Finrod/Sauron Song Battle

Rob Harding

Active Member
Love it. Sweat on their brows, veins popping, teeth gritted, showing the strain despite it not being a physical fight. Whether they open their mouths to sing or we do it as audible voices emanating from them is a possibility. Either way, it should have some kind of impact rather than just song I feel. It’s a visual medium after all. But every now and then we’d get a shot of these two just standing in a cell. And at the end, nothing has physically changed. I’m picturing environmental effects more than light shows I think. Imagine time speeding up and ruins crumbling and you can see the stars overhead as Finrod sings. Then Sauron sings and the stars go out and clouds cover the land. Finrod sings and those clouds open and rain covers the land and flowers bloom. In this symbolic competition of wills. For anyone familiar with the Sandman comics, I’m thinking of the Curazon vs Morpheus battle. Every action of one is undone by the other. Either for the sake of despair or for hope. Ending with Sauron unmaking the world and Finrod seemingly making a new one. It should invoke the Ainulindale a bit. An echo of true magic to affect the world. Because if magic is songs and songs are art, then that’s the power it holds.

This would also connect to how when Luthien sings, flowers grow. In some ways, her magic is clearly more potent as it doesn’t simply have the symbolic impact of changing people’s internal ‘worlds’, it literally shapes the world. So when she really CAN destroy a stronghold, we get how powerful she must be.
I’m still inspired by the Sandman issue I referenced where we have the following battle of wills presented by forms taking shape. But rather than dialogue over the visuals as in the comic, our version could simply shows the singers while the images being shown around the singers make the struggle clear for the viewer. Instead of single creatures, as in the comic, we’d have the entire setting shift and change. Beginning small and become the entire reality. A plant growing. The plant consumed by rot. The rot birthing new life. The cycle of things consuming one another until the dark consumed them all. Stars shining in dark. Clouds consuming the stars. The sun breaking through cloud. The sun dying. A new world being born from the dark. A big grand vista on which hopes and beliefs are played out.
 

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kanji_d

Active Member
Since we've gotten to this point in the script outlines I'd like to ask some questions about process: would it be better to create a set of mock/demo lyrics in English which can then be translated to Quenya/Sindarin and set to music, or would we rather the English starting point not be beholden to songwriting conventions so the Elvish translation can be somewhat freer? You would of course probably be free to adjust the translation as you see fit but I'd just like to know if we should be writing lyrics or blank verse.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Oooh! You really would go that far? I mean translate stuff into Quenya, Sindarin or Melkian?

I am by fat not good enough to do anything in Quenya or Sindarin, but hence we know almost nothing about Melkian i maybe would write some lines in neo-melkian!

This guy did a cool Sauron battlerap impersonation...
My "translations" woukd be a tribute to him!

 

Rob Harding

Active Member
Since we've gotten to this point in the script outlines I'd like to ask some questions about process: would it be better to create a set of mock/demo lyrics in English which can then be translated to Quenya/Sindarin and set to music, or would we rather the English starting point not be beholden to songwriting conventions so the Elvish translation can be somewhat freer? You would of course probably be free to adjust the translation as you see fit but I'd just like to know if we should be writing lyrics or blank verse.
If people provide textural themes or transliterated content, I’d be interested in converting to poetry/lyrics. My suggestion would be that it’s minimal though. Each theme being just a simple line. A bare handful each back and forth rather than an entire song of content?
 

Kathrin

Well-Known Member
Hmm I guess it depends how Songs of Power interface with our language convention, too? The Quenya lines could also be accents in the Song, a bit like they are in the Silm. Idk that the lyrics should be looked at too literally like one song someone composed and could really play right, it is a symbolic representation of the spell.

Also I ofc cannot help but mentally reference my faves, the silmarillion rockoperas (Finrod-zong and lay of leithian) that in all versions have different takes on the song battles. There ofc it is a songbattle within a musical, but we have songbattles contrasted with our score, so there could be a similar meta-relationship, where the music morphs from being a part of the medium into an actor in the plot.

It's hard to describe, but it kinda is like the usual leitmotives a score or a musical too would use becomes a thing the character is aware of and is invoking, and i guess that is how the songmagic works too right? usually the song of creation just works in the background, an orchestra to accompany the events of the world it created, but in these moments characters pluck out strings from the tapestry of fate and pull on them. okay. overly strained metaphors done xD

(also the rockoperas might give some inspiration how to work with staging. ofc live-actions staging and visual storytelling works a lot different than stage musicals, but a certain part of the physical interaction and tension along with the musical tension is similar. Stage staging works only with the placement of ppl and the attention of the audience, live action ofc works with cuts and camera placement and movement on top of that. Also the images that Sauron and Finrod conjure up need to be visualised in some way. I wonder if there is some way to work with shadows on the walls/reflections in water/reflective surfaces or shapes in smoke/vapour etc, that kinda embed it in the environment and don't just have some floating magic effect hanging in the air. (okay ramble over lol)
 
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Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Looks interesting! But also reminded me of Merlin and Madame Mims Magic duel...https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WxqhjWcS8zQ

All goes back to the likes of Taliesin vs Ceridwen or Väinämöinen vs Joukahainen...

