The Musical Themes

The compositional style that Paul Corfield Godfrey used to create his sound world for The Silmarillion utilises a similar approach to that of Richard Wagner in his Ring cycle: a series of themes (or leitmotifs) that are attached to either particular characters, places, events or even

emotions.

 

On the specific pages for each work on this website Paul has done a full analysis of these themes and their names, but we thought that a companion article should be written for this website that not only itemises these themes but accompanies them with an isolated audio sample and a very brief explanation of their significance to the wider world of Middle Earth.

 

We have maintained Paul’s numbering and naming of these themes, which is chronological through the works from the theme’s first appearance.  This listing is classifed by the work of its first occurrence but that certainly does not mean that the theme is limited only to that work.  Themes first heard in Fëanor are consistent all the way through to the end of  The Lord of the Rings .

PART ONE: FËANOR

1. ILÚVATAR

This is the theme for Eru Ilúvatar, the supreme being who created all of existence, and for Manwë the Elder King, his regent on Earth.

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01 - Iluvatar

2. THE VALAR

This theme represents the powerful god-like beings who give order to the world. 

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02 - The Valar

3. ELBERETH AND THE STARS

Here we have the theme for Elbereth, the Valar Queen of the Stars and wife to Manwë.

03 - Elbereth and the stars

4. MORGOTH

Here is Morgoth's theme.

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04 - Morgoth

5. YAVANNA AND NATURE

This theme represents Yavanna, the Goddess of Trees.  This theme develops into that of the Two Trees.

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05 - Yavanna and Nature

6. THE NIGHT OF NOUGHT

This is the theme of Vairë, the Mistress of Dreams.  It occurs later as part of the later “Two Trees” theme but is not heard again in this form until Tuor passes through the “Night of Nought” in The Fall of Gondolin.

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06 - The Night of Nought

7. THE EARTH

This theme is for Arda, the earth itself.

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07 - The Earth

8. THE ELVES

And here the theme for the Elves, the Firstborn who will look upon the stars.

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08 - The Elves

9. ANGBAND (I)

This theme becomes the motif of Morgoth’s

northern stronghold, Angband.

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09 - Angband (I)

10. THE ELVENKINGDOMS

(LATER DORIATH)

This theme, initially used for the Elves, later is used specifically for the magically Hidden Kingdom of Doriath.

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10 - Elvenkingdoms (Doriath)

11. MORGOTH AS STIRRER OF STRIFE (I)

These figures will be used in conjunction with the other Morgoth themes throughout the cycle. 

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11 - Morgoth Stirrer of Strife (I)

12. MORGOTH AS STIRRER OF STRIFE (II)

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12 - Morgoth Stirrer of Strife (II)

13. DESIRE FOR LIGHT

This twisted version of the intervals of the Ilúvatar theme represents Melkor’s desire for light.

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13 - Desire for light

14. EVIL

A semitone dischord, used throughout the cycle to represent the Evil and corrupt.

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14 - Evil

15. GLAURUNG

Initially used to represent Morgoth’s descent into darkness, this theme later becomes that of his

creation, the dreaded Dragon Glaurung.

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15 - Glaurung

16. THE ORCS

A theme for Morgoth’s evil minions, the Orcs.

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16 - The Orcs

17. THUNDERSTORM

This theme is used throughout the cycle to represent thunderstorms, rain and other similar phenomena.

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17 - Thunderstorm

18. MORGOTH'S CURSE (ORIGINAL)

This theme, a shadow of 15, is later used specifically to represent Morgoth’s curse on the family of Húrin.  In its first instance it is used to represent the Elves threatened by the shadow of Melkor.

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18 - Morgoth's Curse

19. MANDOS

This chordal pattern is used to represent Mandos, the Vala Judge of the Dead throughout the cycle.

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19 - Mandos

20. REBIRTH

A theme to represent existence beyond death (used later in the final scenes of Beren and Lúthien).

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20 - Rebirth

21. THE TREES OF VALINOR

This theme, an extended alternation of the music of Yavanna (5) becomes the theme of the Two Trees of Valinor, which bring light into the Land of the Valar.

