Gene Hargrove is a philosophy professor at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. He is the founding editor of the journal Environmental Ethics, the director of the Center for Environmental Philosophy, the former chair of the UNT Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies, and the author or editor of several books. He is best known to Tolkien fans for his essay Who is Tom Bombadil?
He first became aware of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings in 1965 when he purchased the Ace paperback edition (before the publication of the Ballentine version). He came to understand the significance of the books when about a year later he decided to reread them before attending a lecture on trees in Tolkien and Ovid. He then realized that the books could be read over and over again from many different perspectives.
|Returning from Germany in the early 1970s, he discovered that Donald Swann had published a book, The Road Goes Ever On, which provided music for seven of the songs in the trilogy. Although he did not like most of Swann's music, it started him thinking about what music in Middle-Earth sounded like. He learned to play the recorder (block flute) and over many years developed songs for most of the songs and poems in the trilogy, which he kept in his head. In 1986 he hired a music student to help him write down some of the songs. Curiously, the student had great difficulty, because, as it turned out, the music he had composed was pre-modern or modal. The same year Hargrove sent a tape of his music to Rayner Unwin and eventually received a reply that his music was authorized by the Tolkien Estate. In 1990 he bought a Macintosh computer and after discovering that the computer played music, bought a music notation program and began producing sheet music for the songs and poems. In 1991 Hargrove joined BMI as a music publisher (Old Forest Sounds), bought a sequencer, a synthesizer, and a digital audio tape machine, and produced an instrumental demo of his music. The demo tape became the basis for an analog tape that was sold primarily via the web for many years, and which is now available as a two-CD set. Soon after two songbooks including all the music on the CDs, plus some additional music from Tolkien's book of poetry, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, followed.|
In addition to his essay Who
is Tom Bombadil? Hargrove has several
other original pages about Tolkien on the web: Music
in Middle-Earth, About
the Songs and Poems in the Lord of the Rings,
in the Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. He
is also a fan of and has written about
some authors who are not J.R.R. Tolkien,
particularly Tanith Lee and her Tales
from the Flat Earth.