alt="We're on a mission to guide: the LotRO Music System"
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is an integral part of the lore of href="">the Lord
of the Rings Online
. All
through the books, characters engage in song, from dwarves singing
about washing dishes at Bilbo's house in the Hobbit to elves singing
about faraway
lands and glorious ancestors.

With the forces of Isengard mustering
their strength for a great, cataclysmic war, it is important to keep
everyone's spirits high, and what better way to do this than with a
merry tune. If you've been playing LotRO for a
while, you've probably seen Minstrels, either singly or in groups,
entertaining people in public areas with their lutes, horns, flutes,
bagpipes or cowbells, playing songs with intricate melodies and
rhythms. Are they Yngwie Malmsteen-like wizards with their skilled
fingers flying over their keyboards, performing these songs live? Not
usually. Practically never. The truth is rather more mundane than that,
and this is your
guide to playing in-game music like a pro.

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character gains the skill to play an instrument automatically at level
5: a lute plus one other instument according to class. Minstrels can
train for all instruments as they level up. If you are not a Minstrel
and want to learn to play one of the non-standard instruments, you will
need to find a Minstrel willing to train you. Non-Minstrels can learn
to play all 9 instruments in the game - bagpipes, clarinet, cowbell,
drums, flute, harp, horn, Moor cowbell and theorbo 

alt="Minstrel mentoring"
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Dwarf Minstrel schools an Elf on proper harp-playing techniques. Also

Minstrels can
train any instrument they can play, though the mentoring of some
instruments requires finding rare loot drops in late-game instances and
raids. Occasionally, people will post mentoring scrolls on the auction
house. Some Minstrels will scribe their lessons and sell the scrolls on
the auction house, but these are usually quite costly - the mentoring
skill has a 5-day cooldown, so be prepared to pay accordingly.

you have the skill, you'll need to get yourself an instrument. Basic
instruments usable by any class can be purchased from bards. Again,
Minstrels gain the advantage here: they can play higher-quality crafted
instruments made by woodworkers. Non-Minstrels cannot play crafted
instruments. The instrument must be equipped in the ranged weapon slot
in order to be used.

Once you have your instrument equipped, it's time to start
jammin'. To enter music mode, type /music in
the chat. In music mode, your skills are locked out. You can still
move, but moving will toggle you out of music mode. Keys 1 - 8 are
mapped by default to musical notes while in music mode. Using Shift
plus a number key generates semi-tones, and CTRL plus a number key
plays one octave higher. The instruments in LotRO have a 37-note range,
and it is possible to keymap every note if you want to play improvised
music that way. Musically-inclined persons are encouraged to experiment
with this.

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The way most people play music in LotRO is to play
pre-formatted music files downloaded from a few different sites.
Arguably the most popular are
both of which have a fairly large selection of .ABC transcriptions of
popular music.

Note: It may be prudent to note that many of the
files one might find on such sites are potentially an abuse of
international copyright law. Lawyers and record companies tend to be
stuffy about people downloading copyrighted works without paying
royalties. In order to keep things nice and legal, we're going to be
focusing on traditional. classical and folk music that is not subject
to this sort
of thing.

The first thing you will want to do is find your LotRO music
folder. This is where all the .ABC files will go when you get them. The
folder is located at:
c:\Users\<username>\My Documents\The Lord of
the Rings Online\music

If this folder doesn't exist in the LotRO directory, you will
have to
create it.

Head on over to, click on Song Book and do a
search for "rocky road to dublin". This will be our practice song, a
traditional Irish folk tune that sounds nice on most instruments and
doesn't infringe on anyone's copyrights. When you click on the title,
you are shown a text box with a bunch of random-looking code - that's
the .ABC file, and it is essentially sheet music written in a
relatively simple code. The technical aspects of .ABC transcription are
beyond the scope of this guide, so don't worry about what all that
stuff does. It plays a tune, that's all we need to know.

There are a couple of ways to get these songs.
has 2 options: a "shopping cart" which will collect all the songs you
order and pack them all into one big .ZIP file, or the copy/paste
method which we will be using. uses a direct-download
approach - click a link, download a file. For direct downloads, save
the file to the music folder and unzip it there if needed.

