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Old 03-06-2010, 09:57 AM   #1
Faramir Jones
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Narya 'Elven Music in Our Times', Mira Sommer

Anyone with an interest in how Elvish music in Tolkien’s works, in particular in The Lord of the Rings, is interpreted by modern musicians, will find ‘Elven Music in Our Times’ by Mira Sommer a good read. She tries to answer these questions:

But how do composers today imagine such music? How do modern musicians interpret the culture of the Elves? And how great is the part which the Elvish languages play in the timbre and tone of the music? (Music, p. 255)

Ms. Sommer’s overview is divided into two main parts. First, those musicians who directly interpret Elvish music, divided into two sections, one dealing with Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films, and the other looking at ‘Tolkien’s Elves in General Musical Interpretation’. (pp. 255-277) Second are what she calls ‘More “Elvish Musicians”’, where she looks at musicians who are inspired by Elvish music, but who do not directly interpret it. (pp. 277-280)

Looking at the Jackson films, the author starts with The Fellowship of the Ring, which contains the largest number of interpretations of Elvish music of the three. At the start, I was interested to read that the ‘Elvish Lothlόrien Theme’ as spoken by Galadriel was a rendering of text translated into Sindarian, then performed in Quenya. (pp. 255-256)

Also particularly interesting to read was that the ‘Song of Lúthien’ was translated into Sindarian, and with an ‘a capella melody…composed and performed by Viggo Mortensen’. (p. 258) Good for him!

Other bits worth particular reading are those dealing with ‘Aragorn and Arwen’s Theme’, a song both written and sung by Enya, (pp. 260-261) and ‘Caras Galadhon and Galadriel’s Mirror’, the latter discussing the choral singing of the elves of Lothlόrien: 'The songs are really reminiscent of the measured notes of Gregorian choirs and have a meditative, almost intoxicating effect in conjunction with the instruments'. (pp. 262-264)

I was intrigued to read that the instruments used in the above included the ‘monochord’, the ‘Ney flute from Egypt’ and the ‘sarangi’ from classic Indian music. (p. 264)

In The Two Towers, I liked learning that in ‘Arwen’s Fate/The Grace of the Valar’ a UK singer of South Indian background, Sheila Chandra, was used. Not so great was the reminder that it was the background to a silly piece where Elrond persuades Arwen to leave Middle-earth, telling her that it she remains with Aragorn, he will die and she will be left alone. (pp. 266-267) As if she hadn’t known this, and had made her decision a long time ago!

Finishing with The Return of the King, I also liked learning that Renée Fleming was the one who sang ‘Twilight and Shadow/The Grace of Undόmiel’, but was unfortunately reminded of the nonsense of that part of the film, involving Arwen leaving Middle-earth, then having a vision of her son, changing her mind and returning to her father to tell him of her final decision to be with Aragorn. (p. 268)

Overall, I enjoyed reading about the production of the Elvish music in the Jackson films, music which I like listening to very much; but some of the pieces reminded me of parts of the films that were badly adapted, which the quality of the music does not conceal, like beautiful wrapping paper concealing an ugly present.

In looking at ‘Tolkien’s Elves in General Musical Interpretation’, the author looks at the work of The Tolkien Ensemble, the group that made the first complete musical interpretation of all the poems and songs in LotR. (pp. 270-277) I’ll let the reader find out what she says, but will say that it’s a good introduction to people who don’t know them and their work.

In dealing with musicians who find Elvish music an inspiration, though they do not directly interpret it, the author gives us an overview of some such people and bands: David Arkenstone, Enya, Jessica Butler, Qntal, Nightwish, Enam, and The Fellowship, admitting that her selection is limited. (pp. 277-280)

She reaches this conclusion regarding the interpretation of Elvish music by modern musicians:

In spite of all the different interpretations, the motifs share a basic simplicity and musical tone: they are all spherical, transcendental, and mystical. They seem to long for countries far away and appear as a deeply moving story. (p. 280)

I agree with this conclusion, with the qualification that the musicians discussed aim for the above mentioned goals. Whether they have succeeded or not in this is a matter for the individual listener.

