Major Shire Variants:
      Rustic Shire
      Expansive Shire
      Setting Out
Bad Gollum
White Rider
The White Tree
Into The West
Bilbo's Departure
Pippin's Song
Merry and Pippin
One-Time Themes
Parting Shot


One might expect the music for an all-powerful ring to be assertive, forceful and major-keyed, but this theme is minor-keyed and elusive; full of chromatic half-steps rather than scales, it seems to wriggle around rather than stand firm. So this ring may wield power, but it is power of a sad and twisted nature, where dark forces lie hidden.

Wagner used an almost identical device in his opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, which also centers around a ring of power. There again the main theme for the ring itself is an elusive, almost keyless motive, sad and impotent. There is no question in my mind that Wagner's treatment of his ring was a direct influence on Shore's treatment of his.

As pointed out in Kelly Sedinger's article, what is interesting about Shore's use of the Ring theme is how often he doesn't use it. The ring is constantly being shown, handled and referred to, but Shore's use of the theme is comparatively sparse. It is usually heard when it exerts its power — when it acquires a new owner or seeks to corrupt someone who desires it.

For a couple of interesting points of view about the broader meaning of the Ring theme, and specifically its curious appearance when the Fellowship passes beneath the statues of the Argonath, see Sedinger's blog for 5/31/05.


"The Lord of the Rings" main title in all three movies.  
  Galadriel's voiceover describes the creation of the Great Rings. Interestingly, the theme is not heard a few moments later when she describes Sauron's creation of the One Ring.  
Battle of Dagorlad: Isildur picks up the ring, still on Sauron's finger.  
Isildur's dead body floats in the water. "History became legend; legend became myth."  
Bilbo finds the ring in his waistcoat pocket.  
"Riddles in the dark"; Frodo finds ring in doorway of Bag End.  
Gandalf to Frodo: "Sauron needs only the ring....He is seeking it."  
Boromir tells the Council of his dream.  
Gandalf to Frodo: "There are many powers....Against some I have not yet been tested."  
The fellowship's boats pass under the Argonath. The theme is given a very full and strong orchestration. See above for a pointer to an interesting discussion of why we hear the theme at this point.
Frodo and Boromir at Amon Hen.  
The taming of Sméagol: "We swears to serve the master of the Precious."  
Gollum holds Frodo back at the Black Gate: "He wants the Precious." The motive sounds very faintly, very high in the strings.
Galadriel's voiceover message to Elrond: "The young captain of Gondor has only to extend his hand..."  
Gollum's third schizophrenic conversation with himself at the end of Two Towers: "We takes the Precious and then we be the master."
Déagol finds the ring at the bottom of the river.  
Frodo in the diamond-shaped cave at start of Return, checks for the ring.  
On stairs of Cirith Ungol, Gollum sees the ring around Frodo's neck [weird variant].
Gollum warns against Sam: "Sméagol knows....He will try to take the ring" [fragment].  
Frodo enters Sammath Naur. The Ring theme is heard with a new harmony here.
Gollum, with the ring, dances with joy. The Ring theme is heard here under the other music.