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21 - The Trees of Valinor

22. FINWË, LATER FINROD

A theme for the elf Finwë, the High King of the Noldor, utilised later for his grandson Finrod.

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22 - Finwe (Finrod)

23. FËANOR

The title character’s theme, eldest son of Finwë.  Craftsman and gem-smith, the maker of the

Silmarils.

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23 - Feanor

24. FIRE

A musical symbol for fire itself, initially attaching itself to Fëanor who is described as a “Spirit of Fire”.

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24 - Fire

25. FINGOLFIN

A theme for the elf Fingolfin, second son of Finwë and half-brother to Fëanor.

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25 - Fingolfin

26. THE SILMARILS

This theme represents the gems created by Fëanor from the light of the Two Trees of Valinor, his most prized creation.

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26 - The Silmarils

27. UNGOLIANT

Here is the theme that represents the Dark Spider Ungoliant, a creature from the Darkness that sucks up all light that she can find.

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27 - Ungoliant

28. YEA, WITH BOTH HANDS

A theme uttered initially by Morgoth that later in the cycle frequently recurs in reference to himself or his creatures.

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28 - Yea, with both hands

29. THE SEA (ORIGINAL)

The first theme for the Sea.

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29 - The Sea (Original)

30. MORGOTH'S ADVANCE (I)

An insistent rhythmic pattern of diminished fifths to signify the advance of Morgoth, firstly to the Two Trees and later through Middle-Earth.

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30 - Morgoth's Advance (I)

31. MORGOTH'S ADVANCE (II)

A more chaotic version of the above.

31 - Morgoth's Advance (II)

32. THE SEA (DEFINITIVE)

The final version of 29 that then makes its way throughout the cycle.

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32 - The Sea (Definitive)

33. LOSS

A theme that is used to represent the idea of Loss.

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33 - Loss

34. DEATH OF FINWË

An agitated tremolo chord signifying the death of King Finwë.

34 - Death of Finwe

35. I AM THE ELDER KING

A theme associated with Morgoth, that assumes massive importance in The Children of Húrin, where Morgoth uses it to try to challenge the Elder King.

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35 - I am the Elder King

36. FËANOR’S CURSE

A theme for the curse Fëanor lays upon Melkor, renaming him Morgoth – the Black Foe of the World.

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36 - Feanor's Curse

37. COME AWAY!

A new theme for Fëanor when he calls the Elves to follow him out of the Blessed Realm.

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37 - Come Away!

38. FAIR SHALL THE END BE

Yet another new theme for Fëanor as he calls upon the Elves to abandon their treasures and follow him.

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38 - Fair shall the end be

39. THE OATH (DEFINITIVE)

A theme that assumes major importance throughout the cycle: the Oath that Fëanor and his Sons take against all who stand between them and the Silmarils.

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39 - The Oath (Definitive)

40. THE OATH (ORIGINAL)

A reflection of above, with wildly fluctuating rhythm.

40 - The Oath (Original)

41. MORGOTH BAUGLIR

A new theme turning Melkor’s original diminished fourths back within themselves.

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41 - Morgoth Bauglir

42. HUMANITY

(1st PHRASE, ORIGINAL)

A brief allusion to a theme that will follow that represents the race of Men.

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42 - Humanity

43. ULMO

This theme will come to represent the Vala Ulmo, the Lord of Waters.

43 - Ulmo

44. KINSLAYING (I)

The first theme that alludes to the Kinslaying undertaken by Fëanor and his followers.

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44 - Kinslaying (I)

45. KINSLAYING (II)

An extended version of the above theme, now more rhythmically jagged.

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45 - Kinslaying (II)

46. STORMS

A chromatic shifting version of  43, used to represent Ulmo’s wrath upon the sea, creating storms to hinder Fëanor’s progress across the ocean.

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46 - Storms

47. THE ANGER OF THE SEA

A companion theme to the above, suggestive of the anger of the Sea which later recurs in The Fall of Gondolin.

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47 - The Anger of the Sea

48. THE SHORES OF MIDDLE-EARTH (I)

A theme to represent the shores of Middle-Earth.