That said, I warmly recommend this article as a very interesting overview of how Elvish music has been interpreted by musicians in the last number of years.

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Old 04-10-2010, 11:22 AM   #2
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Faramir,

I find this thread intriguing. From my youth (which was in the 1960s and early 70s) I listened for elements of Elvishness in music, and was deeply affected when I found them. I have found it in places ranging from Tchaikovsky (parts of the ballets) to The Moody Blues (Tuesday Afternoon.). Only last month, I found some in PHil Wickham's worship music. One never quite knows when it might pop up.

That said, when the movies came out and people began publishing "Middle Earth"-style music, I had my checkbook ready. I have collected a fair amount and reviewed some of it here online as well as trying to instill some participation and later on some plain discussion

Tolkien would have enjoyed some of the music that has come out, I think. And that is usually one of my measurements that I use. If the professor would have left the room, can we call it elvish?

But that might bring us back around to "Canonicity".

Interesting thread topic.
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Old 04-13-2010, 04:04 AM   #3
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Narya What's 'Elvishness'?

Mark, thanks for the links to the materials you mentioned, which I enjoyed reading very much.

I suppose all of us have our own definitions of 'Elvishness' that might overlap a lot, but are very rarely going to be exactly the same; so it's interesting for me to read where people have found what they feel are 'elements of Elvishness in music'.

I agree that Tolkien would have enjoyed 'some of the music that has come out'. The problem, as you correctly pointed out, is that any decision we make about what music he might have enjoyed is affected by our personal biases.

Do you think that Tolkien's sanctioning of Donald Swan's interpretation of his works made it easier for later interpretations to be accepted by some fans?
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:03 AM   #4
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Question

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Originally Posted by Faramir Jones View Post
[B]Do you think that Tolkien's sanctioning of Donald Swan's interpretation of his works made it easier for later interpretations to be accepted by some fans?
Yes I do; precisely because Donald Swan's interpretation doesn't contain a harp or a lute, but (gasp) a piano, and a piano played very much in drawing-room style. I doubt we would have found a piano even in Rivendell. (Gondolin??) (Aman???) But if Tolkien could enjoy Swan's piano, perhaps other instruments might also be used besides those specifically mentioned in use by elven minstrels.

(Considering Daeron and Tinfang Warble, why so few flutes? Lingalad rules!)

Had I not heard piano played by Donald Swan, and blessed by The Prof, would I have accepted "The Leaves Were Long, the Grass Was Green" by the Tolkien Ensemble? The piano works beautifully there. (And then once I wonder what growing up in Rivendell might have done to a young ranger's voice, Tolkien Ensemble's 'Voice of Aragorn' works better and better. )

Do I owe that to Swan? Perhaps. A very intriguing thought.
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Old 04-14-2010, 02:51 AM   #5
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Thumbs up Blessed by The Prof

Mark, I particularly liked what you said here:

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Had I not heard piano played by Donald Swan, and blessed by The Prof, would I have accepted "The Leaves Were Long, the Grass Was Green" by the Tolkien Ensemble? The piano works beautifully there. (And then once I wonder what growing up in Rivendell might have done to a young ranger's voice, Tolkien Ensemble's 'Voice of Aragorn' works better and better. )

Do I owe that to Swan? Perhaps. A very intriguing thought.
I haven't heard the piece you mentioned, but, like you, have accepted for the same reasons the use of the piano in versions of Tolkien's songs and poems.

In terms of what Aragorn's upbringing in Rivendell might have done to his voice, that's an intriguing line of enquiry. Another example of a Man fostered by an Elvish ruler was Túrin, fostered by Thingol. While we know how badly things turned out there, the influence of this upbring was such that, later in Nargothrond, he was called Adanedhel, 'Elf-Man', because his speech and bearing were that of the Kingdom of Doriath.
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Old 04-14-2010, 04:45 PM   #6
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The Leaves Were Long, the Grass Was Green: Song of Beren And Luthien

Berit Johansen

There are samples for the rest of the album as well.

