I think the title says it all: How was the sound for the Horn, blown by Gimli, in Helms Deep created in the film The Two Towers?

If they created a big horn as a basis of the sound, I'd love to get a picture of it.

The only answer I could find is from Quora and it more refers to how it could've been done.

  • A user from reddit isolated the sound and honestly it sounds like it was just a sound effects trick, whether they took a real horn and just extended the sound or created it digitally from something else is anyone's guess as far as I can find. – Edlothiad Jan 17 at 12:28
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    I can’t imagine why they would make a whole instrument just for that sound when it would be hard to predict exactly how the new instrument would sound. – Todd Wilcox Jan 17 at 14:45
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    @Shade - There's nothing in any of the official commentaries about it. On the other hand, I learned that the horses had special rubber shoes (for grip) and that because they couldn't stop the charging horses safely, that when they ride toward the camera, they were actually running out of the studio warehouse, across the road and then coming to a stop in the garden centre car park opposite. – Valorum Jan 17 at 16:46
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    The fact that there's nothing about it online or in commentaries, etc. strongly suggests it's just a tuba or bass trombone blowing a pedal tone pitch shifted down perhaps, and maybe layered with a synth or bass clarinet or who knows what. But something simple and typical from a sound designer. Could even be just a manipulated alphorn sample. In any case, the fact that there's no special story told about it suggests its actual story is nothing special. – Todd Wilcox Jan 17 at 17:05
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    @ToddWilcox - Dig a little deeper into the more obscure commentaries and lo, and behold, an answer appears in front of us, like a iceberg emerging from fog. – Valorum Jan 17 at 17:10

According to Mike Hopkins, Sound Designer for the film (in the 'Production Commentary' on the Extended Edition Bluray), the horn sound was not from a single instrument, but rather a digital composition made from a combination of various sounds including a ship's horn.

Mike Hopkins: The horn was, we knew it was going to be something that has to really shake the theatre, and has to go on. So it was about coming up with a sound that has that kind of power and we ended up going with a combination of, well, it's a sound that's mostly based on a ship horn.

Under the circumstances, it seems unlikely that there was an actual horn, just a set of stock audio clips being manipulated on a mixing desk.

  • I hear a couple of layers, but nothing really fancy. A ship's horn, possibly pitched down, and some synthesizer sub-bass to "shake the theatre", as Hopkins puts it. There's a little bit of breath articulation in there, which might have been achieved either using some simple volume, pitch, and EQ manipulation or by layering in something like a pitched-down didgeridoo or alphorn. – Jörg W Mittag Jan 24 at 7:40

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