They came back with viols as big as themselves, and with Thorin's harp wrapped in a green cloth. It was a beautiful golden harp, and when Thorin struck it the music began all at once, so sudden and sweet that Bilbo forgot everything else, and was swept away into dark lands under strange moons, far over The Water and very far from his hobbit-hole under The Hill. . .
And suddenly, first one and then another began to sing as they played, deep-throated singing of the dwarves in the deep places of their ancient homes; and this is like a fragment of their song, if it can be like their song without their music.
Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.
--The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
Having just seen "The Hobbit" last night, I can say without question that one of my favourite aspects of the film was this song, sung in perfect deep and haunting tones by Thorin (Richard Armitage) and his company of dwarves before they set out on the quest to reclaim their homeland. In the film none of them were playing instruments, but that in no way took away from the impact of the moment. I felt exactly as Bilbo did - that I was swept away and caught up in the beautiful, soulful melody that Howard Shore created to bring Tolkien's words to life.
(Apparently, someone who loves this song as much as I do has created a youtube video that just repeats it constantly for 25 minutes. Score! Plus, I love the clarity of the words/voices in this version, so you can hear their charming accents when they get to "the winds were moaning" - double score!!)
HT: Ruth at Booktalk & More, who inspired me to start you-tubing this song after this sweet post.