Including The Ent and the Ent-Wife.

Unfortunately I can't find a link for Lebennin.

Song of Gondor
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Old 04-15-2010, 03:52 PM   #7
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Thumbs up Thanks!

Mark, thanks for those links! I found the samples of music, including the ones you mentioned, well worth listening to.
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Old 04-15-2010, 06:50 PM   #8
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This sure is something different and it might be something of just my imagination, but I have always thought this to be the real elvish music.

Rule of thumb concerning the link: at 0.40 it becomes really elvish (with the wind instrument coming in, a clarinet I presume), at about 1.40 it gets some air and finally from 2.10 onwards it starts to be what I think it should be - as elvish music. (Anouar Brahem is a Tunisian oud-player.)

I know this can be debated, but that's my idea of elvish music... making everything in Middle-Earth just Irish/ wanna-be Celtic or medieval catholic might go well with what we presume the prof. was as as a child of his times. But looking at his knowledge of different cultures I can't but think that we make a diservice to his legacy by limiting our imagination to just the Western tradition.

Had Tolkien heard of this...
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Old 04-16-2010, 02:41 PM   #9
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That's an interesting idea and link, Nogrod. (Celtic I don't think need be limited to elven music, but could also apply to the The Shire, especially with folk dances.)

I think I can catch a haunting sense of reverie in the music, but I'd be interested in hearing what it is in Brahem's music that makes you think of elven music.
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Old 04-16-2010, 03:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bêthberry View Post
(Celtic I don't think need be limited to elven music, but could also apply to the The Shire, especially with folk dances.)
Well that's what I think as well. The celtic music (Irish, English), especially the folk-music, would be the hobbit stuff. But then the hobbits are no relatives to elves, so the elvish music shouldn't be the "upgareded" or "artsyfied" version of it (Enya-style, or the synthetizers and the pan-flute!) but to be "something completely different".

Quote:
I think I can catch a haunting sense of reverie in the music, but I'd be interested in hearing what it is in Brahem's music that makes you think of elven music.
To me it's the kind of meditativeness, the eerie feeling you can't quite fathom what it is... like is it sad or happy (without the major-minor tonality the middle-Eastern music tends to have that odd effect on an European), it sounds to me something both incorporeal and fleshy at the same time; like passion and otherworldliness in the same package. Something I could imagine the elves feeling towards this reality... Am I making any sense?
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Old 04-16-2010, 04:28 PM   #11
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Narya Interesting

You gave an interesting answer to Bêthberry's query here, Nogrod:

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To me it's the kind of meditativeness, the eerie feeling you can't quite fathom what it is... like is it sad or happy (without the major-minor tonality the middle-Eastern music tends to have that odd effect on an European), it sounds to me something both incorporeal and fleshy at the same time; like passion and otherworldliness in the same package. Something I could imagine the elves feeling towards this reality... Am I making any sense?
As I said before, each of us have our own definitions of what things, including music, we regard as 'elvish'. The music you linked to was nice; and I can see the point you're making; but I don't think anyone should presume that Tolkien would have liked it.
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Old 04-16-2010, 04:40 PM   #12
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I don't have anything to add, but in case you are interested, here is a recent and related thread:

Elves and Music

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Old 04-16-2010, 07:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faramir Jones View Post
but I don't think anyone should presume that Tolkien would have liked it.
Well, that's the age old question...

But if the title is "Elven music in our times" I think we can look at it not only as a subject about which contemporary artists would the prof. have approved of, but also as how we could think of the elven music today with our wider perspectives.

If Mira Sommer is of the mind that Nightwish is okay then she is... but I'd bet the prof. would have chosen Anouar Brahem over Nightwish in an instant.

So where is the difference?
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Old 04-17-2010, 10:59 PM   #14
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I find this discussion fascinating!