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48 - The Shores of Middle-Earth (I)

49. BANISHMENT

A theme used first by Mandos, later repeated throughout the cycle, that represents the banishment of the Elves from the Blessed Realm.

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49 - Banishment

50. TREASON

First used in Mandos’ cursing of the Elves when he tells them that they will not achieve their aims because of treason within their company.

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50 - Treason

51. MURDER

Again, first used in Mandos’ curse, this time describing that though the Elves may not wither and die, they may be slain by weapon and by grief.

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51 - Murder

52. HUMANITY (2nd PHRASE)

A second phrase that will eventually become the theme of the race of Men.

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52 - Humanity (2nd Phrase)

53. THE BALROGS

A wide-ranging plunging phrase used to depict the Balrogs, the fiery corrupted servants of Morgoth.

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53 - The Balrogs

54. THE SHORES OF MIDDLE-EARTH (II)

A new phrase used to depict the shores of Middle-Earth.

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54 - The Shores of Middle-Earth (II)

55. THE BURNING OF THE SHIPS

A fragmented version of the Fire (24), which dominates the remainder of the score of Fëanor.

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55 - The Burning of the Ships

56. DEATH OF FEANOR

A vastly extended and stretched version of The Oath (39) depicting the death of Fëanor.

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56 - Death of Feanor

PART TWO: BEREN AND LÚTHIEN

57. DAGOR BRAGOLLACH

A theme to represent the Dagor Bragollach or Battle of Sudden Flame, which marked the end of the Siege of Angband and the first of Morgoth’s gains against Elves and Men.

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57 - Dagor Bragollach

58. BATTLE (I)

These themes are all used repeatedly throughout the Dagor Bragollach.

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58 - Battle (I)

59. BATTLE (II)

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59 - Battle (II)

60. BATTLE (III)

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60 - Battle (III)

61. SAURON

A theme used chiefly to represent Morgoth’s lieutenant Sauron, but also for his forces of wolves and serpents.

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61 - Sauron

62. BEREN

A theme for Beren, of the race of Men,

descended from royalty and an accomplished hero of the First Age of Middle-Earth.

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62 - Beren

63. BEREN'S HEROIC DEEDS

A sprightly theme to characterise Beren’s deeds.

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63 - Beren's Heroic Deeds

64. NARGOTHROND

This theme represents the Elven Kingdom of Nargothrond.

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64 - Nargothrond

65. GORLIM

A theme for Beren’s follower, the poor

unfortunate Gorlim.

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65 - Gorlim

66. EILINEL

And a theme for Eilinel, his lost wife.

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66 - Eilinel

67. DAUNTING (ORIGINAL)

A theme used to represent the daunting power of Sauron over his captives.

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67 - Daunting (Original)

68. SAURON'S ENCHANTMENT

And a theme for his enchanting powers.

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68 - Sauron's Enchantment

69. TARN AELUIN

A theme for the lake where Beren sees a vision of the recently departed Gorlim.

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69 - Tarn Aeluin

70. BEREN'S LAMENT

Another theme associated with Beren, this time connected to his woes.

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70 - Beren's Lament

71. VISION OF PEACE

Used like a vision of peace.

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71 - Vision of Peace

72. DESIRE FOR VENGEANCE

This theme is associated with Beren’s desire to avenge his fallen comrade.

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72 - Desire For Vengeance

73. DAERON (I)

These two themes are first heard played by an onstage flute. They represent the character of Daeron, the minstrel of Doriath. 

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73 - Daeron (I)

74. DAERON (II)

His character is excised from this version of the story but his playing of music for Lúthien to dance to is hereby represented.

74 - Daeron (II)

75. LAY OF LEITHAN (I)

These two themes are the basis for the setting of the courtship of Beren and Lúthien.

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75 - Lay of Leithan (I)

76. LAY OF LEITHAN (II)

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76 - Lay of Leithan (II)

77. LÚTHIEN (I)

Two themes associated with the Elven princess.

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77 - Luthien (I)

78. LÚTHIEN (II)

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78 - Luthien (II)

79. BEREN AND LÚTHIEN

The themes of Beren and Lúthien combined into a new melody.

