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Music of the Ainur

user16578

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Have you ever wondered what this immense complex great composition of thematic music would sound like? How long did the unison last? And what of Melkor disrupting it all?

I like to think that the beginning sounded a bit like this...


Melkors disruptiveness a bit like this...


What about you? Have you ever pondered upon this and have any ideas?
Please feel free to share add! :)
 
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Draugfui

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I am currently working on a large-scale theatrical work based on the Silmarillion. So I am thinking about this all the time.
In short, no. I have no idea. Cause while Tolkien references certain musical terms, such as harmony, discord, theme, etc. it is not clear how much he himself understood, from a technical point of view, the terms he was using. Given that it is Tolkien, I reckon he knew at least a little bit about the words he was using. However finding satisfactory musical parallels poses many problems.

Namely, what is meant by each of the themes of Illuvatar? Are they comparable to a single theme in a Western context, or are they more like undulating patterns of sound (seems more likely from a metaphysical point of view). I know that the Third theme is about the Atani (Men), this seems to infer that the second theme is about the Quendi (ELves) and therefore the first theme to be a sort of Genesis opera.

I like your two suggestions User16578 - I certainly see where you're coming with the very opening of the Mahler Adagietto.

Any more insights into this line of questioning would be very welcome as I'm trying to get my bearings as to how to represent something so clearly metaphysical in a musical framework.
 

Olorgando

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I'm seriously out of my depth with classical music, but one of my most treasured DVDs is Disney's "Fantasia" of 1940, the music being played by the Philadelphia Orchestra and conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Disney's best film by far, and in a category all its own.
The last piece (or its first part), "Night on Bald Mountain" by Modeste Mussorgsky, might be useful for Melkor's disruptions (one of the images, as far as I recall, also looks eerily like many depictions of the Balrog of Moria). Another candidate for "Melkor Stuff" would be "Rite of Spring" by Igor Stravinsky.
The latter is the only piece (that I recall) that I ever saw live at a classical concert, in college probably about 1974. But that once classical concert really made it count, a it was by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (on tour) conducted by Sir Georg Solti!!!
 

Squint-eyed Southerner

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I'm afraid we may have lost the OP, but the question is an interesting one.As much as I love Mahler, and he's perhaps at his, for him, "simplist" there -- Benjamin Zander thinks it should be played as a "love song" -- I've always thought Tolkien would have had something more straightforward in mind, like Bruckner. Certainly there would (IMO) be moments like 2:00 in this exerpt from the Mighty Eighth:

 
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Olorgando

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Erm … if you say so.
Had you used Chinese characters, Old Kingdom Egyptian Hieroglyphics, or Old Hittite written in Cuneiform, I would have understood approximately the same.
Oh, I recognize plenty of names of "classical" composers, conductors or artists.
I even recognize (small) parts of symphonies; there's the absolute no-brainer that Chuck Berry even used for one of his best songs, Beethoven's fifth; for other reason, also his sixth; the "Ode To Joy", kind of the EU "national anthem", from his ninth (but little else); his "For Elise"; the theme from 2001 Space Odyssey - but see? see? without Wiki I wouldn't be able to name the original composer.
Practically no chance that I'll ever rise above the level of troglodyte in classical music.
My "early infection" with Jazz as of around 1960 by my dad, with Armstrong, Ellington, Basie, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa, Herbie Mann, Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges, Modern Jazz Quartet … that slippery slope then led me to Rock and Blues, and the addiction is incurable.
 
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Squint-eyed Southerner

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OK, getting at least partially back on point:

Another question I've thought about, ever since my first reading of Tolkien, has been the nature of the music sung by the Elves. We can guess, based on his recording of Namarie, that he had something close to Gregorian chant in mind; but I wonder if the Elves wouldn't have at least developed polyphony, in their millenia-long lives. When I read the description of Frodo's experience in the Hall of Fire, I think of music of the High Renaissance -- like this for instance:


For me at least, it fits the description:

At first the beauty of the melodies and the interwoven words in the Elven-tongue, even though he understood them little, held him in a spell, as soon as he began to attend to them. Almost it seemed 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 seas 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 andsilver was flowing over him, too multitudinous for its pattern to be comprehended; it became part of the troubling air about him, and it drenched and drowned him. Swiftly he sank under its shining weight into a deep realm of sleep.
 
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Olorgando

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Elven music, at least that of the Elves that reached Valinor, might well echo the far greater Music of the Ainur. And here it seems a safe bet that Ingwë and his Vanyar were deepest into this musical "tradition", as in all things Valinorean. But except for their sending troops (the "Spear-Elves") into the War of Wrath against Morgoth at the end of the First Age, no "pure-blooded" Vanyar remained in Middle-earth after Morgoth's defeat. There was Galadriel, one quarter Vanya, remaining ...

The Teleri: their music would have had quite a deep "Ulmo-influence", incorporating many seashore sounds, like the waves, the wind above these and the shores (that would be a Manwë touch), the mewing of the gulls and other such natural sounds. But they are split into the Valinorean and the non- branch. Cirdan and all of the Elves of the Falas (later of the Grey Havens) would probably have developed a separate musical tradition under Ossë's tutelage. With the latter's spouse Uinen possibly dampening his rather "exuberant", storm-loving temperament. Moving inland in Beleriand, Doriath with the Valinor-knowledgeable Elu Thingol, and far more so his Maiar spouse Melian, would have developed an entirely different musical tradition, with little "shoreland" influence, among the Grey-Elves. Even further east, the Green-Elves of Ossiriand, with no "monarchical" trappings at all, but some contact with Doriath. Then east beyond the Blue Mountains, what were to become in later ages the wood-Elves of Thranduil's realm, and in Lothlórien, too.

Last not least the Noldor. The "technology" and "industry" "freaks" among the Elves. I see their music gravitating towards that of the Dwarves (whatever one imagines that to be), at least after they returned to Middle-earth following their rebellion. But with the commonality of having been influenced by Aulë long before contact, who knows? I am willing to incur John Cleese's (rightful?) wrath by breaking his strictly stated law against puns:

Are the Noldor and Dwarves the true originators of what we now call "Heavy Metal"? ;)
 

Squint-eyed Southerner

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I dunno -- the Noldor in ME might have developed something like the equivalent of those Cossack choirs you posted about on the Music thread -- albeit with more defiance and curses!
 

Olorgando

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I dunno -- the Noldor in ME might have developed something like the equivalent of those Cossack choirs you posted about on the Music thread -- albeit with more defiance and curses!
I don't recall … erm, there was the period before the "Battle of Sudden Flame", Dagor Bragollach, ending the 400-year siege of Angband, where the Noldorin Elves seem to have become accomplished equestrians, as certainly they later were. Restart. It took place about 150 years before Morgoth was cast into the void at the end of the First Age.
Elven (Noldorin) cavalry does not seem to be prominent after the BoSF or DB. I would think the Cossack choirs would fit the Rohirrim much better ...
 

Rilien

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OK, getting at least partially back on point:

Another question I've thought about, ever since my first reading of Tolkien, has been the nature of the music sung by the Elves. We can guess, based on his recording of Namarie, that he had something close to Gregorian chant in mind; but I wonder if the Elves wouldn't have at least developed polyphony, in their millenia-long lives. When I read the description of Frodo's experience in the Hall of Fire, I think of music of the High Renaissance -- like this for instance:


For me at least, it fits the description:

I'm totally and completely on board with this, and actually have had similar thoughts myself--although with the music of Thomas Tallis in mind.
 

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