Forum: Research Questions

Discussing: Song types

Song types

What names would be used for the types of songs elves might sing? Would they be chants, ballads, various names I am completely ignorant of?

If two minstrels from different traditions met, and 'talked shop' what might they discuss besides the different songs they know?

Thanks to anyone who can help with this.
Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Song types

I found a few that may or may not be of interest. Those with French names might translate well into Quenya or Sindarin if you wanted to. Plus I know Tolkien referred to a couple of different song/poetry styles. I'll have to go digging for those. Here's what I have so far:

trou·vère - one of a school of poets who flourished from the 11th to the 14th centuries and who composed mostly narrative works (as chansons de geste* and fabliaux). Etymology: French, from Old French troveor, troverre, from trover to compose, find, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin tropare

ron·deau - a monophonic trouvère song with a 2-part refrain

Chansons d'amor literally, love songs

mad·ri·gala) a medieval short lyrical poem in a strict poetic form; b) a complex polyphonic unaccompanied vocal piece on a secular text developed especially in the 16th and 17th centuries

*chansons de geste Etymology: French, literally, song of heroic deeds : any of several Old French epic poems of the 11th to the 13th centuries

I hope some of these are of use.

~Nessime

PS - there are some good examples of medieval music at Mostly Medieval in the form of mp3's so you can listen to them. I like listening to them sometimes when I'm writing to help evoke the right atmosphere. ;)

 

 

Re: Song types

Wonderful, Nessime, this is exactly what I need. Is there one of these that would be consider a particularly refined or elegant style as distinguished from the others?

Thanks!

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Song types

Check out the URL Library's Featured URL for this week ("Music in Middle Earth"); you may find it helpful!

Ithilwen

 

 

Re: Song types

Check out the URL Library's Featured URL for this week ("Music in Middle Earth"); you may find it helpful!

Thanks, Ithilwen. I did see some good information on instruments and germanic poetry/song information. I am very unmusical unfortunately, and have to start from scratch and get spoon-fed for this. So... I still would love to know if one song style was considered particularly refined or elegant, whether applicable to Middle-earth or Aman.

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Song types

I still would love to know if one song style was considered particularly refined or elegant, whether applicable to Middle-earth or Aman.

I think we somtimes get so caught up in trying to equate M-e with the real world, and with real periods in our history, that we loose sight of what the professor did himself; Tolkien chose certain elements from the real world and combined them to create something unique for M-e. (Forks were mostly unknown until the Renaissance period and crystal wouldn't have existed, at least not in Western Europe, yet Tolkien has both in M-e, along with pipe-weed and 'taters.)

That being said, I think you can quite believably use a style of music which may not belong to our own Middle Ages but blends very comfortably into M-e. Madrigals are one such type of vocal music IMO. It is polyphonic, which the author of the article on music in M-e seems to think would be out of place, yet I believe an Elf would certainly have some very complex music in his repertoire, especially one of the Eldar who had lived in Aman.

An example of the chanson de geste is Chanson de Roland which describes the death of Charlemagne's nephew Roland in an ambush by Saracens in the Pyrenees. This is considered by many to be one of the finest examples of the heroic French epic. I'm pretty sure have a copy of this somewhere (hardcopy) but I can't locate it at the moment.

A chanson BTW is defined as a secular composition for several voices, with or without instruments, but I have heard some beautiful solo renditions with the instruments providing the harmonies in place of the other voices (and the definition indicates that this is often done), so I have no difficulty imagining either a chanson d'amor or a chanson de geste in M-e.

If you want to try writing the words for a rondeau I found this more detailed description for you: a form of verse consisting of 15 usually octosyllabic lines arranged in three stanzas. It uses the opening words twice as a refrain and permits only two rhymes: aabba, aab, refrain, aabba, refrain.

There's also the rondel. The verse has two rhymes only, consisting of usually 14 lines arranged in three stanzas. The first two lines of the first stanza serve as a refrain for the second and third stanzas. ( I didn't find a "road map" for this one yet).

I don't know if this helps or adds to the confusion, but as I said, I think that our musical choices for M-e are broader than what existed in our own Middle Ages.

~Nessime



 

 

Re: Song types

Thanks, Nessime,

Thanks for the exact verse information, but as of now I wouldn't dare.
It's enough that I now know my character has sung Madrigals or rondeau ?rondeaux?.

If in RL you were describing a madrigal what adjectives would you use? elegant, rich, complex, etc.? Prizes given (virtual cookies only, I'm afraid) for the best!

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Song types

The Italian madrigal tends to be far more elegant & complex than the ones from Elizabethan England. I would strongly recommend some CDs of Claudio Monteverdi's madrigals--I think those will have the mood you are looking for. Performances by Anthony Rooley's Consort of Musick are particularly fine.

Regina

 

 

Re: Song types

It's enough that I now know my character has sung Madrigals or rondeau ?rondeaux?.

Rondeau is singular; rondeaux is the plural. I was fairly certain on this but decided to double check just to be safe.

Regina, thanks for the note about the Italian madrigals. There is a richness to the madrigal anyway, and, as you pointed out, the Italian madrigals were more refined and elegant. I don't have the CDs you suggested to Lyllyn though, and now you've piqued my interest. I'll have to go find at least one of them.

This is why I'm always broke - I'm always buying either books or music! Or both!

~Nessime

 

 

Re: Song types

This is why I'm always broke - I'm always buying either books or music! Or both!

Story of my life. And I always need music to write to as well. . .
Regina

 

 

Re: Song types

Thank you both.

: This is why I'm always broke - I'm always buying either books or music! Or both!

It was buying books that was always my weakness.

 

 

Re: Song types

Would there be an exact counterpart for the ann-thennath mode (The Lay of Leithian) in our world?

I imagine it as some sort of half-spoken, half-sung narrative chant set to a simple beat - The-LEAVES-were-long-the GRASS-was-green-the-HEMlock-umbels-TALL-and-fair... but could you analyse it different-like?

 

 

In Forums

Discussion Info

Intended for: General Audience

This forum is open to all HASA members. It is read-only for the general public.

Membership on HASA is free and it takes only a few minutes to join. If you would like to participate, please click here.

If you are already a member, please log in to participate.

« Back to Research Questions

Stories linked to the forum