Girdle of Melian

Phillip Menzies

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While listening to a recent session in S3 about the Girdle of Melian, Corey spoke about Melian's song that she sings to bring the Girdle into being. Now I can have a shot at the music but I am not so good on lyrics and considering that Melian would be singing in Quenya or Valerian, possibly not Sindarin, is there someone out there who can come up with some appropriate lyrics that I can write some music for?
 

Phillip Menzies

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With some luck I may be able to get someone I know to sing it. There is always the option of someone who follows SilmFilm to sing it as well. Let's see how much interest there is out there.
 
I'd guess that she sings in Sindarin, she is at least the (maia) queen of the most significant realm of the Sindar, and her husband at one point even banned the speaking of Quenya, so there you go...
But I can't help you with the lyrics, I'm sorry.
 

MithLuin

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What should she be singing about?

The Girdle of Melian is protection against strangers, unwelcome guests, evil creatures, etc. It's not *just* a banish-the-darkness spell. It also creates confusion and mazes for those who try to enter without permission.

In other words, we're talking about deceptive fairy enchantment stuff here.

Not that I want to use any of these lyrics or music as inspiration, but it at least reminds me of Purcell's "Hither This Way" from his King Arthur opera:


The other thing to think about is how magical power seems to work in Tolkien's world. Singing the truth of something makes it so, more or less? Tom Bombadil just tells things what to do, and they obey. Galadriel 'sang of leaves, of leaves of gold, and leaves of gold there grew.'

Again, not an attempt to steal lyrics or music here, but it reminds me of the Lorica, the Breastplate of St. Patrick: http://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/st-patricks-breastplate.html



So, I would suggest that the lyrics of our song have a combination of 'evil, be gone!' mixed with a spell of confusion and mazes. What is Melian's strength? That should be the core of her song/spell. The Girdle will fail after Thingol's death, when she leaves.

It would be difficult to write the song in Valarin, but if someone wants to come up with an appropriate phrase in that language, we could use it throughout the song.
 
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Phillip Menzies

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I was thinking in terms of language that the older the language, the more powerful the effect. Sindarin being a modern language might not have the oomph of Quenya and that in turn would be pale beside Valarin. Maybe Corey could have some input into the language.
In terms of theme, musically it will be the first theme from the Ainulindale. Thus little project is in fact forcing me to get on with fleshing out the Ainulindale.
 
Melian creates the Girdle before the coming of the Noldor to Beleriand. This means that Quenya is not known there, because we learn later on that the Sindar and the Noldor cannot (easily) communicate. Although it is true that Quenya seems to be likely to have the stronger effect.
 

MithLuin

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If we're looking for an older language to be filled with words of power....I definitely think we're talking about Valarin (which Melian knows). Alas, *we* don't know it, so we are very limited in what we can say. Here is the entire corpus:

http://folk.uib.no/hnohf/valarin.htm

I have to imagine we can take individual words from this list and 'pepper' them throughout the Sindarin text. Alternatively, we can come up with one phrase in Valarin, and then repeat it as a refrain to Melian's song.

We can probably come up with something like banning everything that is Marred using those words....

mâchan supposedly means "authority, authoritative decision" (WJ:399)
dušamanûðân "marred" (WJ:401)
amanaišal "unmarred" (WJ:401)
Aþâraphelûn, supposedly meaning "appointed dwelling"
delgûmâ a Valarin word the exact meaning of which is not given. (WJ:399) It is, however, stated that it influenced Quenya telumë "dome, (especially) dome of heaven" (LR:391 stem TEL, TELU), which was altered to telluma "dome", especially applied to the "Dome of Varda" over Valinor; also used of the domes of the mansion of Manwë and Varda upon Taniquetil.
akašân supposedly means "He says" with reference to Eru; the source of Quenya axan "law, rule, commandment". (WJ:399)


We could use 'delgûmâ' for the Girdle, as it is like a dome of protection and we don't know what that word actually means anyway.
There is not a good way of expressing 'keep out' with the limited vocabulary we have for Valarin. We also know practically nothing of the grammar, so trying to figure out how to change 'authority' to 'by my authority' or something is beyond what I know how to do. Nor do I know how to change 'He says' to 'I say'.
 
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Phillip Menzies

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Well I have done considerable work on this piece of music. I post this as the direction I have taken may be useful for the people working on the comments for Episode 13 that will feed into Corey's session. I always say that music is inherent to the story.
I have decided to use Valarin as the language as Melian would know it and as I said before I would imagine Valarin to be more powerful than other yoounger languages.
Here is a walk through. The piece starts with a minor meandering as Melian and her counselors cast around for a solution to the imminent threat of the spiders advancing through the forest. Gradually through the tune you begin to hear a soft but clear single note (harp) which slowly gains in intensity until it can't be ignored (the note is Iluvatar's note). Eventually the main tune responds and aligns itself with the note as Melian listens to Iluvatar's voice or the memory of The Music and the two sound when all other music stops. That is the point when Melian understands what needs to be done. She begins to sing and the tune she uses is the first theme from the Ainulindale, the one that describes things that are good and right and uphold Iluvatar's initial vision of Arda. It is slow and the tone rises and falls in intensity. It comes to a crescendo and then falls to softness at the very end (not all powerful things need to be loud) and she finishes on Iluvatar's note again to seal the Girdle into place with Iluvatar's blessing.
I hope this aids the conversation and I hope my creativity lives up to expectations.
 

Phillip Menzies

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I have done most of the musical work and I am waiting on the vocals to put it all together, but I can share the form of the piece and where the lyrics have gone.

So the music starts with the section of strings playing low and discordant and the clarinet taking the melody. This is to indicate Melian's confusion as she has no solution to the advancing army of spiders. Through the music you begin to hear one clear note ringing over and over again. This is Iluvatar's note as Eru talks to her and when she finally listens she has the answer and she begins her song which is a song of power from before the beginning of time and was used to sing the world into being. This music will form the first theme from the Ainulindale.

So she starts by stating the problem:

Ea, Eru. phelûndelgûmâ dušamanûðân

Let it be, Eru. Our dwelling under the dome of heaven has been marred

Ea, Eru. mâchanumâzDâhan-igwiš-telgûnest. Ea, Eru

Let it be, Eru. The Authorities (the Valar) on Taniquetil (their home across the sea in the west) rest (or in other words do nothing). Let it be, Eru.

Then there is the transition and she gears up to what has to be done:

ayanûzaþâramâchanâz
akašân, ezella phelûn, Ambar

The ainur (Melian) has been appointed with Authority Eru says, on this green dwelling in the Earth.

akašân
MelianNamovala Melkor Aþâraphelûn Amanaišal

Eru says Melian will Judge with power against Melkor (he who arises in strength) to make the world unmarred.

Ea, Eru.

Let it be, Eru.

.... and thus the girdle is sung into being. The language being used Valarian is very limited on vocabulary and there are very few words that Tolkien wrote down so this is about all that can be said given the limitations.

My thanks goes to Josh Ramsay who assisted with the Valarian words and also greatly with the pronunciation.
 

Phillip Menzies

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I had to alter the title of this thread. It is now my upload music to YouTube thread. I have an issue with my login. I am only logged in while in a thread, so I cannot create a new one.
Anyway, this new video is a bit of a catch-up. If I am ever going to write the Ainulindale then I need tunes for all of the Valar. This goes back to Season one, but would also be used extensively for Season 2. Two Valar in one, Este and Irmo in the Gardens of Lorien. It is a restful piece that hopefully will send you to sleep.

There will be more coming soon and two on the way that are actual songs with words and real people singing them, a much more difficult thing to arrange.
 
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