The Music of the Ainur is the music of Arda, of creation, of all existence. Arda was made for the Children of Ilúvatar, which are exclusively Elf and Man. However, if the Music embodies all that was, is, and will be, then the Dwarves should be in the Music too. It's generally assumed the Valar do not know how to create that which they had not already seen.

So how do the Dwarves fit into the Music? Were their creation already foreseen? Did Ilúvatar already see it coming in Aulë's music? What place do they have in the Music?

3 Answers 3


My interpretation is that the music is not a list of events or instructions like but more of an expression of each Ainu's desire. I base this on the following quote from the Ainulindalë, which indicates that the Ainur do not fully understand what they create:

as this vision of the World was played before them, the Ainur saw that it contained things which they had not thought. [...] and they perceived that they themselves in the labour of their music had been busy with the preparation of this dwelling, and yet knew not that it had any purpose beyond its own beauty.

It is also mentioned, although I cannot find the quote, that Manwë is the one that paid the most attention to the music, and understood it deeper.

Just as Melkor brought disharmony, Aulë might have introduced a third leitmotiv which was interpreted as the creation of dwarves; he didn't sing "let there be dwarves, they must be short, have beards and live underground" or even "I want to create a third race".

  • While the Music is certainly not describing the entire universe's history right down to the very last nanosecond, I do believe it is a history at a certain general level. The themes, which saw Melkor trying to lead and dominate the music against the others, of his initial success and their eventual triumph in weaving Melkor's independent streak back into a harmonious unity, was meant to be a glimpse of the great wars and destinies the lot of them will act out once they get a playground the size of a universe. Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 12:53
  • @thegreatjedi exactly; I edited the answer a bit hoping to clarify that. the world is based on the music but the music is not instructions on how to create the world
    – falsedot
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 10:51
  • falsedot actually, in reflection, I'm curious as to whether what we said is indeed true. Is the Music really just a general theme of how the history of the world will progress, or does it indeed define every single atom throughout the ages, just that Illuvatar alone has the wisdom and perception to see the Music for what it is? Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 13:01
  • @thegreatjedi good question but, unless Tolkien have commented on it, it'll be hard to find a concrete answer as the Music is only described in very high level (we can only see 2 wars against Melkor?)
    – falsedot
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 16:10
  • @thegreatjedi From the way I read the Ainulindalë, the Music is the World, not just a description of it. The fact that there are aspects to the World that no Ainu thought of, does not mean those aspects are not part of the Music. Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 19:48

It's implicit, but


Perhaps the single most important passage for the comprehension of Tolkien's mythology is something Ilúvatar says at the end of Ainulindalë:

"Thou shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its utmost source in Me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined."

Notice that the "things more wonderful" are always engendered by the Music.

Tolkien evolved his concept of the Dwarves throughout his life. The initial version of Ainulindalë did not even include Manwë or Aulë, and the Dwarves were initially soulless creatures of Melko.

But by the time of the writing of the Hobbit they had become "people", their bodies fashioned by Aulë, willing to treat with Gandalf and hire Bilbo as a burgular: one of the "free peoples", as Treebeard recited his rhyme to Merry and and Pippin. But it was Ilúvatar who gave them life and spirits (fëar).

Also, each of the Ainur had their own level of comprehension of the Music. Manwë (probably also Melkor) was said to have the greatest knowledge of the mind of Ilúvatar, but not even Manwë, and clearly not Aulë, could comprehend the entire Music.

Ilúvatar seemingly addresses the passage at the beginning of this answer primarily to Melkor, but it applies to all of the Ainur, including Aulë. There was some music made by Aulë.

The Children of Ilúvatar (Elves and Men) were presented in the Third Theme that Eru introduced into the Music after the Discord of Melkor. However, it's not said that the Ainur were silent during the Third Theme. After all, Melkor was able to taint this theme, as well.

So if you were to ask me to guess where in the Music the Dwarves appeared, it would have to be some playing of Aulë's during this theme.


Their creation may well have been foreseen by Ilúvatar. Quoting from the chapter on the origin of the Dwarves (emphasis mine):

Now Ilúvatar knew what was done, and in the very hour that Aulë's work was complete, and he was pleased, and began to instruct the Dwarves in the speech that he had devised for them, Ilúvatar spoke to him; and Aulë heard his voice and was silent.
-- *The Silmarillion

But there seems to be no canon confirmation of whether or not the Dwarves were in the Music of the Ainur.

If it's any consolation, they'll probably be in the Second Music of the Ainur, made by the Ainur together with the Children of Ilúvatar after Dagor Dagorath (Tolkien's version of the apocalypse Ragnarok), since that music will be based on the history of Arda rather than preceding it.

  • 1
    My belief is that the Dwarves' presence in the Music is implied. Remember that after the Music was finished, the Ainur were shown a vision of Arda completed, the product of their Music, before they were sent forth to create that which they had seen. The problem, as it was explicitly stated later in the Silmarillion, is that the Valar lacked creative imagination - everything they created was exactly what they had seen in the vision. They introduced nothing that Illuvatar had not already shown them. This suggests the Dwarves may have already been foreseen through some divine scheme of Illuvatar. Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 12:43
  • Unfortunately for the Dwarves, previous questions on the Dagor Dagorath suggest they are bound to Arda Marred, and will have no place in the one after the Second Music. When the Dwarves die, they will return to the earth they are made from. At the very end, when Durin's Folk fail, when this world is "discarded", all will be remade (recycled) into Arda Healed. Ominously, no mention of the Dwarves were made of who will participate in the Second Music. Perhaps, just perhaps, Gimli will be the only Dwarf who shall be present, since he is worthy to enter the Undying Lands. Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 12:49
  • I don't think Gimli's admittance to Aman changes his ultimate fate.
    – chepner
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 16:59
  • @chepner that will be most awkward and tragic. "Hey Gimli old friend, I know I brought you here to the UNDYING lands, but the time has come for us Elves to follow the Valar to the new world. You can't come with us though, and they said you need to return to the Earth, so I need to kill and bury you before I leave." Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 2:49
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    Being in Aman doesn't make one immortal; Gimli will die of old age in Aman just as he would have had he remained in Middle Earth.
    – chepner
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 4:12

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