Concerning Hobbits: portraying home with the penny whistle
Concerning Hobbits from The Fellowship of the Ring
Concerning Hobbits is a two-minute tune originally composed by Canadian composer Howard Shore for Peter Jackson's 2001 epic fantasy film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring based on the iconic novel by J. R. R. Tolkien. The musical work appears in the introductory chapter describing the homeland and life customs of the hobbits, a secluded people who played a key role in the battle for Middle-earth.
The Shire, inhabited by hobbits, is believed to have been conceived by Tolkien as an allusion to Celtic culture, so the main melody of Concerning Hobbits is entrusted to the tin whistle, an instrument strongly associated with Scottish and Irish folk music.
The tin whistle was invented in the British Isles in the mid-19th century as a variant of the six-hole wooden Irish flute when farmer Robert Clarke decided to use the newly invented tinplate to make whistles. To popularize his instrument, he pushed his handcart around England, demonstrating the whistle-making process in urban and rural markets. The penny whistle's name is believed to have stuck to the instrument due to its one-penny price, and such a modest cost also greatly contributed to its rapid spread in the Isles and beyond.
Subsequently, Clarke organized a large-scale production of whistles named flageolets, which has survived to this day. By now, the penny whistle is undoubtedly one of the most common folk instruments in the British Isles hence why Howard Shore's melody evokes such pleasant associations with the warmth of a familial home's hearth.
Listen to Concerning Hobbits by Howard Shore with London Philharmonic Orchestra:
Concerning Hobbits is clearly the most peaceful track of the entire trilogy The Lord of the Rings and the main melody runs as a leitmotif through many scenes, showing the hobbits' connection to their home.