The Hobbit

Starting to work with a great production team on the Hobbit, lots of fun opportunities in this show!

The variety of characters and emotions throughout the show is much more extensive once you start looking at incorporating music and sound effects…Bilbo and the shire, Gollum in a cave, Gandalf, trolls and dwarves.

So, the first question is…what does a Hobbit doorbell sound like?

The Theme June 8, 2016

As I mention on my Music Samples page, I first create a theme and run it by the directors. We made some changes and here is our theme for The Hobbit; it’s meant to sound like a friendly walk through the shire (my wife, the stage manager for the show, thinks it sounds “Hobbit-y”). A lot of the sound cues will come from sections of this or have the same sound palette.

Tech Week, June 29, 2016

A pretty normal tech week, lots of changes as the show tightens up and I match up the cues to the production. We first started incorporating cues last Saturday and have made changes every night. Here’s a great example of the process; Smaug’s death.

The first piece was an “uneasy” underscoring to the entire scene, I used strings and choir and alternately incremented each piece up a step for 3 minutes, here’s a sample:

Here was the first version of the death scene before seeing rehearsals:

In rehearsals, I see that the actor playing Smaug takes off the Smaug head, lays it down and walks off slowly so I added another section at the end of the death scene to support that segment.

The scene also needed a small bridge between the underscoring and the death scene:

When you put it all together, here’s what it sounds like:

We are up to 104 sound cues for this production, about half with music.

Opening Night, end of the process, July 1, 2016

Opening Night was last night, amazing job by the cast and production team. I would say that it forces you to put your work to bed and move on, but I am making a couple of small changes after last night; no one will probably notice them but me. Going back to my first post from May, ‘what does a Hobbit doorbell sound like’? In Tolkien’s words,

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a dirty, nasty wet hole filled with the ends of worms; it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort. Hobbits have little or no magic about them except the ordinary everyday sort.”

They live in the ground and are simple folk; so a doorbell is, simply, a bell.