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Some say that it isn't wise to buy a movie's soundtrack before actually watching the movie. In some cases that is true, but in the case of the forthcoming Lord of the Rings movie, I could not resist the urge to purchase the Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack.

Soundtracks are often not considered to be "real music", because of the format's limitations: the sound must match with the picture, not vice versa, and without the picture the sound is usually reduced into pompous repeating patterns and artificial-sounding changes in tempo and in style. In spite of all this, after a week of intense listening I find myself enjoying the soundtrack quite much. The music fits well in the atmosphere of Tolkien's writings, and most of the songs have same titles as the chapters in the book, which makes synchronizing the story with music quite easy. Reading the book with the appropriate song playing in the background gives the experience a new meaning: possibly because I haven't yet seen the film I have begun to consider the soundtrack as a soundtrack of the book. At the bridge of Khazad-Dum, the music is intense and the magnificient theme rises to epic proportions. The following song, Lothlorien, is in stark contrast: it is slow, melancholic, quiet and -- not so surprisingly -- sung in Elven. Why use only one sense when you can use two?

The soundtrack has some drawbacks: some songs sound so similar that they are almost indistinguishable, the universal theme (although good) is performed too often and in places where it clearly doesn't belong, and the choir sings some Elven songs too vaguely, which makes following the lyrics difficult.

The music is composed, orchestrated and conducted by Howard Shore, and two songs are composed and performed by Enya. Enya's voice divides opinions: I like it, but I know many who do not. The soundtrack comes with different cover pages, of which I naturally chose Liv Tyler as Arwen. Some other examples in the local store had Bilbo, Gandalf, Saruman, Aragorn and the Hobbits in their cover pages.

From my previous experience I know that watching the movie after first listening the soundtrack is somewhat unsettling: because you know how the music will change, you also have some insight into what happens next in the movie. However, it is not always a bad thing. As the plot is quite well-known already, I don't hope to see too much surprises in the movie.

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