We are pleased to announce that Turbine Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Brothers Home Entertainment, has selected multiple-award winning composer Chance Thomas to collaborate on an all-original orchestral, choral and acoustic ensemble score for its recently unveiled title, THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE: RIDERS OF ROHAN (TM), the latest expansion to the award-winning free-to-play massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) based on the fantasy works of J.R.R.Tolkien.
From Chance Thomas,"This is one of the music tracks which underscores mounted game play in the Norcrofts.The Norcrofts is a complex part of the Eorlingas' world. Here dwell some of the most powerful and loyal of the king's men. Yet in dark contrast, players will find that intrigue and subterfuge are also afoot in this part of the horse realm. The music needs to reflect this dichotomy.We begin this song with an unfettered exposition of the Norcofts loyal theme in the horns and trombones, joined later by the fiddle. In the Old English tongue, the choir sings heartily of loyal warriors, spears, shields, swords, etc.But then comes a counter theme. Expounded boldly by a large horn section, it seems to announce its warning with gallant melancholy. When continued in the high strings and Bass Recorder it takes on an air of uneasiness and corruption, erasing loyalty from the senses. All the while the incessant tumbling of the riding rhythmic figure keeps things trotting (or galloping) along for the player.Such is our dichotomy! And so while the stout and hearty Norcroft theme has a prominent place in the track, there is plenty of uncertainty interwoven through counter melodies and dissonant harmonies. Even at the end, there is no clear resolution as we drone to an inconclusive conclusion with only percussion and double basses trembling on the tonic.As a side note, this track contains one of my favorite verses from Two Towers: "Where now are the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?"The Old English translation is: "Hwaer nú cwom hors ond hererinc? Hwaer cwom herehorn blawende?""
From Chance Thomas,"This track was composed to underscore the Boromir game instance, with players taking on the role of Boromir as he battles hordes of Uruk Hai in a desperate attempt to save Merry and Pippin.Boromir has his fatal flaw, as we all know. But this piece is not about that. This music is about Boromir at his most noble, determined and powerful. Big drums, epic choir, robust cadences and powerful statements in the brass all contribute to the feeling of strength and unwavering.After the choir sings, the Gondor theme makes its final appearance in this expansion. It is a resigned and somewhat naked version (meaning the arrangement thins out considerably) to underscore the utter aloneness of this great warrior-steward in his final mêlée. It repeats with a bit of forlorn (trumpets and high strings) before giving out to the brutal force of ragged low brass as the battle rages to its infamous conclusion.You may be interested to know what the choir is singing. The lyrics are in Old English, translated for me by Turbine's lore master Chris Pierson and his muse for all things Anglo-Saxon, professor Michael Drout of Wheaton College. The choir sings: Arë! Thrymnes! Fréot! Maegen! The translation is: Glory! Honor! Freedom! Power! These are virtues upon which Gondor was built and to which Boromir clings until his last breath."
Composer Chance Thomas was kind enough to offer his insights on "Shadow of the Argonath""This piece was written to underscore the players' exploration in the East Wall region.The music begins with a slow and slightly unfocused version of the Gondor theme played on French Horns and Uilleann Pipes, representing an erosion of Gondor's vision and leadership among the men of the West. The theme wants to rise in nobility, power, might and strength. We can hear it reaching, stretching, striving, even striking a stout cadence for a moment. But it cannot sustain! Stewards alone can never muster the stateliness necessary to bear off the theme (nor the world of men) in full splendor. Uilleann Pipes echo off into the distance, suggesting the long gone majesty that once was the throne of Gondor.And then, about 1:05 into the track, there is an injection of hope. We get a second rendition of Gondor's theme that's a little more focused, a little more pure, played on Penny Whistle and Uillean Pipes. The Penny Whistle represents Frodo and the race of Hobbits. Frodo brings hope for the world as he aligns himself with the nobler interests of men. The Pipes represent the glories of Gondor (specifically the past glories of Gondor's kings), represented now by Aragorn in his support for Frodo and the quest. The two instruments interlace and support one another, symbolic of how the fates of the two men and their respective races are now unavoidably intertwined.Close to 2:00 minutes in, there is a gently climactic rise toward hope... but then doubt as the Pipes and Penny Whistle both echo off into an unknown future. And lest we forget that there's peril in the East Wall, we have the voice of the Bass Recorder, the low drum and slightly dissonant strings to bring us back to present dangers.Nevertheless, the Horn and Whistle rise together one last time in unity and understanding, then ultimately continue apart as the Whistle (Frodo) quietly disappears and the Horn (Gondor) carries on toward Rohan with a determined resolution."
The Riders of Rohan soundtrack features new music from composer Chance Thomas. LOTRO Legacy is Chance's recreation of our main title theme and other tracks from the current game.