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79 - Beren and Luthien

80. BEREN'S DESIRE

A theme representing Beren’s desire for Lúthien.

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80 - Beren's Desire

81. LÚTHIEN’S DANCE (I)

Two themes used for Lúthien’s dance, first before Beren then later before Morgoth.

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81 - Luthien's Dance (I)

82. LÚTHIEN’S DANCE (II)

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82 - Luthien's Dance (II)

83. BEREN'S DESPAIR

Beren’s despair over his elusive new love is hereby represented.

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83 - Beren's Despair

84. THINGOL

The King of Doriath is represented by these descending chords.

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84 - Thingol

85. DEATH

A convulsive theme to represent death.

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85 - Death

86. MELIAN

The powerful Maia whose magic keeps Doriath safe is given this theme.

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86 - Melian

87. BEREN'S OATH

A combination of the Silmaril (26) and Beren (62) to represent the oath to retrieve a Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown.

87 - Beren's Oath

88. DAUNTING (DEFINITIVE)

67 taking on a new form.

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88 - Daunting (Definitive)

89. THE WOLF

Sauron’s lethal pet gets his own theme here.

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89 - The Wolf

90. NAMÁRIË

The theme of “farewell”, written by Tolkien himself as part of the setting Namárië, sung by Galadriel as the Fellowship depart Lothlórien in The Lord of the Rings.

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90 - Namarie

91. BEYOND ALL TOWERS

First used to show Beren’s defiance against Sauron’s power.

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91 - Beyond All Towers

92. SAURON'S DEFIANCE

A theme for Sauron’s resistance to be defeated by Lúthien.

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92 - Sauron's Defiance

93. LOVE (I)

A love theme for the reunited couple.

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93 - Love (I)

94. ANGBAND (II)

Derived from Angband (9) to further represent Morgoth’s northern stronghold.

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94 - Angband (II)

95. THE PLAIN OF THIRST

Two themes used for Lúthien’s dance, first before Beren then later before Morgoth.

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95 - The Plain of Thirst

96. LÚTHIEN’S DISGUISE

Lúthien’s cloak of darkness is represented by this theme.

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96 - Luthien's Disguise

97. MORGOTH (DEVELOPED)

A transformation of Morgoth (4).

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97 - Morgoth (Developed)

98. MORGOTH ENTHRONED

A thundering theme for Morgoth sat upon his throne.

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98 - Morgoth Enthroned

99. MORGOTH (SOFTENED)

Morgoth Developed (97) transformed into an almost caressing melody.

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99 - Morgoth (Softened)

100. MORGOTH'S DESIRE

A new theme to represent all Morgoth has lost.

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100 - Morgoth's Desire

101. LÚTHIEN’S DANCE (III)

A new figure added to her previous dance themes.

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101 - Luthien's Dance (III)

102. THE EAGLES

Whilst not necessarily seen “in person”, the Eagles are represented by this theme.  It is heard where they play an offstage part.

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102 - The Eagles

103. BEREN DYING

The approaching death of Beren is represented by this theme.

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103 - Beren Dying

104. FAREWELL NOW HERE

A theme for Beren’s farewell to Lúthien and the earth.

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104 - Farewell Now Here

105. BELOVED FOOL

A proclamation that Death is not the end of their love.

105 - Beloved Fool

106. LOVE (II)

Another theme to represent love.

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106 - Love (II)

107. DEATH TO LIFE

A mystical translation of Death (85) to represent resurrection.

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107 - Death to Life

PART THREE: THE CHILDREN OF HÚRIN

108. HÚRIN, LATER TÚRIN

A theme for the champion of Men, later taken up by his son.

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108 - Hurin, Later Turin

109. MORGOTH'S CURSE (DEFINITIVE)

The definitive version of the Curse (18).

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109 - Morgoth's Curse (Definitive)

110. THE SWORD

This theme is used initially to represent the great swords used in the cycle, most notably Anglachel.

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110 - The Sword

111. MORWEN

Húrin’s wife and mother of his children is

represented with this theme.

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111 - Morwen

112. THE NARN (ORIGINAL)

The theme of the storytellers (the Chorus) who are narrating the tale.

