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Old 01-16-2007, 02:40 PM   #1
Elmo
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1420! Tolkien's music

On a lighter note from my last topic I'd like to discuss a topic which is of great interest to me the songs that the characters sing during Lord of the Rings. I love the Tolkien's poetry and I am wondering whether Tolkien had any melodies in mind when he wrote the words. Was he much of a musician?

I've posted below a musician who wrote melodies and sang the songs in the book. I'm wondering whether people think he has done as good job of it as I think he has.

My favourite is his interpetation of Beren and Luthien I think it is very poignant and beautiful. I was wondering if the completed version is anywhere and also if Tolkien ever completed 'the fall of gil galad' (by the way there is an excellent version of this on the bbc's audiobook, I managed to work out the melody on the piano)
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Old 01-16-2007, 08:03 PM   #2
Tar-Meneldur
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Tolkien

I think Tolkien was in a word, one of the greats in my mind.
I mean I know people would maybe pick people such as Poe, and Frost, and Wilde , and many others more, but Tolkien was in my mind great at both writting poetry and writting songs.
Yet, I myself have tryed to make melodies from his songs, really I just try to think about what Tolkien was humming at the moment as he was writting the song, but some of them are hard for me to think of a melody thats goes with it.
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Old 01-17-2007, 12:53 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tar-Meneldur
I think Tolkien was in a word, one of the greats in my mind.
I mean I know people would maybe pick people such as Poe, and Frost, and Wilde , and many others more, but Tolkien was in my mind great at both writting poetry and writting songs.
Yet, I myself have tryed to make melodies from his songs, really I just try to think about what Tolkien was humming at the moment as he was writting the song, but some of them are hard for me to think of a melody thats goes with it.
I make up my own melodies whenever I read it, sometimes they stick,other times they are completely new. I'd love to hear a real musicians take on the melodies.

Hewho, did you say you were going to post a musician? Like a link to some MP3's or something(if they exist?) I'd be interested in checking those out.
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:25 AM   #4
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I'd already posted the link in another topic but its worth having it again the man's a genius http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...ngs+colin+rudd
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Old 01-17-2007, 02:43 PM   #5
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The composer Donald Swann wrote melodies to a number of Tolkien's poems during the professor's lifetime. They were approved by him, and he even added his own melody for Galadriel's Namįriė. The song cycle The Road Goes Ever On was first published in 1967; Tolkien was still alive. It was then recorded by the singer William Elvin (nomen est omen?!). This recording is included in the book version that I own - a book well worth buying, as it also includes Tolkien's notes on translations of some of the Elvish poetry.

Of course, everyone has different mental images of melodies, and no one else's songs will be quite like what one person envisions. I, for example, was not satisfied with Swann's version of Bilbo's walking song "The Road Goes Ever On", nor with the movie melody. I made up my own and have sung it to myself on hiking trips.

For more discussion on Tolkien-based music, check out the Middle-Earth Music Reviews thread. You'll find a number of productions there.

In answer to your question, Tolkien himself was not a musician, but his wife Edith was an accomplished pianist.
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Old 01-20-2007, 02:45 PM   #6
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Tolkien

I usually make up different kind of melodies when reading, although some of the movie adaptations stick for me, such as "The Road Goes Ever On and On."

Ted Nasmith, a renowned Tolkien artist for many years, is also a musician and he creates music along with a friend to Tolkien's poems. His official site, http://www.tednasmith.com/, features some of them. They're quite nice.
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Old 01-20-2007, 05:22 PM   #7
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Matthew, you can hear ol' Ted for free at each Oxonmoot. You just have to be prepared to run when a certain someone gets up to sing with him...

Now I've no idea if Tolkien could actually read music or play anything - there's no record of that as far as I know (but I'll have a rummage in the encyclopaedic Companion & Guide, as it will be in there if it's anywhere). But it's likely he did have an 'ear' for music. He was born in a time when radios and televisions were not around, and gramophones would have been forbiddingly expensive as his family was quite poor, so making your own music would have been the 'norm' - even if he could not read music he could probably sing - my own grandfather could not read music but it didn't stop him from being able to play piano and accordion pretty well. And of course he used to attend a Catholic church and music is always important in services; I imagine they will have had a sung mass.

I actually quite liked that little melody they created for "The Road Goes Ever On" in the films - I found it quite stately.

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