From Chance Thomas,"This track accompanies the player's first attempt at horseback riding in the game. It's basically a tutorial tune. Thus the gentle beginning, the gradually climbing harmonies, the simple arrangement, and the gradual tapering off at the end. It also marks our first introduction to Rohan's riding motif.The riding motif is typically played on the strings in the lower registers. It is a signature rhythmic riff that repeats at various points in the song. The idea is to convey a lively sense of galloping motion. The choice of low strings is due to the organic nature of the instruments. Their hollow wooden bodies resonate with a rich, natural energy in the lower registers. Not to mention the drawing of actual horse hair bows across the strings!To complement the strings, two differing sizes of Bohdran are added to the percussion ensemble - one with a 12" diameter and a tightly drawn head. The other is much larger, approx. 22" in diameter with a more loosely drawn head. Also unique to our equine percussion ensemble are a horse whip and leather strapping sounds.By now the players have made their way into Rohan proper, so you will notice some changes in instrumentation and tone. The fiddle takes on a prominent melodic role. The percussion and strings are loose and rustic. The brass adds girth to steady the arrangement. And when the song transitions from the timidity of learning to the joy of roaming freely, we bring in baritone guitar and mandolin too.All of these elements work together to help us perceive an ongoing sense of forward momentum -- mentally pulling us off the couch and into the saddle of our own fiery Rohirric steed."
[...]et un nouvel extrait audio, Learning to ride[...]
From Chance Thomas,"I'll never forget my first hearing of the Rohan refrain composed by Howard Shore for 2002's The Two Towers. As the Hardanger melody rang out across the theater, I was completely mesmerized. This was the Rohan of my dreams, suddenly given voice in melody! It was stunningly, intuitively perfect. Of all the themes to be found running through Peter Jackson's trilogy, this one really resonated with me.Fast forward 10 years. LOTRO has tasked me with creating a theme for their Rohan, a new and different theme than Shore's. What? How is this possible??? Shore's theme was so perfect in the film. The only way I could approach such a task was to think about Rohan in broader terms than the movie presented.How does one more broadly define Rohan? A storied nation in decline? A land simmering on the verge of all-out war? Anglo-Saxon reference with Medieval overtones? Hearty people, individual and family tenderness, triumph and tragedy, crops and kinships, determined men and women, though wary and weary? Nobility, hope, sadness and uncertainty? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes! All of these intangibles somehow had to thread themselves through a new theme for Rohan.And so it begins. The theme is introduced on classical violin played in a Celtic fiddle style. The initial modality is minor, setting up the somber tone. The melody moves on hooks of appoggiatura, so prevalent in Old English music. This places the theme squarely in the Northwestern European tradition, tying it tightly to Tolkien's Anglo-Saxon source material.Other instruments join the theme, including European Whistle, Bass Recorder and Uillean Pipes. All of these colors come from Northwestern Europe of centuries past, clueing us again that the theme is contemporary to the rise of Anglo-Saxon culture.The progressing harmonies alternate between minor and major tonalities, suggesting the ongoing struggle of the Rohirrim. Triplet melodies against a 6/4 meter further reinforce the cultural resonance.As our new theme approaches its apex, there is a strong triumphant modulation toward a sense of ultimate victory. And yet the resolve, though major, is a weak resolve (adding even a suspension to the chord) leaving a fragile uncertainty hanging in the air.These ample cultural tie-ins and musical devices are certainly geeky. But they're meaningless if the tune fails to transport LOTRO's players to the Rohan of their imaginations while playing the game. Ultimately, this is the test of all thematic music, a test which I hope desperately to pass. Time and taste will tell if I rose to triumph or fell to ruin in my quest to hit the mark."
"This piece underscores the chaos of mounted combat.Tales of the American West sometimes included a reference to "waiting for the cavalry to come over the hill." In Rohan, that cavalry would be the Eored.Tolkien's Eoreds were groups of battle ready horsemen -- armored, armed and trained for war. They rode hard and fast into battle, and fought with ferocious intensity. Various references place their numbers at between 120 and 200 riders per group.This music track was written to accompany each player's own furious foray into full-tilt mounted combat. We're talking about full gallop with weapons brandished. Timid souls need not apply!The driving tempo and aggressive marcato strings kick the piece off with an intense immediacy. The choir joins in -- at times menacing and rugged, other times epic and regal. There's brass, percussion and woodwinds in the orchestra too, but their roles are generally supportive.In the tongue of the Old English, the choir sings of battle glory (gewinn arë ), death (déaþ) and freedom (fréot), concluding with the Eored's signature refrain:We are bold (we sindon bald)! We are mighty (we sindon strang)!Indeed!"