The Silmarillion - General Discussion

Discussing Tolkien's foundations for Middle-earth
Lindariel
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Post by Lindariel » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:27 pm

I dearly love the Ainulindale, Merry. The idea of the creation of Arda being accomplish through Music, most especially Song, is exceptionally precious to me. There is nothing in this world more plangent or expressive than the human voice. The goal of every instrumental musician is to perfect his/her craft such that he/she can make their instrument SING -- the instrumental ideal is VOCAL in nature.

Song is created through the combination of sound, word, and emotion. I would hate to think of a world created solely on the basis of only one of these elements -- logic without feeling, sound without sense, emotion without discipline -- it would be horrible.

In the Ainulindale, I think Tolkien has in some ways perfected the story of creation as expressed in the Gospel of John. Not "In the beginning was the Word," nor "In the beginning was the Music," but "In the beginning was the Song."
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“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

Merry
Varda
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Post by Merry » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:49 pm

Well said, Lindariel! It's interesting that Tolkien tells us that it was a song, but did the song have words?
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Lindariel
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Post by Lindariel » Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:12 am

Song is by definition words set to music. Vocal music without words is called a vocalise, not a song. The Professor was always VERY careful with his words, so I suspect he knew about the distinction.
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“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

Merry
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Post by Merry » Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:12 am

I never knew that, Lindariel--thanks! I find it interesting, then, that this philologist--this wordy guy--didn't make an attempt to tell us what those words were. Maybe in the end, he realized it was good to be humble in this, but it might have been a temptation.
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Lindariel
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Post by Lindariel » Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:01 pm

I suspect he knew better than to attempt the Song of the Ainur -- just as he knew better than to attempt to give us the actual words to Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom, other than to say that it ended with "Praise them with great praise!" Given this description:
And he sang to them, now in the Elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.
how could it be possible to write something that would satisfy? After all, isn't LOTR itself the Lay of Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom? And isn't Tolkien's entire canon a good portion of the Song of the Ainur?
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“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

Iolanthe
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Post by Iolanthe » Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:47 pm

Reading the quote you given us, Lindariel, makes me think of Frodo hearing the singing at Rivendell:
Then the enchantment became more and more dreamlike, until he felt that an endless river of swelling gold and silver was flowing over him, to multitudinous for its pattern to be comprehended; it became part of the throbbing air about him, and it drenched and drowned him. Swiftly he sank under its shining weight into a deep realm of sleep.
I think the music of the elves here, and the music at Cormallen, is akin to the Music of the Ainur - a subcreation reflecting its glory, if you like - in that it has power beyond just enjoying lovely tunes and good words. It has the power to change and transform the listeners.

I always think of my favourite line in the Book of Job when I read the Ainulindale - all the morning stars singing together and all the sons of God shouting for joy. I'm sure Tolkien must have had this in mind when he wrote it.
Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

shieldmaiden
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Post by shieldmaiden » Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:15 am

I just ordered the Deluxe Edition of The Silmarillion through Amazon and I'm am excitedly awaiting its arrival. \:D/
“…..suddenly above him far and faint his song was taken up, and a voice answering called to him. Maedhros it was that sang amid his torment.” The Silmarillion, Chapter 13: Of the Return of the Noldor

Iolanthe
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Post by Iolanthe » Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:52 pm

Wonderful!!!

It would be great to have some more discussions about the Sil (I think the possibilities are endless with this book) so if you want to bring up anything here as you go along, please PLEASE do!
Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

shieldmaiden
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Post by shieldmaiden » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:35 pm

I most certainly will. :mrgreen:

I read it a long time ago, but really need to do some "in depth" study of it so I can keep up with everyone. I am really, really looking forward to rereading it again! :D
“…..suddenly above him far and faint his song was taken up, and a voice answering called to him. Maedhros it was that sang amid his torment.” The Silmarillion, Chapter 13: Of the Return of the Noldor

Philipa
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Post by Philipa » Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:04 am

shieldmaiden wrote:I just ordered the Deluxe Edition of The Silmarillion through Amazon and I'm am excitedly awaiting its arrival. \:D/
Love it. I hope we can spark a bit in this thread. I just love the Sil. :D
Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima!

Thoughts from Eryn Lasgalen An online guide to all things Tolkien

hope
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Post by hope » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:28 pm

I have just read and listened to the Sil, and followed this up with The Children of Hurin and cannot explain how the Professors words "come to life" ...to those who have never read Tolkien I feel they miss so much as it stirs my soul.

I cannot profess to know these works as I have only read them a few times and try to understand them better each time so the more discussion here the better for me anyway :D
What have I got in my pocket?

Iolanthe
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Post by Iolanthe » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:11 pm

I think, when it comes to the Sil, I'm in the same boat with you. There is so much to learn - an entire and complex history - that I think any discussion here is bound to benefit all of us! I haven't read it near often enough to start to grasp it :lol: .
Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

Philipa
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Post by Philipa » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:42 pm

It's funny there are parts of the Sil I know quite well and other chapters I'm not as up on. In fact some of the chapters I down right dread but read anyway. :lol:
Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima!

Thoughts from Eryn Lasgalen An online guide to all things Tolkien

Iolanthe
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Post by Iolanthe » Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:20 pm

Among those, for me, are the seemingly endless accounts of the tribes of men tracking westwards. Last time through I skiped that altogether so I could back to the real business (elves) :oops: .
Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

shieldmaiden
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Post by shieldmaiden » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:45 am

Well, I have received my 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of the Sil and it's a beauty! :heart: I am just going to skim through it this summer and start reading it in earnest in the fall, when I have more time to devote to it.

If there is enough interest, do you think it would be worthwhile doing a chapter by chapter discussion of it? :reading:
“…..suddenly above him far and faint his song was taken up, and a voice answering called to him. Maedhros it was that sang amid his torment.” The Silmarillion, Chapter 13: Of the Return of the Noldor

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