1st Edition

The Music of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings Sounds of Home in the Fantasy Franchise

By Daniel White Copyright 2024
    222 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Music of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings provides an in-depth study of the music of two of the biggest fantasy franchises, focussing on music’s worldbuilding roles within the film-watching experience and elsewhere in videogames, trailers, plays, theme parks and other attractions, and the world of fandom.

    Daniel White takes a range of approaches and techniques of motivic and thematic musical analysis, and pairs this with transformational harmonic analysis to theorise music’s worldbuilding roles in film. Chapters focus in turn on the opening sequences of the case study franchise films, their closing sequences, and on their depiction of houses, homes and homelands. Extra-filmic areas of these fantasy worlds are also explored, including theme parks and other tourist attractions of the Harry Potter franchise, videogames and the immersive power of their music, and the world of fandom with a focus on soundtrack consumption and other musical fan practices. Through this multifaceted approach, readers gain a deeper understanding not only of the music of these franchises, but also of music’s power in the multimedia franchise both within and without film to build a home that attracts inhabitants. This book will be valuable for academics and students as well as fans of fantasy franchises.

    Introduction: Home is Behind, the World Ahead - Fantasy, Franchises and Film Music

    1. The Creation of Musical Worlds: Suture in Opening Sequences 

    2. Homeward Bound: Desuture in Closing Sequences and Credit Songs 

    3. Musical Homes and their Inhabitation 

    4. Trips to Enchantment: Recreating Magic and Wonder at Harry Potter Tour Sites

    5. Sonic Immersion: Affect, Literacy and Interaction in Game Music

    6. Fan Practices/Fan Products

    Conclusion: Home From Home


    Daniel White is Senior Lecturer in Musicology at the University of Huddersfield, where he teaches on music for film, game and media. He has published widely on musical worldbuilding and fantasy film, and his research interests also include minimalism, transmedia music and the music of children’s media.

    "Full of perceptive analysis and drawing on original interviews with relevant practitioners, Daniel White's rewarding study explores how music and sound take us 'there and back again' – time and again – into and out of the worlds of fantasy cinema. Focusing on the crucial role of music in the screen adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth and J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World, White addresses the process of worldbuilding and how audiences are encouraged to enter into and inhabit these screen worlds via their scores and then return to and reconstruct them beyond the cinema – whether in theme parks, stage productions, video games, fan projects or our daily lives. Steeped in the lore of his case studies and informed by relevant theory, White considers the importance of title sequences and closing credits, the use of leitmotif and song in such a way that, although delving deep into fantasy, the ideas developed within The Music of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings: Sounds of Home in the Fantasy Franchise can be applied fruitfully to other franchises or genres in order to enhance our understanding of how music enables us to reside within and consume the worlds presented to us on film."

    David Butler, Senior Lecturer in Drama and Film Studies, University of Manchester, author of Fantasy Cinema: Impossible Worlds on Screen (2009).