Howard Shore – Lord of the Rings – The Shire Sequence

This sequence is based on the lovable Shire theme from Howard Shore‘s scores for the Lord of the Rings movies.

Tolkien and Wagner

Thanks to the international popularity of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies, a story about a one ring of power, broken sword, wandering wizard, corruption and greed makes most people think of JRR Tolkien and Hobbits. But for many orchestral musicians and opera fans, the same themes would bring to mind  Richard Wagner‘s opera series, Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Both people are correct, and the two are connected by more than just Norse/German mythology.

Musical Connection

Wagner managed to unify over 20 hours of music using recurring musical snippets called Leitmotifs to represent characters and themes. This technique was revolutionary at the time, and has since become a central part of some of the greatest film music of all time.

The ability to represent a character or theme through music allows the composer to add another layer of depth to the storytelling. The hero’s theme arrives in a minor key? Maybe something bad is about to happen. The hero’s theme played when another character is singing about love? Maybe a relationship is brewing.

In the Lord of the Rings movie scores, composer Howard Shore takes Wagner’s leitmotif idea to a place that Wagner himself would be proud of.

Howard Shore

Shore uses over 100 leitmotifs in the three LOTR films (and over 160 if you include The Hobbit). To put this in perspective, John Williams used about 50-60 leitmotifs to create the Star Wars scores.

The music has so much depth, an entire documentary was made by Doug Adams to dig into the details.


This sequence is based on the Shire theme. Give it a listen below:

The shire is the home of Hobbits. Beautiful, rural landscapes, filmed in New Zealand. Strive for a pure, sweet sound, and fill your phrasing with the love each hobbit has for their home. For an extra challenge, resolve the final note to the root and seamlessly transition into the triumphant fellowship theme!

Have any questions? Comment below, or leave a comment on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

Happy Practicing!

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