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Originally Posted by Nogrod View Post
Well that's what I think as well. The celtic music (Irish, English), especially the folk-music, would be the hobbit stuff. But then the hobbits are no relatives to elves, so the elvish music shouldn't be the "upgareded" or "artsyfied" version of it (Enya-style, or the synthetizers and the pan-flute!) but to be "something completely different".
Nice to see you agree! Much as I enjoy many kinds of celtic music and English folk music, I think that Tolkien has clearly suggested Hobbits and Elves have different kinds of music. Or perhaps a better way to explain it is that their music functions differently in their cultures.

Hobbit music is best respresented by the festivities surrounding Bilbo's birthday party, with its "songs, dances, music, games, and, of course, food and drink" ("A Long Expected Party"). It's all a bit racuous, with "Noises of trumpets and horns, pipes and flutes, and other musical instruments. . . . Hundreds of musical crackers had been pulled." And in competition with Bilbo's speech there is:

Quote:
Originally Posted by A Long Expected Party
some of the young Tooks and Brandybucks, supposing Uncle Bilbo to have finished (since he had plainly said all that was necessary), now got up an impromptu orchestra, and began a merry dance-tune. Master Everard Took and Miss Melilot Brandybuck got on a table and with bells in their hands began to dance the Springle-ring: a pretty dance, but rather vigorous.
Now "vigorous" cannot be said of elven music. In fact, I can't recall elves dancing at all. At least not physically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod
To me it's the kind of meditativeness, the eerie feeling you can't quite fathom what it is... like is it sad or happy (without the major-minor tonality the middle-Eastern music tends to have that odd effect on an European), it sounds to me something both incorporeal and fleshy at the same time; like passion and otherworldliness in the same package. Something I could imagine the elves feeling towards this reality... Am I making any sense?
I think the best way to 'make sense' of your description here is to recall the music in the Hall of Fire in Rivendell. The Hall of Fire is not the feasting or partying room, but a room for meditative purposes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalf in Many Meetings
'This is the Hall of Fire,' said the wizard. 'Here you will hear many songs and tales--if you can keep awake. But except on high days it usually stands empty and quiet, and people come here who wish for peace, and thought. There is always a fire here, all the year round, but there is little other light.'
More extensive description belongs to Frodo's experience of the elven music. It's interesting that we don't read how elves respond to their music, but are introduced to it through Frodo's initiation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by narrative, Many Meetings
At first the beauty of the melodies and of the interwoven words in elven-tongues, even though he understood them little, held him in a spell, as soon as he began to attend to them. Almost it seemed that the words took shape, and visions of far lands and bright things that he had never yet imagined opened out before him; and the firelit hall became like a golden mist above season of foam that sighed upon the margins of the world. Then the enchantment became more and more dreamlike, until he felt that an endless river of swelling gold and silver was flowing over him, too multitudinous for its pattern to be comprehended; it became part of the throbbing air about him, and it drenched and drowned him. Swiftly he sank under its shining weight into a deep realm of sleep.
There he wandered long in a dream of music that turned into running water, and then suddenly into a voice . . . .
That voice, when it concludes, is described as "chanting" rather than singing or reciting.

So I would think that Tolkien had in mind contemplative forms of music for elves. We might all have differing ideas of what contemplative music is, but it would be interesting to consider both western and eastern traditions. (After all, Sanskrit would not be an unknown language to philologists.)
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:47 AM   #15
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There's different kinds of Celtic music, too. The fast-paced Irish/Scottish folk music that we'd associate with Hobbits is really pretty recent stuff - but the older Celtic music, like sean nos and violin piobaireachd, has a different tone entirely, and could be seen as Elvish. They're much less...light, I guess? More formal, more deliberate, with a greater sense of age and significance. To me, piobaireachd and sean nos feel more ancient and elemental than other Celtic music, which is how I would imagine Elvish music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQy-WjdQPv4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8paj2hQHIo
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Old 04-18-2010, 06:44 PM   #16
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Thanks for posting those links, Gwathagor. They are beautiful and I enjoyed them very much.

