The Oath of Feanor

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
I am devoting this thread to the piece of music for the Oath of Feanor. I hope to post all music files and information that contributors will need here rather than sending bulk emails to a mailing list. I will send emails with links to the files. If you are a new person finding this thread and want to be involved, please send me a message with your email address so I can add you to the mailing list to receive all messages for the developments and indicate that you want to watch this thread. Before I go any further I would like to say thank you for being a part of this ambitious project. I am sure we will make great music.

So where did this all start I hear you say. It started from a forum thread in Season 3 from Ange1e4e5 or Steve saying that it would be good to hear some of the Dies Irae in music for the Oath of Feanor. You can follow this discussion including what the Dies Irae is (the song of death), here https://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/dies-irae.604/
The upshot was that I started to think about how I could musically write something that had the feel of the Duel of the Fates from Star Wars and the Revelation of the Ringwraiths from the Fellowship of the Ring. At the same time, Mithluin (Marie) started to work on her own translation of the Oath of Feanor into Quenya which Tolkien only ever wrote in English despite the fact that it would have been spoken in Quenya. In the same way that much of the choral music in the Lord of the Rings movies were in Quenya, Sindarin, Adunaic or Kazdul, we have written a piece for the soundtrack behind the on-screen action that is in one of Tolkien's invented languages.

The first thing I need to post here then are the words of the Oath in English and in Quenya and a recording of the words as spoken in Quenya. I have moved around the order of the words from the original version for dramatic effect and to fit in with the music I have written.

The Oath of Feanor
Refrain This swear we all:
death we will deal him ere Day's ending,
woe unto world's end! Our word hear thou,
Eru Allfather!
On the holy mountain hear in witness
and our vow remember, Manwë and Varda!

Verse 1 Be he foe or friend, [be he foul or clean,]
brood of Morgoth or bright Vala,
Elda or Maia or Aftercomer,
Man yet unborn upon Middle-earth,

Refrain

Verse 2
neither law, nor love, nor league of swords,
dread nor danger, not Doom itself,
shall defend him from Fëanor, and Fëanor's kin,
whoso hideth or hoardeth, or in hand taketh,
finding keepeth or afar casteth
a Silmaril.

Refrain This swear we all:
death we will deal him ere Day's ending,
woe unto world's end! Our word hear thou,
Eru Allfather!
On the holy mountain hear in witness
and our vow remember, Manwë and Varda!

To the everlasting Darkness doom us if our deed faileth.

The Oath of Fëanor (Quenya)

Refrain: Vanda sina carilmë:
Fírië mahtuvalme sena fai ré-metta,
Rúþë tenn' Ambar-metta!
Á hlarë vandalma
Eru Ilúvatar!
Mi Oiolossë á hlarë ar ná astarmo
Ar á enyalë vandalma, Manwë Vardayë!

Verse 1 Qui náto notto hya nildo
Arauco Moringotto hya Vala arata
Elda hya Maia hya Apanóna
Hildor i uië onostier Endorenna
Ilar axan, ilar melme, ilar nírë melehta

(Refrain)

Ilar thossë, ilar raxë, ilar Umbar insa
Rehtuva Fëanárollo ar Fëanáriondillon
Ye nurta hya harya haura hya auta
Hiriessë harya hya háya hatë
Silmaril.

Refrain Vanda sina carilmë:

Fírië mahtuvalme sena fai ré-metta,
Rúþë tenn' Ambar-metta! Á hlarë vandalma
Eru Ilúvatar!
Mi Oiolossë á hlarë ar ná astarmo
Ar á enyalë vandalma,
Oiala lúmenna

Á húta mé cénai cardalma loita.​

Finally, here is a recording of this translation spoken in Quenya by Kathleen Dallin who I hope will also be joining us in song.
(Unfortunately the limitations of this forum includes the file type that can be uploaded. I have settled on a compressed zip file. If you are unable to open the file or use it please contact me and I shall arrange an alternate delivery system).
 

Attachments

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
There is a limit to the size of files that I can upload to the forums so I am using Google Drive for all the isolated audio parts and the pdfs of all of the music. The link to the Google Drive is https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1tQl7IyrZJmFc4SsHTpGOxw5Yra0uDvZT?usp=sharing

I am also posting the pdf's here as they are smaller files. Print the ones that suit you the best. There is one with all 6 vocal tracks, one with all three men's, one with all three women's and finally 6 individual tracks.