 

Rob Harding

Active Member
Looks interesting! But also reminded me of Merlin and Madame Mims Magic duel...https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WxqhjWcS8zQ

All goes back to the likes of Taliesin vs Ceridwen or Väinämöinen vs Joukahainen...

Very much like merlin and madam mim but more conceptual and representative of the characters’ natures.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
When Howard Shore does his one-on-one duels or battles in the score for The Lord of the Rings, he usually has neither supported by themes at first, but when the confrontation tips in favor of one side or the other, that part is heard more. For example in the battle at Amon Hen, Aragorn's theme is heard as he finally rejects the Ring and turns to face the Uruk-hai, with variations of his theme heard in the melody while a piano in 5/4 time represents the Isengard beat, showing Aragorn's strong opposition to the Uruk-hai's numbers. The Uruk-hai's beat continues to grow as the battle cuts back and forth between Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli fighting the Uruk-hai and Frodo's flight, and finally Boromir's redemption as he saves Merry and Pippin from certain doom. The dynamic is flipped when Aragorn realizes Boromir faces the Uruk-hai alone, and the Isengard theme dominates, now accompanied by lyrics in Sindarin consisting of the poem read by Faramir in The Two Towers.

 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Here's the passage we're trying to capture:

He chanted a song of wizardry,​
Of piercing, opening, of treachery,​
Revealing, uncovering, betraying.​
Then sudden Felagund there swaying​
Sang in answer a song of staying,​
Resisting, battling against power,​
Of secrets kept, strength like a tower,​
And trust unbroken, freedom, escape;​
Of changing and of shifting shape​
Of snares eluded, broken traps,​
The prison opening, the chain that snaps.​
Backwards and forwards swayed their song.​
Reeling and foundering, as ever more strong​
The chanting swelled, Felagund fought,​
And all the magic and might he brought​
Of Elvenesse into his words.​
Softly in the gloom they heard the birds​
Singing afar in Nargothrond,​
The sighing of the Sea beyond,​
Beyond the western world, on sand,​
On sand of pearls in Elvenland.​
Then the gloom gathered; darkness growing​
In Valinor, the red blood flowing​
Beside the Sea, where the Noldor slew​
The Foamriders, and stealing drew​
Their white ships with their white sails​
From lamplit havens. The wind wails,​
The wolf howls. The ravens flee.​
The ice mutters in the mouths of the Sea.​
The captives sad in Angband mourn.​
Thunder rumbles, the fires burn —-​
And Finrod fell before the throne.​

It's a passage from the Lay of Leithian that CJR Tolkien included in the published Silmarillion.

So, it's already poetry, but it's a description of the song duel, not quotations from it. Lots of examples and imagery to draw from, as well as a clear indication of what each side is attempting to exploit or rely on.
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
Since we've gotten to this point in the script outlines I'd like to ask some questions about process: would it be better to create a set of mock/demo lyrics in English which can then be translated to Quenya/Sindarin and set to music, or would we rather the English starting point not be beholden to songwriting conventions so the Elvish translation can be somewhat freer? You would of course probably be free to adjust the translation as you see fit but I'd just like to know if we should be writing lyrics or blank verse.
I think this is a good approach, the general intent in English translated into Quenya or black speech for Sauron but free enough so that the elvish can be shaped into a good rhythm. I or others can then compose the music to fit the rhythm of the elvish. One of the problems I had with the Oath of Feanor was that once we settled on a translation it had to be shoe horned into the rhythm of the music that I had composed which resulted in some timing issues. I think it should be based on the text that Marie posted, but altered so that it is not just a description of what they sang if you know what I mean.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I think this is a good approach, the general intent in English translated into Quenya or black speech for Sauron but free enough so that the elvish can be shaped into a good rhythm. I or others can then compose the music to fit the rhythm of the elvish. One of the problems I had with the Oath of Feanor was that once we settled on a translation it had to be shoe horned into the rhythm of the music that I had composed which resulted in some timing issues. I think it should be based on the text that Marie posted, but altered so that it is not just a description of what they sang if you know what I mean.
I thought that Black Speech as a language wasn't really around until the Second Age.
 

kanji_d

Active Member
I've written a little something that I thought up after the podcast finished today. I've not beholden myself to any meter or rhyme so that the translations may take some liberty. It's worth noting that the stanzas were written out of order as I came up with ideas, so they were written in the order 2-4-1-3-5. I've placed them in their "final" order. I'm thinking of this as Sauron's part at the very end before Finrod collapses, recalling the Kinslaying, the exile of the Noldor, and the death of Earwen. The goal is to pull on Finrod's emotions.

See the beauty once held
In the houses of the Powers devoured,
And light perishing utterly from their land.
It is the Great Evil that was ere all.

Behold the sea unlit
As from the quays flows even darker victuals.
Hear the throngs once filled with music wailing.
It is the good turned evil.

Hear on the winds
The doom proclaimed that brought such sorrow.
It is the righteous doing justice on evil.

See the hungry
Tread across the frozen plain,
Having seen afar the tragic fires
On the ships which never again shall be made.
It is many evils combining.

See at the quays
Wife, mother, daughter falls
And brings grief on all the houses of the Calaquendi.
It is the good that suffer when evil prevails.
 
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