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112 - The Narn (Original)

113. THE HOUSE OF HADOR

A theme for the mighty House of Hador and the other “Elf-friends” of the race of Men.

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113 - The House of Hador

114. WOODLAND GLEAMS

A short, jerky figure derived from the profile of Húrin (108).

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114 - Woodland Gleams

115. NIËNOR

A theme for the daughter of Húrin and Morwen.

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115 - Nienor

116. BELEG CÚTHALION

A theme for one of the Captains of Doriath.

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116 - Beleg Cuthalion

117. MABLUNG

A theme for the other represented Captain of Doriath.

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117 - Mablung

118. TÚRIN’S SHADOW

A twisted chordal sequence that depicts the shadow on Túrin’s heart.

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118 - Turin's Shadow

119. LIGHTNING

Constructed around Morgoth’s diminished fifths, a new theme to represent lightning.

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119 - Lightning

120. GWINDOR (I)

A trio of themes associated with Gwindor, an Elf of Nargothrond.

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120 - Gwindor (I)

121. GWINDOR (II)

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121 - Gwindor (II)

122. GWINDOR (III)

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122 - Gwindor (III)

123. FINDUILAS

The theme for the Elven princess of Nargothrond.

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123 - Finduilas

124. WINTER

A churning line to represent the coming Winter.

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124 - Winter

125. HUMANITY (1st PHRASE, DEFINITIVE)

A definitive version of the theme to represent the race of Men.

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125 - Humanity (1st Phrase Definitive)

126. TÚRIN AND FINDUILAS

A theme for the unrequited love between Finduilas and Túrin.

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126 - Turin and Finduilas

127. TÚRIN’S DEFIANCE

Túrin’s defiance of the wishes of Gwindor to defend Nargothrond gets its own theme here.

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127 - Turin's Defiance

128. TÚRIN HAUNTED BY DREAMS

Túrin, held “in a mirror misshapen by malice” hears this theme while Finduilas is captured by Orcs.

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128 - Turin Haunted By Dreams

129. TÚRIN DRIVEN AWAY BY GLAURUNG

A repeated figure to represent the dragon Glaurung’s mental assault upon Túrin.

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129 - Turin Driven Away By Glaurung

130. WOOD OF BRETHIL

A reiterated rhythm to represent the Wood of Brethil.

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130 - Woods of Brethil

131. LOVE (III)

Another theme to represent love, this time with a focus on the ill-fated romance of Túrin and Niënor.

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131 - Love (III)

132. THE MEN OF BRETHIL

This theme represents the people who reside in Brethil.

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132 - The Men of Brethil

133. BRANDIR

The club-footed leader of the Men of Brethil gets his own theme here.

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133 - Brandir

134. TÚRIN’S RECOVERY

Brandir succours the unconscious Túrin to this theme.

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134 - Turin's Recovery

135. ALL MY DEEDS

A lamenting theme for Túrin, representing his regrets in life.

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135 - All My Deeds

136. TURAMBAR

Túrin takes a new name, Turambar, and gets this new theme.

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136 - Turambar

137. NÍNIEL

Niënor, now with no memory of her past life, takes a new name and theme.

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137 - Niniel

138. "KULLERVO"

A quote from Sibelius’ Kullervo, which depicts the same instant of recognition in that story as in this.

138 - Kullervo

139. MOURNING

The theme used for the funeral march of Túrin Turambar and Niënor Níniel.

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139 - Mourning

140. THE NARN (DEFINITIVE)

A transformation of Húrin (108) and The Narn (112).

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140 - The Narn (Definitive)

PART FOUR: THE FALL OF GONDOLIN

141. TUOR

A theme that comes to represent Tuor, son of Huor and nephew to Húrin.

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141 - Tuor

142. WEDDING MARCH

This theme will come to represent the union of Tuor and Idril.

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142 - Wedding March

143. VOYAGE OVER THE OCEAN

A theme to represent the idea of sailing across the Ocean towards the Blessed Realm.

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143 - Voyage Over the Ocean

144. GONDOLIN (I)

Three themes that are used in conjunction with the Hidden Elven City of Gondolin: this  represents the