For our method, we will be creating our own .ABC files - not
because it's easier, but because this way we can be sure of what we're
getting. Click in the text box and highlight everything in there, top
to bottom (or click CTRL+A to select all). Copy that with Edit >
Copy or CTRL+C. Next, open Notepad or whatever simple text editor you
normally use and paste it in there (Edit > Paste or CTRL+V).
Click File > Save As... and point to your music folder. In the
drop-down menu at the bottom where it says Save as type:, select All
Files (*.*). This is important - skipping this step will save it as a
.txt file rather than a .ABC file. In the File Name box, name it
"" and click Save.

alt="A different Falco"
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the same Falco, but he does enjoy "Rock Me Amadeus" on the lute.

This is the process for any song file you create. You want to
keep the name simple and easy, and don't use spaces in the name. For
example, instead of naming a song "Rock Me Amadeus (lute).abc" you
would name it "" or something even shorter like
"". Putting spaces in the file
name means you won't be able to use it in-game.

Now head into LotRO and fire up your aspiring rock star. Equip
the lute, enter music mode and type /playlist
. This will scan your music folder and show all the songs within,
listing them alphabetically by file name in the chat window. This isn't
such a big deal when you only have a small handful of songs, but when
you have an extensive collection it can be hard to remember them all.
Find "dublin" in the playlist to make sure it's there. If it shows up,
type /play dublin in chat and start rockin'.

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Being a solo artist is fun - you get all the fame, glory and
women all to yourself - but it's way more impressive when you're in a
band rocking whole stadiums... or at least the street out front of the
Prancing Pony. When you're a solo musician, people may pause
momentarily and listen if you're doing something really interesting,
but will usually just keep running past. When you're part of a band all
playing the same tune, people stop and watch.

alt="A LotRO Fellowship Band"
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like the JBs, only with bagpipes and cowbells and even more awesome.

For this demonstration, we will need something more complex
than a simple Irish folk ditty. Head back to and do a
search for O Fortuna (a famous piece of an opera written by Carl Orff
and used in a number of fantastic battle scenes in movies - you'll
probably recognize it when you hear it). There are a few different
versions, but the one we will be using is the 6-part song added by
Tirigifu, which is the most epic and requires a full 6-man fellowship
to pull off successfully, and is even more awesome when performed by a
full raid with doubled parts.

There are 6 parts to this song, and you will want to create a
file for each one, using the same method as above. Tirigifu has named
each of the parts according to the instruments best suited to them, so
my recommendation is to do the same when creating your own files:,, etc.

To do this right, you will need a full band, and everyone will
need to have the same files. Find some friends, form a fellowship, send
them your files or have them make their own from this same page.
Everyone will need to pick
a part to play according to the instruments available to them, so
figure out who can do what and start assigning parts. Extra bonus
awesome points if you can convince everyone in the band to wear
matching outfits. Then find a good place where your mad musical skills
will be witnessed and appreciated.

The LotRO music system has a built-in function for multi-part
songs. When everyone is ready, they will type /play
filename_part sync
which will put them "on hold" until the
song starts. The bandleader will wait for all band members to be ready
to play, and will type /playstart The band
will all start playing their parts in perfect sync after a brief
initial pause. Then things get loud.

There are different formats for multi-part songs. With this
method, all the parts are separate files, but there are some sites that
have multi-part songs all crammed into one single file. These will show
up in the playlist like so: 

alt="Multi-part song in one file"
style="width: 310px; height: 63px;" />

To play a part of one of these songs, the command is /play
filename # sync
So for the example shown, the command to
play the main
melody would be /play monty 1 sync

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alt="Awesome harp"
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a dwarf a stage and a fancy Lossoth harp, he gives you his heart and

Now that you have the skills mastered, it's time to land a
gig, get discovered and score a juicy recording contract. Well...
 ok, not the recording contract. But there are gigs and events
to be played.

If you play on Landroval server, you've likely heard of href="">Ales
& Tales, a regular server-wide event hosted
by the Lonely Mountain Band where everybody is invited. This is
probably the most famous regular RP event, but it's certainly not the
only place where you can showcase your newfound musical talents.

But there is a time and a place for everything, and that
includes music. Please remember that while you might be wildly
impressed and amused by the sound of "Through the Fire and Flames" on
the bagpipes, chances are that your audience will be very limited. And
if you play it at a captive audience - for example, in a crafting area
where people are committed to a long stay - you are more likely to
annoy than entertain. Please use your new powers responsibly.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Lord of the Rings Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016