Yet they don't work for me. I've done too much Scottish dancing and listened to too much music from Cape Breton (Nova Scotia) for me to be able to identify that with the elves. It is still primarily, to me, Celtic, the music of the race of men. I need something altogether more otherworldly, without the historical cultural signifiers, which is why I like Norgrod's suggestion of something beyond our usual musical repetoire.

There's a tradition of healing music in Japan, using the Zen bamboo flute (the Shakuhachi), which also to me sounds like something the elves would get into. But I don't imagine many Downers would second me on that.
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:07 PM   #17
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Since Elves are ultimately earth-bound creatures, perhaps otherworldly music doesn't fit them? Unless you just mean otherworldly in contrast to historical. (In which case I agree with you.)
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:00 AM   #18
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Sorry for the delay replying, Gwathagor; I was away most of yesterday.

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Since Elves are ultimately earth-bound creatures, perhaps otherworldly music doesn't fit them? Unless you just mean otherworldly in contrast to historical. (In which case I agree with you.)
Right you are that elves are bound to the earth, yet they may leave Middle-earth for Aman, which after the sundering is no longer reachable by men. So it can be argued that they can attain something that is otherworldly.

But perhaps more to my point are the characteristics of elves which make them more in tune with ethereal world, even while in Middle-earth. As Bilbo says to Frodo of Rivendell, "Time doesn't seem to pass here; it just is" ("Many Meetings").
And their ability to inform both a material body and a spiritual essence. Frodo, striken as he is after Weathertop, sees that spiritual essence of Glorfindel in "Flight to the Ford".

Quote:
Suddenly into view came a white horse, gleaming in the shadows, running swiftly. In the dusk its headstall flicered and flashed, as if it were studded with gems like living stars. The rider's cloak streamed behind him, and his hood was thrown back; his golden hair flowed shimmering in the wind of his speed. To Frodo it appeared that a white light was shining through the form and raiment of the rider, as if through a thin veil.
And before Frodo passes into unconsciousness after crossing the river, he has this strange vision, of the flood and of a white figure, which could also be Glorfindel.

Quote:
Dimly Frodo saw the river below him rise, and down along its course there came a plumed cavalry of waves. White flames seemed to Frodo to flicker on their crests and he half fancied that he saw amid the water white riders upon white horses with frothing manes. . . .

With his last failing senses Frodo heard cries, and it seemed to him that he saw, beyond the Riders that hesitated on the shore, a shining figure of white light; and behind it ran samll shadowy forms waving flames, that flared red in the grey mist that was falling over the world.
I think that probably fits your contrast to historical.
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Old 04-20-2010, 11:46 AM   #19
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Question What's 'otherworldly'?

It might be interesting for people to see the two main definitions given by The Oxford English Dictionary of 'otherworldly'.

First is 'Devoted to spiritual matters or life; ascetic, spiritual; (more generally) unworldly. Also as n. [noun] (with the): ascetic, spiritual, or unworldly people as a class (with pl. concord)'.

Second is 'Of or relating to a world other than the actual or material; esp. of or relating to a mystical or fantasy world'.

Do people think that we include the Elves in Tolkien's world under both definitions? Every race there (including Man) is part of a fantasy world, created out of an author's imagination; so all come under the second definition. But is it that Elves are supposed to live for so very long (though they are not immortal), and have gone where Man cannot follow, hanging around with the Valar, that make us also think of them, above all other races, as coming under the first definition?
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Old 04-20-2010, 12:30 PM   #20
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I'd say the elves and the West do present themselves as the "other reality" in contrast to humans of the ME and thus I'd say they are more of the first definition. But I'm not sure if the word "unworldly" can be used in relation to them. The West is an odd mid-stop between "the world of men" and "the world beyond"...


Let me offer another possible POV for organising one's thoughts about the elven music.

