compositions with his own ideas here and there. These performances are not sanctioned by Howard Shore, CAMI or New Line Cinema. All genuine performances of the Symphony are listed on this blog and on HowardShore.com. If you don't see a performance listed there, please write... chances are the frauds are at it again.

Q: Will the LOTR Symphony ever be released on CD or DVD?
A: It is very likely that this will be released at some point in the future.

Q: Are the FOTR Live/TTT Live/ROTK Live performances set to the Theatrical or Extended Editions of the films?
A: The Theatrical Editions.

Q: Are the films translated for non-US productions?
A: European productions use subtitles in the primary language of the venue. The original audio, however, is still used. The films are not dubbed for these performances.

Q: Howard Shore has made public mention of screening the Extended Editions as part of the Live to Projection series. Will this happen?
A: Possibly. It is being explored now.

Q: Where can I next see Howard Shore and/or Doug Adams speak?
A: Speaking engagements are generally announced on this blog, so keep your eyes on the posts and right sidebar calendar of events.

Q: Are the full LOTR conductor's scores available (commercially or otherwise) for music students, fans, etc.?
A: They are not. I do not have them either. All my research was done in person at Shore's offices.

Q: Are any Howard Shore scores publicly available?
A: Yes, his music is published by Schott and is available here. If the full LOTR scores are ever released, this is where you will find them.

Q: I represent a professional orchestra that is interested in performing Howard Shore's music. How can I reach his representation?
A: Howard Shore may be reached via the following (serious inquiries only):

Columbia Artists Management LLC
Personal Direction: Jean-Jacques Cesbron
1790 Broadway
New York NY 10019-1412
(212) 841-9500
(212) 841-9744 (fax)

Q: Is Howard Shore going to score The Hobbit films?
A: Yes, he is.

Q: Will you do another book that covers The Hobbit films?
A: Yes, I plan to.

Q: I have an idea for The Hobbit films. Will you forward a message or materials to Howard Shore for me?
A: No, I'm sorry, this is not something I can do. Any materials sent under such conditions will be ignored, I'm afraid. 

Q: I have an idea for your book on the music of The Hobbit films. Can I send that to you? 
A: Again, I'm sorry, but no. I do not accept submissions of this type. Any such materials will be ignored.

Q: Will you help me with my paper/thesis/report/etc.?
A:  While students are more than welcome to site The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films as a source, I am afraid I am unable to directly assist with research papers or other such efforts.

[FAQ updated September 2011 ]

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