At this stage all people need to do is learn how to pronounce the Oath and begin to learn the tunes. I am hoping that each person can do more than one part. That way with 20 people contributing it will sound like a 50 - 60 strong choir.
I will post instructions on how to record your tracks over the next week or two.
If anyone wants I can also post my Musescore files which are helpful as you can play them and watch the cursor move past the words.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
I have received a couple of questions from the initial mail out which others may be wondering about too. the first is from Don who said:

"Thanks for all this. Your efforts are impressive!!
My recent experience with Duel of the Fates – It was one of the pieces in the Sydney Philharmonia Festival Chorus “Night at the Movies” concert…and a piece that I struggled with!! – leads to me to start my efforts here by focusing on the language. In “Feanoroath.mp3” -- I am assuming this is the language learning track? -- in your Google Drive, the file appears to skip from Bar 53 to Bar 80, i.e. omitting the words in Bars 54-79. I can see there are reiterations of words and so on in the omitted bars vis-à-vis bars included, but they’re not the same…?"

It is true that the recording by Kathleen speaking the Oath misses out the middle bit on the sheet music. The explanation is simple. The music takes the form of having a refrain starting with "This swear we all:" and in Quenya "Vanda sina carilmë:" This refrain is repeated in the middle of the piece and then again at the end, so the missing piece is just a repetition. The bits that form the verses "Be he foe or friend, through to "finding keepeth or afar casteth a Silmaril" is really one section. I have quite arbitrarily cut it in half and inserted a refrain in between them. Kathleen has spoken them as they should appear but for the needs of the music. I suggest that you copy the text from the first forum thread and read that while listening to the spoken recording. It will be easier to skip over the missing section.

The other question was from Elise who asked,

"Thank you Phillip!
Do you have a due date or a timeline in which you would like us to learn our musical pieces?"

to which I answered:

"Hi Elise,
I don't have an exact time-frame at this stage. I am thinking in weeks rather than months. The music session for SilmFilm is likely to be sometime in January so there is plenty of time. In about three weeks it would be good to start getting files back from people. I will set some more concrete times and post them for everyone. The main thing is that I wanted people to concentrate on the pronunciation and timing before they feel the pressure of producing something. You can post things like this on the forum. I am sure there are others who have similar questions."

So the upshot is, a few weeks, enough for everyone to learn their parts, but not too much people everyone to lose interest, and as I said I will post more regarding times soon.
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
Last edited:

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
I just picked up a small typo in the words on the pdf files. I have corrected the pdf files and uploaded them again. If you have printed a copy you may wish to alter the word by hand. It is at the end of bar 93 (bar numbers are found above the beginning of every line). The error was the word he-te. I have replaced it with the correct word ha-te.
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
Practicing the Oath

I just wanted to check in with everyone who is participating, hoping that you will be able to devote some time to learning the pronunciation and the timing of the Oath over this weekend. If you are finding some bits challenging, post on the forum and I am sure someone will come to our aid. The most challenging bits I see are the lines:

"Rehtuva Fëanárollo ar Fëanáriondillon
Ye nurta hya harya haura hya auta
Hiriessë harya hya háya hatë"

My advice is listen to the Feanraoth.mp3 file and take it slowly to learn all those words starting with "H' and having y's and r's and a's.

The other thing to remember is that in the final line:
"Á húta mé cénai cardalma loita,"
the word cenai has a hard "C" like a 'K'. This is typical Tolkien like in the words Celeborn, Cirith Cirdan. In English this "C" would be a soft c like in cent or city, but in Tolkien's languages it is usually a hard "K" sound.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I am not a singer so won't be doing this, but I have been told by a few singers that thinking 'Italian vowels' helps with Quenya. So, good luck to all those who are giving this a try!
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
For those who are interested, here is a quick rundown of what the Oath is doing musically.

The piece begins with one of my previous pieces called "The Fall" to indicate a character's descent morally. This plays from bars 1-7.