In the Pythagorean / Boëthian tradition from Antiquity we have three different kinds of "music" (spheres of it, notions of it, mode of being of it) which I'd guess the prof. was aware of with his classical education.

The pure music was the "music of the spheres", the non-audible cosmic music of the reality itself (musica mundana by Boëthius).

Then there was the music of a living being (well a "learned human" in this real world of ours) in structural harmony with the universe and its principles (musica humana for Boëthius).

The third one is the music we can hear as the music we normally think of as music; sounds and rhythms to be perceived, and to be played with instruments/human voice (musica instrumentalis for B).

The first one is quite easy to identify with the music of the Ainur and the third with the music we people make (or any other ME creatures?). But the question becomes, is there the middle one? Is it the music of the Valar and Maiar (and elves?) in the West; eg. not the primordial music of the universe only Eru could organise (even if it included the Valar) but the music the purer forms of existence could have produced in the World and to teach to the elves there in the West? And thus the elven music in the ME would resound something of that purer form of music being at the same time in a way compromised by getting thus far away from the original (both being further developed by "mere elves" and being farther away from the source)?

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Old 04-20-2010, 12:35 PM   #21
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I think we've got two kinds of "otherwordly" here, the first being simply part of Elvish nature and the second having its ultimate source in Aman. Elves like Thranduil, Legolas, and Thingol display the first kind, elves like Galadriel, Glorfindel, and Elrond display the second kind.

For the first kind, "hypernatural" or "extranatural" might be better terms than "otherworldly." It is, in its essence, earthy. Celtic-ish music would suit this well.

The second kind, is literally otherwordly, and appears in Elves who have had contact with the Valar/Maiar or who wield artifacts imbued with their power. This group would doubtless produce the sorts of ethereal music you describe, Bethberry.
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Old 04-20-2010, 02:45 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bêthberry
In fact, I can't recall elves dancing at all. At least not physically.
Oh, but of course they did! Remember Luthien in the forest of Neldoreth?
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There's a tradition of healing music in Japan, using the Zen bamboo flute (the Shakuhachi), which also to me sounds like something the elves would get into. But I don't imagine many Downers would second me on that.
I definitely would! I don't find it at all hard to imagine that Daeron or Tinfang Warble playing the flute could have sounded like this; or, if you'd like something a bit less cuddly and New-Agey, maybe that.
I also hear something Elvish in Chinese/Japanese compositions for the pipa, like e.g
Dance music for a festive evening in Rivendell
A tone poem commemorating the heroic struggles of the Noldor in the First Age
(titles invented by me)
What I find interesting about this kind of music is that one the one hand, it's very disciplined and rigorously elegant, while on the other hand (at least to European ears) it does have a weird, 'otherworldly' (...not going to discuss that in mid-sentence...) charm and, in some pieces (esp. the last one I linked) a wild, fairish abandon that really rocks. Very Elvish on both sides of the scale, as far as I'm concerned.

Gwath, I think I totally see where you're coming from. Keeping in tune with the idea of Middle-earth as calque on medieval/Dark Age Europe, it certainly makes sense to look for parallels to Elven music within the European musical tradition, whether Celtic or Gregorian.
But it just occurred to me that the culture of Middle-earth as described in the book is probably just as much a translation from the (imaginary) original as the English of the narrative representing the Westron of the 'real' Red Book. As The Prof himself said in LotR, Appendix F:
Quote:
This linguistic procedure [i.e. representing the Rohirric language by Anglo-Saxon, Pw.] does not imply that the Rohirrim closely resembled the ancient English otherwise, in culture or art, in weapons or modes of warfare, except in a general way due to their circumstances [...]
We find non-European cultural influences in various parts of the Legendarium. Both Adûnaic and Khuzdûl were modelled on the Semitic language family. The Tengwar have a lot in common with Asian scripts like Devanagari or its descendants (in structural principle, if not in actual letter shapes). So why couldn't the 'original' music of the Elves have sounded like something from Tunisia or China?
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Old 04-20-2010, 10:02 PM   #23
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Oh, but of course they did! Remember Luthien in the forest of Neldoreth?
Well, I was thinking just in terms of LotR, but how could I forget the most famous teenage elf? Interesting, though, that Luthien's dancing is a private, solitary dance, almost a communion with the forest and natural world, and not a social activity or performance, even if secretly observed.

Quote:
I definitely would! I don't find it at all hard to imagine that Daeron or Tinfang Warble playing the flute could have sounded like this; or, if you'd like something a bit less cuddly and New-Agey, maybe that.
I also hear something Elvish in Chinese/Japanese compositions for the pipa, like e.g
Dance music for a festive evening in Rivendell
A tone poem commemorating the heroic struggles of the Noldor in the First Age
(titles invented by me)
Thanks for those links. Yes, that's what I was thinking of with the shakuhachi. I've sat through an hour concert of it and it was one of the most serene and uplifting musical experiences I've ever had, very different from western concerts, either of symphony or rock/pop or church.
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Old 04-21-2010, 06:10 AM   #24
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Narya Elves dancing

Lúthien also danced before Morgoth's throne, that being a very public occasion.

And do people not remember the elves dancing and singing in The Hobbit?

As for Bêthberry calling Lúthien a 'teenage' elf, words fail me.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:10 PM   #25
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faramir Jones View Post
And do people not remember the elves dancing and singing in The Hobbit?

Mmmmm. On Midsummer's Eve. By the riverside. Under the stars.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:34 PM   #26
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LUTHIEN:
But wandering in the summer in the woods of Neldoreth he came upon Lúthien, daughter of Thingol and Melian, at a time of evening under moonrise, as she danced upon the unfading grass in the glades beside Esgalduin.

There came a time near dawn on the eve of spring, and Lúthien danced upon a green hill; and suddenly she began to sing. Keen, heart-piercing was her song as the song of the lark that rises from the gates of night and pours its voice among the dying stars, seeing the sun behind the walls of the world; and the song of Lúthien released the bonds of winter, and the frozen waters spoke, and flowers sprang from the cold earth where her feet had passed.

ELROND'S Elves in The Hobbit:"
"Sing all ye joyful, now sing all together?
The wind's in the free-top, the wind's in the heather;
The stars are in blossom, the moon is in flower,
And bright are the windows of Night in her tower.

Dance all ye joyful, now dance all together!
Soft is the grass, and let foot be like feather!
The river is silver, the shadows are fleeting;
Merry is May-time, and merry our meeting."

..."A little sleep does a great cure in the house of Elrond," said he; "but I will take all the cure I can get. A second good night, fair friends!" And with that he went back to bed and slept till late morning.
Weariness fell from him soon in that house, and he had many a merry jest and dance, early and late, with the elves of the valley."
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:49 PM   #27
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...and --- does Smith count? I can't help but feel he does-- The Queen of Faerie, in Smith of Wootten Major, danced with her elves in the woods; and Smith danced with them.
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:48 PM   #28
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As for Bêthberry calling Lúthien a 'teenage' elf, words fail me.
It's a pretty scary thought, isn't it, this elf female blossoming in the fullness of her psycho-sexual development.

'course, one has to wonder if elven women reached their sexual prime in late adolescence or, like women of the race of men, in middle age--however that designation may be determined for elves?

Could this fullness, if reached in harmony, be the middle state that Nogrod spoke of,

Quote:
Then there was the music of a living being (well a "learned human" in this real world of ours) in structural harmony with the universe and its principles (musica humana for Boëthius).
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Old 05-23-2010, 06:01 AM   #29
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Leaf

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Mmmmm. On Midsummer's Eve. By the riverside. Under the stars.
Pretty much my favourite part of The Hobbit right thar ya'll.
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:33 PM   #30
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Leaf Pretty fair nonsense

To be fair, Tolkien admitted that the singing of the Elves when Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves came to Rivendell was 'pretty fair nonsense I daresay you think it'. At least he didn't portray Elrond getting up to that kind of behaviour!
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