After this we have the tubular bell playing a repeating three note. This is significant to the elves. There are three kins of the elves, the Vanya, the Noldor and the Teleri. My pieces for these three kins all start with the same three repeating notes but each piece is quite different in character and the three notes repeat all through each piece. I imagined when the elves wake, three gongs to call them. Over these three notes is a horn and cello playing just four notes. These four notes are to indicate any oath and will be used at other times in my SilmFilm music to indicate when an oath is made. The host wanted just an oath theme while I was in to middle of writing the piece and I just pulled these notes out of (a good example is) bars 52 and 53. If you remove each lot of three repeating notes (except the last ones) you get these four notes. These four notes are repeated before going into each of the two verses.

The refrain follows the pattern of the Dies Irae, the song of death, just four notes repeated again and again (this is sung by the middle female part W2 (there is a whole thread about the Dies Irae on the forum for Music in season 3). The only variation is that the four notes are not played evenly. The first note is held for three beats coinciding with the three notes of the tubular bell making this an elvish oath about death.
The verses follow the pattern of an oath described above with the three note repetition in-between each note. In between the lines of text is three notes on the dominant (5th note) then jump up to the tonic (8th note or octave), three notes on the dominant (5th note) then jump down to the tonic (1st note). This is the first phrase of the Noldor theme. This is repeated after each line sometimes changing pitch but still the same pattern 5,5,5,8 followed by 5,5,5,1. The second time through the verse this pattern is followed by Melor's triad 5,8,1 and by the time we get to the end of the verse the Noldor notes have been swallowed up by Melkor's triad completely. This is not a coincidence. From the beginning when I wrote the themes for the three kindreds, knowing the Noldor had the greatest fall I wrote theirs to resemble Melkor's triad and with little effort it transforms as they start to do Melkor's work for him.

The final bars from bar 118 are my Doom theme from season 2. I wanted to finish with this motif and finish the whole piece with the words "To the everlasting darkness doom us if our deed faileth" During these final bars a solo violin plays the Dies Irae, a final lonesome call by Death to Feanor and his sons.
 
Last edited:

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
This is a message I sent t all of the people contributing to the Oath to help learn the parts. If anyone else reads this and post and is wanting to be involved send me a message. It is not too late.

Hi everyone,
It has come to my attention that some of you may need more support to learn the Oath parts. I have uploaded three more MP3's to assist with learning. I have made recordings of me speaking the oath in time with the music and of all three men's parts. They are not perfect, but they should help if you are not proficient at reading music or having difficulty hearing individual notes on the generated vocal parts. These will help. I have even listened to all my three parts together and even with 3 voices it is starting to sound impressive. I am hoping to get the women's parts sung up there for the women as well (not sung by me ... impossible) so in the meantime you have the spoken recording to help you. For those who are champing at the bit to record, as I said .wav or .aif file types are preferred and I am wanting raw recording with no effects. I will look at reverb and other effects at the end to make the whole thing sound even better. If you have lost previous messages, here is the link to get access to the Google Drive documents https://drive.google.com/open?id=1tQl7IyrZJmFc4SsHTpGOxw5Yra0uDvZT

Happy singing to you all (even though this is not a happy song),
Phillip
 

Niendil

New Member
Makes me sorry to have missed the Moot, as I am a singer and know something of Finnish pronunciation — NOT identical to Quenya, of course, but similar!
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I was so thrilled to hear this music for Thursday's session! I know it's not in its final form yet, but it's very exciting to hear it all come together nonetheless. :D
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
Makes me sorry to have missed the Moot, as I am a singer and know something of Finnish pronunciation — NOT identical to Quenya, of course, but similar!
The session was just the premier of the track and the session will be up on You Tube soon. The Oath will be up on YouTube I am hoping in the next week or so for everyone to hear whenever you want. I will announce it properly here on the forums and on twitter, when it is up. I am sorry you missed the opportunity to sing, but never fear, I am sure there will be more singing opportunities to come in SilmFilm. This is now the fourth vocal piece. We had a solo by Melian and one by Daeron in season 3 and this season we have had a solo by Luthien and the Oath. Keep listening, and send me a message to be involved if I put out another call. Corey is pretty good abut getting messages out for involvement during the announcements. You can send me your email via a direct message and I will add you to my singers mailing list.
 
Top